Tag: lexicography

Among the slips of paper Arthur Maling used for his work on the letter W are the wrappers for at least five different varieties of chocolate.

Esperanto, chocolate, and biplanes in Braille: the interests of Arthur Maling

The Oxford English Dictionary is the work of people: many thousands of them. In my work on the history of the Dictionary I have found the stories of many of those people endlessly fascinating. Very often an individual will enter the story who cries out to be made the subject of a biography in his […]

Read more »
It has been claimed that 52 percent of words in use aren’t included in dictionaries – is this true? Elyse Graham investigates how this figure arose, and suggests why it’s not quite right.

Are 52% of words really not included in dictionaries?

In 2011, a remarkable article appeared in the journal Science that argued, based on a computational analysis of five million books, that “52 percent of the English lexicon—the majority of the words used in English books—consists of lexical ‘dark matter’ undocumented in standard references”. Taken at face value, this might seem like an astonishing claim. Fifty-two […]

Read more »
An Arnold Palmer is a refreshing, summery drink made by mixing equal parts iced tea and lemonade and named for the American professional golfer Arnold Palmer.

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘Arnold Palmer’?

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, […]

Read more »
What is your least favourite English word? With our #OneWordMap you can now let the whole world know.

#OneWordMap: mapping the world’s least favourite words

Update: We regret to inform users that due to severe misuse we have had to remove this feature from our website. What if everybody in the world could answer the same question with a single word? It could be almost any question, so long as it could be answered with one word – revealing trends and […]

Read more »
Do our lexicographers ever feel tempted to make up words in order to win a game of Scrabble?

An OED editor answers some more of your questions

When we took to Twitter and Facebook to ask you to send us your questions about language and lexicography the last time, we received so many submissions that it wasn’t possible to answer all of them in just one blog post. Therefore, we have included more of your questions below — as well as the most recent ones […]

Read more »
OED appeals: shiok and sabo

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of ‘shiok’ and ‘sabo’?

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, […]

Read more »
raised hand

An OED editor answers your questions

We recently asked you to provide questions about lexicography and language for a Senior Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – and you certainly had a lot to ask. We’ve picked some of the best questions, and… here are the answers! in a bit of a dilemma. why was 'dilemma' spelled 'dilemna'? is the […]

Read more »
Spine of the Oxford English Dictionary and the New English Dictionary

Women and the Oxford English Dictionary

On International Women’s Day, we shine the spotlight on 10 women without whom the OED would not be what it is today. Some are famous, some less so, but all made a vital and important contribution. 1. Charlotte Yonge (1823–1901) Novelist, perhaps best known today for The Heir of Redclyffe (1853). She also wrote an […]

Read more »

Tweets