Oxford Dictionaries

Articles by Oxford Dictionaries


UNESCO logo on longest mosaic wall in the world.

Infographic: endangered languages around the world

International Mother Language Day was first announced by UNESCO in 1999 to ‘promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world’. It has, since then, been observed every year on 21 February. For this occasion, we have created an infographic about endangered languages around the globe, with particular focus on […]

Angry blue painted egg

10 historical insults from the OED

Are you looking for some more creative ways to insult someone? We’ve pulled some insults from the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to help you out with that… 1. Flibbertigibbet A noun that describes ‘a chattering or gossiping person’ and ‘a flighty or frivolous woman’. According to the OED, flibbertigibbet is an […]

Clock gear set

15 words invented by authors

Inventors’ Day is typically celebrated in honour of all the great minds past and present that have come up with a process or thing that helped make our everyday lives easier. But what about those inventors of words that have enriched our lexicon with their language? Let’s take a look at fifteen authors, and the words […]

Man holding a light bulb

Look who’s Tolkien now: inventing languages

What are invented languages? How are they created? Do they have a place in the modern world? Invented languages have been used for hundreds of years, perhaps most famously in books and TV shows such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Conlang (a shortened form of constructed language) entered both Oxford Dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary […]

Illustrating the OED Word of the Day, from ablow to nowcast

From ‘ablow’ to ‘philodox’: illustrating the OED Word of the Day

Have you ever wondered what those OED Words of the Day look like? If you have, then you are in luck! Every week, we feature an illustration of one of the OED Words of the Day, as created by our own Imogen Foxell, an illustrator and Senior Editor in Oxford Dictionaries. In these visuals, Imogen illuminates […]

Samba School parade in Sambodromo.

12 essential words for the Brazilian carnival

The carnival in Rio de Janeiro kicks off on 5 February, so the next five days will once again see the Brazilian city playing host to seductive rhythms and scantily clad dancers. For this occasion, we’ve dived into the colourful vocabulary of the Brazilian carnival and came up with a list of words that we […]

Video: what is Shrove Tuesday?

Placeholder names in English and other languages

Just your average Svensson: placeholder names in English and other languages

If you follow politics, you will have noticed that politicians often invoke the cliché of the ‘man in the street’. You may have heard them referring to the average Joe, Joe Bloggs, John Public, Joe Sixpack, etc. when talking to an audience, addressing everyone and no one, rather than someone in particular. The English language […]

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