The Foxopedia

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

Did you know……..


The Naming of ‘Oz’

Many of us know and love The Wizard of Oz, one of my childhood favourites; I used to love watching the films and reading the books.  But how did the land of Oz come into being.

Frank Baum, the author and creator of Oz, during his works as a chicken rancher, a salesman and a theatre manager, had already created two successful children’s books.  When he came to writing about Oz, he had no idea that it would become a successful sequel of amazing stories set in his magical make-believe land and, it is said, in its time became as popular amongst society as greats such as Harry Potter and Narnia are with us today.

So how did he come up with the name?  Apparently, he was struggling to come up with an appropriate name for his enchanting land when one day, upon studying his filing cabinets, he saw before him his three labelled drawers: A-G, H-N, and O-Z.   And this was the inspiration for Oz.

Dorothy’s character was created in memory of Frank’s wife’s infant niece, also named Dorothy, and the story was a dedication to the lost child.

This little snippet of knowledge has created an urge to revisit my childhood days and follow that yellow brick road and, again, immerse myself in, and read about, the wonderful world of Oz.

Happy Wednesday!

Image result for the wonderful wizard of oz and the yellow brick road


Word of the Week……..


What can we find for this Friday afternoon???

What about:


If you suffer with Hellenomania then you have a tendency to use long, cumbersome Greek or Latin words instead of a more easily understood English equivalent.

For example, from my time as a lawyer, the term ex turpi causa non oritur actio means that someone cannot bring a legal action as a result of an illegal act, i.e. if you are robbing a shop and you break your leg in the process, you cannot sue the supermarket for the injury.

Similarly, novus actus interveniens means a break in causation – something that causes a break in the chain of events.

Happy Weekend.


Did you know…….


The Death of Language

It is a sad fact within our very changing world, that scientists estimate that a language dies every 14 days.  Once a fortnight a language spoken somewhere in the world is being abandoned in favour of other more popular languages such as English, Spanish and Mandarin.

It is estimated that approximately 48% of the world’s different languages in this current era are at risk of abandonment.

War, military involvement and the plight of refugees are just small reasons why languages are left abandoned in home regions, towns and villages.  Religion, education and isolation are also other reasons why people lean towards the known world and the most common forms of language and communication.

For example, here in the UK, we have two languages that are in danger of extinction – Cornish (Cornwall) and Manx (from the Isle of Man).

UNESCO consider that it is the home life that can render a language endangered.  If the language is spoken by grandparents and parents but not followed by the children, each generation will learn less; if the language is banned from being spoken in the home or children are no longer required to learn their mother tongue, these languages brink on extinction.

By 2100 it is estimated that half of the 7000 languages spoken on earth will have disappeared, many of which have never been formally named or identified.

If people are penalised, taunted or forbidden from using their language, then we stand to lose great treasures of this world.  Just because you do not understand it, does not mean you can reject it.  It’s called culture and individuality – a professor in linguistics once said, “language holds a world of knowledge and when we lose a language, we lose the knowledge and the history – we lose a connection to a faraway land.”

Image result for endangered and extinct languages

Word of the Week……..


Dedicated to Amber….

It has been a couple of quiet weeks at The Foxopedia as unfortunately one of our beautiful cats was tragically run over and passed away, so work has not been a priority.  It has been a devastating time.

So, today we thought we would highlight some unusual words from the Cat World – especially for any of you other cat lovers out there.  Here we go:-

KINDLE – not what you might think – taken from the Middle English word ‘kindelen’ (meaning to give birth to), a kindle also signifies a pack of kittens.

CHATOVANT – a changeable colour usually cut within a gem stone with a narrow band of white light similar to a cats eye, from the french word ‘chatoyer’ – ‘to shimmer like a cat’s eye’.

VIBRISSAE – from the latin term ‘vibrare’, this is the scientific term for a cat’s whiskers.

GRIMALKIN – an obsolete term for a cat with a grumpy looking face – this is our other fat cat’s new nickname! 🙂

and finally……

AILUROPHILE – in simple terms, a cat lover, sums us up perfectly!



Related image

Did you know………


In the words of Stephen King….‘books are a uniquely portable magic….’

Whether they transport you to a world of war, crime, passion, mystery, love, sadness, or a completely imaginary existence, every book is unique and personal to the reader.  There are many weird and wonderful books in the world but there is one I recently came across which I found simply adorable.

Measuring just one millimetre squared, this tiny little book contains the famous nursery rhyme Old King Cole (rhyme words can be found hereOld King Cole).  It consists of twelve pages, all so tiny they need to be read with a magnifying glass or microscope and the pages have to be turned with a needle or a pin.

Created in 1985, it held a place in the Guinness Book of Records for twenty years as being the smallest book in the world.   However, as with anything, due to the creation of super technology we believe nanotechnology printing techniques have created the current smallest book – made in Japan it’s called ‘Shiki no Kusabana’ (Flowers of Seasons).   An illustrated guide to Japanese flora, it is twenty-two pages long, but smaller than the eye of a needle, and measures 0.75mm in height and has a width of 0.01mm.

Apparently, according to other printers and publishers who have created miniature books, the attraction of them was that they would often be contained within lockets which people could hang around their necks.  Having built in magnifying glasses allowed individuals to take their treasured readings wherever they went.  This was especially important during war times and as a result, a miniature edition of the bible, the Qur’an and a book containing all of the national anthems was created for this very purpose.

In summary I really believe we need an illustrative example to understand the true size of what we  are talking about.  😊

cole 1   Old King Cole against a 1p…  cole 2  And against a pencil tip…..


Word of the Week……..


So for this week’s word we have found a good one……we think it’s probably the most random so far but I bet you cannot believe what it means…..


It is a shape with 99 sides.  We didn’t even know that a shape with that many sizes could exist or be categorised, let alone have such an unusual name. The names for polygons are actually Greek in origin so, for example, a pentagon which has five sides is:

five fifth pente pemptos

Ninety and nine have the following:

ninety ninetieth enenekonta enenekostos
nine ninth ennea enatos


If you have a desire to look up more of the Greek terminologies for polygons you can find them here –Polygons (of all sizes!)

Did you know……..Election Humour Special!


We thought this little fact might bring a little humour to Election Week.

For many of us in our working or social lives, there is often a time when we have to undertake public speaking.  I, for one, am very shy and do not like being the centre of attention;  I much prefer to listen.  For some people, however, the thrill of being in the spotlight and ensuring their words and views are heard comes naturally.

We see a lot of this at the moment with the election campaigns that are taking place; people very passionate about what they do and their views on certain subjects.  For others, it is a chance to have a blazing row in public with justification!

But, if you are one of those few that have to carry out the task of public speaking and dread it, or suffer with terrible anxiety or nervousness, here would be the advice of Charles Dickens……he had a ritual that he would carry out on a day when he had to undertake public speaking:

‘…two tablespoons of rum with fresh cream for breakfast, a pint of champagne for tea and, half an hour before the start of his performance, he would drink a raw egg beaten into a tumbler of sherry.’

I am now wondering, except for the raw egg, whether I should take up public speaking….sounds like it could be interesting.



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

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