Tag: idioms

snow

The white stuff: notes on the OED update

It’s that time again, when we bring you the very latest in additions to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), and, as usual, we have lexicographical facts and figures coming out of our ears. This quarterly OED update contains around 500 new words, phrases, and senses, spanning a period of nearly 1,100 years in the history […]

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maths

Putting two and two together: mathematical expressions

As somebody who loves words and English literature, I have often been assumed to be a natural enemy of the mathematical mind. And, if we’re being honest, my days of calculus and the hypotenuse are behind me, but, with those qualifications under my belt, I did learn that the worlds of words and numbers are […]

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reef

Australian English: eponymous words

The Australian English words recently added to OxfordDictionaries.com include a wealth of interesting words from a wide range of spheres. Among these are several that are named after people, real or hypothetical, and we have turned our attention particularly to those. While not all of these are in everyday use in Australia now, they all […]

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australia

Australian English: words and phrases added to OxfordDictionaries.com

In this latest update to OxfordDictionaries.com, Australian English features prominently. From lamington drives, sausage sizzles, and magic puddings to sheep cockies and wheat cockies – these latest additions to OxfordDictionaries.com reveal something of the colour and diversity of Australian English both past and present. Abbreviations The Australian English vocabulary abounds with abbreviated words marking a […]

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donkey

Taking Portuguese idioms literally

Learning a new language often allows for lots of fun cultural titbits, including unexpected literal meanings of common idioms. The Portuguese language is filled with fun idioms that literally translate into situations that sound amusing to English speakers. Of course, these idioms are no stranger than lots of idioms that you would find in other […]

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cricket

Playing with a straight bat: the language of cricket

The Cricket World Cup is in full swing, so it seems like a good time to turn attention to the language of cricket. With its long history and central place in English sporting culture, it is hardly surprising that cricketing idioms have been widely adopted into colloquial speech. The traditional association of cricket with fair […]

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light_large

Light, bright, and sparkling: the language of light

The UN has declared 2015 to be the ‘International Year of Light’, so we thought that was a good opportunity to look at the language of light. Unsurprisingly, light is a very old word. It appears at the beginning of one of the oldest texts in English – Aelfric’s translation of Genesis – in the […]

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Rome_large

When in Rome… read some place name idioms

We recently looked at people’s names in common expressions, and now it’s the turn of place names. Why do certain locations become proverbial, and which place-related idioms have fallen out of favour? Sent to Coventry No disrespect intended to the people of Coventry, but, idiomatically at least, it is not a very pleasant place to […]

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