Archive

Andy Murray holding up Wimbledon trophy

Etymology Corner – ‘Tennis’

It’s that time of year again. Brits are assuming position on Henman Hill, or as it’s more commonly come to be known as, ‘Murray Mound’, with strawberries and cream in one hand and a glass of Pimm’s in the other. To celebrate the return of Wimbledon, we’ve examined the etymology… Read More
A cricket ball

Etymology Corner – ‘Cricket’

Although the weather may still suggest otherwise, the British cricket season is now fully under way. The first test series has been put to bed, and supporters are eagerly eyeing up The Ashes in July. With that in mind, we decided to look at the etymology of the word ‘cricket’…… Read More
A Shakespearean actor holding an apple

Etymology Corner – Election ‘Candidates’

With a general election occurring in Britain on May 7, there is no shortage of candidates seeking votes. The history of the word ‘candidate’ goes back to ancient Rome, where people who stood for political office would wear specially whitened togas while campaigning. These men came to be… Read More
HAPPY EASTER graphic

Etymology Corner – Easter Words

Happy Easter! Etymology Corner has been a regular feature of the collinsdictionary.com email for many months, but we’ve decided to promote it to the blog so more people can appreciate its wit and wisdom! It is written by Ian Brookes, Editorial Consultant for Collins Dictionary. Come back on the… Read More
Wooden cubes with BALDERDASH spelt out

Balderdash! 11 English Words Whose Meanings Have Changed

To grin once meant to scowl, a girl was once a youth of either sex, and “hello” was originally used as an exclamation of surprise! Most of the words in everyday English have been in (and occasionally out of) circulation for centuries. But how and why have their meanings changed?… Read More
knight with shield and sword

Anglo-Saxon Words

Old English, or Anglo-Saxon as it is also known, is the oldest form of English. The original speakers of ‘English’ came from the part of Europe that is now Germany and Denmark in the form of three tribes called the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes. The three tribes had… Read More
fabrique en France illustrated label

Words from French

The Impact of French on English: Language of the Ruling Classes The main period for the introduction of French words into English was after the Norman Conquest of 1066. For the next 300 or so years, the language of the royal court, and therefore of authority, was Norman,… Read More
arabic text on stone

Words from Arabic

The Arabic influence on the English of science, mathematics and cuisine The Muslim conquest and settlement of al-Andalus came when Europe was in the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire when much of the knowledge of the ancient Roman and Greek worlds… Read More