A recent poll on OxfordDictionaries.com showed that 37% of our users would call a bread roll a bun, which makes it second only to roll as the most common way to say this. This is not, to me, what a bun would be, and so naively—with no concept of the can of worms I was […]
Consider yourself a bit of an oyster aficionado or a sushi connoisseur? Clams to crayfish, scallops to salmon: if you take pride in your knowledge of all things seafood, now’s the time to prove yourself. Take this quiz to determine how well you really know your seafood terminology!
‘I know everything about ice cream’, we can hear you saying, as you spoon it straight out of the tub into your mouth, relishing every moment. Well, we don’t doubt your expertise at ingesting the stuff – and we’re pretty partial to it ourselves – but there are some linguistic aspects to the ice cream […]
Slang—mocking, sneering, casting a jaundiced eye on the world’s proprieties—is by its nature sour. It finds approval hard, congratulation challenging, and affection almost impossible. Yet even if slang’s oldest meaning of “sugar” is money, and the second oldest a euphemism for the most common term for defecation, slang, for all its skepticism, cannot resist the […]
Can you help us? OED Appeals is a dedicated community space on the OED website where OED editors solicit help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English. Part of the process of revising words and phrases for the OED involves searching for evidence of a word’s first recorded use in English, […]
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines Tex-Mex as ‘a Texan style of cooking using Mexican ingredients and characterized by the adaptation of Mexican dishes, frequently with more moderate use of hot flavourings such as chilli; food cooked in this style.’ It is no secret, however, that plenty of the most common items on the Tex-Mex table are unambiguously […]
Let’s have a look at the role of apple idioms in the English language… Good and bad apples Apples in expressions often seem to be used as an equivalent for the word thing or person. Somebody can be described as a good apple, bad apple, or rotten apple, and New York City even becomes the Big […]
Banana appears to be a tropical African word, but its lexical origins represent only a single stage in the fruit’s worldwide wanderings before it reached English. Asian origins? It probably first grew in Southeast Asia, and did not make a big impact elsewhere until the early Islamic period when it was brought from India to […]