Simon Thomas

Simon Thomas works in Marketing for Oxford Dictionaries.

Articles by Simon Thomas


The woodlouse has had many different names, depending on which part of Britain you’re in: we take a look at some of the regional variations.

The many names of the woodlouse

You’re probably familiar with the woodlouse, but (unless they happen to be your field of study), you probably haven’t given them a great deal of thought lately. The more biologically-minded among you may throw around the Latin term isopoda for the order, and oniscus or armadillidium for the two common varieties, but to most of […]

Bowdlerize (or bowdlerise) means ‘remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that the text becomes weaker or less effective’.

What did Bowdler bowdlerize?

Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825) was a doctor, chess player, and devotee of prison reform – but his legacy lies in his editing of Shakespeare. Bowdlerize (or bowdlerise) means ‘remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that the text becomes weaker or less effective’. Effectively, it refers […]

Brexit is the term commonly used for the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Which words are people looking up post-Brexit?

The trending look-ups on OxfordDictionaries.com are often a good way to have a quick snapshot of the national and international topics of the day. These can be quite niche (we often see words turn up in UK trends that have featured on TV the night before; monkey parade and nosegay have both trended after being […]

Archaic and unusual names for relatives

Archaic and unusual names for relatives

We all know that there are quite a few different ways to say ‘father’ in English, from dad and daddy to father, pater, and the old man. Taking a look into the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary reveals some unusual or archaic variants – and the same is true for almost any relative […]

Names for food in British and American English

Names for food in British and American English

You say tomato, I say tomato… but sometimes we say completely different things depending on whether we’re eating in the UK or America. We’ve put together some US and UK variants for common foods, along with a bit of history – so we won’t just help you out when ordering from a foreign menu, we’re […]

What do they call French toast in France?

What do they call French toast in France? (And other similar questions)

In English, many things are named after a particular country – but have you ever wondered what those things are called in those countries? Some things remain the same (Russians say Russian roulette, or rather русская рулетка, for instance) but plenty don’t. From French toast and Turkish delight to Brazil nuts and English breakfast – […]

phrases with run

6 ‘run’ phrases you probably don’t know

The word run might mean many different things to you. Personally, it makes me figuratively run for the hills, such is my feeling about exercise. Run might also make a lexicographer blanch; it is a strong contestant for the verb with the most meanings, at over 650 (this of course includes phrases and phrasal verbs). […]

Get happy with the word ‘happy’

Get happy with the word ‘happy’

From one of the first Mr Men and one of the seven dwarves to happy hour, happy is a word that crops up from childhood onwards. We take a look at how it has been used in the English language in various idioms, as well as its history and some synonyms. Happy through the years […]

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