Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

computer words

Old words for new: computer, discs, and magazines

We’ve all been talking about ????, but last year’s Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year, vape, is a prime example of our capacity to save ourselves the trouble of inventing new words. Of course we can do it when we have to (think television, aspirin, kryptonite), but we’re also very good at recycling existing words […]

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james murray oed first page

5 facts you probably didn’t know about James Murray

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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emoji language

Beyond words: how language-like is emoji?

The decision by Oxford Dictionaries to select an emoji as the 2015 Word of the Year has led to incredulity in some quarters. Hannah Jane Parkinson, writing in The Guardian, and doubtless speaking for many, brands the decision ‘ridiculous’ — after all, an emoji is, self-evidently, not a word; so the wagging fingers seem to […]

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murray children

Did you know that James Murray… had eleven children, all of whom helped in the compilation of the OED?

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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bonfire

Preparing for Bonfire Night: which word would you burn?

This survey is now closed. Thank you for your contributions! What’s your least favourite word? As Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night) approaches, we’d like to know which word you’d turn into an effigy. Bonfire Night is celebrated on 5 November in the UK; bonfires and fireworks are lit in memory of the […]

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A group of people giving thumbs up.

22 ways to say yes

The word yes is great and all … but there’s plenty of other ways you can offer someone a verbal go-ahead. So if you feel like dipping your toes into the wild waters of alternative affirmations, then take a gander at the list below. If you’re feeling brave, deploy an aye aye in a business […]

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OED update notes

Words from all over the lot: notes on the OED update

It’s OED update time again, and as usual, we’ve got words from all over the lot for you, from a new-old sense of waterbuck (meaning an aquatic insect, possibly a pond-skater), recorded in a single thousand-year-old quotation, to a sense of waterball (‘a transparent inflatable sphere which can be propelled across water by a person […]

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Shorter OED

Did you know that James Murray… may not have been all that keen on the word ‘dictionary’?

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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