Tag: word origins

The origins of four NBA teams: the Knicks, the Mavericks, the Jazz, and the Raptors.

4 weird origins of NBA team names

Some of the team names in the National Basketball League (NBA) are fairly straightforward about their origins. It doesn’t take a team historian, for instance, to explain why the team in Phoenix – a city known for its hot desert climate – is called the Suns, or why the team in Orlando – famously the […]

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Lewis Magnum Opus

The Murderer’s Magnum Opus: ITV’s Lewis trends on Oxford Dictionaries

Oxford is a very dangerous place to live at the moment. A body has been found in the woods, bludgeoned to death, and decorated with maggots and a dead raven as part of what seems to be a bizarre alchemical ceremony. When another body is found in the river, tied to a wooden stake with […]

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pregnancy test

Pregnancy metaphors from around the world

Pregnant was something of a metaphor when it first started being used in relation to a baby. Its earlier meaning (which is still in use) was ‘full of meaning, highly significant’, and the word pregnant began being used as a synonym for the more self-explanatory term with child. There are plenty of historical synonyms for […]

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

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cold war

George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945  George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay ‘You and the Atom Bomb’,  speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. In this article, Orwell considered the social and political implications of ‘a […]

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Istanbul

Istanbul, not Constantinople: 13 cities that changed their names

Throughout history, many cities changed their names. Some did it for political reasons; others hoped to gain an economic advantage from it. Looking at a modern map of the world, you’d probably have a hard time finding Edo, Istropolis, or Gia Dinh. That is because these places are today known as Tokyo, Bratislava, and Ho […]

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8 words that are younger than you think

8 words that are younger than you think

Having teased you several times with words that are older than you think, we thought we’d turn the tables and look at some that have a surprisingly brief history. Of course, older information may turn up to provide antedatings – but, as things stand, these words have entered the English language later than you might […]

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

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