angry-cat2

5 language arguments you can stop having

Arguing about language is a passion for some people. However, Oxford Dictionaries is here to intervene and offer some insight into which arguments you don’t need to have anymore! 1. Literally Argument: Isn’t the use of literally when something isn’t actually real or happening incorrect? For some people, there is nothing worse than the figurative literally. […]

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dance scene

37 dances from the OED

Because the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) captures the breadth and variety of the English language, something that one can trace through its entries are cultural fads and crazes. With that in mind, we have picked out a sampling of some of the dances mentioned in the OED, some new, some old, some still popular today, […]

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jane austen characters

Which Jane Austen leading man are you?

One of the most renowned novelists of all time, Jane Austen is known not only for her heroines, but also for the leading men who stand opposite them. From Pride and Prejudice’s Fitzwilliam Darcy to Persuasion’s Captain Wentworth, Austen’s novels are filled with great, complicated men, who sometimes struggle to articulate their emotions, and occasionally […]

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dog

The dog: man’s best friend?

The history of man’s relationship with the domesticated carnivorous mammal Canis familiaris is a long and complex one, and is reflected in the language used across the centuries to describe the dog and its world. The word dog first occurs in Old English, but is less well-attested than the synonymous (and probably more formal and […]

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shoes

Something’s afoot: investigating the names for shoes

Whether you’re a shoe aficionado or somebody who regards footwear as merely something to help avoid standing on nails, you might be interested in the etymological backgrounds to the names of some common varieties of shoe. We’ve taken five of them, and traced their – perhaps surprising – linguistic histories… Clog You probably know that […]

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“A man will turn over half a library to make one book.”  (Samuel Johnson)

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johannesburg SA

WordWatch roundup: xenophobia, hustings, sabbatical, and ludic

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. xenophobia, noun Following a recent outbreak of violence against foreigners […]

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tree

Branching out: tree idioms and phrases

Many countries around the world have days on which citizens, companies, and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. These are usually observed in spring – which, of course, is at different times of year depending upon hemisphere – and the last Friday of April is National Arbor Day in the US. The […]

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