Category: Word origins

Four men playing poker.

A Five-star, Four-flusher of a Word for BSers

I’ve been drowning in bullshit, but in a good way. In my new book Bullshit: A Lexicon, I discuss common (malarkey, mumbo jumbo) and rare terms (flubdub, meadow mayonnaise) for BS and BSers. When people hear I’ve been spending my time on such a mature, humanitarian endeavor, they often ask what’s my favorite BS word. […]

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An illustration of Cerberus by William Blake.

31 fearsome monsters from around the world

Sometimes it seems like the only monsters we talk about nowadays are vampires, zombies, and werewolves. We here at OxfordDictionaries.com thought that was a shame, so we did some digging and pulled together this grand list of monsters to terrify and amuse you (and maybe even provide some of you with last-minute costume ideas!). 1. […]

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three dogs

8 great band name origins

One thing that rock bands are known for are their creative names. There’s the legendary name of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, named for Florida high school gym teacher Leonard Skinner who taught several of the band’s members, and who was remembered for enforcing the high school’s rule about no long hair on men. There’s […]

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The origins of four NBA teams: the Knicks, the Mavericks, the Jazz, and the Raptors.

4 weird origins of NBA team names

Some of the team names in the National Basketball League (NBA) are fairly straightforward about their origins. It doesn’t take a team historian, for instance, to explain why the team in Phoenix – a city known for its hot desert climate – is called the Suns, or why the team in Orlando – famously the […]

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Lewis Magnum Opus

The Murderer’s Magnum Opus: ITV’s Lewis trends on Oxford Dictionaries

Oxford is a very dangerous place to live at the moment. A body has been found in the woods, bludgeoned to death, and decorated with maggots and a dead raven as part of what seems to be a bizarre alchemical ceremony. When another body is found in the river, tied to a wooden stake with […]

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Video: what is the origin of the word ‘soccer’?

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What is the origin of 'cold war'? George Orwell is part of the answer.

George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945 George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay ‘You and the Atom Bomb’,  speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. In this article, Orwell considered the social and political implications of ‘a […]

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vegetarian

6 unexpected origins of vegetarian recipes

1 October is World Vegetarian Day, and to celebrate we’re looking at the language behind 6 famous vegetarian dishes – with some help from recipes at Food.com. Just click on the recipe names to head over to Food.com. 1. Bubble and squeak This British meal is cooked cabbage fried with cooked potatoes, and is often made […]

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