Category: Varieties of English

world english

10 ways speakers of World English are changing the language

When people think of world varieties of English and their contribution to the language, they tend to think in terms of unusual loanwords that conjure visions of exotic, faraway lands. Indeed, in countries such as India, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, where English is primarily used as a second or even third language alongside local […]

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wisdom tree

Finding wisdom in Old English

Anglo-Saxon literature is full of advice on how to live a good life. Many Anglo-Saxon poems and proverbs describe the characteristics a wise person should strive to possess, offering counsel on how to treat others and how to obtain and use wisdom in life. Here are some words in Old English (the name we give […]

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What does ‘bun’ mean to you?

A recent poll on showed that 37% of our users would call a bread roll a bun, which makes it second only to roll as the most common way to say this. This is not, to me, what a bun would be, and so naively—with no concept of the can of worms I was […]

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34 interjections you should be using

Perhaps the wildest of all the parts of speech, the interjection accounts for a fun swath of the English language, including curse words, expressions of joy, greetings, and even pseudo-magical incantations. Some of them you’ve probably heard before, but others will probably be new. Before you know it – bada bing! – we might be hearing these terms everywhere.

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pig large

Dingoes, lizards, prawns, and galahs: taking Australian idioms literally

The latest Oxford Dictionaries update doesn’t just include individual words: as always, phrases are also included. This update sees many Australian English idioms added to, and we’ve selected some that we’d like to hear more of across the English-speaking world. Some are used in other countries too; some might be unfamiliar even to many […]

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fish and chips

Grundies, greasies, and eggshell blond: Australian additions to

Gidday! Don’t experience cultural cringe or get the irrits, because we’ve got some great Australian English words to share with you. Our recent Oxford Dictionaries update also sees many more terms and phrases from Australian English added. Some are used by every Fred Nerk, while some are a bit less common, but the good guts […]

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Australia WWI

Rediscovering words from the Great War

In my recent book, Furphies and Whizz-bangs: Anzac Slang from the Great War, I had the opportunity to revisit some of the classic collections of war slang, including the Australian publication Digger Dialects, written in 1919 by W.H. Downing, and the British Songs and Slang of the British Soldier: 1914–1918, compiled by John Brophy and […]

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Salties, shafters, and roos: Australian animal words

Australia is well known for its unique, and often dangerous, contributions to the animal kingdom. In our latest online update, we’ve been working to bring some more Australian and New Zealand vocabulary into our dictionary, and inevitably this includes words and phrases that involve or describe some of the critters found in the bush. Pet […]

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