Category: Word trends and new words

The usage of the so-called “quotative like” has been around for more than thirty years.

‘Like’, valley girls, and philosophy

It’s the most recognizable feature of the dialect called “Valley Girl”: the use of the word “like” to report a sentiment or an utterance. She said, “It’s the least I can do.” And I was like, “Yes, it’s literally the least you can do.” I was like, “Thanks, Dad. That is not helpful.” She’s like, […]

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Unspun is a synonym for genuine or authentic.

Unspun, white knighting, and other words on our radar

2016 has so far been an exciting year for new words and phrases. Among the most recent additions to are such colourful terms as phubbing (‘the practice of ignoring one’s companion or companions in order to pay attention to one’s phone or other mobile device’), dumpster fire (‘a chaotic or disastrously mishandled situation’), and […]

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The word Latinx is being considered for a future Oxford Dictionaries update.

Latinx and Mx: the X factor

X. It marks the spot. It means ten, or a kiss. It stands for an unknown or variable quantity, or a mysterious person. It crosses out something we don’t want, or, as on a ballot, it indicates something that we do. X is used to denote a generation, an adult rating, a special talent, a […]

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Brexit is the term commonly used for the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Which words are people looking up post-Brexit?

The trending look-ups on are often a good way to have a quick snapshot of the national and international topics of the day. These can be quite niche (we often see words turn up in UK trends that have featured on TV the night before; monkey parade and nosegay have both trended after being […]

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book tl;dr

Bovvered, tl;dr, and sleeping with the fishes: an OED update

Hello, and holy moly! this quarter our researchers and editors bring you more than 1,000 new words and senses and nearly 2,000 fully revised or partially expanded entries in an update which ranges from the chocolate Afghan biscuit (a New Zealand speciality, topped with cocoa icing and half a walnut) and a triumphant air punch […]

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swear words abbreviations

Do we still swear? Analysing the f-word and its abbreviations

Swear words occupy a unique role in language: the same word can often be used to express anger, to offend, to emphasize, and even for comedic effect. Although all words have a register dictating how appropriate they are for a given situation

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Phubbing refers to the practice of ignoring one's companion or companions in order to pay attention to one's phone or other mobile device.

How ‘phub’ made me eat my words

In the 2004 film Mean Girls, high school queen bee Regina George famously chastises one of her minions for using a slang term she has invented (fetch, meaning ‘cool’): Gretchen: That is so fetch! Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It’s not going to happen! One of the reasons this scene resonates is […]

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dumpster fire

Out of the hot mess and into the dumpster fire?

If there’s one thing that can be said for the times we live in, it’s that it has been an unusually fruitful era when it comes to words to refer to a catastrophe. The first decade of the twenty-first century brought phrases like epic fail and hot mess to prominence, and now here in the […]

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