Category: English in use

American football player

12 football terms you should know for Super Bowl Sunday

Although the basics of American football are clear to most Americans, some of the terms are still a bit more unfamiliar. Most people know what a pass is, and why we refer to players as running backs and receivers, but you probably don’t know why a long (nearly hopeless) pass is called a Hail Mary […]

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When in Rome… read some place name idioms

We recently looked at people’s names in common expressions, and now it’s the turn of place names. Why do certain locations become proverbial, and which place-related idioms have fallen out of favour? Sent to Coventry No disrespect intended to the people of Coventry, but, idiomatically at least, it is not a very pleasant place to […]

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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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country

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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