Tag: OED

hockey

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of the phrase jolly hockey sticks?

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, […]

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white house

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of the word FLOTUS?

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, […]

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antlers

OED appeals: can you help us find earlier evidence of the word jackalope?

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, […]

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drop

Reflections on language by… Zadie Smith

The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus included sections labelled ‘reflections’ by some notable writers, including Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, and Joshua Ferris. In the first of an occasional series looking at these reflections, we’ve excerpted Zadie Smith’s thoughts about various words. All the extracts below are by Zadie Smith, and can be found in the […]

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dog

The dog: man’s best friend?

The history of man’s relationship with the domesticated carnivorous mammal Canis familiaris is a long and complex one, and is reflected in the language used across the centuries to describe the dog and its world. The word dog first occurs in Old English, but is less well-attested than the synonymous (and probably more formal and […]

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procrastinate synonyms

5 historical synonyms for procrastinate

Delaying an important but arduous task in favour of a more pleasurable less urgent one? Surely everybody has been guilty of doing that at some point, and, as you probably know, there’s a great word for it – procrastinate. Apparently people have been procrastinating since the late 16th century, when the verb first came into […]

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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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stormy sea

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick-tionaries

Herman Melville’s whaling adventure Moby-Dick (1851) begins far away from the ocean. The first character we meet is an Usher to a grammar school (a junior school) who supplies an etymology of the word whale. The Usher’s etymology is the first indication to readers that there will be two parallel quests in this whale of a […]

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