Category: English in use

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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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English is filled with apple idioms

A list of apple idioms

Let’s have a look at the role of apple idioms in the English language… Good and bad apples Apples in expressions often seem to be used as an equivalent for the word thing or person. Somebody can be described as a good apple, bad apple, or rotten apple, and New York City even becomes the Big […]

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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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Winter scene

Walking in a winter wonderland . . . of words

Where I live in New York State, about two hours north of the Pennsylvania border, the transition from one season to the next is rarely (if ever) coincidental with the astronomical designation applied to it. Of the four annual calendar dates of seasonal shift, none is more laughable to us in the Leatherstocking Region than […]

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