Oxford dictionary seeking the origins of 40 phrases

THE Oxford English dictionary has appealed to the public to help it trace the origin of 40 popular phrases, including terms ranging from 'hoodie' to the infamous 'Glasgow kiss'.

Compilers of the OED say they want evidence of when terms now commonly used first entered the language. The results will be broadcast in the BBC2 programme Balderdash & Piffle, which returns for a new series later this year.

Dictionary authors trace the first evidence of "Glasgow kiss" - a euphemism for a headbutt - to 1987. The dictionary does, however, have an example of the expression "Liverpool kiss", used 43 years previously.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In fashion, the OED first recorded the term 'hoodie' in 1990 and 'shell suit' in 1989, while the term 'trainers' appears to have been first used in 1978 and 'stiletto' back further still, to 1959.

The OED says its mission is to find the earliest verifiable usage of every single word in the English language - currently 600,000 and rising.

John Simpson, chief editor of the OED, said it had a long tradition of asking the public for help: "Our first public appeal went out in 1859, and we've been busy collecting information ever since."

• New office jargon terms this year include "thought grenade", meaning an explosive good idea, and "let's sunset that", meaning a bad idea will never see the light of day.

A survey of 1,600 office staff has revealed the latest buzzwords being used by managers and also lists the expressions workers hate the most. Jargon terms particularly disliked include "thinking outside the box", "park that thought" and "blue sky thinking".

Related topics: