The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: OED

Tuesday, 7th February 2017

Speaker’s Corner, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈspiːkəz ˈkɔːnə/
Etymology: < speaker n. + corner n.

The north-east corner of the House of Commons, noted as a place where soap-box orators air their views.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016

Offender, n.

Pronunciation: /əˈfɛndə/
Etymology: < offend v. + -er suffix

1. Law. A person who breaks the law.
2. (Increasingly merging with sense 1) A person who gives offence.

Sunday, 23rd October 2016

Naked mole rat, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈneɪkɪd məʊl rat/
Etymology: < naked adj. + mole n. + rat n.

1. A blind, almost hairless mole rat of East Africa, Heterocephalus glaber (family Bathyergidae), which lives in underground colonies in which only one pair breeds, most other individuals acting as workers.
2. A sex scene, later edited out, from an early version of The Wind in the Willows. Cf. Naked toad badger, n.

Thursday, 20th October 2016

Big whoop, int. and n.

Pronunciation: /ˌbɪɡ ˈwʊp/
Etymology: < big adj. + whoop n.

1. int. Expressing dismissiveness: ‘So what?’ ‘Who cares?’
2. n. A big utterance of ‘whoo(p)’, contronymous to sense 1, expressing approval in place of applause: ‘Oh my God! I agree!’

Thursday, 6th October 2016

A Short Dictionary for the Metrically Challenged Poet (words labelled ‘stress variable’ in the OED):

  • devolatilised: ‘[made] less volatile’
  • masthead: ‘The title, motto, or similar device, of a newspaper or journal’
  • overlier: ‘a beggar who exacts lodging at farmhouses’
  • stay-put: ‘A refraining from movement or travel’
  • ultralight: ‘Extremely lightweight’
  • umpteenth: ‘used of something repeated unbearably or irritatingly often’
  • understatement: ‘The quality of being understated’
  • wired-in: ‘Designating behaviour and activity that is innate’
  • X-linked: ‘being or determined by a gene that is carried on the X chromosome’
  • Y-linked: ‘being or determined by a gene that is carried on the Y chromosome’
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