Welcome to the OED blog

Welcome to the OED blog

‘rum’

The word rum is first recorded in 1654 in the Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, where it is mentioned along with another of its names kill-devil: Berbados Liquors,…

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‘precarious’

A century is not that long in the history of the English language. Over that kind of timescale words do of course acquire new nuances, and new meanings, but it’s…

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Nachos, anyone?

In the 25 years during which I worked for the Oxford English Dictionary, before the days of sophisticated electronic searching, the methods used by OED library researchers like myself were…

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‘mammoth’

What does the OED‘s entry for the word mammoth tell us about the development of the word in English? Take a brief look at the entry as a whole: before…

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‘information’

If the content of OED is now more extensive and diverse than that of previous editions, we could say the same of the dictionary’s readership. Usage statistics from the OED…

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‘engine’

An engine in a car or aeroplane is such a solid, physical thing that it might be hard to imagine that the word engine has shown much development over its…

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A time capsule of English

In general the OED publishes around 2,000 new and revised entries each quarter, and so the scheduled 1,947 entries (5,856 lexical items) in the present release looked – from a…

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OED Update

New words: March 2012

English busts loose This quarterly release of OED Online is notable for the sheer variety of revised entries it makes available, a fact reflected in the items which appear now…

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The dog: man’s best friend?

The history of man’s relationship with the domesticated carnivorous mammal Canis familiaris is a long and complex one, and is reflected in the language used across the centuries to describe…

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