English, we often hear, is the world’s first truly global language, spoken in more places by more people than any other language in history. Partly this is so, simply, because there are more people today than at any previous time and because more of the world is known than was in Antiquity. In the time […]
It’s probably safe to say that most of us don’t give much thought to how plural nouns are formed in English. In fact, add –s or –es, whatever a word’s origin or meaning, might be one of the easiest grammatical rules in the language. So we have book / books, church / churches, hula / […]
All words have life cycles. They are born, sometimes by a specific individual at a recorded moment, as was the case with grotty. The current first citation in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is from the 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night, in which George Harrison utters the word in response to some shirts. ‘I […]
‘When you come to those parts of the body which are not usually mentioned,’ C. S. Lewis once said, ‘you will have to make a choice of vocabulary. And you will find that you have only four alternatives: a nursery word, an archaism, a word from the gutter, or a scientific word. You will not […]
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Learn about the explosive origin of 'bikini' in today's blog post: oxford.ly/1uygAc8
In case you missed it... Word of the Day: apposite - apt in the circumstances or relation to something... oxford.ly/1rtAaAF
Fedoras to mullets: decades of fashion words oxford.ly/1uygAc8
Make sure you know whether a word ends in -cede, -ceed, or -sede: oxford.ly/1nPNAHq
Beam me up, dictionary: Star Trek in the OED oxford.ly/111xNFO