Taylor Coe

Taylor Coe works for Oxford Dictionaries.

Articles by Taylor Coe


Psy's music video for his song "Gangnam Style" topped 2.15 quintillion views in early December, forcing YouTube engineers to change the upper limit of the view counter.

Psy, YouTube, and quintillion: “Gangnam Style” and gargantuan numbers

In early December 2014, South Korean musician Psy’s music video for his song “Gangnam Style” exceeded YouTube’s upper view limit, having accumulated over 2,147,483,647 views; more than the view counter had been set to track. The video’s success spurred engineers at YouTube to reset the counter with a new upper limit of 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, or more […]

marijuana

Hashing out the language of marijuana

With Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia passing measures on 4 November to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Colorado and Washington as US regions where the sale of the drug is (or will be) legal, I thought it might be worth taking a look at the language surrounding the contested cannabis plant. Not unlike other much-discussed […]

Reuben sandwich

5 tasty sandwich etymologies

You may well be familiar with the origin of the sandwich. The story opens in mid-18th-century England with John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, and a particularly distracting run at the gaming table. In fact, the distraction proved so great that Montagu forewent formal meals and refreshments, and instead requested the simple snack of […]

Superman shirt

The super-language of Superman

17 October marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Jerry Siegel (d. 1996), who, along with artist Joe Shuster, created Superman, one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time. The mark left by Superman on today’s pop culture landscape is incalculable; not only has he been featured in comic strips […]

prison

Fresh fish in stir: The Shawshank Redemption and prison slang

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, the prison drama following the lives of prisoners Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman). Overshadowed by Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction in the year of its release, the film has demonstrated an incredible staying power over the past […]

Ghost town

How to talk about zombies: walkers, lurkers, geeks, and more

12 October 2014 marked the return in the US of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the zombie drama that follows several groups of survivors as they navigate a post-apocalyptic Georgia. Now in its fifth season, the show (and its comic book source) has made a mark in the world of zombie fiction thanks to a gritty, […]

Sheet Music

Foreign words and musical notes

Anyone who’s ever had to learn to read sheet music will know what I mean when I say that it can sometimes literally be like learning another language. Besides parsing those tricky lines, dots, tails, and bars, there are also the snatches of foreign languages – mostly Italian, along with the occasional word of French, […]

British English quiz

Quiz: how good is your British English?

If you’re an English speaker and have spent any time in an English-speaking country not your own, you know how different the language can be. Sometimes the differences are slight – for example, the stress on different syllables of weekend between British and American English (wiːkˈɛnd vs. ‘wēkˌend, respectively) – but sometimes the differences are […]

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