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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: oxford dictionaries, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 51
1. Learning about lexicography: A Q&A with Peter Gilliver part 1

Peter Gilliver has been an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary since 1987, and is now one of the Dictionary's most experienced lexicographers; he has also contributed to several other dictionaries published by OUP. In addition to his lexicographical work, he has been writing and speaking about the history of the OED for over fifteen years. In this two part Q&A, we learn more about how his passion for lexicography inspired him.

The post Learning about lexicography: A Q&A with Peter Gilliver part 1 appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. A timeline of the dinosaurs [infographic]

Dinosaurs, literally meaning 'terrible lizards', were first recognized by science, and named by Sir Richard Owen (who preferred the translation ‘fearfully great’), in the 1840's. In the intervening 170 years our knowledge of dinosaurs, including whether they all really died out 65 million years ago, has changed dramatically. Take a crash course on the history of the dinosaurs with our infographic.

The post A timeline of the dinosaurs [infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. The shambolic life of ‘shambles’

You just lost your job. Your partner broke up with you. You’re late on rent. Then, you dropped your iPhone in the toilet. “My life’s in shambles!” you shout. Had you so exclaimed, say, in an Anglo-Saxon village over 1,000 years ago, your fellow Old English speakers may have given you a puzzled look. “Your life’s in footstools?” they’d ask. “And what’s an iPhone?”

The post The shambolic life of ‘shambles’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Political profanity and crude creativity on the campaign trail

In the United States, thoughts are turning to the start of the primary season, when votes are cast to choose each party’s presidential nominee. It’s a complicated and sometimes very long process, beginning in Iowa and winding all the way to the conventions in the summer, and every time it gets going, there are certain buzzwords that seem to find their way into the American popular consciousness.

The post Political profanity and crude creativity on the campaign trail appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. How to polish your résumé

I’ve read a lot of résumés over the years. I’ve read 35-page résumés from senior academics documenting every Rotary talk, guest lecture, and letter to the editor. I’ve read not-quite-one-page résumés from high school students giving their neighbors as references. In the process, I’ve come to think of résumé reading as an acquired literary taste, like flarf or fanfiction. And I’ve come to think of résumé writing as a unique genre with its own rhetorical nuances and conventions.

The post How to polish your résumé appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. The Great Pottery Throw Down and language

The newest knockout competition on British television is The Great Pottery Throw Down (GPTD), in which an initial ten potters produce a variety of ceramic work each week, the most successful being declared Top Potter, and the least successful being ‘asked to leave’. The last four then compete in a final [...]

The post The Great Pottery Throw Down and language appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Word in the news: Mastermind

In a speech made after the November terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama criticized the media’s use of the word mastermind to describe Abdelhamid Abaaoud. “He’s not a mastermind,” he stated. “He found a few other vicious people, got hands on some fairly conventional weapons, and sadly, it turns out that if you’re willing to die you can kill a lot of people.”

The post Word in the news: Mastermind appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. OED timeline challenge: Can you guess when these words entered the English language?

Do you know when laugh entered the English language? What about cricket or fair-weather friend? Take the OED Timeline Challenge and find out if you are a lexical brainiac (1975). To play, simply drag the word to the date at which you think it entered the English language.

The post OED timeline challenge: Can you guess when these words entered the English language? appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Beyond words: How language-like is emoji?

The decision by Oxford Dictionaries to select an emoji as the 2015 Word of the Year has led to incredulity in some quarters. Hannah Jane Parkinson, writing in The Guardian, and doubtless speaking for many, brands the decision ‘ridiculous’ — after all, an emoji is, self-evidently, not a word; so the wagging fingers seem to say.

The post Beyond words: How language-like is emoji? appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Coleridge’s way with words

Why should we commemorate Samuel Taylor Coleridge? The obvious reason is his high status as a poet, but a better one might be his exuberance as a wordsmith. As a poet, after all, he is widely known for only two relatively short works: ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and 'Kubla Khan.’ While the academy would no doubt add four or five others prized by specialists, the total number is still small.

The post Coleridge’s way with words appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. The curious case of culprit

Amnesia, disguises, and mistaken identities? No, these are not the plot twists of a blockbuster thriller or bestselling page-turner. They are the story of the word culprit. At first glance, the origin of culprit looks simple enough. Mea culpa, culpable,exculpate, and the more obscure inculpate: these words come from the Latin culpa, “fault” or “blame.”

The post The curious case of culprit appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Istanbul, not Constantinople

Throughout history, many cities changed their names. Some did it for political reasons; others hoped to gain an economic advantage from it.

The post Istanbul, not Constantinople appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. 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.

The post George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… emoji

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and see which words have been significant throughout the past twelve months, and to announce the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Without further ado, we can reveal that the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…

The post The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is… emoji appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Analysing what Shakespeare has to say about gender

Humans are very good at reading from start to finish and collecting lots of information to understand the aggregated story a text tells, but they are very bad at keeping track of the details of language in use across many texts.

The post Analysing what Shakespeare has to say about gender appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Manspreading: how New York City’s MTA popularized a word without saying it

New York City, home of Oxford Dictionaries’ New York offices, has made numerous contributions to the English lexicon through the years, as disparate as knickerbocker and hip hop.

The post Manspreading: how New York City’s MTA popularized a word without saying it appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. From teaspoons to tea-sots: the language of tea

Tea was first imported into Britain early in the seventeenth century, becoming very popular by the 1650s. The London diarist Samuel Pepys drank his first cup in 1660, as recorded in his famous diary: "I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I had never drunk before."

The post From teaspoons to tea-sots: the language of tea appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Words of 2015 round-up

Word of the Year season has closed with the selections of the American Dialect Society this past weekend, so it's time to reflect on the different words of the 2015. The refugee crisis and gender politics have featured prominently in selections around the globe as well as the influence of technology.

The post Words of 2015 round-up appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. A tale of two militias: finding the right label for the Oregon protests

When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word ‘militia’ to describe them. The Guardian reported the incident with the headline ‘Oregon militia threatens showdown with US agents at wildlife refuge.

The post A tale of two militias: finding the right label for the Oregon protests appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Regretoric: the rise of the “nonapology” apology and the “apology tour”

OxfordDictionaries.com is adding the nouns apology tour and nonapology. These additions represent two related steps in the evolution of the noun apology, which first entered English in the sixteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Its earliest example is a book title: the 1533 Apologie of Syr Thomas More.

The post Regretoric: the rise of the “nonapology” apology and the “apology tour” appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. What does your mother language mean to you?

In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated each year on 21 February. Of course, we couldn't let this date go by without marking the occasion on our Northern Sotho and isiZulu Living Dictionaries. This year, we asked people from a variety of mother tongues to let us know what their native language means to them, and this is what they had to say.

The post What does your mother language mean to you? appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. The ‘mullet’ mystery – Episode 23 – The Oxford Comment

Often described as ‘business in front, party in the back,’ most everyone is familiar with this infamous hairstyle, which is thought to have been popularized in the 1980s. How, then, could the term have originated as early as 1393, centuries before David Bowie ever rocked it? We embarked on an etymological journey, figuratively traveling back in time to answer what seemed like a simple question: What, exactly, is a mullet? And does it really mean what we think it means?

In this month’s episode, Sara Levine, a Multimedia Producer in our New York Office, chats with Katherine Martin, head of Oxford Dictionaries, and other key players in this language mystery. Together, they discovered surprising revelations about the term, finally arriving at the truth about the origins of the word ‘mullet.’

Image Credit: ‘Mullet Diagram’ by Sara Levine for Oxford University Press.

The post The ‘mullet’ mystery – Episode 23 – The Oxford Comment appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. Twerking since 1820: an OED antedating

When the word twerk burst into the global vocabulary of English a few years ago with reference to a dance involving thrusting movements of the bottom and hips, most accounts of its origin pointed in the same direction, to the New Orleans ‘bounce’ music scene of the 1990s, and in particular to a 1993 recording by DJ Jubilee, ‘Jubilee All’, whose refrain exhorted dancers to ‘twerk, baby, twerk’. However, information in a new entry published in the historical Oxford English Dictionary this month, as part of the June 2015 update, reveals that the word was in fact present in English more than 170 years earlier.

The post Twerking since 1820: an OED antedating appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Swear words, etymology, and the history of English

Have you ever noticed that many of our swear words sound very much like German ones and not at all like French ones? From vulgar words for body parts (a German Arsch is easy to identify, but not so much the French cul), to scatological and sexual verbs (doubtless you can spot what scheissen and ficken mean, English and German clearly draw their swear words from a shared stock in a way that English and French do not.

The post Swear words, etymology, and the history of English appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Pluto and its underworld minions

Early this week the spacecraft New Horizons began its flyby of Pluto, sending a wealth of information to back to Earth about Pluto and its moons. It’s an exciting time for astronomers and those intrigued by the dark dwarf planet. Pluto has special significance not only because it is the only planet in our solar system to have its status as a planet stripped and downgraded to a dwarf planet, but also because along with its largest satellite Charon, it is our solar system’s only binary planet system

The post Pluto and its underworld minions appeared first on OUPblog.

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