Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

false friends

False Friends between English and Spanish

Building a bridge between two languages is a very demanding undertaking, and ‘false friends’ make it harder still. False friends are more commonly known as ‘false cognates’, or words that are similar or identical in both languages but which convey a different meaning. They give us a false sense of security before leading us astray. […]

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Murray Garden Party_OUP Archives

A letter from Dr Murray: commemorating the centenary of Murray’s death

26 July 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of James Murray, the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. To commemorate this centenary, we are reproducing an autobiographical letter Murray wrote in 1903. You can also discover more about Murray’s life in an occasional series of articles about Murray’s life which we are […]

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gavel

Legislation meets lexicography: the campaign for dictionary recognition of the word ‘upstander’

Oxford University Press frequently receives requests from members of the public to add a particular word to our dictionaries, but an official legislative resolution supporting a word’s inclusion may be unprecedented. Nonetheless, that is what happened on June 29, 2015, when the New Jersey State Senate approved a resolution “urging Merriam-Webster, Inc. and the Oxford […]

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Murray frozen

Did you know that James Murray… once had his beard frozen solid?

2015 marks the centenary of the death of James Murray, the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Murray’s work as a lexicographer is well known, but there was a great deal more to him than lexicography. We are therefore marking the anniversary with an occasional series of articles highlighting other aspects of his life […]

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old newspapers

Q&A with OED contributor Fred R. Shapiro

One of the notable words in the recent Oxford English Dictionary (OED) update was the term African American, which was antedated to more than half a century before the previous earliest citation. The discovery was made by longtime OED contributor Fred R. Shapiro, a librarian at Yale Law School and the editor of The Yale […]

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black sheep

Grammar myths: among or between?

Bill and Mark swam among the sunken ships. Bill and Mark swam between the sunken ships. What’s the difference between soup, consommé, and broth? What’s the difference among soup, consommé, and broth? Two questions about the sentences above (you’ll find the answers at the end of this article): Do they have exactly the same meaning? […]

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philippines

Mabuhay! Philippine English in the OED update

Mabuhay from Oxford as we bring you news of the June quarterly update of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which sees the inclusion of a wide range of words from Philippine English. English has been spoken in the Philippines since it was first introduced to the archipelago by a newly established American colonial government in […]

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james murray spelling

Did you know that James Murray… was for several years an advocate of spelling reform?

2015 marks the centenary of the death of James Murray, the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Murray’s work as a lexicographer is well known, but there was a great deal more to him than lexicography. We are therefore marking the anniversary with an occasional series of articles highlighting other aspects of his life […]

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