Category: English in use

snowboarding

12 words you need to know for snowboarding

  Snowboarding made its first appearance at the Winter Olympics in 1998, after over 30 years of growing interest as a competitive sport. It has inherited both athletic and linguistic elements from its older cousins on land, sea, and snow—skateboarding, surfing, and skiing, respectively. Here are 12 words you need to know: big air (n.) […]

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twins

Make mine a double: speaking of twins

As a twin, I spent my childhood being called the wrong name. I still turn around if I hear someone say ‘Colin’, which can be difficult to explain to people who have no idea about my not-so-secret double. Truth be told, I never found that particular mishap as annoying as “Can you read each other’s […]

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figure skating

10 words you need to know for figure skating

Figure skating has been featured at the Olympics since 1908, with five separate disciplines—women’s singles, men’s singles, pairs, ice dancing, and, since the 2014 Games, mixed team skating. Here are 10 words you need to know: axel (n.) – a jump in skating from the forward outside blade edge of one skate to the backward outside […]

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couple man woman ballroom dancers tangoing  silhouette

The language of Strictly Come Dancing

First of all, if you didn’t get the witty wordplay of my title, don’t bother to read on. Dan’s class; dance class? Never mind, this isn’t Strictly Pun Dancing after all. I’m sorry*, I’ll stop now. If, like me, you spend your Saturday evenings with a bottle of red, agonizing over Sophie’s samba or Fiona’s […]

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I’ll teach you how to “stunt”

bling dollar

In 2003, 50 Cent and his fellow G-Unit rappers released a song called “Stunt 101”, in which they claim to “teach you how to stunt”. I’ve been listening to this song for years without a second thought, but now it occurs to me that this verb stunt is completely baffling–what on earth does it mean!? […]

catching fire

8 words you need to know to survive The Hunger Games

Whether your arena is a jungle, a desert, or a ticking time bomb, here are eight Hunger Games words you need to know in order to survive. Don’t forget, knowing these definitions could save your life, and may the odds be ever in your favour! 1) Reaping It all starts here, so look sharp! The reaping is […]

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Doctor Who through time

The language of Doctor Who, Part 2

Following on from part 1 of this series, our second lexicographer takes the reins and looks into the language of Doctor Who throughout the years. Ticket to ride: the 1960s Some of the best stories for this are when Who is going through one of its periodic phases of self-reinvention. Take The War Machines (1966): for the […]

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Well-known Doctor Who words include Tardis.

The language of Doctor Who, Part 1

If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cry of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you? With this tantalizing question, William Hartnell opened the doors of the Tardis to reveal to its new and rather sceptical crew their first destination in an adventure which has, with […]

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