Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

Do our lexicographers ever feel tempted to make up words in order to win a game of Scrabble?

An OED editor answers some more of your questions

When we took to Twitter and Facebook to ask you to send us your questions about language and lexicography the last time, we received so many submissions that it wasn’t possible to answer all of them in just one blog post. Therefore, we have included more of your questions below — as well as the most recent ones […]

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Weird and wonderful words from the Canadian Oxford Dictionary starting with the letter c.

On reading the Canadian Oxford Dictionary: the letter C

As part of an occasional series, guest blogger Nikki (@exitsideway) talks us through her ongoing project to read every word in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in under a year. I turn the 379th page and breathe the tiniest sigh of relief: I’m done with C. Totaling 168 pages, it is second in bulkiness only to […]

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upstander new words

Upstander, Turtle Island, and tink: an Oxford Dictionaries update

New words added to OxfordDictionaries.com come, as usual, from a wide variety of backgrounds and areas – from contemporary discussions of gender, to politics, to contemporary slang like CBA (‘can’t be arsed’) and douche canoe (‘an obnoxious or contemptible person’). Here are some of the most notable words entering the dictionary in this update… Gender […]

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Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton in the OED

Can’t get – or afford – a ticket to Hamilton, the hit musical about US founding father Alexander Hamilton? Try the next best thing, for word lovers at least: Hamilton in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). A life in words Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was one of the most important figures in early America. Soldier, lawyer, […]

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OED acnestis

Illustrating the OED Word of the Day, from black sanctus to acnestis

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 […]

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On reading the Canadian Oxford Dictionary: the letter B

On reading the Canadian Oxford Dictionary: the letter B

As part of an occasional series, guest blogger Nikki talks us through her ongoing project to read every word in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. ‘You’re such a weird kid.’ I’ve heard that a lot since I started this challenge. Most people give me an odd, confused look when they find out that I’m devoting so […]

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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 […]

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The usage of ‘thing’ to mean ‘generally known phenomenon’ has become remarkably popular in recent years.

When did ‘thing’ become a thing?

In May 2014, this blog briefly noted the rise of a new usage of the word thing to mean ‘generally known phenomenon’. This usage has been remarkably popular in recent years. Comedians, always alert to niceties of language, have called attention to the word’s new connotation. Recently, John Oliver introduced a new segment, titled ‘How […]

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