Articles, quizzes, and grammar tips for word-lovers everywhere

Category: Competitions and quizzes

Interactive quiz: Dickens or what the dickens?

Dickens quiz

2012 sees the bicentenary of one of the great and prolific authors of the English literary canon – Charles Dickens. His contribution to literature speaks for itself, but his contribution to the English language is also significant. In particular, the names of some of his characters have entered the language as words in their own […]

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When worlds collide: science or science fiction?

Science or science fiction?

The discovery, reported this week, of a faster-than-light neutrino shows just how easily the line between science and science fiction can become blurred. Equally, to the uninitiated, the language of science can be indistinguishable from the language of science fiction. We all know, alas, that Superman does not really exist, but how about the kryptonite […]

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Wonderful word origins

Seasick

Many of us are fascinated by the origins of the words we use. The genealogy of our vocabulary choices is not always obvious – even though English may be a relatively young language, many of its words have been around for over a thousand years, and a word can change its meaning dramatically in far […]

Take our Concise Centenary quiz

quiz

To celebrate one hundred years of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, try your luck at our quiz! For a hundred years the Concise has been a record of all aspects of the English language; from the vulgar to the colloquial and from the formal to the technical.  Where do certain words come from? What do […]

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Take our band names quiz

Take our band names quiz

Would the Beach Boys have sounded the same if they had been called Carl and the Passions? Does On A Friday convey the same passion as Radiohead? Would teenagers have found as much to scream about had The Executive not evolved into Wham? How much do you know about band names? Take our quiz and […]

Food, glorious food: take our quiz

Pretzel

Travel broadens the mind, they say, but it can also enrich the language as a whole. Food names have entered English from many routes: as imported goods were brought to our shores in past centuries, we encountered terms such as garam masala and macaroni. Later additions to the language reflect the growth of mass travel […]

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Author? Author?

Gulliver's Travels

We might spend our days on the Net, but we all love books at Oxford Dictionaries Online. Here’s an interactive quiz in honour of World Book Day, which gives a selection of words to be matched up with the authors who invented them. Think that Oscar Wilde coined the word witticism? Click to play and […]

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Birds losing direction followed by weapon (9)

Crossword

Never mind all those fancy games devised to get your brain working – if you want to keep mentally sharp and alert, and at the same time increase your vocabulary, it’s difficult to beat a good crossword. Whether you prefer concise, cryptic, or general knowledge versions, once you start completing a crossword, it can be […]

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