Category Archives: Language

Want to receive OED’s Word-of-the-Day?

The Oxford English Dictionary offers its Word-of-the-Day via both email and rss feed.

Here’s the link for their rss feed: http://www.oed.com/rss/wordoftheday

To subscribe by email, visit their homepage; the link is in their right sidebar.

philosophers’ stone, n. : Oxford English Dictionary

Nicholas FlamelAnd today’s word of the day from the OED: philosophers’ stone, n. : Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED defines the “philosophers’ stone” as: A mythical solid substance, supposed to change any metal into gold or silver and (according to some) to cure all wounds and diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

I didn’t realise a few days ago when their word of the day was “owl” that the OED was beginning a run of Harry Potter-themed words. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow’s word is!

(Please note: the links eventually expire for unsubscribed users. They appear to be “good” for a day or two.)

dumbledore | dumble-dore, n. : Oxford English Dictionary

This was today’s entry in my subscription to the OED’s Word of the Day:

dumbledore | dumble-dore, n. : Oxford English Dictionary.

Made me smile! The OED defines “dumbledore” as a “humble-bee” or “bumble-bee.”

Albus DumbledoreFor those of you who have read Resolving a Misunderstanding, you may remember that Albus’s pen name was Apiarus B. White.

In love with the catchy contagion of memes?

Memes, musical notes, image from the Smithsonian Magazine, a bit of Beethoven

A Meme

Does the notion of viral ideas excite you? Have you been infected by one? Do you propagate memes? Have you ever danced the macarena or forwarded a ticklish penguin video to a friend?

If you find memes fascinating, take a look at this article in the online Smithsonian magazine: “What Defines a Meme?”

This little snippet might intrigue you: Continue reading

Quotation for the day . . .

From Stephen Fry:

I’m an optimist and tend to believe the best in people, but there are unquestionably some grotesque and vile figures out there. If ever you have the misfortune to meet one, Jonathan, never ever be afraid to use Twitter’s block option. You won’t see their tweets and they won’t see yours. There’s nothing they can do about it and you will be happier as a result, infinitely happier. It’s what I do to newspapers and to those who want to upset or provoke me. No matter who you are no one has a right to see your tweets, a right to be followed or a right to address you if you don’t want to be addressed.

~ Stephen Fry, on 30 November 2010

Now, I don’t twitter, or tweat, or whatever it’s called. I just don’t think I’m that interesting, and as for following other people’s twittering, I find it hard enough to keep up with the few rss feeds I subscribe to; Twitter would either consume me or leave me in the dust, feeling quite overwhelmed! But I nonetheless love this part of Stephen’s post. Continue reading