Fauquier County Public Library

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Homework Help: The Definitive Record of the English Language

Posted by alison on

Over six hundred thousand words… over three million quotations… over 1,000 years of English. This describes the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language, past and present, from across the English-speaking world.

The OED, which was started more than 150 years ago, is not just an enormous dictionary (the original version was ten volumes and continued to expand as it was updated). It’s also an historical dictionary – it traces a word from its origins (may be Old or Middle English) to the present, illustrating the various ways in which it has been used, adding to our historical and linguistic record.

As an historical dictionary, the OED is very different from dictionaries of current English, which focus on present-day meanings. While you’ll still find present-day meanings in the OED, you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialized journals, to film scripts and cookbooks.

You can search (quick or advanced) words, browse categories (subject, usage, region and origin), view timelines (when words entered the English language), explore sources (authors and works quoted in the OED) and use the historical thesaurus to view a taxonomic organization of all the contents of the OED.

Other features include:

  • What’s New – Every three months, OED editors revise existing entries and add new words;
  • Aspects of English – Informative and entertaining commentaries on the English language, written by dictionary editors and specialist authors;
  • Birthday words – Search your year of birth to find a word that was first recorded in the OED in your birthday year;
  • Word of the Day – Receive a daily email update of the OED Word of the Day;
  • Aspects of English Read articles from OED editors and authors on interesting aspects of the English language, from the Geordie dialect to the first dictionaries in English to the history of the word mammoth and much more;
  • Quizzes and Lesson Plans  Explore an inventory of lesson plans on the OED for middle and high school students, along with quizzes to test your knowledge of using the OED Online.

As for pogonophobia, according to the OED Online, “this is a jocular term for a strong dislike of beards that was coined in 1857, but may be more relevant than ever given the current proliferation of barbigerous hipsters.”

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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Staff Picks: Looking for Modern Magic

Posted by marysue on

What do you picture when you think of the fantasy genre?  Likely, you see images of wizards, dragons and fairytale castles set in faraway magical realms.  They’re fun stories to be sure, but what if you prefer your fantasy to be a little more grounded in reality?  Well, then you’re looking for contemporary fantasy. (more…)

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Kiddosphere: Random Reads: Check Them Out!

Posted by jennifers on

I haven’t written a “Random Reads” post since early February, so I have lots to share with you! Random Reads posts include a mix of children’s, young adult (YA) and adult books, so if you’re not looking for anything in particular, I hope you’ll find something here that captures your interest! (more…)

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Reading Riot: An Earth Day Celebration

Posted by annmcd on

To celebrate Earth Day this month, the Teen Advisory Group hosted a mini-terrarium project at the Bealeton and Warrenton libraries.

We all know that plants help the environment by producing oxygen so our Mason jars (and pickle jars!) were transformed into little biospheres with their own mini-climate. To make the terrariums, we layered pea gravel, soil, moss and a variety of small plants to create one of a kind miniature gardens. Such a memorable outdoor activity on a warm spring day! (more…)

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Digitizing Your Genealogy Records

Posted by marysue on

At some point, your genealogy paperwork, such as census records, wills, vital record certificates, photographs, etc. may be better preserved and managed digitally. This can be a huge undertaking, both in organizing so you can find it again and in performing the actual digitization process. (more…)

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Consumer Reports May 2017: Heart Matters

Posted by vicky on

Check out this information in the May issue of Consumer Reports:

Heart Health

Did you know that approximately 790,000 American have heart attacks each year? And that one in seven deaths is caused by heart disease? Studies show that you may have more control over your heart health than previously thought. Check out the article “Take Charge of Your Heart Health,” which includes sections on understanding the stages of heart disease, gender, “slowing down the rush to heart surgery,” heart-healthy diets and cholesterol and blood pressure drugs. The article also includes ratings for blood pressure monitors and top-scoring hospitals for heart bypass surgery and aortic valve replacement. (more…)

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