Articles, quizzes, and grammar tips for word-lovers everywhere

Seven words that gained fame on TV shows

Seven words that gained fame on TV shows

Television shows have a huge influence on popular culture, and so it is not surprising that many words and phrases have come into common usage through the medium of television. Here are a few of our favourite words and phrases that were popularized through iconic TV shows. mind-meld In science fiction, this is a (supposed) technique for […]

Grab your bezzie and get ready for deets of the ODO November 2012 update!

Grab your bezzie and get ready for deets of the ODO November 2012 update!

If you’re as twitterpated by dictionaries as we are, you’ll want to be the first to hear about some of the words going into Oxford Dictionaries Online this quarter. Whatever they may be, they certainly aren’t hacky – and you might even find them useful in some situations, for example. . . With the boyf […]

That’s a wrap! The origins of filmic language

Cut, print, and that’s a wrap: The origins of filmic language

“Film is history.” I’m reminded in the above quote by Martin Scorsese (who, impressively, enters his 49th year as a feature film director in 2012) that film and history are inextricably linked. By its very nature, a film is a historical artifact—a record of some past action that preserves the moment for time to come. Film, […]

The Twihard Years: the language of the Twilight Saga

The Twihard Years: the language of the Twilight Saga

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga has been one of the most successful franchises of the decade. On the back of her four incredibly successful books, there have been four box office hits (the fifth being released in the UK this month), a spin-off book, extensive fan fiction – indeed the mummy-porn sensation, Fifty Shades of Grey […]

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In a nutshell, cutting the mustard by the skin of your teeth: popular idioms explained

In a nutshell, cutting the mustard by the skin of your teeth: popular idioms explained

Why do good things ‘cut the mustard’? The word mustard has been used to mean something excellent or superlative for almost a hundred years—the phrase ‘keen as mustard’ draws on the same idea of added piquancy and zest. ‘Hot stuff’, in other words. In America, to say something was ‘the proper mustard’ in the early […]

The Ladies’ Paradise interactive text analyser

The Ladies' Paradise Text Analyser

The final episode of The Paradise – a major drama series on BBC 1 – aired last night in the UK. Adapted from Émile Zola’s novel The Ladies’ Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames) and set against the backdrop of the spectacular rise of the department store in the 1860s and 70s, the story follows the fortunes […]

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In pictures: 10 Word of the Year runners-up

In pictures: 10 Word of the Year runners-up

Oxford Dictionaries last night announced that ‘omnishambles’ (UK) and ‘GIF’ (US) are their Words of the Year for 2012. Here, appropriately, we’ve GIFed ten of the other words the judging panels were considering. Definitions Mobot: a characteristic gesture as performed by the British long-distance runner Mo Farah on winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events […]

Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year 2012: ‘omnishambles’

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2012: 'omnishambles'

Today, OUP announced their Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year for 2012. Fiona McPherson was one of the lexicographers on the judging panel, and here are her reflections on the shortlist. A common misconception about the work of a lexicographer is that we sit around in the manner of a cabal each week and […]

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