Instagram

9 Instagram hashtags you should know

Thus far in the 21st century, social media has proven itself to be a hotbed of linguistic invention. This development of specialized vocabulary and slang – some of it often spreading into more mainstream usage – is certainly true of Instagram. The very name of this social media service offers some linguistic creativity, in the […]

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shamrock

Quiz: how well do you know English words from Irish?

Do you think you’ve got the luck o’ the Irish? In light of today’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations, we thought it might be a good opportunity to quiz you on Irish words in the English language. So, before you head off to the pub tonight, take our brief quiz and make your friends green with envy with […]

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Elton John David Furnish

Word in the news: boycott

In a recent interview that appeared in the Italian magazine Panorama, fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbara stirred up controversy by voicing their opposition to adoption by gay parents as well as to in vitro fertilization, advocating that ‘the only family is the traditional one’. The comments were quickly picked up by social media, […]

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stormy sea

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick-tionaries

Herman Melville’s whaling adventure Moby-Dick (1851) begins far away from the ocean. The first character we meet is an Usher to a grammar school (a junior school) who supplies an etymology of the word whale. The Usher’s etymology is the first indication to readers that there will be two parallel quests in this whale of a […]

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honour match

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TopGear

WordWatch roundup: fracas, sack, elevator, and shindig

This series investigates changes in lookups for words and their meanings across OxfordDictionaries.com. The graphs are based on website data collected over a four-week period, and the accompanying commentary explores how news and other current events have influenced these word trends and sudden peaks in interest. fracas, noun Earlier this week, following a ‘fracas’ with […]

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Video: what are the ides of March?

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macarons

How well do you know the language of cookies?

We all love cookies (or biscuits, as British speakers would say), so we thought that it would be fun to take a tour of the language of cookies. The language of sweets is an international one, including cookie names derived from German and Italian roots. In fact, the American English word cookie even comes from […]

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