There are 6 posts.
One media darling in recent popular culture has been actor, heartthrob, and internet meme Ryan Gosling. His fans, no doubt, readily find a connection between darling and Gosling. And the etymologists among them – yes, they have lives too – find another one. It’s -ling. The -ling in darling and Gosling (if we treat the […]more
In the future – like within your own lifetime future – the way we speak could change quite significantly. With ever-more rapid social and technological change, words and phrases that were commonplace in living memory could become endangered. The faster we move, the sooner our vocabulary will tailor itself to the new world around us. […]more
You might have thought that there aren’t any words in English that begin with the letters wl-. And, if you were thinking of those in common use today, you would be right. However, as a historical dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) also contains lots of words which are now obsolete – including a surprising […]more
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a great source for finding fun, obsolete words. Do you, for instance, know what a lorthew is? Or what it means to be muckibus? Take this quiz and prove you’re a true logophile. Follow the OED on Twitter to learn more weird and wonderful words.more
Northern Lights (published in the US as The Golden Compass) was published in 1995, the first novel in Philip Pullman’s hugely successful His Dark Materials trilogy. In the preface, the author tells us that the story is set in a universe ‘like ours, but different in many ways’. One of the ways Pullman achieves this […]more
The history of the English language reveals some different and even surprising associations in some rare words and meanings alluding to the paternal parent. Some of these largely forgotten words may be worthy of a revival: why not be a philopater and promise Dad you’ll patrizate? The gold standard Are you father-waur or father-better? These […]more