Tag: social media

chink in the armor

Word in the news: a chink in the armor

A lesson on the perils of saying what you don’t mean Recently, followers of US basketball got a stark reminder that words often have connotations which stretch beyond our intentions when using them. An editor for ESPN’s mobile website was dismissed from his position for using the phrase a chink in the armor in a […]

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Teenagers sitting together with laptops and tablets

The life of slang… dot com

At my son’s recent tenth birthday party, I was struck by differences in the slang used between two groups of friends from different schools. We tend to think of slang as ‘British’, ‘American’, or ‘Australian’ or perhaps as belonging to sub-groups like teenagers or rappers, but it isn’t really that simple because individual social networks […]

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texting

Verily, this tomfoolery must be quashed!

‘Cripes! What bally tomfoolery are those diabolical cads in the media coming up with now?’ I asked my betrothed, when confronted with a spate of recent news reports. ‘Verily, I must quash this balderdash forthwith.’ Had I perhaps been hit on the head with the King James Bible or been immersed for a year in […]

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Corpus studies

Corpora studies: what they can and cannot tell us

Corpora studies (examining large bodies of text for evidence on how language is used) are a relatively recent thing, born in the 19th century. Small corpora were used early in the century, but one of the first to use a significant number of words was the German linguist Kading, who in 1897 managed to put […]

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COED anniversary

A century of defining our language

Since the publication of its first edition in 1911, the revolutionary Concise Oxford Dictionary has remained in print and gained fame around the world over the course of eleven editions. This month heralds the publication of the centenary edition: the new 12th edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary contains some 400 new entries, including […]

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Close up of a young woman's hand typing text message on her smartphone

How scandals are helping new words grow

This Monday past, US Congressman Anthony Weiner held a press conference at which he announced that he had engaged in activities that are unlikely to assist him in furthering any political ambitions he may have. Specifically, he admitted to sending risqué photographs of himself to a number of women, some via Twitter and some via […]

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Bridezilla is one of the new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com

Bridezilla, NSFW, and bestie: schmick new words added to OxfordDictionaries.com

We’ve managed to spare a few femtoseconds in our busy schedule to add some schmick new words to OxfordDictionaries.com. Whether you enjoy crafting, free running, or just surfing the Internet on your lappy, you’re sure to find something to interest you amongst the new additions. The world of computers and social networking continues to be […]

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Has the culture of the ‘celeb’ begun to decline?

Has the culture of the ‘celeb’ begun to decline?

The Oxford English Corpus, our unique two-billion word database of real twenty-first century English, shows that the use of celebrity has risen steadily since the year 2000 – but the use of the informal abbreviation celeb has dropped since 2006. Perhaps this suggests that the public may be starting to tire of these trashy, wannabe, […]

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