Does the recent, impressive performance of Large Language Models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, have any repercussions for the way in which linguists carry out their work? And what is a Language Model anyway?
During the news coverage of the COVID pandemic, I enjoyed seeing Dr Anthony Fauci on television and hearing his old-school Brooklyn accent. My favorite expression to listen for was his use of “down the pike” to mean “in the future.”
Observing how various words for “friend” originate and develop is a rather curious enterprise.
All over the Indo-European map, the main word of negation begins with “n”. What is in this sound that invites denial, refutation, or repulsion?
The Oxford Etymologist dives into the history and meaning of the word “coward” – and what does cowardice have to do with custard?
Always, let me thank our correspondents for consulting the blog, asking questions, and offering words of encouragement.
When people think about careers in writing, they may focus on writing novels or films, poetry or non-fiction. But for steady work, there is nothing like technical writing.
The root of riddle “puzzle,” from rædels(e), is Old English rædan “to read.”
The Oxford Etymologist explores the etymological development and history of the word “hooker.”
Problems emerge the moment we begin to explore the history of filch, because two homonymous verbs exist: filch “to attack” and filch “to steal.” They are almost certainly unrelated.
Three English words sound as rake: the garden instrument, the profligate, and a sailing term meaning “inclination from the perpendicular.” Though at first sight, they do not seem to be connected, I’ll try to show that their histories perhaps intertwine.
At first sight, the origin of the verb “scratch” looks unproblematic… The Oxford Etymologist scratches beneath the surface of “scratch.”
The realization started with the word akimbo. I had first learned it as meaning a stance with hands on the hips, and I associated the stance with the comic book image of Superman confronting evildoers. Body language experts sometimes call this a power pose, intended to project confidence or dominance.
The Oxford Etymologist ruminates on the origins and meanings of idioms including “to go to hell in a handbasket.”
Now the dust has settled on another eventful year, it’s time to look back on some of the words that characterised 2022.
The Oxford Etymologist replies to etymology questions from readers.