email

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of the word ‘email’?

Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]

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Murray frozen

Did you know that James Murray… once had his beard frozen solid?

2015 marks the centenary of the death of James Murray, the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Murray’s work as a lexicographer is well known, but there was a great deal more to him than lexicography. We are therefore marking the anniversary with an occasional series of articles highlighting other aspects of his life […]

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interjections

34 interjections you should be using

Perhaps the wildest of all the parts of speech, the interjection accounts for a fun swath of the English language, including curse words, expressions of joy, greetings, and even pseudo-magical incantations. Some of them you’ve probably heard before, but others will probably be new. Before you know it – bada bing! – we might be hearing these terms everywhere.

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bear

Quiz: bear or bare?

Bare and bear are homophones – that is, they sound the same – but have very different meanings. Do you know how to use these two correctly? Test yourself with our quiz, or swot up with all you need to know about bare and bear.

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Video: who or whom?

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ice cream

6 things you didn’t know about ice cream

‘I know everything about ice cream’, we can hear you saying, as you spoon it straight out of the tub into your mouth, relishing every moment. Well, we don’t doubt your expertise at ingesting the stuff – and we’re pretty partial to it ourselves – but there are some linguistic aspects to the ice cream […]

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Eminem-01-mika

The emergence of the ‘stan’

Introduced to the world by rapper Eminem on 4 December 2000, the character Stan appears in the song of the same name, which tells the story of an obsessive fan that emulates Eminem. Stan writes letters to Eminem begging him for his approval, friendship, and acknowledgement after his love for Eminem distorted his entire reality, and when he receives no response his letters become increasingly hostile until he finds himself so angry

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wind

Weather idioms: winds and storms

We recently took a look at idioms from around the world that use rain as a metaphor; today we turn our attention to those from German, Chinese, Russian, and more, that use winds and storms to get their point across. 1. In den Wind schreiben Language: German Translation: To write in the wind What does it […]

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