Tag: poll

bonfire

Preparing for Bonfire Night: which word would you burn?

This survey is now closed. Thank you for your contributions! What’s your least favourite word? As Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night) approaches, we’d like to know which word you’d turn into an effigy. Bonfire Night is celebrated on 5 November in the UK; bonfires and fireworks are lit in memory of the […]

Read more »
buns

What does ‘bun’ mean to you?

A recent poll on OxfordDictionaries.com showed that 37% of our users would call a bread roll a bun, which makes it second only to roll as the most common way to say this. This is not, to me, what a bun would be, and so naively—with no concept of the can of worms I was […]

Read more »
knock

Poll: what do you call knocking on a door and running away?

This isn’t the world’s most innovative or funny prank, and we certainly don’t want to encourage people to try it at home for April Fools’ Day – but knocking on someone’s door (or ringing their doorbell) and running away before they have a chance to answer is of surprising linguistic interest. Although most people are […]

Read more »
Font of knowledge or fountain of knowledge (the latter depicted here)

‘Fount of knowledge’ or ‘font of knowledge’?

There are few things more likely to cause fierce argument between language-lovers than variant spellings of everyday expressions, especially if one is celebrated by language traditionalists and the other by the linguistic vanguard. You may remember the heated arguments that arose over the topic of pronouncing scone (some friendships have never truly recovered) – well, […]

Read more »
final four

March Madness: The Final Four

This competition is now closed. While the British and American heads of state were busy fine-tuning their own March Madness bracket picks over dinner last week, the Oxford Dictionaries Bracket Challenge has already hit its stride. How did your favorite sports expressions do? The gloves are off In the closest match-up yet, the venerable saved […]

Read more »
basketball

The Madness of March and the Oxford Dictionaries Bracket Challenge

This competition is now closed. March Madness, the single elimination college basketball tournament, is upon us. All month long, the top 68 teams in the US will duke it out in a series of rounds—some of which are remarkable feats in and of themselves, like the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and Final Four—for the NCAA […]

Read more »
Should a dictionary be prescriptive or descriptive?

To describe or prescribe, that is the question (with apologies to Shakespeare)

Regular readers of this blog may remember a recent poll in which we posed the following question: Do you think dictionaries should: Describe language as it is being used Prescribe how language should be used Be a mixture of prescriptive and descriptive The results were as follows: 70.27 % were in favour of a mixture, […]

Read more »

Tweets