Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas Dinner

O, how I have complained over “DINNER” in the Oxford English Dictionary [see “Oxford English Dinner“]. The close of 2021 brought an early Christmas surprise: a new, fully revised entry. And it’s not just any revision, but one of those with an extended lexicological and sociohistorical note. The first main definition now says: 1. Originally: […]

Nae Mair for the Nonce?

Growlsome, guzzledom, panfrivolium – Oxford English Dictionary #OED doing away with “nonce-words” | Nae Mair for the Nonce? | The Life of Words

MS Preprint: Women Authors in OED

A sneak peek at an MS now under peer review on female authorship among the OED citational corpus in different editions. If challenged for a password, enter the last name of the general editor of the second supplement to the OED. Comments welcome (email preferred).

Seamus Heaney on Dictionaries

In the summer of 2012 Seamus Heaney wrote to me on some questions I had sent him about dictionaries and words and etymologies. Bits of what he had to say made it into a couple of talks I did around that time, but I recently rediscovered the original text, and thought it should see the […]

Fulsome Recovery

The 1989 Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will tell you that you’re wrong if your think fulsome means the same as full. If you give a ‘fulsome answer’ to some question (as I’ve noticed many people do), it will tell you that your answer is ‘disgusting, repulsive, odious’, ‘Offensive to good taste’ and ‘gross […]

“Covid-19”, and other swiftly documented words in the OED

The OED documented the verb to Google in a 2006 update, eight years after the first occurrence of this sense in print (1998, in eGroups, an old mailing list). Happy slap and derivatives also took eight years to get in, appearing in 2013.  Ditto paywall (published 2012), sext (2015), retweet (2015), and Schmallenberg virus (2019). Omnishambolic (2019) and live-blog (2013) took […]

LOWBot Goes a(n)-Antedating

In an earlier post, OED Antedating OED, I documented how OED3’s rate of antedating had improved dramatically since the revision kicked off in 2000, from around 35-40% of word entries antedated in the first five or six years of updates, to above 60% since 2012, noting that one reason for the improvement must be the […]

OED3 Revision, Revised for 2020

In my previous post [OED3’s Revision Status (c. 2018.12.15)] I took a bird’s eye view of when various parts of the Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED3) were added, and when revised (if they’ve been revised). I came up with a figure that at the end of last year (2018), 50.4% of entries in OED3 were […]

Posting Over at the OED Blog

I’ve written a post for the OED blog, digging into OED data on regional varieties of English: “When Regional Englishes Got Their Words“. Check it out! — there I plot the number and date of all OED first citations pertaining to senses typical of regional Englishes, and take a closer look at the chronology of […]

OED Antedating OED

In 6 years, OED went from a 40% to a 60% antedating rate, a remarkable improvement.You want to know what the biggest antedating has been so far, don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you.