Category: Dictionaries and lexicography

Quadrocopter drone flying in the sky

Conscious uncoupling, smugshrug, and parcelcopter: blips on our radar in 2014

Yesterday the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was revealed to be vape, and we also explored the shortlist. Over the course of 2014, Oxford’s lexicographers identified dozens of newly coined or newly prominent words as potential Words of the Year. Last year’s decision of selfie was nearly unanimous, but such a clear choice is […]

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Video: why ‘vape’ was chosen for the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014

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The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014: runners-up

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selfie

Selfie – one year on

There can be few people who don’t know that a selfie is a photograph that you take of yourself, typically with your smartphone. The Editors at Oxford Dictionaries started tracking the word back in April 2012, at which time it was noted that there were 36 examples on the newspaper database Nexis ‘mainly in reference to […]

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ballons

90th birthday of Latin Dictionary editor

Last week we celebrated the 90th birthday of Peter Glare, the consultant editor of the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (DMLBS), with a party hosted by Oxford University Press attended by family and friends. Peter became editor of the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) in 1954, and brought his immense linguistic acuteness to bear on the task that […]

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robot

A closer look at hi-fi, sci-fi, DIY

Hi-fi, sci-fi, DIY. Three expressions which, for me, typify the late lamented twentieth century. Do-it-yourself The concept of do-it-yourself is the earliest of the three. Not surprisingly, the phrase is first recorded, as an adjective, in the United States in 1910: ‘the “do-it-yourself” method’, redolent of the struggle for self-improvement and self-reliance of that era. A series of ‘Do […]

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alphabet

How many pangrams are there in the OED?

A pangram is a sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet at least once. The canonical example in English is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, which is clearly contrived to be pangrammatic. But pangrams can also occur accidentally. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) contains 66 pangrammatic quotations. Two […]

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Happy faces

Smiles for World Smile Day

You may be familiar with that old joke: what is the longest word in the English language? Smiles – there is a mile between s and s! Well, those of us in the know would cite the supposed lung disease pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis as the longest word in English, and that certainly isn’t something to smile about. […]

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