Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

thesaurus

5 things you can do with the Historical Thesaurus of the OED

The Historical Thesaurus of the OED is a unique resource charting the semantic development of the huge and varied vocabulary of English. It is the first comprehensive historical thesaurus ever produced for any language, and contains almost every word in English from Old English to the present day. With 800,000 words and meanings, in 235,000 entry categories, the […]

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Do gay people speak their own language? A linguistic look at Polari

Nellyarda, zhoosh the riah, titivate, schlumph your Vera down, and palare that omee for the bevvies because I’ve nanti dinarli. (Translation: Listen, style your hair, make yourself look pretty, drink up your gin, and talk to that man to get a drink because I’m skint). The words you’ve just read are Polari words. Polari encompasses […]

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Tweens, teens, and twentysomethings: a history of words for young people

In August 2010, the cover of the New York Times Magazine half-wondered, half-complained to the world, “Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” The article was a splashy survey of research being conducted by psychology professor Jeffrey Arnett into what he called “emerging adulthood”—better known as “your twenties.” […]

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Jingle Bells in the Historical Thesaurus of the OED

To celebrate the festive season, we’ve taken the lyrics to the much-loved song ‘Jingle Bells’ and fed certain words through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, giving a version that has an identical meaning, but very different appearance and sound. The words that have been altered are (as you will no doubt realize) in […]

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monkeys

9 monkey phrases and their meanings

Monkeys have it tough in the English language. Generally speaking, being called a monkey (or invoking one) does not bode well. While silliness is certainly the most common connotation, association with a monkey can also mean foolishness, aggravation, environmental terrorism, and cold. Here are nine examples of monkey language: cold enough to freeze the balls […]

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G’day, bitcoin, and un-PC: notes on the OED update

Links to OED.com entries in this post have been made available for a limited period. The online Oxford English Dictionary, at OED.com, is a subscription site; you can read the OED help pages for information about subscribing or how to access the site via an institution or your local library. G’day. It seems like the […]

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Duck face, lolcat, and permadeath: new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com

Try not to be jel, but some xlnt new words have gone into OxfordDictionaries.com in December’s mahoosive update. Whether you’re a shiny bum reading this while eating al desko or taking a break while you respawn, don’t be a keyboard warrior or say IDC – just sit back and enjoy the new words. Simples. Slang […]

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love words

What do we love about new words?

The lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries keep watch on our collective neology and select a word—or words–of the year: a word that is both forward-looking and reflects the culture of the current year. From 2004 we’ve had chav, podcast, carbon-neutral, locavore, hypermiling, unfriend, refudiate, squeezed middle, the verb GIF, and selfie. And in the UK, which […]

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