Articles, quizzes, and grammar tips for word-lovers everywhere

In pictures: 10 Word of the Year runners-up

In pictures: 10 Word of the Year runners-up

Oxford Dictionaries last night announced that ‘omnishambles’ (UK) and ‘GIF’ (US) are their Words of the Year for 2012. Here, appropriately, we’ve GIFed ten of the other words the judging panels were considering. Definitions Mobot: a characteristic gesture as performed by the British long-distance runner Mo Farah on winning the 5,000 and 10,000 metres events […]

Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year 2012: ‘omnishambles’

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2012: 'omnishambles'

Today, OUP announced their Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year for 2012. Fiona McPherson was one of the lexicographers on the judging panel, and here are her reflections on the shortlist. A common misconception about the work of a lexicographer is that we sit around in the manner of a cabal each week and […]

Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012 is ‘to GIF’

wordoftheyear-2012-GIF-final (1)

Today, OUP announced their Oxford Dictionaries US Word of the Year for 2012. Katherine Martin was one of the lexicographers on the judging panel, and here are her reflections on the shortlist. GIF verb to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event): he GIFed the highlights of the […]

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2011: ‘squeezed middle’

Squeezed middle

You’d think that choosing the standout word of the year would be a contentious affair. So many possibilities, you’d guess, and so many linguistic loves, hates, and indifferences to deal with amongst those who debate it. The truth is that, normally, choosing the word of the year is a slam dunk. Take ‘bling’, the obvious […]

Squeezed middle, hacktivism, Occupy, or facepalm: what makes a Word of the Year?

What makes a Word of the Year?

Every year, the dictionaries teams at Oxford University Press in the UK and the US put their heads together and come up with a Word (or Phrase) of the Year. And this year has been no different, although for the first time ever, the UK and US dictionaries teams have agreed on a global Word […]

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The OUP UK Word of the Year is … ‘big society’

Word of the Year 2010

Let’s hear a woot (or not?) for the Big Society! Each year, as the announcement of Oxford’s Word of the Year approaches, I’m reminded of some words from the playwright Dennis Potter: ‘the trouble with words is that you never know whose mouth they’ve been in’. I sometimes wonder whether that’s why I like new […]

Nom nom! 2010 was a deliciously rich year for our language

US FreeODO webad AW

Popular culture . . . In 2010, much of our uneasy fascination turned from zombie banks to plain old zombies. Well, maybe not “plain old.” It’s been a phenomenal year for zombies, who have commanded huge markets in the entertainment industry and a seemingly insatiable fan base. As zombies roamed the planet, another breed of […]

Refudiate: An understandable mistake?

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