Tag: David Crystal


9 words to use instead of ‘toilet’

Lavatory, privy, loo – we’re not exactly lacking synonyms for toilet in everyday language. Still, we thought it might be fun to dig out a few of the more obscure and curious ones that have been used throughout the ages. House of Lords House of Lords has been around as a cheeky slang term for […]

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Drinking through the ages: a timeline of synonyms for drunk

In the timeline above, explore how the English language has developed over time through the lens of a crucial social function: the consumption of alcohol. Taken from David Crystal’s book Words in Time and Place, which is based on research in the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, the timeline covers over 35 synonyms […]

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terms of endearment

Spiflicated, mopsy, and spondulicks: historical synonyms for everyday things

In Words in Time and Place, David Crystal explores fifteen fascinating sets of synonyms, using the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. We’ve turned selections from six sections of Words in Time and Place into word clouds, arranged in a shape related to the topic in question. Take a look at the images below to see […]

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Quiz: how well do you know historical synonyms?

David Crystal’s Words in Time and Place (published today by OUP) uses the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary to explore the history of fifteen fascinating sets of words: synonyms for dying, the nose, and being drunk; meals, privies, and fools, and more. See how well you know historical synonyms, and the times and places […]

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Interactive map: places that shaped the English language

Wordsmiths and Warriors_map

‘If you love history, on your holidays you can visit museums and castles. If you love plants, you can visit botanical gardens. But if you love language, what do you visit?’ In the summer of 2012, supreme language-lovers David and Hilary Crystal set off on a tour round Britain, visiting 57 sites associated with key […]

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Favourite words?

David Crystal’s favourite words

What’s your favourite word? It’s a difficult question for anyone to answer, but it’s even trickier if you’re a leading expert on the English language. David Crystal is one of the world’s greatest authorities on the English language and has written many books on the subject. The forthcoming book Wordsmiths and Warriors by David and Hilary […]

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Incony questrists: Shakespeare’s ‘rare ornaments’ of the English language


Shakespeare was writing at a time when the English language was in an unusual state of flux. Many English books, and even plays (though not those intended for the popular theatre) were still written wholly in Latin, because this was the best way to achieve an international readership. Shakespeare himself uses many Latin tags (Latin […]

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