Lexicography

Spotting the mountweazels: The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams, reviewed

11 July 2020 9:00 am

There is a particular sub-genre of books which are witty and erudite, comic and serious and often of a bibliophilic…

Why must every ‘accident’ be an ‘incident’?

15 November 2014 9:00 am

I had thought that the saying ‘Accidents will happen in the best regulated families’ was a vulgar reference to children…

Should ‘suicide’ mean pig-killing?

8 November 2014 9:00 am

There was a marvellous man in Shakespeare’s day known as John Smyth the Sebaptist. ‘In an act so deeply shocking…

What other job lets you swear in front of your parents?

15 March 2014 9:00 am

There aren’t many jobs that allow a nice middle-class Jewish boy to say ‘fuck’ in front of his parents. But…

What’s in a Surname, by David McKie - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

In South Korea, some 20 million people share just five surnames. Every one of Denmark’s top 20 surnames ends in…

After ‘literally’, is it time to start a Neighbourhood Watch for the OED?

24 August 2013 9:00 am

There was outrage last week when it was found that the Oxford English Dictionary had listed one sense of literally…