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The ‘mullet’ mystery – Episode 23 – The Oxford Comment

Often described as ‘business in front, party in the back,’ most everyone is familiar with this infamous hairstyle, which is thought to have been popularized in the 1980s. How, then, could the term have originated as early as 1393, centuries before David Bowie ever rocked it? We embarked on an etymological journey, figuratively traveling back in time to answer what seemed like a simple question: What, exactly, is a mullet? And does it really mean what we think it means?

In this month’s episode, Sara Levine, a Multimedia Producer in our New York Office, chats with Katherine Martin, head of Oxford Dictionaries, and other key players in this language mystery. Together, they discovered surprising revelations about the term, finally arriving at the truth about the origins of the word ‘mullet.’

Image Credit: ‘Mullet Diagram’ by Sara Levine for Oxford University Press.

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