Tag Archives: language history

Flash Mobs and Hopheads Explained: From Slang to the OED


  Addiction. Bedazzled. Eyeball. Fashionable. Swagger. Uncomfortable. These are all perfectly familiar words, right? There’s something else they have in common however – yes, they might have all been associated with Kate Moss at some point in her career, but more importantly, they were all coined for the first time by none other than William(…)

Rare alphabets

An interesting article at The Atlantic explores the beauty of rare alphabets. A Vermont-based writer has been documenting our alphabet heritage through wood carvings as part of his Endangered Alphabets Project. Tim Brookes exhibits the wood carvings and has written a book with an introduction by the linguist David Crystal. Edward Tenner writes in The(…)

Words of the world

The University of Nottingham, along with video journalist Brady Haran, have come up with an interesting series of short films exploring words we use that have foreign origins or cultural history. Words of the World shows experts from Nottingham’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures explain how words are used and their history. Chosen words(…)

Hey dude!

The word ‘dude’ often conjures up images of surfers and Californian drop-outs, but it’s becoming increasingly well-used by English speakers all over the world. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, its origins are in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), the dialect spoken by African Americans throughout the United States: dude 1883, “fastidious man,” New York(…)