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The language of...

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Words from the 1960s OED

Words from the 1960s

If youth had flexed its muscles in the 1950s, in the 1960s it ruled the roost. Out on the streets, in the clubs and on the campuses, it was young…

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Words from the 1940s OED

Words from the 1940s

It was a decade of war and peace: the first half monopolized by worldwide conflict, the second tentatively reaching out towards ways of avoiding a repetition of the first. Together…

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Words from the 1930s

Words from the 1930s

The history of cool as a general term of approval is a patchy affair. It emerged in African American English by the early 1930s, perhaps as a development of an…

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Words from the 1920s

Words from the 1920s

In the decade following the war to end war (a coinage first recorded in 1914) there was frivolity in the air, but also a residue of tension, of anxiety, that…

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paperback books

Paperback writer

As the publication date approached for the paperback version of my history of the Oxford English Dictionary – now available from all good booksellers! – I found myself, perhaps inevitably…

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