There are 5 posts.
In 1785, Francis Grose published the first edition of The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Relying on his own library of unusual books, his experience in the army, and decades of field work, Grose assembled some 9,000 words and definitions that Samuel Johnson had not thought fit to include in his own dictionary published […]more
Like little pebbles in a stream, words get worn down with age; the more we use them, the less they come to resemble their original meanings. This is not to say we need to protect words from overuse or misuse – language is not owned by anyone, and the Oxford Dictionaries describe changing attitudes to […]more
Cumbersome, handsome, quarrelsome, troublesome: all of these words feature the adjective suffix -some. The suffix generally means ‘having or causing a particular quality’. Something bothersome leads to annoyance, for instance, while something wholesome promotes well-being. The ending, from the Old English sum, is source of the pronoun and adjective some, etymologically related to the word […]more
Which words do you really hate? It’s Bonfire Night in the United Kingdom on 5 November. This celebration’s origins may seem curious to the rest of the world – why do we celebrate the anniversary of an attempted regicide? – but it’s a good excuse for fireworks and bonfires. Traditionally an effigy of Guy Fawkes […]more
As we recently asked our followers on Twitter: are you tired of the word awesome? Do you want a different way to express the same idea? Well, we’ve delved around in the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, and come up with eighteen synonyms for awesome (in the sense meaning ‘excellent’, rather than its original […]more