Watch this oxford comma video to learn more about this piece of punctuation.

What is the Oxford comma?

The presence or lack of a comma before and or or in a list of three or more items is the subject of much debate. Such a comma is known as a serial comma. For a century it has been part of Oxford University Press style to retain or impose this last comma consistently, to […]

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Ancient Greece

Why it’s all Greek to you and that shouldn’t be a problem

“Give me a word, any word and I’ll show you how the root of that word is Greek. Ok? How about arachnophobia? Αράχνη, that comes from the Greek word for spider, and φοβία is a phobia, it means fear. So fear of spiders. There you go!” “OK Mr Portokalos. How about the word kimono?” “Hmm, […]

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Video: what is the origin of the word vape?

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country

Dolly Parton: a musical career expressed through language statistics

Here at Oxford Dictionaries we often refer to the Oxford English Corpus in our work. By consulting statistical analysis of a vast database of billions of words of English captured from the wild, our lexicographer colleagues can spot new words and usage patterns that they might not otherwise have encountered. It is a fascinating resource […]

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How well do you know your historical synonyms?

Historical synonyms quiz

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED) is a rich and wonderful collection of synonyms, some archaic and obsolete, others from slang and dialect, but all of them reflecting the long history and wide reach of the English language. Test your knowledge of them with this tough quiz!

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Two gunmen attack the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7 January.

WordWatch roundup: satire, unthaw, and more

The biggest news story of 2015 thus far has been the 7 January terrorist attack in Paris, France on the offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Two gunmen – later identified as brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi…

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Are you a cruciverbalist?

Crossword and cruciverbalist language

The crossword was the invention of Liverpool émigré Arthur Wynne, whose first puzzle appeared in the New York World in 1913. This initial foray was christened a Word-Cross; the instruction in subsequent issues to ‘Find the missing cross words’ led to the birth of the cross-word. Although Wynne’s invention was initially greeted with scepticism, by […]

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Word in the news: frit

Recently on the OxfordDictionaries.com homepage you may have noticed that you can now see that day’s top ten most popular words on the site, in various regions around the world. Although it is not always possible to tell why a word is on there, sometimes the reasons behind their appearance can seem obvious. Just after […]

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