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Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…

That’s right – for the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: 😂, officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, though you may know it by other names. There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but 😂 was chosen as the ‘word’ that […]

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lumbersexual shortlist

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015: the shortlist

In addition to the Word of the Year itself, Oxford Dictionaries staff have put together a shortlist of notable words that have gained linguistic currency during 2015. These range across a variety of subjects, from global politics and current affairs, to technology and popular culture. Here is a closer look at those words, in alphabetical […]

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Robert Louis Stevenson

7 language facts you didn’t know about Robert Louis Stevenson

Edinburgh-born writer Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 18 December 1894) is famous all over the world for his wondrous and inventive use of language. But what are some of the specific ways in which he related to words, in his works and working life? The Teller of Tales Stevenson lived the last few […]

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toilet

9 words to use instead of ‘toilet’

Lavatory, privy, loo – we’re not exactly lacking synonyms for toilet in everyday language. Still, we thought it might be fun to dig out a few of the more obscure and curious ones that have been used throughout the ages. House of Lords House of Lords has been around as a cheeky slang term for […]

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murray children

Did you know that James Murray… had eleven children, all of whom helped in the compilation of the OED?

2015 marks the centenary of the death of James Murray, the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Murray’s work as a lexicographer is well known, but there was a great deal more to him than lexicography. We are therefore marking the anniversary with an occasional series of articles highlighting other aspects of his life […]

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‘Compliment’ or ‘complement’: what’s the difference?

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play to the gallery

11 popular expressions explained

Why do we bury the hatchet? The phrase, meaning to end an argument or conflict, refers back to a Native American custom in the seventeenth century whereby a hatchet or tomahawk would be buried in the ground to signal the laying down of arms and the declaration of peace between warring groups. Why do we […]

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charlie brown peanuts

Our favourite words from Peanuts

Today sees the launch of the new Peanuts Movie, based on the popular comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Whether you like the strip or not, its popularity, and its ability to cross generational and language gaps cannot be questioned. At its peak, Peanuts was published in over 2,600 newspapers, in 21 languages, and boasted […]

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