Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


OED appeals: shiok and sabo

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘shiok’ and ‘sabo’?

Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]

13 synonyms for 'unlucky'

13 ways to say ‘unlucky’

Friday 13th has long been considered an unlucky day in the West, at least by some people; this dates back to the Middle Ages. Though it’s often treated whimsically, a word for a phobia of the day has been suggested: paraskevidekatriaphobia, by analogy with the existing word for a phobia of the number 13, triskaidekaphobia. […]

raised hand

An OED editor answers your questions

We recently asked you to provide questions about lexicography and language for a Senior Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – and you certainly had a lot to ask. We’ve picked some of the best questions, and… here are the answers! in a bit of a dilemma. why was 'dilemma' spelled 'dilemna'? is the […]

Crap hat is a derogatory term for the standard beret worn by regular soldiers in the British Army

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘crap hat’?

Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]

A large number of birds received their names through the imitation of their cries.

5 surprising origins of common bird names

A large number of birds received their names through the imitation of their cries. The cuckoo is an obvious example of such an onomatopoeic naming, and so are the owl, the cockatiel, and many more. Some bird names, however, have a more intriguing linguistic history. Here we take a look at a few examples. Magpie […]

Video: bring or take?

Is a zebra a horse?

Shakespeare last lines

Quiz: last lines in Shakespeare

Famous last words! This quiz will test how well you remember the last lines of Shakespeare’s heroes and heroines – or villains and anti-heroes, perhaps. How well do you remember the words spoken when characters die – either at their own hands or the hands of others? Take our quiz and find out. William Shakespeare […]

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