There are 28 posts.
Absolute privilege, ad hoc, aforementioned, affidavit, arraignment, arbitrage: the language of law can be dense, demanding, and downright intimidating, and these are just a few of the words and phrases that begin with the letter a. For all the difficulties of legalese, a great number of common words have a surprisingly legal record, so to speak. Mayhem Dating back […]more
Readers of a certain age—and I would count myself among them—regard Latin as a noble thing of antiquity. The language is not nearly as widely studied as it once was. Indeed, Latin was once taught in grammar schools and familiarity with it—if not mastery of it—was a prerequisite for university admission. Today, even those who […]more
The English language has a varied and ever changing vocabulary, which makes it an ideal candidate for etymological studies. In this list below, we take a look at the interesting histories of some common English words. For more interesting word facts and origins, browse our ‘Explore’ section and follow us on Twitter. 1. squirrel 2. awkward The adjective awkward is […]more
Check out our alphabetic list of instruments, from accordion to zither. As far as possible, we’ve tried to stick to common instruments you’ll already have heard of – but some of the letters proved more challenging… Accordion Accordion is from the German Akkordion, a derivative of Akkord ‘harmony’, and so named because some of the buttons on […]more
In the early hours of 7 August 1974, after six years of planning and months of subterfuge, Philippe Petit stepped out onto a high wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. A crowd of thousands gathered to watch the breathtaking 45 minute display, as Petit walked, danced, and even […]more
Your data was corrupted… Wah! First thought: I’ve lost some work. Second thought: shouldn’t that be ‘…data were corrupted’? In the strictest sense, yes, because it’s all a question of ensuring that you match singular subjects with singular verbs, and ditto plural subjects and verbs, a process called agreement. Easy when it’s a straightforward case, such […]more
An extract from the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. As well as education, wine, roads, under-floor heating, and the fresh water system, the Romans gave us words and phrases. Far from being a dead language, Latin is alive and well, and may be found in a sentence near you. English is full of words of […]more