Oxford Dictionaries

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Two gunmen attack the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7 January.

WordWatch roundup: satire, unthaw, and more

The biggest news story of 2015 thus far has been the 7 January terrorist attack in Paris, France on the offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Two gunmen – later identified as brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi…

thesaurus

5 things you can do with the Historical Thesaurus of the OED

The Historical Thesaurus of the OED is a unique resource charting the semantic development of the huge and varied vocabulary of English. It is the first comprehensive historical thesaurus ever produced for any language, and contains almost every word in English from Old English to the present day. With 800,000 words and meanings, in 235,000 entry categories, the […]

Video: what is the longest word in English?

12 language facts for the 12 days of Christmas

beer

Drinking through the ages: a timeline of synonyms for drunk

In the timeline above, explore how the English language has developed over time through the lens of a crucial social function: the consumption of alcohol. Taken from David Crystal’s book Words in Time and Place, which is based on research in the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, the timeline covers over 35 synonyms […]

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10 words that came to life 100 years ago

As 2014 draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look at some of the words celebrating their 100th birthday this year. While some of these may be antedated if older examples are found, the earliest evidence currently in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for each of the words below is 1914. So, join […]

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) is a Russian figure similar to Santa Claus.

Santa around the world: an interactive map of holiday gift givers

So who exactly do we mean by ‘Santa’ or ‘St. Nicholas’? Given his seeming ubiquity during the holiday season, from cameos in Black Friday advertisements to appearances in pop songs, it can feel as though Santa is a universal figure. However, the culture of Christmas-time gift giving turns out to be far more complicated. Rather […]

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Jingle Bells in the Historical Thesaurus of the OED

To celebrate the festive season, we’ve taken the lyrics to the much-loved song ‘Jingle Bells’ and fed certain words through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, giving a version that has an identical meaning, but very different appearance and sound. The words that have been altered are (as you will no doubt realize) in […]

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