Articles, quizzes, and grammar tips for word-lovers everywhere

Video: A short history of the COED

video

This video offers a quick history of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

Take our Concise Centenary quiz

quiz

To celebrate one hundred years of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, try your luck at our quiz! For a hundred years the Concise has been a record of all aspects of the English language; from the vulgar to the colloquial and from the formal to the technical.  Where do certain words come from? What do […]

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What were your top lookups in the past year?

What were your top lookups?

As part of our occasional search monitor series, here’s a clickable word cloud displaying about 350 of your most-viewed words in Oxford Dictionaries Online. Instead of looking at the last month, we thought it would be fun to look at the most looked-up words since Oxford Dictionaries Online’s inception. Over the last year a lot […]

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Abattoir to zigzag: English words of French origin

Arc de Triomphe

To commemorate the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 we are looking at English words of French origin. Hover over the image below to discover a selection of English words derived from French, from abattoir to zigzag. Click on the words to go straight to the dictionary entries.   AndrewHorne at en.wikipedia [GFDL […]

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Independence Day in the USA

Apple pie

Independence Day is celebrated in the USA on the fourth of July and for those of you who know bupkis about it, the tag cloud below illustrates just a few American icons included in our dictionary to give you bang for your buck. All are as American as apple pie, so whether you choose to […]

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Food, glorious food: take our quiz

Pretzel

Travel broadens the mind, they say, but it can also enrich the language as a whole. Food names have entered English from many routes: as imported goods were brought to our shores in past centuries, we encountered terms such as garam masala and macaroni. Later additions to the language reflect the growth of mass travel […]

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What were your top lookups in May?

Top lookups May

As part of our occasional search monitor series, here’s a clickable word cloud displaying about 350 of your most-viewed words in Oxford Dictionaries Online during May 2011. Literally literally gets the prize for the most popular word, perhaps down to its more informal and sometimes humorous usage. Plagiarism also features, although we hope not only […]

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Mapping the origins of English

Mapping the origins of English

Today’s English owes much to many of the world’s languages, from French and German to Chinese and Hindi. Our interactive map below is the first of an occasional series which will offer you a glimpse of the range of linguistic influences that English has absorbed.

Click on the map to see how English has been shaped by French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Flemish. Your armchair travels should give you some interesting discoveries: could you guess the origins of fluff, anchovy, vamoose, and baize?

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