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Absurd entries in the OED: an introduction by Ammon Shea

All dictionaries have mistakes. Ghost words creep in, there are occasional misspellings, or perhaps the printer was hung over one day and misplaced some punctuation. In addition to these normal forms of human error there are others that are created by language, as it continues its inexorable change.

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10 questions for Ammon Shea

On Tuesday 5 August 2014, Ammon Shea, author of Reading the OED and Bad English, leads a discussion on Shakespeare’s King Lear. Each summer, Oxford University Press USA and Bryant Park in New York City partner for their summer reading series Word for Word Book Club.

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“Refudiate” Didn’t Start with Sarah Palin

By Ammon Shea

Every year, a group of people at OUP USA put our heads together and come up with a Word of the Year. This is an example of a word (or expression) that we feel has attracted a great deal of new interest in the year to date. It need not have been coined within the past twelve months (although it generally is a new word). It does not have to be a word that will stick around for a good length of time (it is very difficult to accurately predict which new words will have staying power). It does not even have to be a word that we plan on introducing into the dictionary (at least, not unless it seems fairly certain that it will stick around for a while).

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