The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Oxford Dictionaries Online

Monday, 19th March 2018

Unobsolete: an occasional column devoted to tracking social and lexical change with reference to words, phrases and definitions in the OED that are labelled ‘Obs.’ but are now unobsolescing:

Cuck, n.

Pronunciation: /kʌk/
Etymology: Shortened < cuckold n.

Obs. = cuckold n.

The OED’s one illustrative quotation comes from Ned Ward’s Hudibras Redivivus (1706). But the word now reappears on, dated to the early twenty-first century:

US informal A weak or servile man (often used as a contemptuous term for a man with moderate or progressive political views).


Tuesday, 21st February 2017

On fleeker, adj.

Pronunciation: /ɒn fliːkə/
Etymology: < fleek adj., apparently an arbitrary formation

1. More ‘on fleek’: better, more attractive, or more stylish (than someone else).
2. Usu. in form On Flickr, contronymous to sense 1: worse, less attractive, or less stylish (than anyone else).

Wednesday, 9th September 2015

Do-it-yourselfie stick, n.

Pronunciation: /ˌduːᵻtjəˈsɛlfi stɪk/
Etymology: < merging do-it-yourself adj. + selfie stick n.

A device in the form of a rod on which a smartphone may be mounted, serving the activity of taking a photograph of oneself from a wide angle, rather than holding the smartphone in one’s hand or employing a photographer.

Thursday, 6th August 2015

The OxfordWords blog has just published ‘23 words that everyone spells wrong’. And that’s everyone including the OED website, since cemetary crops up in sentry, n.2 (a typo carried over from the print edition); and accomodate in spaciously, adv., pontoon, n.1 (which may just need a sic), lanai, n. (which does), tunnel, n. (it’s accommodate in the 1979 Compact Edition of the OED), roadway, n., and public, adj. and n.

In the words of the blogger, ‘English sure doesn’t make spelling easy.’ But if my entry of Friday, 5th September 2014 is anything to go by, it won’t be long before the entries are corrected.

Monday, 6th July 2015

May, v.

Pronunciation: /meɪ/
Etymology: < a Germanic verb with the sense ‘to be strong or able, to have power’.

1. Expressing possibility.
2. In phrase we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you, contronymous to sense 1, expressing certainty.

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