Articles, quizzes, and grammar tips for word-lovers everywhere

Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


John Simpson - Chief Editor, OED

John Simpson, former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, awarded OBE

Oxford University Press, publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), warmly congratulates former OED chief editor John Simpson on the receipt of an OBE for his services to literature. The 2014 Queen’s Birthday honours list, published on Saturday 14 June, recognizes the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK. The honour […]

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From flexitarian to evil genius: new words in the OED

The June 2014 Oxford English Dictionary (OED) update sees another wide range of words and senses entering the dictionary. We’ve had a focus on updating words connected with the First World War, to commemorate its centenary, but plenty of other words and phrases have been included in the OED for the first time. These range […]

OED WW1 timeline

100 words that define the First World War

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) World War I timeline shows some of the ways in which the events of the First World War left their mark on the English language. For example, the wet and muddy conditions of the first winter of trench warfare were evoked in the term Flanders mud (November 1914), while trench boots and […]

letters

Limerick competition: the winners

When we asked for people to craft limericks about their favourite words, we weren’t sure what to expect. Would the OxfordWords readers rise to the occasion? Well, they did – and they did so magnificently. The most popular ‘favourite word’ was winner (we see what you were trying to do there…) and they ranged from ossify and snide to […]

A book by any other name

A book by any other name

Following on from our post about the etymology of the word book, we’ve delved into the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to find different words for book and various types of book through time… they’re in the word cloud above, and the list below.  anagraph – a record or register of events. anagraphy – an anagraph. […]

10 tricky pronunciations

10 tricky pronunciations

Recently we learned – if we were in any doubt – that Nike want their name pronounced Nikey (or, to put it in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), ˈnʌɪki). Those of us familiar with our Greek deities already knew that the company’s namesake and goddess of victory pronounced her name that way, but opinion differed […]

Book quiz

Book quiz: can you spot titles borrowed from other books?

The Fault in Our Stars, based on the 2012 novel by John Green, is released in cinemas this month. The title is adapted from a line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In Act 1, Scene 2, Cassius says: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings. Of course, […]

The language of Thomas Hardy

The language of Thomas Hardy

Writing about Hardy’s poetic language, Edmund Blunden, one of his most perceptive critics, noted that it is ‘sometimes a peculiar compound of the high-flown and the dull. If he means “I asked” he is liable to say “I queried” or rather “Queried I”; he is liable to “opine” instead of think. … He goes his road […]

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