An affix (prefix, suffix, infix, etc.) is a group of letters added to a word to modify the meaning or create a new word. For example, the suffix -or can mean a person who does a particular action. Hence: actor, editor, inventor, visitor, etc. The prefix biblio- means book, from which we get words such… Read more Dictionary of Affixes
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
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.
Oxford’s online English dictionary has moved to Lexico.com. 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
Taikonaut was recently an OED Word of the day. It is thought to be a blend of the Chinese words tai kong (outer space) and astronaut. It is one of several words ending in -naut. The OED says -naut forms words with the sense of voyager or traveller. Here are some more examples: aeronaut –… Read more -naut
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
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
Compounds are words formed from two (or more) words. For example, black + board = blackboard. They can be spelled in three ways: as a single word: flowerpot as two words: flower pot with a hyphen: flower-pot So which one should you choose? A linguist has devised a rule which she says works for 75%… Read more How to spell compounds
Do you know what the preposition above means? And how it is different from on? What if you needed this information to defuse a time bomb? Watch this video from Utrecht University: Source: All Things Linguistic
Zoology is the study of animals. But do you know the meanings of its various branches? Do the quiz! Open quiz in new window
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
The publishers of TheFreeDictionary have an online game called WordHub. Make words from the 7 letters before your time runs out. It is similar to Boggle, which you can also play online.
The Macmillan Dictionary Blog has various sections, such as Learn English and Word of the Day. Recent topics include: Till and until Is presently ambiguous? Meanings of flabbergasted, gloom and budget Spelling tips for disrupt and business A quiz on trending words of 2018
From the iWeb Corpus. These are words found on the same web pages as the word Halloween. costume pumpkin candy kid fun (adjective) dress party holiday treat spooky scary fun (noun) ghost horror decoration cute witch haunted movie black craft celebrate favourite trick monster wear night decorate fall (noun) zombie chocolate mask recipe creepy spider… Read more Halloween: 50 related words
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”
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.
British people have been complaining about Americanisms – words or phrases from the United States that have become common in Britain – since the eighteenth century. For example, nowadays you often hear train station instead of railway station, fries instead of chips and movie instead of film. Ben Yagoda’s blog Not One-Off Britishisms is about… Read more Not One-Off Britishisms