Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries

An illustration of Cerberus by William Blake.

31 fearsome monsters from around the world

Sometimes it seems like the only monsters we talk about nowadays are vampires, zombies, and werewolves. We here at OxfordDictionaries.com thought that was a shame, so we did some digging and pulled together this grand list of monsters to terrify and amuse you (and maybe even provide some of you with last-minute costume ideas!). 1. […]

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Preparing for Bonfire Night: which word would you burn?

This survey is now closed. Thank you for your contributions! What’s your least favourite word? As Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night) approaches, we’d like to know which word you’d turn into an effigy. Bonfire Night is celebrated on 5 November in the UK; bonfires and fireworks are lit in memory of the […]

The origins of four NBA teams: the Knicks, the Mavericks, the Jazz, and the Raptors.

4 weird origins of NBA team names

Some of the team names in the National Basketball League (NBA) are fairly straightforward about their origins. It doesn’t take a team historian, for instance, to explain why the team in Phoenix – a city known for its hot desert climate – is called the Suns, or why the team in Orlando – famously the […]

“Architecture in general is frozen music.” - Friedrich von Schelling (1775–1854)


29 ways to say no

Sometimes you need somebody to get the point, and a simple no won’t do it. We’ve taken a look through the Historical Thesaurus of the OED and other sources to find out how best to say no to something. Now you can say no daily for almost a whole month without repeating yourself (and then […]

A group of people giving thumbs up.

22 ways to say yes

The word yes is great and all … but there’s plenty of other ways you can offer someone a verbal go-ahead. So if you feel like dipping your toes into the wild waters of alternative affirmations, then take a gander at the list below. If you’re feeling brave, deploy an aye aye in a business […]

pregnancy test

Pregnancy metaphors from around the world

Pregnant was something of a metaphor when it first started being used in relation to a baby. Its earlier meaning (which is still in use) was ‘full of meaning, highly significant’, and the word pregnant began being used as a synonym for the more self-explanatory term with child. There are plenty of historical synonyms for […]