Category: English in use

The language of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Don’t Panic: the language of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally written as a radio script, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978 in 6 episodes described as fits – a term used for a section of a poem that goes back to Old English. The Hitchhiker’s Guide appeared in book form in 1979; since then it has […]

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How many words are there in the English language?

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13 synonyms for 'unlucky'

13 ways to say ‘unlucky’

Friday 13th has long been considered an unlucky day in the West, at least by some people; this dates back to the Middle Ages. Though it’s often treated whimsically, a word for a phobia of the day has been suggested: paraskevidekatriaphobia, by analogy with the existing word for a phobia of the number 13, triskaidekaphobia. […]

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political catchphrases and nicknames

What’s in a nickname? Lyin’ Ted, L’il Marco, and the art of the political catchphrase

The US Presidential race is taking yet another twist in its long road to the White House this week, as voters in Indiana head to the polls for their primary contest. The race to become a party’s nominee is usually all but settled by this time of year, but in 2016, at least on the […]

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Is a zebra a horse?

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male and female animals

What are the names for male and female animals?

We previously looked at the names for specific baby animals, so now it’s time to turn our attention to words for male and female animals. Explore the list below to discover the names for a female hedgehog, a male swan, and many others. animal female male ant queen / worker drone antelope doe buck bear […]

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The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling and The Jungle Book in the Oxford English Dictionary

“I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  Rudyard Kipling’s linguistic legacy is apparent from the more than 2500 quotations from his works that appear in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED); the term Kiplingism even has its own entry. This turns out to […]

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The hot take has been rapidly rising in usage.

The rise of the ‘hot take’

In the social-media-driven world of today, the ‘hot take’ is the bread and butter of online publications. Recently added to OxfordDictionaries.com, the word hot take refers to ‘a piece of commentary, typically produced quickly in response to a recent event, whose primary purpose is to attract attention’. How ‘hot’ is the ‘hot take’? Quite hot. […]

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