Video: what do you call a new word made by combining two other words?

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Fresh Off the Boat and the language of the Asian-American experience

Fresh Off the Boat, the newest addition to the American TV channel ABC’s primetime lineup, has garnered more than its share of attention in the lead-up to its recent debut. Based on restaurateur Eddie Huang’s critically-acclaimed memoir, it’s the first sitcom in 20 years since Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl to feature an Asian-American family at […]

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How well do you know building nicknames?

Many iconic buildings have over the years been given nicknames, often with the intention to criticize their modern design. Mockingly naming skyscrapers has become a popular activity in London in particular, which is why the city features especially heavily in today’s quiz. So, do you know where to find the ‘Gherkin’, or which city has […]

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I object! (To the Russian case system)

Russian: what’s not to love? Alluringly exotic alphabet? Check. Tantalizingly challenging vocabulary? Check. Enough espionage associations to spice up even the dullest of online dating profiles? Check. But when you’re learning Russian, it’s the grammar that gets you. Like Latin, Tamil, German, and Finnish – to name a few – Russian relies on a complex […]

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Language fit for a queen

British queens – whether monarchs in their own right or married to a king – have had an impact on English language, as befits royalty. Perhaps most obvious is the use of their names to refer to historical periods (such as the Victorian or Elizabethan eras), but that is far from their only legacy to […]

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Groundhog

Groundhog etymology: from whistle pigs to woodchucks

On 2 February, we celebrate the Pennsylvania German custom of groundhog divination, which dates back to the 18th century and the European weather lore of Candlemas. According to folklore, on a sunny day, the groundhog will see its shadow and head back in its burrow, signaling six more weeks of more winter. If the weather […]

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Republic Day of India

WordWatch roundup: austerity, cwtch, republic, colored, and more

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. cwtch, noun While refereeing a Rugby Championships cup game […]

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Exploring the language of longitude

Words can be difficult and scary. Everyone has words that they can’t spell or can’t pronounce. I always say rhetoric wrong, and inevitably still get the ‘i’ and ‘e’ in receive the wrong way around. But words also scare us when they come with memories of difficult school lessons, or signify something that we only […]

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