Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

A soul of fire: celebrating Samuel Johnson

A soul of fire: celebrating Samuel Johnson

September 18 marks the anniversary of the birthday of Samuel Johnson. Although he wrote a number of works, he is arguably best known for the 1755 publication A Dictionary of the English Language. While it was by no means the first ever dictionary published, its influence was remarkable, not least upon the dictionary which would […]

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Jane or Jones background

Jane or Jones?

Jane Austen’s novels and letters are frequently cited in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), putting her work currently as the 253rd most frequently quoted source in the OED, with a total of 1,620 quotations. Of these quotations, 44 currently provide the very first evidence of a particular word, including the adjective ‘fragmented’ (from Northanger Abbey: […]

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The Klingon language is actually spoken by a few people.

Who speaks Klingon?

US cult TV series Star Trek first aired on September 8, 1966. From the beginning it has attracted an unusually large and engaged fan-base, some of whom have been enthusiastic enough to learn Klingon, one of the fictional languages spoken by some of Star Trek’s characters. In today’s blog post, Michael Adams investigates the demographics […]

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The language of cooking: from ‘Forme of Cury’ to ‘Pukka Tucker’

The language of cooking: from 'Forme of Cury' to 'Pukka Tukka'

The earliest surviving English-language recipes came from the kitchens of kings and their great nobles. Richard II’s Master Cooks boasted that their Forme of Cury contained only the ‘best and royallest viand of all Christian Kings’, and, what’s more, had been approved by the king’s physicians and philosophers. Healthy eating issues and celebrity endorsements are […]

Hella ridic new words to make you lolz: ODO August 2012 update

Hella ridic new words to make you lolz: ODO August 2012 update

If vocabulary is your guilty pleasure, join us in a group hug to celebrate the selection of new words to Oxford Dictionaries Online. Genius! Let’s set the scene. Your OH has left his brahs and decided it’s date night, and although he isn’t exactly ripped he’s made an effort with his new soul patch (lolz!) […]

The linguistic legacy of the Master of Suspense

The linguistic legacy of the Master of Suspense

Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born on August 13 in 1899. His contribution to cinema is without question. You don’t have terms like Master of Suspense bandied around about you if you weren’t rather handy in the director’s chair.  His films have thrilled audiences for decades – we’ve marvelled at his icy blondes, cheered on his […]

Book Lover's Day: George Eliot

Writing for grown-up people: George Eliot and the Oxford English Dictionary

At one point in Middlemarch, the character Doctor Lydgate is described as having “no longer free energy enough for spontaneous research and speculative thinking”. It seems appropriate that this should be the Oxford English Dictionary’s first recorded use of free energy, because Marian Evans – born Mary Anne, and better known by her pseudonym George […]

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Virginia Woolf To The Lighthouse

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, and the Oxford English Dictionary

In celebration of Book Lover’s Day, we asked four of our dictionary editors to tell us about their favourite writers. Each of the writers featured is in the top 1000 cited sources in the Oxford English Dictionary. If you subscribe to the OED Online (many UK libraries offer free access if you provide your library […]

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