There are 37 posts.
You’re probably familiar with the woodlouse, but (unless they happen to be your field of study), you probably haven’t given them a great deal of thought lately. The more biologically-minded among you may throw around the Latin term isopoda for the order, and oniscus or armadillidium for the two common varieties, but to most of […]more
Last month, refugee was chosen as the Oxford Children’s Word of the Year 2016. The decision was made after analysing more than 123,436 entries to the 2016 BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition. The word also made the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year shortlist last year, but was ultimately beaten by the ‘Face with Tears […]more
We all know that there are quite a few different ways to say ‘father’ in English, from dad and daddy to father, pater, and the old man. Taking a look into the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary reveals some unusual or archaic variants – and the same is true for almost any relative […]more
From one of the first Mr Men and one of the seven dwarves to happy hour, happy is a word that crops up from childhood onwards. We take a look at how it has been used in the English language in various idioms, as well as its history and some synonyms. Happy through the years […]more
On 2 November, Mexico observes the Dia de los Muertos, or ‘Day of the Dead’ – a commemoration with prayers for the souls of the dead. Despite the bleak focus, it is a joyous celebration with dancing and colourful skulls, which sets it apart from the more solemn remembrance of All Souls’ Day that is […]more
Sometimes you need somebody to get the point, and a simple no won’t do it. We’ve taken a look through the Historical Thesaurus of the OED and other sources to find out how best to say no to something. Now you can say no daily for almost a whole month without repeating yourself (and then […]more
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 […]more