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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
Maya Angelou’s legacy encompasses poetry, essays, and autobiographical writing. With a distinctive voice and a love of language, it is unsurprising that she is currently quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as supporting evidence for 42 entries. These range from make-believe to maternal, poetess to privacy. She also appears several times in Oxford Essential Quotations, including the quotation above.
In 2013 we offered you a list of acronyms which you might not have known were acronyms, from scuba to care package. We even called Robert Pattinson ‘R-Patz’ along the way, for which we’re still feeling a little bit ashamed. To atone, we’ve delved back into the dictionary, and come up with another five acronyms […]
- Affect versus effect
- Grammar myths #2: please miss, can I start a sentence with a conjunction?
- OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year?
- Lie or lay? Laying down the law on some puzzling verbs
- Grammar myths #1: is it wrong to end a sentence with a preposition?
- Compliment or complement?
- Rein or reign? Hold your horses before applying pen to paper…
- Principle or principal?
- The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is…
- Which classical character are you?
- Talking proper: the language of U and Non-U
- Feeling bright? 8 historical synonyms for ‘clever’
- Gallery: new quotations in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
- America’s war on language
- The peculiar history of cows in the OED
- How I created the languages of Dothraki and Valyrian for Game of Thrones
- What do you call a group of…
- 20 words that originated in the 1920s
- How do British and American attitudes to dictionaries differ?
- Infographic: a closer look at ‘selfie’
- What the Romans did for us: English words of Latin origin
- Why did Tolkien use archaic language?
Happy World Vegetarian Day! Why not celebrate with our A-Z of vegetables and vegetarianism? oxford.ly/NJkQkP
“Music in your blood and poetry in your soul”: the beauty of Welsh English oxford.ly/yqYxai
How well do you know British English? Test yourself in today's quiz... oxford.ly/1sMMmkW
Word of the Day: flagitious - (of a person or their actions) criminal; villainous... oxford.ly/Zqn0g4
We investigate the mechanisms of totalitarianism in Nineteen Eighty-Four’s fictional language ‘Newspeak’: oxford.ly/1DUPbTY