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

Turkey dinner

From 1621 to 1863: giving thanks for new words of old

America’s “First Thanksgiving” is often attributed to the early 17th century (1621, in fact) when a small band of Pilgrims gathered with a small band of American Indians to partake together of a bountiful harvest at Plymouth Plantation. This celebration lasted a whopping three days—and it wasn’t called “Thanksgiving”. Only in 1863 was the annual […]

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Doctor Who, in an Exciting Adventure with the Lexicographers (part 2)

Doctor Who

Following on from part 1 of Doctor Who, in an Exciting Adventure with the Lexicographers, Second Lexicographer takes the reins and looks into the language of Doctor Who throughout the years.   SECOND LEXICOGRAPHER: Hm. Feels different this time… Nope, still not ginger. Something missing though… Ahah! No Adam’s apple! So, while I’m waiting for […]

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Doctor Who, in an Exciting Adventure with the Lexicographers (part 1)

Doctor Who

If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cry of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you? FIRST LEXICOGRAPHER: With this tantalizing question, William Hartnell opened the doors of the Tardis to reveal to its new and rather sceptical crew their first destination in an adventure which […]

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planets

‘Selfie’: the interplanetary Word of the Year 2013

When we announced the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 as ‘selfie’ earlier this week, we knew the word had international relevance (one of the reasons why we thought it merited the title of Word of the Year), but we didn’t know it had interplanetary reach until we saw this tweet from @MarsCuriosity showing […]

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Word of the Year 2013: blips on our radar

Detail of selected items from the previous graph

As OUP’s lexicographers go about our quiet work, occasionally a novel word, spied in a newspaper, a post, or a tweet, catches our fancy. “Possible WOTY?!!!” we might email to a colleague, anticipating the year’s end. When we go back through those old emails months later, it is sometimes difficult to remember what inspired such […]

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sharknado

Language review 2013: from bitcoin to sharknado

Everyone loves a new word. When Oxford announces its Word of the Year, I sometimes detect behind the buzz of expectation a pang of disappointment that the chosen ‘winner’ isn’t a brand new invention. The romantic allure of a mint-new coinage, the inspiration of a single moment in time, is hard to resist. The truth […]

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selfie

Video: the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 is …‘selfie’

Richard Holden, Online Editor for Oxford Dictionaries, discusses the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013: selfie. Watch the video below to discover why this word was chosen, what the earliest known usage of ‘selfie’ is, and which related terms have already been created. Want to find out more? Explore the rise of ‘selfie’ […]

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bitcoin

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013: runners-up

Earlier today, we announced that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 is ‘selfie’. You can learn more about the rise of ‘selfie’ with our infographic. But what about the runners-up? Below we take a closer look at the words on the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 shortlist, from ‘bedroom tax’ […]

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