tv and literature

Fairies & folklore: some of literature’s most famous forests

Forests have captured our imaginations for as long as they’ve been standing. In Collins Dictionary, a forest is defined as a large area where trees grow close together. It first entered the English language in the 13th century from Old French, and finds its roots in… Read More

The One With All The Friends Vocabulary

Nearly 20 years after the final episode aired, fans around the world rejoiced as Friends: The Reunion finally graced our screens. As the cast toured the iconic sets and reflected on fond memories, we started reminiscing about the show’s classic words and phrases that have stuck very firmly in our… Read More

The totally rad guide to Stranger Things slang

With Stranger Things 2 now streaming on Netflix, we’re here to help you get up to speed with your ‘80s terminology. We’ve selected some of our favourite words from the show, from the eerie Upside Down to Eleven’s favoured insult, mouthbreather. Upside Down ‘Upside down.’ – Eleven Let’s start… Read More

80 years of The Hobbit: The unique language of J.R.R. Tolkien

In honour of The Hobbit’s 80th anniversary, we explore the origins of some of the legendary words and phrases J.R.R. Tolkien coined, within his own novels and during his time as a dictionary editor. Hobbit Perhaps his most famous linguistic invention, the word became well-known in 1937 after… Read More

Dragons & direwolves: Exploring the language of Westeros

As we pass the halfway point of Game Of Thrones Season 7, we continue our series examining the etymology behind the language of Westeros. This week we’re focusing on the hottest (literally, in some cases) words of the season and their roots in the English language. Turncloak ‘“Theon Turncloak,” someone… Read More

‘Wights’, ‘maesters’ & more: The etymology of Game Of Thrones

Winter is finally here. As our favourite characters are pitted head-to-head in the latest season, we decided to explore the etymology behind Game Of Thrones’ most popular words and phrases. Hand of the King ‘What the king dreams, the Hand builds’ – Eddard Stark We’ve had a few Hands of… Read More

Shakespeare the Phrasemaker

Shakespeare the Phrasemaker It has been said that Shakespeare’s greatest gift was as a creator of memorable phrases. Many of these have a striking resonance that makes them attractive to modern writers as titles for films, books, and songs. Here are a few examples of Shakespearean phrases that continue to… Read More

Etymology Corner – Shakespeare the Wordmaker

Shakespeare the Wordmaker It is a remarkable fact that the works of William Shakespeare include more 2000 words that are not recorded in any earlier author. It is likely that some of these words were not actually invented by Shakespeare, but had been used earlier in spoken language or by… Read More