Coronavirus vocabulary

Do you know all of these words? According to the iWeb Corpus, they are likely to appear on the same web pages as the word coronavirus. virus, viral infection, infect, infected, infectious disease respiratory severe symptom outbreak vaccine, vaccination syndrome fever spread human middle illness transmission antibody immune animal patient diarrhea acute case cat cell… Read more Coronavirus vocabulary


Shtooka website banner

The Shtooka Project is a collection of sound recordings of words and sentences in several languages. For example, here is the English word university:   Recordings can be downloaded in various formats. They are used in Wiktionary. They are also being used for our own minimal pair pronunciation quizzes.


Lexico front page

Oxford’s online English dictionary has moved to Besides the dictionary and thesaurus, there are sections on grammar, spelling, writing, punctuation, word origins, etc. For example, do you know the longest one-syllable English words? There are several that have nine letters: screeched /skriːʧt/ schlepped /ʃlɛpt/ scratched /skræʧt/ scrounged /skraʊnʤd/ scrunched /skrʌnʧt/ stretched /strɛʧt/ straights /streɪts/… Read more Lexico

OED Word of the Day

Dictionary page

The Oxford English Dictionary picks a word each day. They tend to be “hard” or unusual words. Recent picks include: bricoleur – a person who performs a variety of manual jobs; someone who fixes things in an ingenious manner grandiloquent – characterized by a high-flown, extravagant, or bombastic style or manner, esp. in language Nowheresville… Read more OED Word of the Day


Hat stretcher

Work, the what’s-its-name of the thingummy and the thing-um-a-bob of the what d’you-call-it. – P. G. Wodehouse Fortunately, I had all this wreckage to build a space swapping doodah-thingy-whatsit. – The Sarah Jane Adventures (TV series) English has several words for a thing or person whose name you don’t know or can’t remember or can’t… Read more Thingummy

Word frequency symbols in online dictionaries

Some online dictionaries use symbols to show word frequency. The more symbols a word has, the more common it is in English. Macmillan The Macmillan Dictionary uses 1-3 stars: Longman The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English uses 1-3 circles: Collins The Collins English Dictionary uses 1-5 circles: Oxford The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary labels common… Read more Word frequency symbols in online dictionaries

Synonyms for “unkempt”

Two days ago we quoted a letter to The Times from 1968, which described some UEA students as “childishly noisy”, “completely lacking in manners” and “unkempt”. The Oxford English Dictionary has various defintions of unkempt. The one intended by the letter-writer would seem to be: Of a person’s or (occasionally) an animal’s appearance, condition, etc.:… Read more Synonyms for “unkempt”

Film words

In its latest update the Oxford English Dictionary has added over 100 words and phrases connected to film. 20 adjectives relating to specific directors have been included, such as: Kubrickian Spielbergian Tarantinoesque Some horror film terms have been added. For example: gorehound scream queen jump scare For more, see this article.