Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language Quick reference
Based on the acclaimed Oxford Companion to the English Language, this is the most compact, authoritative, and up-to-date source of information about the English language. With contributions from more than 130 experts worldwide, the language is viewed from an international perspective, covering Cockney to Creole, Aboriginal English to South Asian English. The historical range of the work is large - Beowulf rubs shoulders with Ebonics, Chaucer sits alongside Chomsky, Latin, and the World Wide Web. Substantial entries are given on key subjects such as American and British differences, computing, etymology, pidgin, poetry, sexism, Shakespeare's language, and slang. Features include pieces on place-names, borrowings from other languages, the evolution of the alphabet, and the story of the expression 'OK'.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology Quick reference
Based on The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, the principal authority on the origin and development of English words, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Etymology contains a wealth of information about the English language and its history. Find out where the words 'bungalow' and 'assassin' came from, what 'nice' meant in the Middle Ages and much more.
Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (3 ed.) Quick reference
"Anyone who is addicted to the richness of the English language or simply intrigued by the origin and meaning of an idiom like ‘teach your grandmother to suck eggs’ will relish this work" – Library Journal
Did you know that ‘flavour of the month’ originated in a marketing campaign in American ice-cream parlours in the 1940s, when a particular flavour would be specially promoted for a month at a time? And did you know that ‘off the cuff’ refers to the rather messy practice of writing impromptu notes on one's shirt cuff before speaking in public? These and many more idioms are explained and put into context in this third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms.
The volume takes a fresh look at the idiomatic phrases and sayings that make English the rich and intriguing language that it is. This major new edition contains entries for over 6,000 idioms, including 700 entirely new entries, based on Oxford's language monitoring and the ongoing third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. These include a range of recently established idioms such as ‘the elephant in the corner’, ‘go figure’, ‘like a rat up a drainpipe’, ‘sex on legs’, ‘step up to the plate’, ‘too posh to push’, ‘a walk in the park’, ‘win ugly’. This edition also features a greatly increased number of cross-references, making it ideal for quick reference.
Many entries include additional features which give more detailed background on the idiom in question. For example, did you know that ‘taken aback’ was adopted from nautical terminology that described a ship unable to move forward because of a strong headwind pressing its sails back against the mast?
A New Dictionary of Eponyms Quick reference
This dictionary features the entertaining histories behind hundreds of eponyms, such as bowdlerize (from the censorious Thomas Bowdler), bikini from the atoll, and the Salisbury steak, a dish of hamburger and brown gravy named after James H. Salisbury, an English physician who promoted a diet of ground beef. There are hundreds more - discover to whom we owe the terms hooker, sideburn, zeppelin, the cardigan sweater, pamphlet, robot, and argyle socks.
The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.) Quick reference
‘ground-breaking’, Writing Magazine
This authoritative dictionary draws on Oxford's unrivalled bank of reference and language resources in order to explore the stories behind names and sayings that can be found in classic literature or today's news. Questions it seeks to answer include: What are Anglo-Saxon attitudes? Who first tried to nail jelly to the wall? When was the Dreamtime? Would you want the Midas touch? Should you worry about grey goo? Answers cover a range of topics, such as classical and other mythologies, history, religion, folk customs, superstitions, science and technology, philosophy, and popular culture.
The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (2 ed.) Quick reference
"A treasure (from the Greek ‘thesauros’, treasure, store or storehouse) trove (past participle of an Anglo-Norman verb meaning ‘to find’) of verbal wonders" – William Hartston, Daily Express
Combining both accessibility and authority, The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins describes the origins and development of over 3,000 words and phrases in the English language. The book draws on Oxford's unrivalled dictionary research programme and language monitoring, and relates the fascinating stories behind many of our most curious terms and expressions in order to offer the reader a much more explicit account than can be found in a general English dictionary.
Organized A-Z, the entries include first known use along with examples that illustrate the many faces of the particular word or phrase, from ‘handsome’ to ‘bachelor’ and ‘cute’ to ‘baby’, from ‘pagan’ to ‘palaver’ and ‘toff’ to ‘torpedo’. Also featured are almost 20 special entries that cover expressions common in English but drawn from other languages, such as ‘coffee’, ‘sugar’, and ‘candy’ from Arabic or ‘booze’, ‘brandy’, and ‘gin’ (Dutch).
This absorbing volume is useful for language students and enthusiasts, but also an intriguing read for any person interested in the development of the English language and of language development in general. Includes an extended introduction on the history of the English language.