book hero quiz

Book quiz: name the fictional hero

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes in novels – we’re using the term loosely to cover those you love, those you hate, and those you love to hate. Diving into various different fictional worlds, we’re challenging you: do you know the names of fictional main men from novels across the decades? Take our quiz and […]

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Bowdlerize (or bowdlerise) means ‘remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that the text becomes weaker or less effective’.

What did Bowdler bowdlerize?

Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825) was a doctor, chess player, and devotee of prison reform – but his legacy lies in his editing of Shakespeare. Bowdlerize (or bowdlerise) means ‘remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that the text becomes weaker or less effective’. Effectively, it refers […]

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The Republican and Democratic National Conventions come with some rather unique vocabulary.

Conventional wisdom – America gears up for two very political parties

As the mercury climbs ever higher across the US, the political temperature will be getting especially hot in two of its cities this summer. Cleveland, in Ohio, and Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, are about to host, respectively, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions – when each party will officially nominate their chosen candidate to run for […]

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Pwn, RPG, and griefer: the language of gaming

The language of gaming

During the days where the arcades were thriving businesses, there were some very obvious patterns to how gaming words appeared. Most words would either define a piece of hardware, or describe the genre of the game. Once gaming branched into the online world, a whole new way of playing video games emerged. With this came […]

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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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portmanteaus

11 words you perhaps didn’t know were portmanteaus

For the uninitiated, portmanteaus (or ‘portmanteaux’) are words which combine the sounds and meanings of two words. For example, motel (a combination of motor and hotel) or brunch (a combination of breakfast and lunch). Whilst browsing a list of different portmanteaus and blends, I noticed a number of words that I use fairly regularly, and […]

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OED acnestis

Illustrating the OED Word of the Day, from black sanctus to acnestis

Have you ever wondered what those OED Words of the Day look like? If you have, then you are in luck! Every week, we feature an illustration of one of the OED Words of the Day, as created by our own Imogen Foxell, an illustrator and Senior Editor in Oxford Dictionaries. In these visuals, Imogen illuminates […]

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The word burkini has entered widespread use this year.

Taking a dip into the language of swimming

The British summer may be shaping up to be something of a damp squib so far, but that hasn’t stopped a new swimwear term making it into the dictionary in 2016. Thanks to its push by leading British retailers Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser, the word burkini has entered widespread use this year, […]

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