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An existential question

Q: What exactly does “existential” mean when used to modify such nouns as “threat” and “crisis”? A: On a literal level, the adjective “existential” means “of or pertaining to existence,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. So, for example, an “existential threat” would be a threat to existence—that is, to life. Show More Summary

Beautiful Maps Will Change How You Look At The World

Sadly, the Oxford English Dictionary has yet to accept ‘cartophile‘ as the official term for a map-lover (though Urban Dictionary has no such qualms). But even if the title lacks the linguistic seal of approval, there’s no doubt that maps can be lust-worthy objects. More »      

Beautiful Maps Will Change How You Look At The World

3 weeks agoTechnology / Gadgets : Gizmodo

Sadly, the Oxford English Dictionary has yet to accept ‘cartophile’ as the official term for a map-lover (though Urban Dictionary has no such qualms). But even if the title lacks the linguistic seal of approval, there’s no doubt that maps can be lust-worthy objects. Read more...

Word rage, discreet firearm edition

Oxford University Press has published the fourth edition of Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage. The name "Fowler" has been retained as a source of prestige, but this is really the work of editor Jeremy Butterfield (as the third edition was the work of Robert Burchfield). Butterfield has already been getting some press attention for […]

LOL International: Txt Spk Around the World

LOL was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. Even so, some of us struggle to understand text speak in our own language. The British Prime Minister David Cameron somehow believed LOL meant “lots of love”. Being fluent in a language is all about fitting in. Show More Summary

When Lexicographer Samuel Johnson Became A Ghostbuster

last monthHumor / odd : mental_floss

Dr. Samuel Johnson is today best known for his Dictionary of the English Language (1755), which remained the foremost authority on the English language until the Oxford English Dictionary appeared more than a century later. The dictionary...Show More Summary

Beside yourself? Where’s that?

Q: I’ve been wondering about the origin of the phrase “beside myself.” Any idea where it comes from? And where am I when I’m beside myself? A: The earliest example of “beside oneself” in the Oxford English Dictionary is from a 1490 translation by William Caxton of Virgil’s Aeneid: “Mad and beside herself.” The OED... ? Read More: Beside yourself? Where’s that?

You're All In or You're Not

--Ceci n'est pas une pomme (This is not an apple), Rene Magritte According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the word "snapshot" was originally a hunting term --One Hour Photo (2002) Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet? You...Show More Summary

18 Everyday Expressions Borrowed From the Bible

2 months agoHumor / odd : mental_floss

The Oxford English Dictionary credits The Wycliffe Bible, a 14th century Middle English translation of the Bible, with more early citations of English words than the works of Dickens, Ben Jonson, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys, and John Milton combined. Show More Summary

Why you "stave off" a cold

2 months agoHumor / odd : TYWKIWDBI

From the Language Corner of the Columbia Journalism Review:Nowadays, “stave off” means to keep at bay, fight off, or defend against. But in its original, noun form, around 1400, the Oxford English Dictionary says, a “stave” was a thin...Show More Summary

Time to get ill: Beastie Boys lyrics in the Oxford English Dictionary

Topic: Books The OED quotes the Beastie Boys nine times! That’s a pretty respectable tally for any modern author, let alone a trio of rappers whose renown is largely due to a song called “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)”. Show More Summary

10 Signs You Are Having Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a struggle for many people. Yet, this concept is very new. According to the Oxford English Dictionary,... The post 10 Signs You Are Having Work-Life Balance appeared first on Lifehack.

Russell Napier: "Central Banks Are Now Powerless To Prevent A Steep Rise In Real Rates"

From Russell Napier of Eric The failure of the SNB, invisible cloth and a one-way ticket to Palookaville Definition of ‘fix’ (Oxford English Dictionary): (v) To fasten, make firm; to deprive of volatility or fluidity(v) To adjust, make...Show More Summary

The history of 'nightmare'

People awakening from a "nightmare" often have the sensation that they can't breathe. Not surprising: That's where the word "nightmare" comes from. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first used of "nightmare" in English to around 1300, as "a female spirit or monster supposed to settle on and produce a feeling of suffocation in a sleeping person or animal." Other...

Trust: Does It Really Matter How a Court Rules For United Airlines Million Milers?

4 months agoTravel / Air Travel : The Gate

A “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” is the definition of the word trust, according to the Oxford dictionary of American English. “United’s somewhat pyrrhic court victory” and “Court...Show More Summary

The Debut Of iPhools

4 months agoIndustries / Law : Above the Law

In-house columnist Mark Herrmann nominates a word that should appear in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Edumacate Us: How "The Simpsons" Changed the Language

To celebrate "The Simpsons'" 25th Anniversary, Oxford Dictionaries turned to English professor Michael Adams to examine how the show has changed the language.

How The Simpsons Changed the English Language

4 months agoGenres / Sci Fi : io9

Over at the Oxford Dictionaries blog, there's an essay by author and Indiana University at Bloomington professor Michael Adams that investigates how The Simpsons has helped shape the English language over the past 25 years. Read mor...

The Oxford English Dictionary adds words

Four times a year, the venerable Oxford English Dictionary releases a list of words it has added, revised, or otherwise updated. Given that the OED contains nearly 300,000 entries, releasing a new edition that thoroughly updates is a monumental task. (The latest fully updated edition was only the second, and was released in 1989.) So, in this online world, the...

The 11 best new words added to Oxford dictionaries

The editors at try to stay on top of the latest developments in English vocabulary, and they just added 1,000 new words to their online dictionary. Updates include acronyms like WTAF ("what the actual f__"), shortenings like jel (jealous), and creative spellings like hawt and fone. Show More Summary

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