Tag: thesaurus

World Teachers' Day

World Teachers’ Day – how did our teachers get us interested in words?

Teaching is arguably one of the hardest jobs around. It is becoming increasingly demanding, and teachers are faced with the challenge of serving these demands with fewer and fewer resources. So on World Teachers’ Day we wanted to pay homage to the people that got us interested in words from a young age. We asked […]

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dictionaries creative

The Vital Spark: dictionaries and creative writing

I love dictionaries and thesauruses: they’re dazzling and thrilling and useful. I own a ridiculously large number (seven currently on my desk, though most of them are downstairs). I use them, for work and pleasure, all the time. But now Vineeta Gupta, Head of Oxford Children’s Dictionaries, has asked me a question about them that’s […]

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Reflections on language by… David Foster Wallace

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 second of an occasional series looking at these reflections, we’ve excerpted David Foster Wallace’s thoughts about various words. All the extracts below are by David Foster Wallace, and can be found in […]

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17 weird ways to say weird

Tired of the word weird? At Oxford Dictionaries, we decided to that it was time to come up with some alternatives. Next time you want to observe how weird something is, why don’t you try ostrobogulous out for size? Or how about the over-the-top mondo bizarre? 1. Far-out Unconventional or avant-garde. This use began as […]

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Pen and paper

Can you figure out what these historical synonyms mean?

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED) is a rich and wonderful collection of synonyms, some archaic and obsolete, others from slang and dialect, but all of them reflecting the long history and wide reach of the English language. Test your knowledge of them with this tough quiz!

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Swaggering bullies, strutting models, and parading bands

Swaggering bullies, strutting models, and parading bands

He marched forward on to the lectern with the possessive insouciance of a hoodie swaggering on to his sink estate. [Guardian 5 October 2011] This evocative description of British PM David Cameron as he stepped up to address the recent Conservative Party Conference prompted me to think about the verb ‘swagger’ and how it’s often […]