Showing 1-10 of 17 entries tagged


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The winter festival of Kwanzaa was initiated in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, an African-American activist and scholar, but the earliest example in the OED is from […]

blue-arsed fly

The first evidence for the metaphorical ‘blue-arsed fly’ in the OED’s entry comes from a 1970 quote attributed to the Duke of Edinburgh. The r-less ‘blue-assed fly’, however, is attested from at least 1932. Why such a discrepancy? […]


We are looking for earlier evidence of ‘Ironman’ in the sense ‘a triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile cycle race and a full marathon’. The first example found so far is […]


Before email was ‘email’ it was ‘electronic mail’. Although the shorter form is by far the more common name today, the full form ‘electronic mail’ of course came first […]


The practice of consuming large servings of carbohydrates before participating in endurance sports was referred to as ‘carbohydrate loading’ as early as 1963, but the colloquial term ‘carbo-loading’ is more […]


OED editors are researching the term ‘mani-pedi’, meaning ‘a beauty treatment comprising both a manicure and a pedicure’. This word has been commonly used throughout […]


This colloquialism for ‘extremely easy’ was added to the dictionary in 2002. OED editors posted an appeal for earlier evidence in our print newsletter back then, and we haven’t given up. We’re…


​Now familiar from police procedurals and television crime dramas, the term ‘SOCO’ (scenes of the crime officer) originated in the jargon of Scotland Yard. The first example in ​OED’s ​entry is from […]


While researching the history of the word ​’mochaccino’​ ​for potential inclusion in the dictionary, ​OED ​editors were surprised that the earliest […]

to manage expectations

When a business thinks that what its customers want is for some reason unrealistic or unachievable, it might decide that a prudent course of action is to ‘manage expectations’ […]

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