Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


alphabet

How many pangrams are there in the OED?

A pangram is a sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet at least once. The canonical example in English is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, which is clearly contrived to be pangrammatic. But pangrams can also occur accidentally. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) contains 66 pangrammatic quotations. Two […]

pup

Quiz: can you guess the palindrome?

A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards (e.g. madam or nurses run). The term originated in the early 17th century and is derived from Greek palindromos which translates to ‘running back again’. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest single word palindrome is saippuakivikauppias, […]

tennis

Video: anyone for tennis? Oxford Dictionaries staff tackle tennis terms

In the last OxfordDictionaries.com update, we added new words like binge-watch, side-eye, and amazeballs. At the Connecticut Open, Nick McCarvel asked various tennis stars including Caroline Wozniacki and Genie Bouchard if they knew what these words meant, and we think they did a pretty great job with the answers (which you can see in the […]

What do you call a baby rabbit, and other baby animals?

Happy faces

Smiles for World Smile Day

You may be familiar with that old joke: what is the longest word in the English language? Smiles – there is a mile between s and s! Well, those of us in the know would cite the supposed lung disease pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis as the longest word in English, and that certainly isn’t something to smile about. […]

Coffee

Americano to zarf: a list of coffee words

To celebrate International Coffee Day, we thought we’d set aside our mugs and cups to take a look at some words every coffee-lover needs to know… Americano or café Americano: a drink of espresso coffee diluted with hot water. Arabica: mild-flavoured, high-quality coffee obtained from beans of the Coffea arabicai tree (the most widely grown […]

Spiflicated, mopsy, and spondulicks: historical synonyms for everyday things

Spiflicated, mopsy, and spondulicks: historical synonyms for everyday things

In Words in Time and Place, David Crystal explores fifteen fascinating sets of synonyms, using the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. We’ve turned selections from six sections of Words in Time and Place into word clouds, arranged in a shape related to the topic in question. Take a look at the images below to see […]

clever

Feeling bright? 8 historical synonyms for ‘clever’

If you’re constantly top of the class, or you fancy your chances playing a trivia game, you’ve probably been called clever at some point, if only by yourself. Well, to show how clever you are, why not explore our list of historical synonyms for clever, taken from the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary? […]

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