Tag: word origin

Video: what is the origin of the word ‘hazard’?

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Critters, jitters, and transmitters: the history of ‘bug’

Bug has various common uses, and none of them are particularly pleasant. Whether you’ve come down with a bug, found a bug on your phone, worried about the Millennium bug, or been bitten by a bug, you’re unlikely to welcome the bug into your life. But how did the word come to mean such disparate […]

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The language of the Greek financial crisis

Europe According to Greek mythology, Europe was the daughter of Agenor and Tilefasa. She was a princess living in Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon) with her three sisters Asia, Libya, and Thrace. One day she was playing on the seaside when she saw a beautiful white bull. She was mesmerized by his beauty so she approached […]

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Video: what is the origin of the word snob?

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How did the chemical elements get their names?

Etymologically, chemical elements are in a class of their own. Unlike much of the English language, the names of elements tend to have been chosen by the researchers who first discovered them rather than developing organically over time. There are no rules as to how these names are decided, but the history of chemistry reveals […]

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film quiz

Interactive quiz: how well do you know the language of film?

Hollywood doesn’t pay much attention to lexicographers (Billy Wilder’s 1941 comedy Ball of Fire is the notable exception), but lexicographers are duty-bound to make a careful study of the world of film. The Oxford English Dictionary regularly studies screenplays as part of its research programme, and cites nearly 200 examples from film scripts. During the […]

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