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

Category: English in use

prison

Fresh fish in stir: The Shawshank Redemption and prison slang

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, the prison drama following the lives of prisoners Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman). Overshadowed by Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction in the year of its release, the film has demonstrated an incredible staying power over the past […]

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christ church

Battels and subfusc: the language of Oxford

Now that Noughth Week has come to an end and the university Full Term is upon us, I thought it might be an appropriate time to investigate the arcane world of Oxford jargon – the University of Oxford, that is. New students, or freshers, do not arrive in Oxford but come up; at the end […]

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Ghost town

How to talk about zombies: walkers, lurkers, geeks, and more

12 October 2014 marked the return in the US of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the zombie drama that follows several groups of survivors as they navigate a post-apocalyptic Georgia. Now in its fifth season, the show (and its comic book source) has made a mark in the world of zombie fiction thanks to a gritty, […]

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tennis

Video: anyone for tennis? Oxford Dictionaries staff tackle tennis terms

In the last OxfordDictionaries.com update, we added new words like binge-watch, side-eye, and amazeballs. At the Connecticut Open, Nick McCarvel asked various tennis stars including Caroline Wozniacki and Genie Bouchard if they knew what these words meant, and we think they did a pretty great job with the answers (which you can see in the […]

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beer bottles

Suds or brewskis? American beer slang

What goes best with the crunchy leaves and azure skies of early fall? Beer, of course! Though this year’s Oktoberfest unfortunately came to an end yesterday in Munich, we’re not ready to stop talking about beer. After checking out our map of European beers, you might be interested to know what beer culture is like on the […]

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What do you call a baby rabbit, and other baby animals?

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surveillance

Orwell’s Newspeak: a doubleplusgood language

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four astounded the literary world when it first was published in 1949, and its significance and cultural impact have only grown stronger in the years since. Orwell’s warnings against totalitarian authority and omnipresent surveillance are as relevant as ever. Beyond the familiar message that “Big Brother is always watching you,” what many […]

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Coffee

Americano to zarf: a list of coffee words

To celebrate International Coffee Day, we thought we’d set aside our mugs and cups to take a look at some words every coffee-lover needs to know… Americano or café Americano: a drink of espresso coffee diluted with hot water. Arabica: mild-flavoured, high-quality coffee obtained from beans of the Coffea arabicai tree (the most widely grown […]

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