New Zealand English

How good is your New Zealand English?

Do you know your hangi from your hongi? New Zealand English is the latest in our series of quizzes testing your knowledge of World Englishes: we’ve asked about British, American, Indian, Australian, South African, Northern Irish, and Canadian English, so it’s about time that we paid a visit to our Kiwi cousins. Whether you’ve visited New Zealand or […]

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The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling and The Jungle Book in the Oxford English Dictionary

“I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  Rudyard Kipling’s linguistic legacy is apparent from the more than 2500 quotations from his works that appear in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED); the term Kiplingism even has its own entry. This turns out to […]

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happy and sad face

Laughing, crying, and disgust in languages around the world

Interjections like oh!, ah!, or phew! are natural ejaculations expressive of some feeling or emotion.  They are so called because they’re interjected (from Latin inter- ‘between’ and jacere ‘to throw’) between sentences, clauses, or words, mostly without grammatical connection. Although the interjection is often imitative, it is quite different from the onomatopoeia, which is the formation of a word […]

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The Merchant of Venice

Quiz: how well do you know Shakespeare’s language?

Do you fancy yourself something of a Shakespeare scholar? Can you separate falchion, scimitar, and poniard? Our friends in Children’s Books have put together a tough little quiz about the language of Shakespeare, so we wanted to share it and test OxfordWords readers. How will you do? William Shakespeare was an English dramatist, poet, and actor who is often […]

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The hot take has been rapidly rising in usage.

The rise of the ‘hot take’

In the social-media-driven world of today, the ‘hot take’ is the bread and butter of online publications. Recently added to, the word hot take refers to ‘a piece of commentary, typically produced quickly in response to a recent event, whose primary purpose is to attract attention’. How ‘hot’ is the ‘hot take’? Quite hot. […]

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Monument to cosmonauts in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Astronauts vs cosmonauts: Russian influence on the language of space

Happy International Day of Human Space Flight! Or, if you’re a Russian speaker: С днем космонавтики! (Happy Cosmonautics Day)! The International Day of Human Space Flight recognizes the first manned space flight, which was undertaken by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April, 1961. Gagarin’s 108-minute Earth orbit (орбитальный облёт планеты Земля) won the first leg […]

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Use these medical pronunciations to avoid being embarrassed at the doctor's office

Avoid embarrassment at the doctor’s office

There’s really nothing worse than pronouncing an obvious word incorrectly – especially when you do it in front of someone who’s an authority on the word. The doctor’s office is one of many places where we find ourselves in this sort of situation. Let’s have a quick look at some words that may cause an […]

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with us!

What are our favourite poems?

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we here at Oxford Dictionaries decided to gather together everyone’s favourite poems. From Roethke to Frost, here is a quick overview of our favourite verse! You can click on the poems’ titles to read full versions. “The Puddock” by John M. Caie This is my favourite poem to recite. […]

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