Tag: Historical Thesaurus

50 Shades

The OED’s Fifty Shades of Grey

With the release of the much-anticipated film adaptation of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey on 13 February, we thought that it might be time to take a look in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and see how many shades of grey we could dig up. As it turns out, the OED gives EL […]

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heart background

From sugar to sweetheart: a timeline of terms of endearment

The English language is filled with a wild assortment of romantic endearments, ranging from the old and obvious, such as sweetheart, to the entirely unexpected, such as flitter-mouse, an archaic term for a bat. In fact, bats are one of several animals that make an appearance, along with ducks, cats, doves, and turtles (and turtle-doves). […]

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Can you figure out what these historical synonyms mean?

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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thesaurus

5 things you can do with the Historical Thesaurus of the OED

The Historical Thesaurus of the OED is a unique resource charting the semantic development of the huge and varied vocabulary of English. It is the first comprehensive historical thesaurus ever produced for any language, and contains almost every word in English from Old English to the present day. With 800,000 words and meanings, in 235,000 entry categories, the […]

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beer

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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jingle bells_large

Jingle Bells in the Historical Thesaurus of the OED

To celebrate the festive season, we’ve taken the lyrics to the much-loved song ‘Jingle Bells’ and fed certain words through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, giving a version that has an identical meaning, but very different appearance and sound. The words that have been altered are (as you will no doubt realize) in […]

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crying

Skrike, lachryme, and water-cart: the language of crying

Crying is one of the first things that any of us do in our lives. It tends to happen again at the most important moments in life – whether as a sign of happiness or sadness – and some of us find it’s an involuntary reaction to anything from pieces of music to absorbing stories. […]

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

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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