Oxford Dictionary of Catchphrases

sources of much-quoted words and phrases Do the following catchphrases mean anything to you? Can I do you now, sir?, Shut that door!, Who loves ya, baby?, Bono Estente!, and Eat my shorts!. The more of these you know, the older you probably are. This Oxford Dictionary of Catchphrases offers explanations and the original sources […]

Oxford Dictionary of Allusions

guide to popular cultural references – old and new Allusions are a sort of cultural shorthand. If someone is ‘as rich as Croesus’, a comparison is being made with the sixth century BC King of Lydia, who was fabled for his wealth (and it’s pronounced Kree-Sus, by the way). The problem for most of us […]

Oxford Companion to Wine

encyclopedia covering every aspect of the world’s wines Jancis Robinson was one of the first writers to take a lot of the snobbery out of commenting on wine, and the TV series which made her famous was successful because it combined serious and wide-ranging knowledge with a lightness of touch. This modestly titled Oxford Companion […]

Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation

essential handbook of the English spoken word How do you pronounce the word controversy? Is it kohn-trov-ersy, or kohn-trov-ersy? And how about schedule – do we say shed-yool, or sked-yool? Pronunciation can be something of a minefield in the UK – especially when it is also linked to class accent and language usage. The Oxford […]

New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

two-volume reference dictionary with etymologies When checking a word, I usually reach first for the Concise Oxford – because it’s right in front of me on the desk. You can pick it up in one hand. If that doesn’t give the answer, I go to the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. This involves a trip […]

New Oxford Rhyming Dictionary

grouped lists of rhyming words – plus cross references As John Lennard says in his introduction to this godsend compendium for rhymers and poets: “Rhyme is everywhere – because it works. In advertising jingles, football chants, birthday card greetings, tabloid headlines, political slogans, and catchphrases, rhyme makes the sentiments more powerful and more memorable”. You […]

New Oxford Dictionary of English

new single-volume compilation based on modern usage The New Oxford Dictionary of English is a one-volume giant from Oxford University Press and a departure from their normal practice. Instead of being based on other dictionaries, it’s a completely new selection of words, compiled after in-depth analysis of computerized databases of contemporary English. The emphasis is […]

Lexicography: An Introduction

how dictionaries are compiled and written This book is an accessible introduction to lexicography – the study of dictionaries and how they are compiled. Howard Jackson provides a detailed overview of the history, types and content of everybody’s essential reference book. He starts with a very readable introduction to the grammar, structure, and history of […]

How to choose a dictionary

from pocket-size to the world’s largest reference Dictionaries can be something of a personal matter. People become very attached to their favourite amongst the most-used of all reference books. However, a few guidelines on how to choose a dictionary can easily be established. The first thing to understand is that they are not all the […]

Heinemann English Dictionary

popular dictionary – especially useful for schools My copy of the Heinemann English Dictionary markets itself as “The most comprehensive school dictionary”, but it has been an invaluable companion for many years. First and foremost, it is small enough to pop into a briefcase or even a large handbag – useful when you need to […]