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

Category: Word trends and new words

Shifted meanings: nice and egregious

Nice and egregious wordle

Many of the words that have been in the English language for more than a few hundred years have shifted their meaning somewhat. The first meaning of the word secretary was exactly what it looks like it should be – someone who keeps secrets. And similarly, principal meant ‘of or belonging to a prince’ well before it […]

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Word trends – FAIL

Dart arrows missing target

Since its inception, the internet has been a rich source of new words (such as blogroll, chatterbot, cyberslacker, phishing, and tweetup) and meanings (such as browse, mouse, spider, cookie, and thread). Fail is a perfect example of an Internet-created word craze. It’s used in our everyday speech as a verb, and it has been used […]

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Your friendly neighbourhood Corpus

Corpus

Shades of rhetoric: a hot-button word Much of the content and information found in Oxford dictionaries is provided by the Oxford English Corpus, a database of current English usage that has over two and a half billion words and is fully searchable, allowing shifts in meaning to be observed far more rapidly than they were […]

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Which word is older?

Words

There are a number of people who decry some of the recent additions to the English language, contending that the new vocabulary is nothing more than a bunch of nonsense words that some computer-addicted kids made up (what is a w00t, anyway?).   Yet when we view some of these words out of context, it can […]

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The OUP UK Word of the Year is … ‘big society’

Word of the Year 2010

Let’s hear a woot (or not?) for the Big Society! Each year, as the announcement of Oxford’s Word of the Year approaches, I’m reminded of some words from the playwright Dennis Potter: ‘the trouble with words is that you never know whose mouth they’ve been in’. I sometimes wonder whether that’s why I like new […]

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Nom nom! 2010 was a deliciously rich year for our language

US FreeODO webad AW

Popular culture . . . In 2010, much of our uneasy fascination turned from zombie banks to plain old zombies. Well, maybe not “plain old.” It’s been a phenomenal year for zombies, who have commanded huge markets in the entertainment industry and a seemingly insatiable fan base. As zombies roamed the planet, another breed of […]

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Refudiate: An understandable mistake?

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NEW OXFORD AMERICAN DICTIONARY’S 2010 WORD OF THE YEAR IS…

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