How do we create our corpus examples?

The examples have been automatically selected from a section of our corpus. We use this multi-billion word collection of texts to research language usage and change over time. The corpus is a rich source of words in action from a wide variety of genres, allowing us to base our dictionaries on language as it as actually used. For example, evidence from the corpus shows that:

  • Nowadays, the word kith almost never appears by itself; practically all modern citations in the corpus come from the phrase kith and kin
  • Usage of the words Brexit, vape, hygge and selfie have all increased dramatically over the past few years
  • The way we use wireless has changed – in the past we listened to the wireless, but now it’s most commonly used alongside words like broadband, internet and Bluetooth.
  • In scientific and medical parlance, mice are mated, injected and modified, whilst in more general usage, a mouse can scurry, squeak, or be clicked.

Although the corpus examples were extracted using an algorithm and have not been editorially reviewed, we hope that you find the extra context a helpful addition to the main dictionary entry.

All Wikipedia examples retrieved in 2015. We acknowledge that the Wikipedia content may vary or update from time to time. If you discover any Wikipedia source that does not appear up to date, please notify us and we will address accordingly.

If you’d like to try some corpus research for yourself, why not have a look at Wordbanks Online? – sign up for a free trial here!