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

A Very Short Introduction to English Literature: text analyser

A Very Short Introduction to English Literature: text analyser

Explore the text of English Literature: A Very Short Introduction, by Jonathan Bate. In this text analyser you can explore the ways in which Bate covers different types of literature, poetry, and novels. The frequency of the words found in Bate’s fascinating book will not come as a surprise, but key words such as ‘Shakespeare’ […]

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Rigger-jiggers, feathers, and crabs: the language of rowing

Rigger-jiggers, feathers, and crabs: the language of rowing

Every November Oxford’s Isis river is overrun with novice crews and coxes trying to win their first race, the Christ Church Regatta. Rowing is a huge part of student life here, underlined rather explicitly in this apt quotation which features in the entry for rowing in the Oxford English Dictionary: “Rowing was more than a […]

Christmas pudding, steaming hot, pour on the custard, eat the lot!

Christmas pudding, steaming hot, pour on the custard, eat the lot!

This weekend I’m sure some of you will be fishing for the wooden spoon and donning the pinny. For this Sunday is Stir-up Sunday, the traditional day to prepare your mincemeat or Christmas pudding for your forthcoming Christmas feast. The origin of the Christmas pudding goes back to medieval England but the Christmas pudding we […]

Words we’re thankful for

Words we're thankful for

Here on the OxfordWords blog we’re constantly awed and impressed by the breadth and depth of the English language. As this is a great week to be appreciative, we’ve asked some fellow language-lovers which word they’re most thankful for. From quark to quotidian, ych a fi to robot, here’s what they said: stillicide Of incredible […]

Let there be concord: some tips on bringing agreement to subjects and verbs

Let there be concord: some tips on bringing agreement to subjects and verbs

Let’s start with a positive: there are a few basics of grammar which most native speakers of English have no problems with (hoorah!). For instance, it comes naturally to the majority of us to use a singular verb if only one person or thing is the subject (that is, doing the action) of a sentence […]

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, […]

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