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This Day In History: 02/01/1884 - Oxford Dictionary Debuts

This Day In History: 02/01/1884 - Oxford Dictionary Debuts


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The Oxford Dictionary debuts, Chief Justice John Jay is named the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the first nuclear explosion is shown on TV, and the Columbia space shuttle explodes in This Day in History video. The date is February 1st. The crew of Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, and David Brown are lost.


Main definitions of may in English

Traditionalists insist that one should distinguish between may (present tense) and might (past tense) in expressing possibility: I may have some dessert if I'm still hungry she might have known her killer. However, this distinction is rarely observed today, and may and might are generally acceptable in either case: she may have visited yesterday I might go and have a cup of tea. On the difference in use between may and can, see
can

Phrases

Despite that nevertheless.

  • &lsquoAnyway, be that as it may, I thought he was the most talented man on Earth.&rsquo
  • &lsquoIt's really difficult, but be that as it may, we are able to get by with the first ship last week, and hopefully we can get that cargo out of the transit sheds and off the docks and to the market.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut, be that as it may, let me offer my simple explanation.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut be that as it may, that's not the important issue.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut be that as it may, it happened and it's yesterday's affair.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut, be that as it may, he was bugging her, and she told him to go shove it.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut be that as it may, they ought to be thankful they can hold those positions into the new year.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut be that as it may, we'd no notion of bringing trouble like this down on your house.&rsquo
  • &lsquoBut be that as it may, if you can get instructions from someone when they are capable, that's sufficient, irrespective of whether the next day they become incapable.&rsquo

1 Used to make an unenthusiastic suggestion.

2 Used to indicate that a situation is the same as if the hypothetical thing stated were true.

Origin

Old English mæg, of Germanic origin, from a base meaning ‘have power’ related to Dutch mogen and German mögen, also to main and might.


And Oxford’s Word of the Year Is…

A good “word of the year” will sum up our culture as it was during that particular orbit around the sun. Given that more and more tools are created every day that encourage us to focus on ourselves—to publicly share our opinions, our whereabouts, our calorie intakes, our playlists and our dogs’ mistakes—Oxford Dictionaries’ choice certainly seems to capture the zeitgeist: 2013 was a selfie year.

For those 9% of Americans who still don’t have a cell phone, this is how Oxford defines selfie:

(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

Explaining why that word won the crown, Oxford editors note that usage of selfie has gone up 17,000% since this time last year. That’s according to their new word monitor, which scans web content and collects 150 million words each month. A dedicated team of editors thumbs through that data, which help determine when words should be welcomed into Oxford’s dictionaries. Though it so far hasn’t made the cut in the venerable Oxford English Dictionary, selfie was added to the hipper Oxford Dictionaries Online this August.

Oxford doesn’t require that a winning word come into existence during that calendar year, just that it “become prominent or notable in that time.” In 2013, selfie made it into countless headlines about celebrities and political scandals. It became the crux of museum exhibits dedicated to examining this modern form of digital expression (**adjusts monocle**). The word even made its debut on the judicial circuit , when a U.S. district court for North Carolina adopted TIME’s definition to support issuing a warrant for an alleged criminal’s cell phone.

The Oxford research team traced the usage of selfie back to 2002, when an Australian described a photo he or she had taken after landing “lip first” on a set of steps. What may have been the coinage of a hungover Aussie rambling in an online forum exploded over the past decade, helped along by the widespread adoption of smartphones. And the biggest bang in that explosion came this year. Just take a gander at this Google Trends chart showing search volumes for the term:

Oxford also released a shortlist of other words that didn’t quite make the cut. Among them are reminders of how digitally focused our lives have become and proof that Miley Cyrus ‘ death grip on the world’s attention doesn’t extend to lexicographers—yet. Some might even argue that “twerk” was robbed.

bedroom tax: (n., in the UK) a reduction in the amount of housing benefit paid to a claimant if the property they are renting is judged to have more bedrooms than is necessary for the number of the people in the household, according to criteria set down by the government.

binge-watch: (v.) to watch multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.

bitcoin: (n.) a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank. Also, a unit of bitcoin.

olinguito: (n.) a small furry mammal found in mountain forests in Colombia and Ecuador, the smallest member of the raccoon family.

schmeat: (n.) a form of meat produced synthetically from biological tissue.

showrooming: (n.) the practice of visiting a shop or shops in order to examine a product before buying it online at a lower price.

twerk: (v.) dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.


The Time the Oxford English Dictionary Forgot a Word

When the complete edition of what would become the Oxford English Dictionary debuted in 1928, it was lauded as a comprehensive collection of the English language, a glossary so vast—and so thorough—that no other reference book could ever exceed its detail or depth. In total, the project took seven decades to catalogue everything from A to Z, defining a total of 414,825 words. But in the eyes of its editor James Murray, the very first volume of the dictionary was something of an embarrassment: It was missing a word.

Looking back, it’s impressive that more words were not lost. Assembling the OED was a nightmare. Before the first volume—an installment consisting of words beginning with the letters A and B—was published in 1888, multiple editors had taken (and abandoned) the helm, and each regime change created new opportunities for mayhem. When James Murray took command in 1879, the Oxford English Dictionary could best be defined by the word disarray.

The irony of making this massive reference book was that it required millions upon millions of tiny, tiny pieces of paper. Every day, volunteers mailed in thousands of small strips of paper called “quotation slips.” On these slips, volunteers would copy a single sentence from a book, in hopes that this sentence could help illuminate a particular word’s meaning. (For example, the previous sentence might be a good example of the word illuminate. Volunteers would copy that sentence and mail it to Oxford’s editors, who would review it and compare the slip to others to highlight the word illuminate.)

The process helped Oxford’s editors study all of the shades of meaning expressed by a single word, but it was also tedious and messy. With thousands of slips pouring into the OED’s offices every day, things could often go wrong.

Some papers were stuffed haphazardly into boxes or bags, where they gathered cobwebs and were forgotten. Words beginning with Pa went missing for 12 years, only to be recovered in County Cavan, Ireland, where somebody was using the papers as kindling. Slips for the letter G were nearly burned with somebody’s trash. In 1879, the entire letter H turned up in Italy. At one point, Murray opened a bag only to find a family of live mice chewing on the paperwork.

When Murray took over, he tried to right the ship. To better organize the project, he built a small building of corrugated iron called the “Scriptorium.” It resembled a sunken tool shed, but it was here—with the help of 1029 built-in pigeonholes—that Murray and his subeditors arranged, sorted, and filed more than a thousand incoming slips every day. Millions of quotations would pass through the Scriptorium, and hundreds of thousands of words would be neatly organized by Murray’s trusty team.

One word, however, slipped through the cracks.

Oxford English Dictionary entry slips Media Specialist, Flickr // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bondmaid is not the kind of word people drop during conversation anymore, and that’s for the best: It means “a slave girl.” The word was most popular in the 16th century. Murray’s file for bondmaid, however, reached back even further: It included quotations as old as William Tyndale’s 1526 translation of the Bible.

But then bondmaid went missing. “Its slips had fallen down behind some books, and the editors had never noticed that it was gone,” writes Simon Winchester in The Meaning of Everything. When the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1888, bondmaid wasn’t there. (That volume of the OED does miss other words, but those exclusions were deliberate matters of editorial policy—bondmaid is the only word that the editors are known to have physically lost.)

When the slips were later rediscovered in the Scriptorium, Murray reportedly turned red with embarrassment. By 1901, some 14 years after the exclusion, he was still reeling over the mistake in a draft of a letter addressed to an anonymous contributor: “[N]ot one of the 30 people (at least) who saw the work at various stages between MS. and electrotyped pages noticed the omission. The phenomenon is absolutely inexplicable, and with our minute organization one would have said absolutely impossible I hope also absolutely unparalleled.”

All was not lost for the lost word, however. In 1933, bondmaid made its Oxford dictionary debut. It had taken nearly five decades to make the correction.


Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) is one of those popular novels that we tend to assume we already know without having read it. This tale of the French Revolution has been adapted many, many times, for the stage, small and large screens, and radio, and it has been frequently parodied over the decades, most famously, perhaps, by the Carry On team with Don’t Lose Your Head (aka Carry on Pimpernel).

Only one birthday is “celebrated” in Wuthering Heights. It doesn’t go well. The young Catherine Linton begins her 16th birthday with a modestly optimistic plan to buck the established family pattern of solitary mourning to mark the date when she came into the world (“a puny, seven months child”), but her mother died two hours later.


1917: A reading list

In order to fully understand key moments in history, it is important to review the culture that created them. As 2017 draws to a close, we have compiled a reading list to re-examine history from a century onward.

What was going on in the world at large? Fred Astaire was still dancing with his older sister, Adele. A young black man named Alain Locke from Philadelphia was discovering and encouraging fellow African American artists. Virginia and Leonard Woolf received the printing press with which they would found Hogarth Press. Poets like Siegfried Sassoon were writing anti-war verse while serving in the trenches of World War One. Transport yourself to a truly world-changing year in our shared history — 1917 — with any of the following titles.

The Russian Revolution

1917 was a year of calamitous events, and one of pivotal importance in the development of the First World War. In 1917: War, Peace, and Revolution, leading historian of World War I David Stevenson examines this crucial year in context and illuminates the century that followed. He shows how, in this one year, the war was transformed, but also what drove the conflict onward and how it continued to escalate.

Russia in Flames offers a compelling narrative of heroic effort and brutal disappointment, revealing that what happened during these seven years was both a landmark in the emancipation of Russia from past oppression and a world-shattering disaster. As regimes fall and rise, as civil wars erupt, as state violence targets civilian populations, it is a story that remains profoundly and enduringly relevant.

Red at Heart brings to life a cast of transnational characters who connected the two great communist revolutions in human terms. Weaving personal stories and cultural interactions into political history, McGuire movingly shows that the Sino-Soviet relationship was not a brotherhood or a friendship, but rather played out in phases like many lifelong love affairs. A century after 1917, this book offers a novel story about Chinese communism, the Russian Revolution’s most geopolitically significant legacy.

World War One

Examining the social, political, and financial forces at work as well as the role of public opinion and popular culture, The Path to War offers both a compelling narrative and the inescapable conclusion that World War One was no parenthetical exception in the American story, but a moment of national self-determination.

In Wounded, Emily Mayhew tells the history of the Western Front from a new perspective: the medical network that arose seemingly overnight to help sick and injured soldiers. These men and women pulled injured troops from the hellscape of trench, shell crater, and no man’s land, transported them to the rear, and treated them for everything from foot rot to poison gas, from venereal disease to traumatic amputation from exploding shells.

The First World War produced an extraordinary flowering of poetic talent, from British poets whose words commemorate the conflict as enduringly as monuments in stone. Their poems have come to express the feelings of a nation about the horrors and aftermath of war.

Arts and culture of 1917

Balanchine & the Lost Muse: Revolution & the Making of a Choreographer by Elizabeth Kendall
Tracing the lives and friendship of these two dancers from years just before the 1917 Russian Revolution to Balanchine’s escape from Russia in 1924, Elizabeth Kendall’s Balanchine & the Lost Muse sheds new light on a crucial flash point in the history of ballet. Drawing upon extensive archival research, Kendall weaves a fascinating tale about this decisive period in the life of the man who would become the most influential choreographer in modern ballet.

In this book, the first comprehensive study of their theatrical career together, Kathleen Riley traces the Astaires’ rise to fame from humble midwestern origins and early days as child performers on small-time vaudeville stages (where Fred, fatefully, first donned top hat and tails) to their 1917 debut on Broadway to star billings on both sides of the Atlantic.

In The New Negro, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, and yet, he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism.

Literature of 1917

Published in 1917, Summer is often called the warm weather companion to Ethan Frome. They share many similarities but Wharton thought better of Summer than her earlier novel. The novel details the sexual awakening of its protagonist, Charity Royall, and her cruel treatment by the father of her child.

First published in 1917, The Wild Swans at Coole was republished over two years later with an additional 17 poems which is the edition most widely acknowledged. The middle years of Yeats’ career found the poet grappling with Irish nationalism and with the creation of an Irish aesthetic.

The Mark on the Wall and Other Short Fiction by Virginia Woolf

When Leonard and Virginia first began Hogarth Press in 1917, the first book they printed was Two Stories. It contained a story by Leonard and a story by Virginia. That story by Virginia was The Mark on the Wall. She said of writing it, “’I shall never forget the day I wrote The Mark on the Wall – all in a flash, as if flying, after being kept stone breaking for months.”

Featured image credit: “time-alarm-clock-alarm-clock” by Monoar Rahman. CC0 via Pexels.

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Teaching February 2021

Even though it’s our shortest month of the year, February just seems to be jam-packed with interesting holidays. There’s President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, and the Super Bowl if you’re a sports fan. More importantly, we also use this month to honor Black History in our country. No matter what you want to share with your students, Kids Discover has you covered with these 8 relevant Units and Topics for the month of February.

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. Use the entire month to highlight and applaud the contributions African-Americans have made to our culture and world. The list of names to know is virtually endless and extends from music to government to science. It’s a topic that truly deserves to be discussed all year long. This month, begin by sharing the Civil Rights Unit with your class. It addresses the movement’s beginnings, its legacy, and the heroes that every student should know more about. And be on the lookout for brand new Units on Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Curtis Mayfield, set to launch next week!

February 1 – The Oxford Dictionary Debuts (1884)

Your students may consider you to be a walking dictionary, but this volume of books is the real deal. Oxford University began working on this project in 1857. The second edition was published in 1989 and was 21,728 pages across 20 volumes. It’s not exactly light reading. Our Language Unit will teach where language came from and where it’s going. It may even inspire your students to add a new word or two to their vocabulary.

February 5 – National Weatherperson Day

The local weatherperson is sometimes one of the most recognizable people on the news. Maybe your students even daydream about being a meteorologist when they grow up? Our Weather Unit will help foster that curiosity by teaching the causes of different weather patterns and how we track them. The Extreme Weather Unit goes even deeper into natural events that can drastically change where we live.

February 6 – Queen Elizabeth Becomes Queen of England (1952)

On this day in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II became the Queen of England. She was only 27 years old and now had to lead an entire nation. She still reigns today, for a total of 68 years, making her the longest reigning monarch in British history. In our Kings and Queens Unit, your students will learn more about royal life throughout history and see that sometimes it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

February 7 – Super Bowl Sunday

Maybe you’re rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or just want to watch the commercials. Sports have always played a critical role in our society and there’s so much science that goes behind it. In our Forces in Sports Topic, part of the Forces and Motion Unit, students will learn about the equipment that helps keep athletes, including football players, safe.

February 12 – Chinese New Year

On this day, the Chinese culture begins a 16 day celebration and enters the Year of the Ox. The name comes from the Chinese Zodiac which believes that a person’s birth year affects their personality. In Celebrating the Chinese New Year, students will learn more about this beautiful holiday and the traditions that come with it. If you have students who celebrate at home, invite them to share their own family’s customs.

February 14 – Valentine’s Day

Chances are, your students are already brimming with excitement for this holiday. Sure it means a lot of candy, but do they know the facts behind it? Our Hearts Unit will give them an opportunity to learn more about the organ and why it represents love. Before your class exchanges cards, our Valentine’s Day Topic will share the history of the holiday and how it’s changed over the years.

February 15 – President’s Day

On this day, we honor the 46 presidents who have served as commander in chief. Because of their February birthdays, we also give special attention to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Although their presidencies are separated by nearly 100 years, they both represent some of the greatest virtues a leader can have. Discuss with your students the impact both of these men had in history.

Kids Discover For over 25 years, we’ve been creating beautifully crafted nonfiction products for kids. With a specialty in science and social studies, our team of talented writers, award-winning designers and illustrators, and subject-experts from leading institutions is committed to a single mission: to get children excited about reading and learning.


History of the OED

The Oxford English Dictionary has been the last word on words for over a century. But, as with a respected professor or admired parent, we count on its wisdom and authority without thinking much about how it was acquired. What is the history of the Oxford English Dictionary? Exploring its origins and development will give new insight into this extraordinary, living document.

    1857: The Philological Society of London calls for a new English Dictionary 1884: Five years into a proposed ten-year project, the editors reach ant 1884-1928: The Dictionary is published in fascicles 1933-1986: Supplements to the OED 1980s: The Supplements are integrated with the OED to produce its Second Edition 1992: The first CD-ROM version of the OED is published The present: The OED is now being fully revised, with new material published in parts online

10 Facts About Webster’s Dictionary for Dictionary Day

October 16 is World Dictionary Day, marking the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1758, it was Webster’s two-volume American Dictionary of the English Language that truly earned him his place in linguistic history, and a reputation as the foremost lexicographer of American English. To mark the occasion, here are 10 facts about the dictionary without which Dictionary Day would not exist.

1. IT WASN’T WEBSTER’S FIRST BOOK ABOUT LANGUAGE .

Following his studies at Yale in the late 1700s, Webster had initially hoped to become a lawyer, but a lack of funds held him back from pursuing his chosen career and he instead ended up teaching. It was then that he became horrified of the poor quality of school textbooks on offer, and took it upon himself to produce his own. The result, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language—nicknamed the “Blue-Backed Speller,” because of its characteristic cover—was published in 1783 and remained the standard language textbook in American schools for the next century.

2. . OR EVEN HIS FIRST DICTIONARY.

Webster had published a less exhaustive dictionary, entitled A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806. Although considered little more than preparation for the much larger project that lay ahead, Webster’s 1806 effort still defined an impressive 37,000 words, and is credited with being the first major dictionary in history to list I and J, and U and V, as separate letters. He began work on his American Dictionary the following year.

3. IT TOOK HIM 22 YEARS TO COMPLETE (FOR GOOD REASON).

Webster reportedly finished compiling his dictionary in 1825, and continued to edit and improve it for a further three years he was 70 years old when his American Dictionary of the English Language was finally published in 1828. There was good reason for the delay, however: Webster had learned 26 languages—including the likes of Sanskrit, Ancient Greek and Old English—in the process.

4. IT WAS THE BIGGEST DICTIONARY EVER WRITTEN.

Webster’s 37,000-word Compendious Dictionary (1806) had listed around 5000 entries fewer than what was at the time the longest English dictionary available: Samuel Johnson’s 42,000-word Dictionary of the English Language (1755). But with the publication of the American Dictionary, Johnson’s record was obliterated: running to two volumes, Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined a staggering 70,000 words, around half of which had never been included in an English dictionary before.

5. NOT ALL OF HIS SPELLING REFORMS HIT THE MARK.

In compiling his dictionaries, Webster famously took the opportunity to make his case for spelling reform. As he wrote in the introduction to his American Dictionary, “It has been my aim in this work … to ascertain the true principles of the language, in its orthography and structure to purify it from some palpable errors, and reduce the number of its anomalies.”

A great many of Webster’s suggestions—like taking the U out of words like colour and honour, and clipping words like dialogue and catalogue—took hold, and still continue to divide British and American English to this day. Others, however, were less successful. Among his less popular suggestions, Webster advocated removing the B from thumb, the E from give, and the S from island, and he proposed that daughter should be spelled “dawter,” porpoise should be spelled “porpess,” and tongue should be spelled “tung.”

6. SOME OF THE WORDS WERE MAKING THEIR DEBUTS IN PRINT.

Besides recommending updating English spelling, Webster made a point of including a number of quintessentially American words in his dictionaries, many of which had never been published in dictionaries before. Among them were the likes of skunk, hickory, applesauce, opossum, chowder and succotash.

7. WORDS BEGINNING WITH X WERE SUDDENLY A THING.

Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary had contained no words at all beginning with X. (“X is a letter,” he wrote at the bottom of page 2308, “which, though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language.”) Webster’s 1806 Compendious Dictionary increased that figure by one with xebec, the name of a type of Mediterranean sailing vessel. But in his American Dictionary, Webster included a total of 13 entries under X, namely xanthid and xanthide (a chemical compound), xanthogene (the base of a new acid), xebec, xerocollyrium (an eye-salve), xeromyrum (a dry ointment), xerophagy (the eating of dry food), xerophthalmy (the medical name for dry eyes), xiphias (a swordfish), xiphoid (a piece of cartilage at the bottom of the breast bone), xylgography (wood engraving), and xyster (a bone-scraper), as well as the letter X itself (“the twenty-fourth letter of the English alphabet … [having] the sound of ks”).

8. WEBSTER PREDICTED THE UNITED STATES’ POPULATION BOOM.

In 1828, the population of the United States was roughly 13 million by 1928, that figure had increased nine-fold to more than 120 million, and today the US is home to around 320,000,000 people. Despite writing at a turbulent time in the country’s history, Webster somehow predicted the future expansion of America’s population almost perfectly. In the introduction to his American Dictionary, he wrote:

It has been my aim in this work, now offered to my fellow citizens, to ascertain the true principles of the language … and in this manner, to furnish a standard of our vernacular tongue, which we shall not be ashamed to bequeath to three hundred millions of people, who are destined to occupy, and I hope, to adorn the vast territory within our jurisdiction.

It was an oddly accurate prediction, and one that he reiterated under the word tongue (or rather, /tung), which he defined as “the whole sum of words used by a particular nation. The English tongue, within two hundred years, will probably be spoken by two or three hundred millions of people in North America.”

9. ITS PUBLICATION INSPIRED A CHANGE IN THE COPYRIGHT LAWS.

The publication of Webster’s dictionary—as well as his own newfound celebrity—led to a major change in United States law that provided indelible security for all writers and authors. In 1831, Webster was invited to the White House to dine with President Andrew Jackson, and subsequently to give a lecture to the House of Representatives. He took the opportunity to lobby the House to change United States copyright law, which at the time protected writers’ work only for a total of 14 years. The result was the Copyright Act of 1831, which extended writers’ protection to a total of 28 years with the option to apply for a further 14 years’ copyright after that.

10. IT WAS A SUCCESS … BUT NOT ENOUGH OF A SUCCESS.

The American Dictionary sold a quietly impressive 2500 copies—priced between $15 and $20 (roughly $350 and $480 today). But high printing and binding costs meant that even these sales weren’t enough to make the dictionary all that profitable, and consequently, at the age of 82, Webster was forced to mortgage his home in New Haven to finance an extended 2nd edition (including a further 5,000 new words) in 1841. Sadly, it failed to capitalize on the previous edition’s modest success.

Webster died two years later on May 28, 1843, after which booksellers George and Charles Merriam bought all unsold copies of Webster’s 2nd edition—crucially, along with the rights to publish revised editions in future. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary was born.


Previous updates

2021 updates

More than 1400 new words, sub-entries, and revisions have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including gender pay gap, me-too, essential worker, and ally.

Learn more about the words added to the OED this quarter in our new words notes by OED Revision Editor, Jonathan Dent.

Read the long tale of shirttail, peppered as it is with prairies and small boys, in this blog post by OED Executive Editor, Graeme Diamond.

With the addition of womxn to the OED this quarter, find out how our editors document the pronunciation of words containing an X in this article by Head of Pronunciations, Catherine Sangster.

Learn all about micing and acegirls as Dr. Rosemary Hall, Onion and OED Bermudian English consultant, shares the details of our new batch of Bermudian English words in this blog post.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

2020 updates

More than 500 new words, sub-entries, and revisions have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including clockwork orange, follically challenged, and adulting.

Learn more about the words added to the OED this quarter in our (rather zhuzhy) new words notes by OED Revision Editor, Jonathan Dent.

And it’s not just definitions that require updating—in this article, Deputy Chief Editor Philip Durkin highlights some notable OED entries with newly revised etymologies and variant forms, from those with clear origins such as bombshell, to those which threw up a few surprises, such as dragonfly.

As you hang your candy canes on your Christmas tree, take a moment to learn all about the revision of candy, and the word’s connection to love stories, social events, and even bailiffs, in this blog post by OED Junior Editor, Kirsty Dunbar.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

More than 650 new words, senses, and sub-entries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including code red, craftivist, and Cookie Monster.

Learn more about the words added to the OED this quarter in our release notes by OED Revision Editor, Jonathan Dent.

This month’s update sees the publication of a number of new words from Canada. World English Editor, Danica Salazar, discusses schlockey and bush parties, buckle, and the May two-four in her notes on the Ontario Dialects Project here.

And if you have ever been curious about where the word codswallop came from, read about an investigation into its origins in this article by OED Revision Editor, Matthew Bladen.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

This is the second OED update to cover linguistic developments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. Once again, this falls outside of our usual quarterly publication cycle, and once again these new and updated entries are being made available free to all at oed.com. As well as many new and newly familiar terms, we have also revised a number of relevant terms which were already in the OED but have assumed added meaning or significance in 2020. As a historical dictionary the OED has an obligation to tell the whole story of a word, but our constant monitoring of language also allows us to see (and tell) those stories as they emerge and change.

In preparing these entries, there is sometimes a balancing act in showing the linguistic impact of the last 6 months clearly and usefully, but also proportionately as part of the history of a word used over many decades or centuries. In some cases, we have chosen to update specific relevant senses rather than the whole entry.

The impact of Covid-19 on our lives and our language is an ongoing story. As we learn more about the nature of the virus and the social impact of the pandemic, the associated vocabulary changes, and the terms themselves change in meaning and usage. One advantage of publishing online is that we can update in response to such changes, so we’ve taken this opportunity to make a few updates to some of the entries we published in April. Covid-19 itself is a case in point: in April, OED followed medical literature then in defining it as a respiratory disease: it’s now clear it’s something more, and we’ve updated our definition accordingly. Our monitoring of large-scale text corpora also continues to identify words exhibiting a marked increase in usage, and a number of those appear in this update.

Because of the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, and the unusual pace of linguistic change, we have accelerated the process of researching, writing, and publishing these entries but we’ve done that without compromising OED’s usual editorial rigour, diligence, and impartiality. Like everyone else, lexicographers are adapting to changed circumstances, making the best of new constraints and difficulties. Working from home has benefits and disadvantages. Online research resources are largely unaffected, but library closures have left us temporarily unable to pursue or complete occasional strands of research or verification. However, in a period when so many of us have felt both the lack and the value of definitive information, OED’s commitment to publishing new research remains constant.

Read our release notes from Trish Stewart, OED Revision Editor: Science here.

Learn how the OED has been tracking the development of the language around Covid-19 here.

You can see the full list of words added in this update here.

The OED publishes four updates a year. The next update will be added to the dictionary in September 2020.

More than 400 new words, senses, and sub-entries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including banana bread, LOL, plant-based, and arr.

Read about the revision of spirit, n., “the most awkward, frustrating, and downright difficult entry I’ve ever worked on” in this article by OED Revision Editor, Matthew Bladen.

Learn more about the words added to the OED this quarter, and find out how to make yourself sound much more piratical, in our release notes by OED editor Jonathan Dent.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

Note from Fiona McPherson, Editorial Manager, Public Liaison, OED Management

This is a significant update for the OED, and something of a departure, coming as it does outside our usual quarterly publication cycle. But these are extraordinary times, and OED lexicographers are in a unique position to track the development of the language we are using and to present the histories of these words.

Any new and widespread phenomenon always brings with it the development of new language to describe it. This particular crisis has brought a mixture of new coinages and the adaptation of terms that already existed to talk about the pandemic and the impact on the world. We’ve included some of the more widely-used terms in this update, informed and backed up by our analysis of corpora, including our own corpus of contemporary English, which currently contains over 8 billion words of data and is updated and expanded every month.

COVID-19 is, perhaps surprisingly, the only actual neologism. Coronavirus was first described in 1968 and was first included in the OED in 2008. The others are a mixture of words which had wider meaning and are now being used more specifically to refer to this pandemic, but what is clear, and what our analysis shows, is that in the first quarter of 2020, the use of all of these terms has seen a huge increase, and these words are all now entirely familiar and commonplace even if their histories are longer.

Read our release notes about this update by Executive Editor Bernadette Paton here.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

More than 550 new words, senses, and sub-entries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including coulrophobia, there’s one born every minute, and man hug.

This update seems to have a rather furry focus. Learn about beard-stroking, chin-stroking, puggles, and bears in our new word notes by OED New Words Editor, Craig Leyland.

Christmas has come early for those who love words just a little more than your average bear–learn all about the batch of Christmas words that have been worked on this quarter in our release notes by Matthew Bladen.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

More than 550 new words, senses, and sub-entries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including mentionitis, awesomesauce, safe space, and shticky.

If you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, take a moment to learn about the most Scottish word of all time, a new sense of UFO (which might please the knitting community), and why you might actually enjoy a dose of Jewish penicillin in our new words notes by Jonathan Dent, OED Senior Assistant Editor.

Learn how speakers of Nigerian English might use the words Mama put and K-leg, in this article by Danica Salazar, World English Editor for the OED, and find out more about our West African pronunciations in this explanatory note by our pronunciations team.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

2019 updates

More than 650 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including fake news, xoxo, and Jedi mind trick.

This quarter sees the addition of a number of words used in political circles recently, from former Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year omnishambles to the simples used by Theresa May in the House of Commons. A clutch of Star Wars terms have also made their dictionary debut, and we have dipped into the world of food and drink with angels’ share and the rather Marmite-sounding amber pudding. You can read about some of the other new entries in this article by Jonathan Dent, OED Senior Assistant Editor.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

More than 1,400 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including bae, yeesh, and hasbian.

You can read about some of the other new entries in this article by Bernadette Paton, OED Associate Editor.

This update also sees the addition of many new words, senses, and sub-entries relating to the term bastard, such as bastardly, bastard bearing, and bastardize. OED Senior Editor, Matthew Bladen explores when bastard originally entered the English language, along with the multitude of senses associated with the word, and the transformative journey it has taken in the OED over the last 150 years in his piece. Read the full article here.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

More than 650 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including puggle, [email protected], and peoplekind.

You can read about some of the other new entries in this article by Jonathan Dent, OED Senior Assistant Editor.

In our release notes, Jonathan Dent also discusses some of the new additions to come from our recent public appeals. Read this article to find out more about words such as kitbasher and jibbons being added to the OED as a result of our #hobbywords and #wordswhereyouare appeals.

This update also sees the addition of many Scottish words and phrases, such as fantoosh, bidie-in, bosie, and coorie. Find out more about this here.

This article by Senior Assistant Editor, Jeff Sherwood, explores the semantic history of caucus as part of the update.

You can see the full list of words to be added in this update here.

2018 updates

More than 1,100 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including northern flicker, hazzled, and electric catfish.

This quarter sees the inclusion of long-established terms such as me time, more recent coinages including hangry and mansplaining, and words which have seen a shift in sense, such as snowflake. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes this January, Edmund Weiner, Deputy Chief Editor of the OED, investigates the mysterious use of ‘sun scalds’ in Rudyard Kipling’s novel, Captains Courageous, here, and OED Associate Editor, Peter Gilliver, explores how sensationalist writing came to be known as ‘yellow journalism’ in this article.

Senior Editor, Matthew Bladen, delves into Greek mythology, taking on Titan in this article, which also reveals the amazing history of titch.

Whilst titch itself is not a new addition, nine months on from our Mumsnet appeal, the OED welcomes terms related to pregnancy and parenting to its pages. Read about Senior Editor of the OED, Fi Mooring’s, exploration of words such as baby-led weaning, diaper cake, and the alarmingly evocative poonami here.

More than 700 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including cultural appropriation, trans*, and bubble water.

You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes, Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED, investigates the formal language of sexuality and gender identity, exploring terms such as agender and intersexual here.

This update also sees the addition of more than a hundred Welsh English pronunciations for words borrowed from Welsh into English, such as cwtch, cariad, pennill, and pryddest. Find out more about this here.

More than 900 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including binge-watch, impostor syndrome, and silent generation. You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes, Senior Assistant Editor, Clifford Sofield, discusses the words related to energy that have been added in this update, from energy crisis to energy vampire.

Coinciding with the 90 th anniversary of the publication of The House at Pooh Corner, several words from Winnie-the-Pooh have also been added to the OED in this update. Read more about this here.

Associate Editor, Eleanor Maier, discusses the results of last year’s Free the Word campaign, which helped to uncover a vast variety of regional terms, including antwacky and to have a monk on. Learn more about these words and find out how to contribute regional words of your own here.

This update also sees the addition of a number of Manx English words, such as jough, tholtan, and buggane. Find out more about the Manx dialect in this article by Senior Assistant Editor Kelvin Corlett, and read more about the Manx English pronunciation model that has also been added.

More than 1,400 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including nothingburger, fam, and not in Kansas anymore. You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

In our release notes, Senior Editor, Craig Leyland, discusses the words related to films that have been added in this update, from Tarantinoesque to scream queen.

Senior Assistant Editor, Jonathan Dent, explains the surprises that came with revising dunghill in this update. Read more about how astonishingly complete early predecessor dictionaries were, despite no access at all to searchable databases or electronic, large samples of English, here.

This update also sees the revision of a number of words in the English language that have begun to establish multiple uses far from their original meanings over time. Editorial Content Director, Graeme Diamond, uses bonnet as a way to explore this in his article.

More than 600 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including burkini, Dylanesque, and TGIF. Principal Editor, David Martin, explains some of the fun additions to be added in this update here.

In our release notes, World English Editor, Danica Salazar, discusses the words of South African origin that have been added in this update, as part of the dictionary’s continuing efforts to record the South African lexicon.

This update also welcomes taffety tarts to the OED’s word list. You can read more about the fascinating story of how this phrase came to the attention of our editors in this piece by Deputy Chief Editor, Philip Durkin.

2017 updates

More than 500 new words, phrases, and senses have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary this quarter, including hate-watch, pogonophobia, sticky-outy, and things aren’t what they used to be. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

2017 marks Canada’s 150th anniversary, and our March update includes Canada and Canadian, as well as a host of people, animals, and plants native to Canada. Trish Stewart, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED, has taken a closer look at some of these additions in our release notes.

More than 600 new words, phrases, and senses have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary this quarter, including hygge, post-truth, gin daisy, and widdly. You can read about other new and revised meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries, and explore our timeline of veil words.

As this update also includes revisions to the word come, Denny Hilton, Senior Editor of the OED, explores the evolution of the term to come out in our release notes. You can also brush up on your serve—or your backhand or volley—in our discussion of tennis terms.

Selected Letters of Norman Mailer (2014, edited by J. Michael Lennon) has recently been read as part of the OED’s reading programme, and the letters have provided several antedatings and some interesting insights into the challenges of finding evidence for swear words in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. You can read about this here.

More than 1,000 new words, senses, and subentries have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including worstest, fungivorous, and corporation pop.

This quarter sees the inclusion of both obsolete words, such as afound, and new words such as fatberg. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

Our release notes this September take a closer look at some of the new additions: Danica Salazar, World English Editor, explores a selection of words from Indian English that have been added to the OED, and Benjamin Norris, Senior Assistant Editor, explains the political evolution of beltway.

This update also includes an exciting antedating of white lie by almost two centuries, found because of the work of our Shakespeare’s World volunteers. Find out more about the antedating, and how to volunteer, here.

2016 updates

The March 2016 update to the Oxford English Dictionary sees hundreds of new words, phrases, and senses, including vlog, bro-hug, and Dad’s Army. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED.

Associate Editor Eleanor Maier has written our release notes for this quarter, which take a closer look at the exciting history of the noun luck.

This update also sees the inclusion of a number of words from Singapore English and Hong Kong English.

The June 2016 update sees the inclusion of more than 1,000 new words and senses in the Oxford English Dictionary, along with the revision or expansion of almost 2,000 entries. Additions this June include glamp, starchitect, starter marriage, and ROFL.

You can read more about the new words and meanings added to the Dictionary in an article by Jonathan Dent, from acronyms and initialisms to foodstuffs and modern conveniences (and inconveniences). Our Chief Editor, Michael Proffitt, has written an introduction to the exciting functional changes to the dictionary.

Long knife is an expression with a rich and varied past: it’s been in the OED since the first Supplement of 1933, but a revision this June sees the full history of long knife explored, as our Deputy Chief Editor Edmund Weiner explains in his article. Turning to the functional side of the online dictionary, you can learn more about new features: word frequency in search results and links to full passages from which our example quotations are taken. You can also find out more about the addition of written and spoken pronunciations for several varieties of World English.

This month marks the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth and, to mark the occasion, September’s quarterly update to the OED contains a range of revised and newly drafted entries connected to Roald Dahl and his writing, including splendiferous, human bean, and Dahlesque. Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED, takes a closer look at some of these words in this article.

As ever, the September update to OED contains more than 500 new words, phrases, and senses. Additions this quarter include Westminster bubble, YOLO, and yogalates.

Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary this quarter, including glam-ma, YouTuber, and upstander.

We have a selection of release notes this December, each of which takes a closer look at some of our additions. The last few years have seen the emergence of the word Brexit, and you can read more about the huge increase in the use of the word, and how we go about defining it, in this article by Craig Leyland, Senior Editor of the OED. Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries, explores the interesting story of how two local words, Bama and shaka, became global. Ellie Stedall, Senior Assistant Editor with the OED, also takes a look at how to make sense of sense.

This December’s update also sees the addition of a number of words from the world of surfing, and David Martin has delved into the language of the sport in this article. You can also explore the chronology and meanings of our new surfing words with our interactive timeline.

Turning to the functional side of our online dictionary, we have added further links from OED quotations to source texts in Oxford Scholarly Editions Online. Find out how to use this new feature here.

2015 updates

Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary in this update, and additions this quarter include white stuff, XL, and lookalike. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Assistant Editor of the OED.

Deputy Chief Editor Edmund Weiner has written our release notes for this quarter, which investigate the different meanings of have, look, large, and late.

Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary in this quarter’s update. Additions this June include twerk, FLOTUS, yarn-bombing, and crowdfund. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

The June 2015 update covers a huge variety of words, and our release notes reflect this. Graeme Diamond, our Editorial Content Director, discusses the fascinating history of the fedora, and Senior Editor Denny Hilton explores the lengthy revision of one of the shortest words in the Dictionary, go. Assistant Editor Jonathan Dent investigates the effect of the online world on English, including interweb and retweet. This update also sees the inclusion of a wide range of words from Philippine English, such as Mabuhay and carnap. You can read more about the new Filipino additions in this article by Research Fellow Danica Salazar.

Hundreds of new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary in the September 2015 update. Additions this quarter include hoverboard, telly addict, water baby, and underwater hockey. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Assistant Editor of the OED.

Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary this quarter, including phablet, waybread, and bank of mom and dad. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Senior Assistant Editor of the OED.

This update also sees three major new features added to the OED: audio pronunciations, word frequency markings, and short etymological summaries. Chief Editor of the OED, Michael Proffitt, introduces the exciting new features here. Our release notes this December take a closer look at these additions: Catherine Sangster, Head of Pronunciations, explains the audio pronunciations added this quarter Philip Durkin, Deputy Chief Editor, explores the etymological summaries added to entries.

2014 updates

More than 900 new words, phrases, and senses enter the Oxford English Dictionary in this update. Many appear in entries fully updated for the first time since the OED’s original edition. Some words, like book, death, and honey, have now been expanded by dozens of new items.

Additions this March include bestie, bookaholic, and beat boxer. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

Deputy Chief Editors Philip Durkin and Edmund Weiner have written our release notes which delve a little deeper into the entries that have been revised Philip Durkin looks in particular at empathy, employ/employee/employment, and empire/emperor, whilst Edmund Weiner investigates the history of toilet and its journey from the French word toile ‘cloth’ to the WC or restroom of today.

This quarterly update marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (1914-18) and OED’s editors have revisited and revised the dictionary’s coverage of some of the language and history associated with the war to end all wars.

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.

You can also explore our illustrated timeline highlighting 100 Words that Define the First World War.

See the full list of World War I revisions.

More than 600 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, which sees the revision of several everyday words, such as week, day, and group.

New additions this quarter include fact check, workaround, and First World problem. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

Our Deputy Chief Editors have written the release notes for September, which take a look at some of the entries in more detail. Philip Durkin examines the history of last, and its associated new phrases fun while it lasted and to last the course, whilst Edmund Weiner investigates the journey of some of the words added to the OED this year, including hi-fi, science fiction, and DIY.

More than 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary in December’s update. Many entries have been fully revised for the first time in over 90 years, including good, better, best, and well.

Additions this quarter include g’day, un-PC, and BYOD. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Jonathan Dent, Assistant Editor of the OED.

Our Deputy Chief Editors have written the release notes for this update, which take a look at some of the entries in more detail. Philip Durkin investigates words beginning with un- and their counterparts Edmund Weiner explores un- words with multiple meanings, including unrigged and unravelled.

2013 updates

The December update to the OED includes over 500 new words, phrases, and senses, as well as more than a thousand newly revised entries. Our selections are based on frequency – in general English usage, or of searches by users of OED Online – so the batches of words in quarterly releases are typically diverse.

Or take a look at the release notes for this quarter where Graeme Diamond, Principal Editor, narrates the twists in the tale of fairy, and Edmund Weiner, deputy Chief Editor of the OED, writes elegantly about the history of beauty.

The September update completes the revision of the pronoun entries in the OED with he, she, it and they changes seen include the use of it adjectivally for “fashionable”, as in It Girl. Two clusters that have been revised include great and grey, continuing the colour word theme seen in recent updates.

New words and meanings include milchig, fleishig, em>buzzworthy, and bucket list.

You can read more about the revisions and new words in the September 2013 update in this article by the Chief Editor of the OED, John Simpson (his last before retiring in October).

The latest range of revised and updated OED entries focuses on the revision of three words hand,head, and heart – covering 2,875 headwords, compounds, and other expressions including a head for business, handyman special, and heart-wrenching.

Alongside these there are key new additions and revisions from the spheres of technology, popular culture, and current affairs: dad dancing, em>epic, fiscal cliff, flash mob, follow, geekery, pay day lending, the silent treatment, and tweet.

You can read more about the revisions and new words in the June 2013 update in this article by the Chief Editor of the OED, John Simpson.

The March update focused on revision of blue, covering 614 headwords, compounds, and other expressions.
New words and meanings include boccia, podium, and whip-smart. Alongside these, we have major clusters around the ranges of: audience and audio- Caribbean credit and Creole friend gang and gangster serial and serious, smart, and the volcano words.
You can read more about the revisions and new words in the March 2013 update in this article by the Chief Editor of the OED, John Simpson.
See the words that have been added in this update.

2012 updates

This March, we have added 1,947 new and revised entries to the OED, totalling 5,858 lexical items. As well a range of new words, this update sees the revision of time, which is the most-used noun in the English language. Read more about our new additions here, or find out more about the latest steps in our revision programme here.

In the June 2012 update we revise some 2,500 SUB- and SUPER- words, including subculture, subvert, supercool, superhero, and supernatural. Super- has been a particularly productive prefix in American political language in 2012: new additions include topical words like super PAC, supermajority, and superdelegate.

The revision also sees new words from the world of economics (quantitative easing), technology (subdomain), and leisure (dance-off). You can read more about the revisions and new words in the June update in this article by the Chief Editor John Simpson. .

We have also improved the OED’s search functionality. Over one million current and historical inflected forms have been added to the database, and author and work titles have been expanded throughout – improving the success of searches for words or quotations in the OED.

This quarter sees full updates from affable to always, a sequence that was included in the very first instalment of the OED (A – ant) in 1884. Brand new additions to the OED include mocap, affordable housing, Exchange Alley, and achoo.

You can read more about the revisions and new words in the September update in this article by the Chief Editor of the OED, John Simpson.

Functionality update

We have also made some changes to how an entry’s editing history is shown online, to make the distinction between revised and unrevised entries clearer in OED Online. Find out more here.

The revised and updated OED entries in this update covers two general themes: transport and infection. Alongside these, we have major clusters around five keywords: ice, key, save, small, and state. Brand new additions include senioritis, Captcha, and xoloitzcuintli. Read John Simpson’s commentary here.

2011 updates

Our latest update to the OED, published on 24 March, revises more than 1,900 entries and adds new words from across the dictionary. It also sees the launch of our new website, which has come a long way since we first moved the dictionary online in 2000. Our Chief Editor has written a commentary on the revisions, as well as what has changed in the world of online dictionaries, and Graeme Diamond and Katherine Martin have provided our new words notes for this quarter.

We have added hundreds of words to the OED this quarter, including several to areas that we have already revised. That is one of the benefits of having an online dictionary and, rather topically, this update contains words from the world of computers, including net-neutrality and autocomplete. Read our new words notes to find out more about our newest additions, or take a look at John Simpson’s commentary to find out more about the words that have been revised this quarter.

This quarter sees hundreds more words enter the dictionary, including Britcom and securocrat. Read our notes on the latest revision here, or find out more about the new words that have been added in this update.

We haven’t just been monitoring the language over the last few months. We’ve also been monitoring how close the OED has come to the milestone of 100,000 new and revised entries published since March 2000, when the dictionary first went online with updated material.
This December 2011 release (AA-AEVUM) takes us past that milestone, and at present the running total stands at 102,133 entries (or 37% of the dictionary entries on OED Online).
The update sees the inclusion of earworm, a catchy tune or piece of music which persistently stays in a person’s mind, especially to the point of irritation, and zero emission. You can read more about our new words in this article by Graeme Diamond, and read our Chief Editor’s commentary here.

2010 updates

On 11 March 2010 the New Edition was updated with new materials which fall into three maincategories: (a) alphabetical series of revised entries based around significant words from across the alphabet (b)the sequence of revised entries from requalify to Rg (c) a series of new entries and senses from across the alphabet. The OED’s chief editor, John Simpson, provides some observations on the revision of this section of the alphabet, while Michael Proffitt and Graeme Diamond comment on some of the most interesting new words in the batch.
See the words that have been added in this update.

On 10 June 2010 the alphabetical range Rh-rococoesque was added to the New Edition: every word in this range has been thoroughly revised and updated. The OED’s chief editor, John Simpson, provides some observations on the revision of this section of the alphabet, and Katherine Martin comments on some of the most interesting new words in the batch.

The sixteenth of this month saw our latest update to the OED, which saw the full revision of the range rod-rotness. John Simpson has written some notes on our latest revisions, and Graeme Diamond has provided a commentary on some of our new words.

The latest update of the OED, published on 1 December 2010, revises more than 2,400 entries and adds new words from across the dictionary. The OED’s chief editor, John Simpson, provides some observations on the revisions in this update, and Graeme Diamond comments on some of the most interesting new words in the batch.

2009 updates

We updated the Third Edition of the dictionary with revisions in several alphabetical ranges in this update. John Simpson, our Chief Editor, has written about our latest revision, which sees the updating of community and human, among other words.

Our latest update, on 11 June, saw the revision and addition of words within the range rean-recyclist, as well as the inclusion of many new words from across the alphabet. John Simpson, our Chief Editor, has written a commentary on the revision of this section of the alphabet, and Graeme Diamond, Principal Editor, has written some notes on some of the more interesting new words.

On 10 September 2009 the New Edition was updated with new materials which fall into three main categories: (a) alphabetical series of revised entries based around significant words from across the alphabet (b) the sequence of revised entries from red to refulgent (c) a series of new entries and senses from across the alphabet. For further details see the Chief Editor’s commentary on the latest revision.

The range refund-reputeless was added to the dictionary on 10 December, alongside a batch of words that fall outside the alphabetical range. The OED’s Chief Editor, John Simpson, has written some notes on the revision of this section, and the Managing Editor, Michael Proffitt, has written our new words notes.

2008 updates

On 13 March 2008 the New Edition was updated with revised entries in a series of discrete alphabetical ranges, as well as the addition of new entries from across the alphabet. In some ranges, not every entry was revised, as editorial effort was concentrated on the most significant groups of related words. In addition, about 30 virus names were revised across the alphabet. For further details see the Chief Editor’s commentary on the latest revision.

On 12 June 2008 the alphabetical range quittal-ramvert was added to the New Edition: every word in this range has been thoroughly revised and updated. The new additions include the noun rollercoastering, the first use of which was recorded in 1913 in the Los Angeles Times: ‘There will be regular debauches of bump-the-bumps and howling sprees of merry-go-rounding and roller-coastering’ .

This quarter, we have updated the dictionary with revised entries from a series of discrete alphabetical ranges, as well as new entries from across the alphabet. In some ranges, not every entry was revised as our editors were focusing on the most significant groups of related words. In addition, entries for days of the week and months of the year were revised. Read more about the latest revisions in the Chief Editor’s commentary on the latest revision.

On 11 December 2008 the alphabetical range ran-reamy was added to the New Edition: every word in this range has been thoroughly revised and updated. Below are listed all the new words in the range. We have also added a further list of new words from across the alphabet.

The OED’s chief editor, John Simpson, provides some observations on the revision of this section of the alphabet, and Graeme Diamond comments on some of the most interesting new words in the batch.

2007 updates

On 15 March 2007 the alphabetical range Prakrit-prim was added to the New Edition: every word in this range has been thoroughly revised and updated.
The OED’s chief editor, John Simpson, has provided some observations on the revision of this section of the alphabet, and Graeme Diamond comments on some of the most interesting new words in the batch.

14 June sees the inclusion of the range prima-poteose in the OED, as well as a further selection of words from across the alphabet. A few of our new additions are princessy, suitable for a princess, and Prince Valiant, chiefly North American term for a hairstyle resembling that of any representations of Prince Valiant.

On 14 September, we added the thoroughly revised and updated range proter-purposive to the dictionary, as well as a selection of new words from across the alphabet. This update sees the inclusion of pullikins, which are forceps or pliers used to extract teeth. Now historical, the term seems to have come from pull plus kins, the i added apparently for euphony.

Our December update this year sees the completion of the revision of words beginning with p, and covers purpress-quit shilling as well as other words from across the alphabet. A quit shilling is a sum of money spent by a prisoner in terms of his or her acquittal, although the word is now obsolete.

2006 updates

We published our latest range of entries, philanthropal-pimento, on the sixteenth of the month, alongside a batch of new entries from across the alphabet. New words this quarter include phlebotomy and photo-imaging. Phwoar! What an update.

15 June sees the alphabetical range pi-mesic-pleating added to the New Edition, as well as several words outside of the sequence. Additions include Plato’s cave and, less philosophically, playtime.

The range of entries pleb-Pomak was published on 14 September, as well as many words from across the alphabet. One of our new words is pletzel, a flat roll, similar to a bagel, with a crisp or chewy texture.

This 14 December, we have added our latest batch of new and revised words to the Third Edition of the OED, which includes pomander-prajnaparamita. As well as Pompadour pink, power-up, and poster child have joined the dictionary.

2005 updates

The tenth of this month sees the completion of the letter o in our revision programme as we add our new and revised entries for the batch ovesting-Papua New Guinean to the Third Edition. Non-alphabetical additions this quarter include cool Britannia and diddly-squat.

This quarter, we have continued to update the Third Edition and have added new and revised entries for the range papula-Paul, as well as to other areas of the alphabet. In our update, which went live on the 25 June, we revised party, n., and words such as party hat, party leadership, party-pooping, and party whip have been included in its senses.

The range of entries Paul-Bunnell-perfay has been published in our September update, which went live on 18 September . Perfay, an obsolete interjection, means ‘by my faith truly indeed, certainly’. First used in c1300, it seems to have fallen out of use in the seventieth and eighteenth centuries only to be revived in archaic and poetic use in the nineteenth century.

15 December saw the publication of the range of entries perfect-philandering in the New Edition, as well as many new words from across the alphabet. As well as perfect age, perfect crime, and perfect rhyme, we have added Philadelphia cheesesteak: a sandwich that is typically made with slices of fried beef, onions, and cheese, and served in a hard roll.

2004 update

Entries in the range nud-ollycrock comprise the bulk of the latest batch of words to enter the OED on 11 March. Our latest additions include old schooler and water birth, as well as yeehaw and .

As of our last update in June, the New Edition revision programme reached the alphabetical range beginning with o, and this release sees the inclusion and revision of words in the range olm-orature, as well as others from across the alphabet.Omega-3, ooff, and opinionatedly have all been added, as have TV land and television land.

On 9 September, we added our new range of entries to the OED Online, orb-ottroye, as well as a series of other words from across the alphabet, and the dictionary has taken a caffeine boost with the addition of Caffè latte, caffè espresso, and caffè macchiato.

On the ninth of the month, we released our latest batch of entries, which includes words from ou-overzealousness. Outside of the alphabetical range, we have added BBQ and vavoom, as well as the verbs problem-solve andsupersize.

2003 updates

13 Mach saw the publication of our latest range of new and revised entries for the Third Edition of the OED, Motswana-mussy. As well as computing terms such as MUD and multibit, this update sees the inclusion of Muggle. Coined by J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series, it denotes a person who possesses no magical powers and, in extended use, a person who lacks a particular skill or who is regarded as inferior in some way. Additions outside of our alphabetical range this quarter include beanie and

On 12 June, we published our latest range of revisions and additions, which sees the completion (for now!) of words beginning with m: must-necessity. This must-read update includes mutsuddy, y bad, and nebbishly, as well as our usual out-of-range additions.

11 September saw the publication of necial-Nipissing, as well as many out-of-range additions. New-dead, newbie, and newsmongering have all been added this quarter.

On the eleventh of the month, we released our latest batch of entries, which includes words from Nipkow disc-nuculoid. One of additions is noctivigate which is a rare verb meaning to wander or roam about at night.

2002 updates

Entries within the range mid-Mirzapur were published on 14 March, as well as a selection of words from elsewhere in the alphabet. Additions this quarter include midibus, all-you-can-eat, and brain-box.

On 13 June, we published our latest range of revisions and additions, mis-mitzvah, as well as a mittful of words from across the alphabet. Our new words include prebiotic and misery guts.

12 September saw the publication of the range of entries mivvy-monnisher, as well as our usual out-of-range additions. The adjective Mizzle-shinned, having one’s legs red and blotched from sitting too near a fire, is one of our new words, as is evo-devo, which is a branch of biology concerned with the interaction of evolutionary developmental processes.

Our December update focused on entries within mono-motrix, and contains mono-brow and morna, a song of lament in the Cape Verde Islands.

2001 updates

On 15 March 2001, we published entries within the range mast-meaty. Highlights include mathlete and the now-historical Matthew’s pill, which takes its name from Richard Matthew, a seventeenth-century English medical practitioner, and denotes a pill sold as an antidote to various poisons.

On 14 June 2001 we added new words from the range of entries mebbe-memsahib. We have also added a further list of new words from across the alphabet, including acid jazz and DJ-ing.

13 September saw the publication of the range of entries Men-mesylation in the New Edition, as well as a selection of words from across the alphabet. Additions include meringue as a verb, as well as DVD, e-book, and e-ticket.

Our December update focused on entries within the range met-micturition, as well as several words from across the alphabet such as girl power and text message.

2000 updates

The launch of the OED Online

14 March 2000 saw the launch of the OED Online. Available online for the first time was the entire text of OED’s Second Edition (1989) and Additions Series (1993 and 1997), along with the first range of revised and new entries from the revision programme. The first range of New Edition entries are M-mahurat.

On 15 June, we published a new range of entries, mai-mamzer, for the Third Edition of the OED. This update also saw the addition of the Bibliography to the Second Edition”.

On 15 September, we added the range of entries man-march stone in the New Edition, which includes man haul and Manhattanize.

June 2000

On 15 June, we published a new range of entries, mai-mamzer, for the Third Edition of the OED. This update also saw the addition of the Bibliography to the Second Edition”.

14 December 2000 saw the publication of the range marciaton-massymoreto the Third Edition, which includes margherita, both as an adjective and noun, and marley, which is a name for a child’s marble in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and some areas of England.


Watch the video: February 1st: The Oxford Dictionary Debuts On This Day (December 2022).

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