Category: English in use

Bob Marley lyrics discuss many aspects of Jamaician political life and the Rastafari beliefs.

Understand Bob Marley lyrics with these 14 words

Despite being one of the most popular musical artists of the 20th century, the actual lyrical content of Bob Marley’s output may be surprisingly obscure to many of his listeners. The average music listener is probably familiar with classic Marley tracks like “Jamming”, “One Love”, and “No Woman, No Cry”, although they may not be […]

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Child reading a book in a garden

Enid Blyton in the OED

Enid Blyton (1897 – 1968) was an English writer of children’s books published from 1922 until her death in 1968. Among her literary creations are Noddy, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, The Faraway Tree, school stories set at St Clare’s and Mallory Towers, and the adventure series featuring the Famous Five and the Secret […]

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Video: what is Shrove Tuesday?

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Donald Trump speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, NH, on April 18, 2015

Political profanity and crude creativity on the US Election campaign trail

As the snow starts to melt over here on the East Coast of the US following ‘Snowzilla’, thoughts are turning (and in the case of journalists, turned long ago) to the start of the primary season, when votes are cast to choose each party’s presidential nominee. It’s a complicated and sometimes very long process, beginning […]

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Virginia Woolf quotations

5 beautiful Virginia Woolf quotations

25 January 1882 was the day on which Virginia Woolf was born. To celebrate the birthday of the renowned novelist, essayist, and feminist icon, we’ve taken a look in Oxford Essential Quotations to pick out some of her most memorable moments. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” […]

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pies and cakes in English idioms

Pies and cakes in English idioms

It is assumed that the word pie came into English via Old French, from Latin pica ‘magpie’, which in turn is related to picus ‘green woodpecker’. Here, the allusion is perhaps to the various combinations of ingredients of a pie being comparable to the objects randomly collected by a magpie. Its sweet equivalent, the cake, on the other […]

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National Hugging Day

14 ways to hug

Did you know that 21 January was National Hugging Day in the United States? It was created in 1986 and has spread to many other countries in the world – so we encourage you, if others don’t mind, to hug at least one person today. But what if you get tired of the word hug […]

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new chemical elements names

How do new elements get named?

It is highly unusual for words to become the subject of avid discussion—and even of consideration by lexicographers—before they have even been coined! This is the curious situation at present in the world of science, where the announcement of four new chemical elements has created something of a stir. They can now take a permanent […]

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