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

Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

Automotive nostalgia

Automotive nostalgia

A few weeks ago, when a character on TV mentioned his DeSoto, my daughter asked, “What’s a DeSoto?” “A car,” I answered, choking on my realization that there was no reason for a 25-year-old to have heard of a DeSoto. But I had actually ridden in a DeSoto—and not in an antique car parade. The […]

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Ask a lexicographer: part 2

Every now and again, we like to share a few of the very interesting questions sent to us by users of Oxford Dictionaries. Read on to learn more about the peculiarities of the English alphabet and dictionary history. The dictionary speaks Answer: One could argue that dictionaries are called as such because they tell the […]

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Ye Gods! Praise the Days

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In this last week of December 2012, I am gazing at the calendar above my desk and wondering how it is possible that in a few days I will have to hang up a new calendar for a new year (as my past gets longer, are the years getting shorter??). My mind wanders as I […]

Hip-hop on ‘ice’

Hip-hop on ‘ice’

This week the Oxford English Dictionary published their final quarterly update for 2012. Among the recently revised entries is the noun ice, which has got me thinking about the lyrics of “Thrift Shop”, a song by the hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Check it out: I’m just pumped, I bought some sh*t from a thrift shop. Ice […]

Don’t bank on it. . .

Don't bank on it. . .

With just over a week to go until Christmas, many of us are no doubt looking forward to the holidays and a few days off work. For those working on the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, however, writing the history of the language sometimes took precedence over a Christmas break. Christmas leave in […]

What were your top dictionary look-ups of the last three months?

What were your top dictionary lookups of the last three months?

Every so often, as part of our search monitor series, we take a look at the most looked-up words on Oxford Dictionaries Online over a certain period. Here, our list spans August to October of this year to show you which were the most popular words of the last few months. Hella ridic new lookups […]

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Grab your bezzie and get ready for deets of the ODO November 2012 update!

Grab your bezzie and get ready for deets of the ODO November 2012 update!

If you’re as twitterpated by dictionaries as we are, you’ll want to be the first to hear about some of the words going into Oxford Dictionaries Online this quarter. Whatever they may be, they certainly aren’t hacky – and you might even find them useful in some situations, for example. . . With the boyf […]

In pictures: 10 Word of the Year runners-up

In pictures: 10 Word of the Year runners-up

Oxford Dictionaries last night announced that ‘omnishambles’ (UK) and ‘GIF’ (US) are their Words of the Year for 2012. Here, appropriately, we’ve GIFed ten of the other words the judging panels were considering. Definitions Mobot: a characteristic gesture as performed by the British long-distance runner Mo Farah on winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events […]

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