Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Book thumbnail image

Words of 2012 round-up

By Alice Northover
While most people are getting excited for the start of awards season on Sunday with the Golden Globes, the season has just ended for word nerds. From November through January, the Word(s) of the Year announcements are made. I’ll let you decide who is the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAGs, National Film Critics Circle, etc. of the lexicography community. Just remember YOLO — because it appeared on every list.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Seven words that gained fame on TV shows

Television shows have a huge influence on popular culture, and so it is not surprising that many words and phrases have come into common usage through the medium of television. Here are a few of our favourite words and phrases that were popularized through iconic TV shows.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Five GIFers for the serious-minded

By Alice Northover
When people think of GIFs, they often imagine a silly animation for a quick joke. But like any medium, it has potential beyond our cat-centric imagination. “The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace,” Head of US Dictionaries, Katherine Martin, recently commented. So it’s only appropriate to highlight a few GIFers who take the file format beyond a basic form.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Six WOTY confusables about GIF

There has also been some widespread confusion on a few things relating to GIF’s selection as Word of the Year [USA], so we thought it would be helpful to give a little roundup for clarification.
(1) Oxford Dictionaries USA and The New Oxford American Dictionary (and Oxford Dictionaries UK and Oxford Dictionary of English) are not the Oxford English Dictionary. OUP publishes many dictionaries and the OED is only one of them.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

To gif or not to gif

To gif, or not to gif–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of crude animation
Or to take arms against a sea of static
And by opposing end them.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

How we decide Word of the Year [GIFed]

By Alice Northover
Many people are curious about the process behind the selection of Word of the Year and I thought it would be appropriate to express this in gif form. Here’s my completely biased perspective as blog editor on my first Word of the Year committee.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Ten variations of ‘omnishambles’

By Alice Northover
Part of the strength of new words is their flexibility — that they can grow, change, and adapt. This elasticity helps cement their place in our language, rather than a brief life in slang. So to present omnishambles’s impact more fully, I’ve rounded up five variations upon it and proposed five additions of my own.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year 2012: ‘omnishambles’

By Fiona McPherson
A common misconception about the work of a lexicographer is that we sit around in the manner of a cabal each week and argue about what words to include or reject. The fantasy is that we each suggest a word or two and then, after a heated debate, vote, with the result that some words emerge victorious and begin the journey to the dictionary page, while those that are blackballed are consigned to lexical oblivion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012: ‘to GIF’

By Katherine Martin
The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year, but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier. GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun. The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

OUP UK 2010 Word of the Year: Big Society

By Susie Dent
Our final choice for the word of 2010, the coalition’s new dream of the big society, is no less a mirror of the times, in this case of the extraordinary political events of the year. The term’s success within a short period of time has been impressive, underscored by the ease with which it is now played upon: when the new PM visited China, both the Times and the Guardian headlined his challenge as ‘Cameron confronts the biggest society’.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

A Deliciously Rich Year for Language (nom nom!)

By Christine Lindberg

Popular culture . . .

In 2010, much of our uneasy fascination turned from zombie banks to plain old zombies. Well, maybe not “plain old.” It’s been a phenomenal year for zombies, who have commanded huge markets in the entertainment industry and a seemingly insatiable fan base.

As zombies roamed the planet, another breed of “outsiders”—nerds and geeks—continued to transcend the “lowliness” assigned to them in the 1950s. Just a generation ago, the word gleek (a fan of TV’s Glee) would have been considered a putdown, but now it is more a term of affection and is wholly embraced by the gleeks themselves.

One of television’s most familiar out-of-step characters will be missed when Michael Scott exits The Office at the end of this season, leaving us to wonder if there’s anyone else who can make the totally resistible phrase “that’s what she said” so irresistible?

Read More
Book thumbnail image

“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).

Read More
podcastlogov1

Refudiate – Episode 6 – The Oxford Comment

If you haven’t heard – well, how haven’t you heard? “Refudiate” is the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2010 Word of the Year.

Read More
9780195392883

OUP USA 2010 Word of the Year: Refudiate

Refudiate has been named the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2010 Word of the Year! Now, does that mean that ‘refudiate’ has been added to the Dictionary? No it does not. Currently, there are no definite plans to include ‘refudiate’ in the NOAD, the OED, or any of our other dictionaries.

Read More