First World War Centenary

First World War Centenary


2014 marks the start of the first centenary of World War One and the Oxford English Dictionary will be exploring the language of the First World War throughout the centenary period.

Here you will find articles and features that trace the significant influence of the First World War on English vocabulary. You can explore the new terms for vehicles, weapons, and wartime concepts; how soldier’s slang became part of vocabulary; as well as words and phrases that are so well known now, you may not be aware of their First World War origins.

100 Words that Define the First World War

As part of our recent update, OED’s editors have revisited and revised the dictionary’s coverage of some of the language and history associated with World War I. Chief Editor Michael Proffitt sets the update in historical context and discusses the naming of wars, while Senior Editor Kate Wild and Associate Editor Andrew Ball explore the impact and enduring historical legacy of World War I on the English language.

Discover the ways in which the events of the First World War left their mark on the English language.Browse our illustrated timeline highlighting 100 Words that Define the First World War.

The words selected in this update characterize the conflict: its international scope, its impact on military and civilian life, and its enduring historical legacy. More than 250 entries have been updated and are available free. A full list can be found here.

OED Appeals

OED AppealsTo commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War (1914–18), the OED has revised a set of vocabulary related to or coined during the war. Part of the revision process involved searching for earlier or additional evidence, and for this we asked for your help.

Take a look at our latest OED appeals

ww1_fillslotTake a look at the First World War hub for contributions from OUP historians and writers, with material from world-class research projects, and exclusive archival material.



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