Henry Hitchings

Henry Hitchings is the author of three books about language – most recently, The Language Wars – and a book about the English and their manners, Sorry!

Of all the volunteers who contributed material to the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, James Dixon was the most opinionated. A retired oculist living in Dorking, he was appalled when he came across the word cundum in print, and told James Murray (the OED’s editor from 1879 to 1915) that this was the name of ‘a contrivance used by fornicators, to save themselves from...

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