Tag: Book lover’s day

Book Lover's Day: George Eliot

Writing for grown-up people: George Eliot and the Oxford English Dictionary

At one point in Middlemarch, the character Doctor Lydgate is described as having “no longer free energy enough for spontaneous research and speculative thinking”. It seems appropriate that this should be the Oxford English Dictionary’s first recorded use of free energy, because Marian Evans – born Mary Anne, and better known by her pseudonym George […]

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Virginia Woolf To The Lighthouse

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, and the Oxford English Dictionary

Virginia Woolf was a prolific writer whose successes include works of fiction, biography, and essay. Her contributions to the English language are certainly not to be overlooked; indeed, she is among the top 1000 most cited sources in the Oxford English Dictionary, and had a predilection for coining terms—mostly phrasal adjectives—herself. Descriptions of “heavy-lidded” eyes, […]

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Thomas Browne

Sir Thomas Browne and the Oxford English Dictionary

Few authors cited in the Oxford English Dictionary are responsible for as many unusual words as the seventeenth century physician, Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682). Browne’s erudite enquiries into science and religion are notable for their wit, their fascination with the natural world, and their attraction to the esoteric, and all of these characteristics are evident […]

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Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley and the Oxford English Dictionary

So far as I know the whole of English fiction has only one character who works for the Oxford English Dictionary. In Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza we see John Beavis at breakfast, with an unappreciated twinkle in his eye, explaining to two little children the etymology of porridge. He’s cited in the OED at […]

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