Word of the day: artefice (Italian)

n. Architect.

Image: Architect at his drawing board, wood engraving, first published 25 May 1893 in Teknisk Ukeblad. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Oxford Companion to Food fact of the week:

The name of the Japanese hotpot ‘shabu-shabu’ is onomatopoeic of the sound beef makes when swept in liquid.

Follow the #OxCompFood hashtag across social media for more delicious food facts from The Oxford Companion to Food.
Gif via giphy.com

The Oxford Companion to Food fact of the week:

The name of the Japanese hotpot ‘shabu-shabu’ is onomatopoeic of the sound beef makes when swept in liquid.

Follow the #OxCompFood hashtag across social media for more delicious food facts from The Oxford Companion to Food.

Gif via giphy.com

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography podcast: Sweeney Todd, legendary murderer and barber

On 21 November 1846 Lloyd began serializing The String of Pearls in The People’s Periodical and Family Library. The eighteen-part serial has usually been attributed to Thomas Peckett Prest, but Helen Smith has argued persuasively that it was actually the work of James Malcolm Rymer. It was set in 1785, suggesting that the author may have read the newspaper account of the murdering barber of 1784. The story concerned Sweeney Todd, a barber in Fleet Street (the name may have been borrowed from Samuel Todd, a pearl-stringer who lived near Fleet Street in the 1830s) who murders wealthy clients for their valuables by throwing them from their chairs through a trapdoor into a cellar. Todd’s neighbour Mrs Lovett then cuts up the bodies to make them into pies.

The story of Sweeney Todd is one of over 200 episodes available from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s podcast archive. New episodes are released every second Wednesday.

Image: Razor, Horst Burtkhardt. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Compleat Angler Calendar: October

‘From the Sixteenth of this Month also till towards the end of it, we use a bright brown, the dubbing for which, is to be had out of a Skinners Lime-pits, and of the hair of an abortive Calf, which they lime will turn to be so bright, as to shine like Gold, for the wings of this Flie, the feather of a brown Hen is best’.

Each month, we’ll be sharing the recommended fishing tip of the month from the most famous angling manual, The Compleat Angler. Happy fishing!  
Image credit: Fishing by Vladimir Makovsky. Public domain via Wikipaintings.

The Compleat Angler Calendar: October

‘From the Sixteenth of this Month also till towards the end of it, we use a bright brown, the dubbing for which, is to be had out of a Skinners Lime-pits, and of the hair of an abortive Calf, which they lime will turn to be so bright, as to shine like Gold, for the wings of this Flie, the feather of a brown Hen is best’.

Each month, we’ll be sharing the recommended fishing tip of the month from the most famous angling manual, The Compleat Angler. Happy fishing!  

Image credit: Fishing by Vladimir Makovsky. Public domain via Wikipaintings.

Reid Vanderburgh explains why misgender is not a bad word.


Few protest leaders have burst upon the American political scene more dramatically than did Mario Savio in fall 1964 when he was a twenty-one-year-old Berkeley student. The University of California had become the scene of nonviolent political warfare, with the administration enforcing and students defying a campus ban on political advocacy … Coming at a time when student civil rights activism was surging, the ban seemed an attack on the civil rights movement and a gross violation of the right to free speech …
This was the first revolt of the 1960s to bring to a college campus the mass civil disobedience tactics pioneered in the civil rights movement … Savio’s charismatic leadership in this new form of rebellion and his eloquence, highlighted in the press, made him seem larger than life.” 

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley, a nonviolent protest against the university administration’s attempts to silence its students’ outspoken political activism. Historian Robert Cohen traces the life and legacy of its young spokesperson, Mario Savio, in Freedom’s Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s.
Image: Mario Savio on Sproul Hall steps at UC Berkeley in 1966, by Mjlovas .CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Few protest leaders have burst upon the American political scene more dramatically than did Mario Savio in fall 1964 when he was a twenty-one-year-old Berkeley student. The University of California had become the scene of nonviolent political warfare, with the administration enforcing and students defying a campus ban on political advocacy … Coming at a time when student civil rights activism was surging, the ban seemed an attack on the civil rights movement and a gross violation of the right to free speech …

This was the first revolt of the 1960s to bring to a college campus the mass civil disobedience tactics pioneered in the civil rights movement … Savio’s charismatic leadership in this new form of rebellion and his eloquence, highlighted in the press, made him seem larger than life.” 

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley, a nonviolent protest against the university administration’s attempts to silence its students’ outspoken political activism. Historian Robert Cohen traces the life and legacy of its young spokesperson, Mario Savio, in Freedom’s Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s.

Image: Mario Savio on Sproul Hall steps at UC Berkeley in 1966, by Mjlovas .CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"

William Wordswoth, 1770-1850

Jon Stallworthy argues that no area of human experience has generated a wider range of powerful feelings than war.

Word of the day: ochavo (Spanish)

n. Old Spanish coin of little value.

Image: Felipe V 2 MARAVEDIS Ceca Segovia 1744 001 by Valdavia. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

On the Shelves in Oxford this week we have books for language lovers. Professor David Crystal’s Words in Time and Place focuses on fifteen universal themes ranging from words for endearment to words for being drunk. Each chapter takes the reader through the timeline of words for each topic starting with the earliest words in English and discusses which words appeared when and why. Ezra Pound: Poet, Volume II tells the illuminating story of Pound’s life as a poet and composer. A. David Moody describes Pound as a great poet but a flawed idealist.