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Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…

That’s right – for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: 😂, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, though you may know it by other names. There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but 😂 was chosen as the ‘word’ that […]

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Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015: the shortlist

In addition to the Word of the Year itself, Oxford Dictionaries staff have put together a shortlist of notable words that have gained linguistic currency during 2015. These range across a variety of subjects, from global politics and current affairs, to technology and popular culture. Here is a closer look at those words, in alphabetical […]


9 words to use instead of ‘toilet’

Lavatory, privy, loo – we’re not exactly lacking synonyms for toilet in everyday language. Still, we thought it might be fun to dig out a few of the more obscure and curious ones that have been used throughout the ages. House of Lords House of Lords has been around as a cheeky slang term for […]

‘Compliment’ or ‘complement’: what’s the difference?

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11 popular expressions explained

Why do we bury the hatchet? The phrase, meaning to end an argument or conflict, refers back to a Native American custom in the seventeenth century whereby a hatchet or tomahawk would be buried in the ground to signal the laying down of arms and the declaration of peace between warring groups. Why do we […]

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Our favourite words from Peanuts

Today sees the launch of the new Peanuts Movie, based on the popular comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Whether you like the strip or not, its popularity, and its ability to cross generational and language gaps cannot be questioned. At its peak, Peanuts was published in over 2,600 newspapers, in 21 languages, and boasted […]

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Bonfire Night: which word did you burn?

Which words do you really hate? It’s Bonfire Night in the United Kingdom on 5 November. This celebration’s origins may seem curious to the rest of the world – why do we celebrate the anniversary of an attempted regicide? – but it’s a good excuse for fireworks and bonfires. Traditionally an effigy of Guy Fawkes […]

National Novel Writing Month fail

8 ways to fail at NaNoWriMo

As failed novelists, thus far at least, we thought we’d be able to give you some counter advice – what not to do if you want to get a novel under your belt during November. 1) Discover a television show you really have to binge watch ‘TV is a great way to learn about crafting […]