Category: English in use

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The language of memes – and how to create your own

English is a truly global language with hundreds of regional variations worldwide, including over 50 dialects of British English alone. It is also the primary language of the internet, and the virtual world has spawned its own varieties of English too. These online dialects, often spread by memes, have been around long enough now for […]

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Dolly Parton: a musical career expressed through language statistics

Here at Oxford Dictionaries we often refer to the Oxford English Corpus in our work. By consulting statistical analysis of a vast database of billions of words of English captured from the wild, our lexicographer colleagues can spot new words and usage patterns that they might not otherwise have encountered. It is a fascinating resource […]

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Word in the news: frit

Recently on the OxfordDictionaries.com homepage you may have noticed that you can now see that day’s top ten most popular words on the site, in various regions around the world. Although it is not always possible to tell why a word is on there, sometimes the reasons behind their appearance can seem obvious. Just after […]

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Diddle for the middle: the language of darts

Darts in its current form was developed at the end of the 19th century and by the start of the 20th century it was a popular pub game, its success boosted by a 1908 court ruling that held that darts was a game of skill rather than chance and could therefore be played without breaking […]

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Video: what is the longest word in English?

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12 language facts for the 12 days of Christmas

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An apple idiom a day

An apple idiom a day…

While Isaac Newton could have watched anything fall to the ground for his Eureka moment – a cherry from a cherry tree, a peach from a peach tree, a partridge from a pear tree – the apple is undoubtedly the fruit with which he is most closely associated. Apparently, seeing an apple fall from a […]

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Bridges in the OED

Though many could describe New York City by its huge population (8 million), the stereotypical behaviors of its inhabitants (for whom efficient navigation of pedestrian traffic is an art), or even its pizza (thin crust, fold your slice in half), it is perhaps best known for its famous, globally-recognizable landmarks. But the Statue of Liberty […]

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