Category: Word trends and new words

Shifted meanings: marriage

Just married

Last week New York became the sixth state in the US (and the largest so far) to pass legislation that would allow same-sex marriage. The law was promptly signed by the Governor, and should be in effect within the month. It is fairly common knowledge that the word gay has changed its meaning over the […]

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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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The oxygen of publicity

Smart phone

This Monday past, US Congressman Anthony Weiner held a press conference at which he announced that he had engaged in activities that are unlikely to assist him in furthering any political ambitions he may have.  Specifically, he admitted to sending risqué photographs of himself to a number of women, some via Twitter and some via […]

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Schmick new words added to Oxford Dictionaries Online

Free running

We’ve managed to spare a few femtoseconds in our busy schedule to add some schmick new words to Oxford Dictionaries Online. Whether you enjoy crafting, free running, or just surfing the Internet on your lappy, you’re sure to find something to interest you amongst the new additions. The world of computers and social networking continues […]

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GTL, DTS, and T-shirt time: a look at Jersey Shore’s lingo

Weights

As a New Jersey native and self-confessed reality TV junkie, I enjoy watching the television show Jersey Shore, and recognizing some of the local vocabulary  – terms like benny (a non-local who comes down to the Shore, usually used in a pejorative sense) and youse (an informal plural of ‘you’). The show also introduced me to […]

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Has the culture of the ‘celeb’ begun to decline?

Paparazzi

The Oxford English Corpus, our unique two-billion word database of real twenty-first century English, shows that the use of celebrity has risen steadily since the year 2000 – but the use of the informal abbreviation celeb has dropped since 2006. Perhaps this suggests that the public may be starting to tire of these trashy, wannabe, […]

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Word trends: stuff

Pie

The e-commerce site Amazon has a section titled ‘Where’s My Stuff?’ to help customers find out about undelivered orders. The use of such a vague, casual term in a corporate context is an example of the growing acceptance of informality in Internet language, but stuff was not always such a vague or informal term. It dates […]

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Inverted meanings: sick, bad, and wicked

Skater

A common trick of slang is to invert meanings, so that seemingly negative words are used as terms of approval. Bad and wicked are two established examples, although it may surprise you to see just how far back their positive uses go. The OED records ‘bad’ and ‘wicked’ used in a positive sense as long […]

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