Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

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 […]

Read more »
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? […]

Read more »
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 […]

Read more »
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 […]

Read more »
concern troll

Selfie stick, concern troll, and bae: new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com

Hey bae, Oxford Dictionaries are adding some easy-breezy words and senses in this month’s update. Don’t be a concern troll or creeper, and step away from that kill switch; we think you can self-soothe with these mad exciting words which are anything but lamestream. Anyhoo, no harm, no foul, read on to discover more and […]

Read more »
500 words

500 words: stories from a wider world

The BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition, run by the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, asks children aged 5-13 to compose an original work of fiction in no more than 500 words. For the past four years, Oxford Dictionaries for Children has collected and analysed all of the words used by young writers in the competition. […]

Read more »
dance scene

37 dances from the OED

Because the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) captures the breadth and variety of the English language, something that one can trace through its entries are cultural fads and crazes. With that in mind, we have picked out a sampling of some of the dances mentioned in the OED, some new, some old, some still popular today, […]

Read more »
Australia WWI

Rediscovering words from the Great War

In my recent book, Furphies and Whizz-bangs: Anzac Slang from the Great War, I had the opportunity to revisit some of the classic collections of war slang, including the Australian publication Digger Dialects, written in 1919 by W.H. Downing, and the British Songs and Slang of the British Soldier: 1914–1918, compiled by John Brophy and […]

Read more »

Tweets