Video: what is the longest word in English?

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Passed or past?

Slumped in a post-festive food coma? Feeling the after-effects of watching too much stultifying TV? If so, perhaps the last thing you want to ponder is the distinction between passed and past. On the other hand, you may be eager for some virtuous self-improvement to begin the New Year on an upbeat note. If you’ve […]

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12 language facts for the 12 days of Christmas

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An apple idiom a day

An apple idiom a day…

While Isaac Newton could have watched anything fall to the ground for his Eureka moment – a cherry from a cherry tree, a peach from a peach tree, a partridge from a pear tree – the apple is undoubtedly the fruit with which he is most closely associated. Apparently, seeing an apple fall from a […]

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Bridges in the OED

Though many could describe New York City by its huge population (8 million), the stereotypical behaviors of its inhabitants (for whom efficient navigation of pedestrian traffic is an art), or even its pizza (thin crust, fold your slice in half), it is perhaps best known for its famous, globally-recognizable landmarks. But the Statue of Liberty […]

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Drinking through the ages: a timeline of synonyms for drunk

In the timeline above, explore how the English language has developed over time through the lens of a crucial social function: the consumption of alcohol. Taken from David Crystal’s book Words in Time and Place, which is based on research in the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, the timeline covers over 35 synonyms […]

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S novym godom: enjoy a Russian happy new year!

Forget Christmas! In Russia – and in some other former Soviet countries – Novyi God (Новый Год, ‘New Year’) is arguably the most popular holiday of the year. Christmas was banned by the Bolsheviks following the 1917 Revolution and, although it is celebrated nowadays (more on that later), Russia’s biggest winter holiday remains a secular […]

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10 words that came to life 100 years ago

As 2014 draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look at some of the words celebrating their 100th birthday this year. While some of these may be antedated if older examples are found, the earliest evidence currently in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for each of the words below is 1914. So, join […]

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