Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2020

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Our Word of the Year 2020 is… quarantine. Our data shows it was one of the most highly searched words on the Cambridge Dictionary this year.

Quarantine was the only word to rank in the top five for both search spikes  and overall views (more than 183,000 by early November), with the largest spike in searches (28,545) seen the week of 18-24 March, when many countries around the world went into lockdown as a result of COVID-19.

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Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Tomas Rodriguez/Stone/Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

This post takes a look at a group of phrases that we use when we talk about the future.

Some of the phrases that we use when we talk about our future plans and ideas simply mean ‘at some time in the future’, (without mentioning a particular time), for example at some point: At some point, we’ll look into buying a new laptop.

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Off-colour and on the mend (Talking about health)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

On one thread of this blog, we look at the phrases that people use in daily conversation. This week, we’re focusing on expressions that people use to talk about health – both their own health and that of their family and friends. We won’t be looking at individual symptoms. These were covered by my colleague, Liz Walter, in her post My leg hurts:Talking about illness. Instead, we’ll consider the phrases that people use in conversation to talk more generally about health.

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An old fixation with dictionaries

Mohan Singh

My two elder brothers had matriculated from the Rangoon School Board affiliated to the University of London in the 1930s. One of them had a light-weight Collins Pocket Gem Dictionary printed on rice paper and bound in a soft plastic jacket. He hardly ever used it, but told me that those days, any book purchase of Rs 5 or more was entitled to this free gift.

In Punjab, not much English was spoken then, and one rarely, if ever, needed to use a dictionary, except perhaps to settle an argument on spelling. I remember an incident concerning my encounter with one in 1952. I was looking for a second-hand book on physics along the pavement, when I saw two ‘high gentry’ women haggling with the proprietor of a book shop at Hall Bazaar. They had purchased the thick, hard-bound Chamber’s Twentieth Century Dictionary, which they wanted to return and demanded a refund, because the book was moth-eaten. The shopkeeper didn’t have another copy, but was ready to refund Rs 7, which was not acceptable to the buyer. I was accompanied by my friend TS, and after leafing through the edition, we offered to buy it for Rs 10. He agreed and we contributed equal amounts as partners, the unwritten condition being that it would be used cooperatively on a monthly basis.

I wrote, in bold calligraphic capitals, my friend’s name on the fly page, thus granting him full ownership thereof, though it remained mostly with me. I, too, used it only while solving crosswords introduced as regular feature in a weekly as a promotional feature. Some dividend did come my way in the form of enhanced vocabulary. But after my BSc, I was eligible to do postgraduation, privately, only in English, the other subjects being restricted to regular students. Thus I landed in a college of repute, as a lecturer in English without any training in ‘teaching’ this language.

Awareness of only a cross-section of literature was taking a toll on my confidence, some of which returned when the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad, exposed us to the relevant technology: repeated presentation of carefully selected and graded structures. There, in 1977, we were introduced to the just-arrived Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

My obsession with dictionaries spread among friends and took me to subject dictionaries, and the heavy two-volume Reader’s Digest Great Illustrated Dictionary and its three-volume red Encyclopaedic Dictionary. When I went to the US to attend a wedding some years ago, my nephew gave me a parting gift—an 8-kg Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. It supplies the meaning of every English word, except novel coronavirus. It is likely to be the word of the century in all future publications, regardless of language.

Source: The Tribune (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/musings/an-old-fixation-with-dictionaries-73962)

[…] o olho vê, a lembrança revê, e a imaginação transvê. […]

No Blog da Companhia das Letras encontrei hoje as “cartas para tempos de isolamento”. Transcrevo a seguir um trecho de uma delas.

Manoel de Barros deixou uma obra carregada de sensibilidade e leveza, e tornou-se um dos poetas mais populares do país. Nesta carta de 1995 à mestranda Sheila Moura Hue, ele responde a um questionário sobre sua formação e destaca o isolamento como alimento para a imaginação.
[…] O que alimenta meu espírito não é ler. É inventar. Fui criado no mato isolado. Acho que isso me obrigava a ampliar o meu mundo com o imaginário. Inventei meus brinquedos e meu vocabulário. […] Minha curiosidade intelectual nunca foi por histórias nem por indague sobre a vida e a morte — essas metafísicas. Eu gostava das frases, de preferência as insólitas. Este depoimento acho que não vai prestar pra sua tese. Mas eu tive boa vontade. Eu queria explicar que o menino isolado criou sozinho seu alimento espiritual. Assim que é: o olho vê, a lembrança revê, e a imaginação transvê. […] 

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Fools rush in: proverbs in English (1)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Izumi T/Moment/Getty Images

by Liz Walter

Proverbs may seem rather old-fashioned or strange but when I started thinking about writing this post, I was amazed to realize how many of them are in common use. They serve as a convenient shorthand for something that would often be more complicated to say in a different way. We frequently use them at the end of a conversation to sum up what has been said, and many of them are so familiar that we can omit part of the phrase and still understand what is meant.

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