Semantic change

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How lesbians penetrated the Oxford English Dictionary. Anti-Woman Suffrage Pamphlet, 1910. A fresh view of George Orwell. This piece was originally posted on The New Inquiry.

A fresh view of George Orwell

Follow TNI at @newinquiry and subscribe to TNI Magazine It’s hardly as though his profile needed a boost, but what the hell. George Orwell’s publisher Penguin recently declared the inaugural “George Orwell Day” on January 21, the anniversary of his death. 100 words that define the First World War. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) World War I timeline shows some of the ways in which the events of the First World War left their mark on the English language.

100 words that define the First World War

For example, the wet and muddy conditions of the first winter of trench warfare were evoked in the term Flanders mud (November 1914), while trench boots and trench coats (both December 1914) were invented to cope with these conditions. By early 1915 the physical and psychological effects of trench warfare were being felt: both trench foot and shell shock are first recorded in January 1915. One linguistically important event was the involvement of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli (1915), which led to the coinage or spread of terms such as Anzac (April 1915), Aussie (1915 as a noun), and the Anzacs’ affectionate term for a British soldier, choom (June 1916). 'Genericide': Brands destroyed by their own success. 27 May 2014Last updated at 19:54 ET By Simon Tulett Business reporter, BBC News Global brand spending is estimated at about $500bn (£300bn) each year Turning a product into a household name is the stuff of corporate dreams.

'Genericide': Brands destroyed by their own success

Isn't it? Not necessarily. Think Hoover, Jacuzzi, Frisbee. Mind-your-language-2013s-words-of-the-year-9027153. Created by members of the New Orleans bounce music scene during the 1990s, twerking (see definitions, below) was inflicted on a mass audience by Ms Cyrus this summer at the MTV Awards, where she controversially buffed her behind on the crotch of alleged sexist Robin Thicke.

mind-your-language-2013s-words-of-the-year-9027153

It was not, however, the word of the year. For Collins, the overall winner was “geek”, a familiar classic freshly redefined. Where once the word denoted a loser, dork, dweeb or nerd, it now, Collins claims, means simply “a person who is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about a specific subject”. For instance: a food geek, a fashion geek, a football geek, a Game of Thrones geek. 20 of 2013's most overused words. 31 December 2013Last updated at 20:11 ET By Vanessa Barford BBC News Magazine Every year some words get so overused there's a call to banish them the next.

20 of 2013's most overused words

Take "selfie", or "twerk". The profusion of "projects" and starting sentences with "so". Mancunian sayings: our guide to common words and phrases. We had more than 600 responses via Facebook and Twitter - here's a selection of them: Let us know any we've missed either in the comments or via Twitter and Facebook.

Mancunian sayings: our guide to common words and phrases

Words. Leigh Clark: The Degeneration of Facebook in 10 Statuses. In the olden days, Facebook was a fun place to find out what old friends were were up to.

Leigh Clark: The Degeneration of Facebook in 10 Statuses

A place to catch up with people you'd lost touch with and somewhere you would share a picture of your cute new kitten or your adorable puppy. Unfortunately, things changed, you were given access to things that your friends liked and your friends friends decided to add you because you kept popping up in their suggestions box and before you knew it, you were up to your eyeballs in people you barely knew or people that would add you but totally ignore you if you passed them in the street. These are the dark days of Facebook. BBC Sport - Managerial departures: 'Sacked' seems to be the hardest word. 17 December 2013 Last updated at 17:09 GMT By Ben Dirs BBC Sport Aaah, how much simpler life would be if all our love affairs ended "by mutual consent".

BBC Sport - Managerial departures: 'Sacked' seems to be the hardest word

The Word "The": Why the definite article in the English language is so difficult to define. A version of this post originally appeared in the Week.

The Word "The": Why the definite article in the English language is so difficult to define.

It's the most frequent word in the English language, accounting for around four percent of all the words we write or speak. It's everywhere, all the time, so clearly it must be doing something important. Words have meaning. That's fundamental, isn't it? So what does "the," a word that seems to be supporting a significant portion of the entire weight of our language, mean? Matthew 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. New International Version"Watch out for false prophets.

Matthew 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. New Living Translation"Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. English Standard Version“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. The joy of slang. 25 October 2013Last updated at 20:19 ET Slang such as ain't, innit and coz has been banned from a school in south London. Author Charles Nevin celebrates modern slang and revisits phrases that have fallen out of fashion. Cor lummy! 'Twerking' and 'selfie' added to Oxford dictionary. 28 August 2013Last updated at 04:25 ET Cyrus's dance routine included the move Twerking, the raunchy dance move performed by Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs is among the new words added to the Oxford Dictionary of English.

Oxford Dictionaries Online said the word, borrowed from hip hop culture, had become increasingly visible in the past 12 months. Other words such as omnishambles and selfie also made their debut in the dictionary's quarterly online update. Omnishambles was named word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary in 2012. 35 classy slang terms for naughty bits from the past 600 years.

Liverpool FC staff get insults guide to curb fans' abuse. 31 July 2013Last updated at 08:20 ET Liverpool FC said the guide would help ensure Anfield is free of discrimination Liverpool Football Club staff have been issued with a guide to unacceptable language so they can help eradicate verbal abuse from fans. The handbook highlights "offensive" phrases including "don't be a woman", "play like a girl" and "that's gay". World map with place names swapped out for their original meanings. Jagged little words: the language of Alanis Morissette. Jagged little words: the language of Alanis Morissette If you had aspirations of being a disaffected youth in the mid-1990s, chances are you had a copy of Alanis Morissette’s album Jagged Little Pill . That’s not quite fair; you might, after all, have been the sort who dealt with angst by listening to Black Sabbath, or even bashing out Beethoven’s Fifth in moments of rage – and angry teenagers alone wouldn’t account for the 33 million copies Jagged Little Pill has sold worldwide.

Many people with that 1995 record in their CD racks might be surprised to learn that, not including compilations and live albums, Alanis Morissette has now released eight albums, the latest being 2012’s Havoc and Bright Lights . So, to celebrate her birthday on 1 June let’s find out how often she is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary ’s illustrative quotations. 'If you are gay you are just bad' - Features. Political Correctness « i love english language. Ella Henderson - is feminism a dirty word for popstars? Slang. Terms of the 90s, Slang of the Nineties. 80s Slang – It’s, like, toooo bitchin’ In the 70s - Slang Terms of the Seventies. Semantics and vocabulary shift. Representation.