The Foxopedia

A pathway providing an insight into The World of Words and Writing



Word of the Week……..


So what have we dug out for this week…..


An unpleasant or derogatory word or expression substituted for a pleasant or inoffensive one; the opposite of a euphemism.

A couple of examples would be using “looney bin” in place of mental hospital or using “tub of lard” for someone who is overweight.

Did you know……..


We all suffer with stress on a daily basis – whether it’s the commuter traffic jams, being late for work or worrying about how you’re going to pay your rent; large or small, we all have a daily stress moment.

Research, however, has discovered that reading for 6 minutes a day, just 6 minutes, can reduce stress levels by two thirds, up to 68% to be precise!  Reading for a short time is supposedly better for stress than perhaps a walk through the park or sitting down with a cup of tea.

The study was carried out by Mindlab Consultancy in Sussex on a group of volunteers and the results highlighted that not only did the participants’ stress levels reduce, but the muscles also relaxed and some individuals were found to be in a more relaxed state than before the test began.

We read, to some extent, most of the day whether it is scrolling through social media sites, watching news bulletins, reading work documents or opening bills, it is a must; a need rather than an enjoyment.

When picking up a novel or a book about a subject that you are interested in, our minds completely focus on what we are reading and as such, the body and mind relaxes. However, avoid electronic devices when reading to relax; a notification of a Facebook post or an email that pings in as having arrived, ruins the whole idea – let it be just you and the pages.

So, if you want to reduce your blood pressure and your stress levels, take a few minutes a day and switch off – pick up that book and read the next chapter – dig out that magazine and read the article you meant to read last week.  Time; make the most of it, you will never get it back and what’s six minutes in the grand scheme of things?  Personally, I would aim for at least 30 minutes…. 🙂

Image result for reading for six minutes a day can reduce stress

Word of the Week……..


So, a little food orientated this week…..


Dégustation is the careful, timely, appreciative tasting of different foods which focuses your senses, particularly those to do with taste and smell and visually, with the artistic presentation of the food.  Quite commonly encountered in restaurants when ‘Tasting Menus’ are offered – a set menu of many small tantalising dishes!

Did you know……..


The English Oxford Dictionary (OED) is a fascinating book and, for a lot of us who work with the English Language every day, it is a trusted companion.  So, we thought we’d shed some light on this little book of wisdom with some unusual facts, starting with some statistics about the first edition, first officially fully bound and published in 1928 (but some earlier sections were published in the late 1800’s):

  • Its actual size was 10 volumes consisting of 15,490 pages;
  • Once the book was approved, it took 70 years to compile the first edition;
  • Number of original entries, (words and their meanings), 252,200;
  • Number of contributors 2000;
  • In 1972 a supplement was prepared, estimated to take 7 years but took 30 years and contained a further 69,300 entries;
  • In comparison, when the second edition was prepared in 1989 it was twenty volumes (double the size) and contained 231,100 entries, 291,500 further entries, 47,100 obsolete words, 27,100 non-naturalised words, amongst many other tens of thousands of quotations!!
  • There are currently over 600,000 words alone in the OED;
  • Interestingly J.R.R Tolkien’s first job was to be in charge of the letter W following the First World War;
  • When the OED was first put into an online format, it required 120 typists, who each keyed in over 350 million characters, resulting in the assistance of 55 proofreaders! It first went online in 2000.
  • The OED costs over four million pounds each year just in editorial costs;
  • A new word is added to the OED every two hours;
  • And finally, what is the first word in the OED. It is Aardvark but the first entry is A……  i.e. a bowl of cereal; a pleasant man.  Although only one letter it is a word and is the first entry in the OED.

Anyway, a little bit of mindless information for you……

Word of the Week……..


So, what do we call a word that is made up of parts of two words….


(More commonly known as a ‘blend’).

Some examples – brunch has become known for a meal midway between breakfast and lunch; motel being for motorcar and hotel and guesstimate being a guessed estimate.

However, these words are different from compound words made up of two whole words such as blackboard, website or dark room.

Do you know any more Portmanteau words?????

Word of the Week……..


We are all told at some point that we are mad about something….so could you be:-


or do you suffer with LOGOLEPSY?

To be a logolept or a logomaniac, or to suffer with logolepsy means that you are a word maniac, a word nerd, obsessed with all types of weird and wonderful words.

On the other hand you could be a logophobe and have a complete fear of words.

Which one are you?  I think I would be tending towards a logolept as I love exploring and finding unusual words….just like I have done here 🙂

Did you know……..


Good from Bad……

Following on from the recent anniversary of Anne Frank’s death on 12th March 1945, and some reading we have done of the events of the holocaust, we found out another interesting fact about that time in history.

One little boy, born in 1928 and residing in Brooklyn, New York, was one of thousands hugely affected by the atrocities of the holocaust.  Witnessing the deaths of members of his family, an event he reports as deeply saddening, was none other than Mr Maurice Sendak – the author of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ ; originally entitled ‘Where the Wild Horses Are’, but Sendak had to accept that given he could not draw horses and wished to illustrate his own book, the illustrations soon grew into the idea of the ‘Wild Things’.)

In an interview with Bill Moyers, Sendak revealed a rare insight into his psyche and explained ‘some of the early childhood memories and surprisingly dark influences behind his work were shaped by immigrant parents and the tragedy of the holocaust.’ However, his memories of his family also injected humorous ideas into the creation of his wild things, with members of the family apparently coming for lunch and telling him, ‘he looked so good, they could eat him.’

When the book was first published, teachers and librarians could not understand the attraction of the story and thought it inappropriate for children to read but, over time, given its huge popularity, they had no choice but to relax their views.  Indeed, Francis Spufford, an English author, has stated that it was…. “one of the very few picture books to make an entirely deliberate and beautiful use of the psychoanalytic story of anger….’

Without Sedak’s horrific experiences we may not have had the adventures of Max which has brought excitement, and an enjoyment of reading, to so many children’s lives.


Word of the Week……..


So this week we have …


A strong dislike for a particular word (or group of words), depending upon its sound, usage, meaning and attributability.

There are a few words that I hate hearing which come to mind for me, what about you?

Did you know……..


So, with today being Independent Women’s Day, we thought it would be pertinent to share a few key facts that you may, or may not have known, about this special day.

Do you know the exact original name of Women’s Day?

The first ever Women’s Day was actually named Independent Working Women’s Day.

Do you know where and when the first Women’s Day was celebrated?

It was first celebrated on 28th February 1909 in New York, not the 8th March, the date when it is now internationally celebrated.

What brought about International Women’s Day?

It was a day created to commemorate the 15,000 plus women who marched through New York in the 1908 strike, demanding political and social rights under the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, including better working hours and rates of pay.

Do you know how the anniversary came to be changed to the 8th March?

Although the date differs with some countries, in 1914, the date was internationally changed to 8th March as this was a Sunday, a day of rest and it was considered more appropriate to celebrate Women’s Day when women were not working and able to take part in their local celebratory activities.

Do you know that some countries have made International Women’s Day a National Holiday?!

Cambodia, Zambia, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Vietnam and the Soviet Union.

And some countries give their women a day off?!

Madagascar, China and Nepal.

If you are a Tiwi woman (of the Tiwi culture) of Northern Australia you have to……?

Be married all of the time!!!!

Every year the United Nations sets a theme for International Women’s Day – do you know what this year’s is?

Pledge for Parity – Parity meaning ‘the state or condition of being equal, especially as regards status or pay.’

AND finally, a funny fact that we think men and women may agree with…..Research suggest that women speak on average 22,000 words a day compared to men who may reach 7000… you think that’s realistic?

Have a Happy International Women’s Day!

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