Did you know that today, 18 January, was author A. A. Milne\u2019s birthday? To mark this, people around the world are celebrating Milne\u2019s much-loved creation, Winnie-the-Pooh. And for Winnie-the-Pooh Day this year, we thought we\u2019d take a quick look at the language of Pooh.\r\n\r\nBut what can a bear of very little brain offer the English language? If we look at the OED, you might notice Pooh and his friends pop up a few times\u2026\r\n1. Pooh-Sticks\r\nPerhaps the most obvious bit of Pooh in the dictionary comes with pooh-sticks. This is the game that Pooh and his friends play by dropping sticks into a river on the upstream side of a bridge. The contestants then rush to the other side, with the winner the person whose stick emerges first.\r\n\r\nThis might not sound like a competitive sport, but the annual World Poohsticks Championships have been taking place in Oxfordshire, England for more than 35 years now. That makes it a proper sport for us!\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_5746" align="aligncenter" width="377"] Pooh-sticks in action.(Photo: Malc McDonald)[\/caption]\r\n2. Eeyore and Tigger\r\nAmong Pooh\u2019s friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, Eeyore and Tigger stand out for their contributions to the English language. Eeyore, the downbeat donkey, appears in the OED as a term for a \u2018pessimistic, gloomy, or habitually disconsolate person\u2019 (or you can use the adjective \u2018Eeyore-like\u2019, if you prefer).\r\n\r\nA Tigger, on the other hand, is defined as an \u2018exuberant, energetic, and cheerful person\u2019. The famously bouncy tiger has also inspired two adjectives: Tiggerish and Tigger-like. It seems, then, that Pooh has given us terms for people of very different temperaments!\r\n3. Heffalumps and Woozles\r\nIn Pooh\u2019s world, heffalumps and woozles are (possibly imaginary) creatures that steal honey. And since Pooh is really, truly very fond of honey, he has to be wary of these sneaky beasts!\r\n\r\nThe words \u2018heffalump\u2019 and \u2018woozle\u2019, and the creatures\u2019 appearances, are based on the words \u2018elephant\u2019 and \u2018weasel\u2019, respectively. But outside Milne\u2019s writing, heffalump has become a playful word for real-life elephants (or sometimes, less politely, larger human beings).\r\n\r\nSadly, the word \u2018woozle\u2019 hasn\u2019t yet made it into the dictionary. However, it has inspired the term \u2018woozle effect\u2019. This is based on the story of Pooh and Piglet mistaking their own footprints for those of a woozle, then chasing themselves in circles in a hunt for something that doesn\u2019t exist.\r\n\r\nIn the real world, the \u2018woozle effect\u2019 occurs when a misleading or unsubstantiated idea is repeated and republished often enough that people start believing it (or chasing their own footprints, so to speak). So while \u2018woozle\u2019 isn\u2019t in the dictionary yet, it still might appear there one day!\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_5745" align="aligncenter" width="465"] Pooh and friends.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nWe hope you\u2019ve enjoyed our little tour of the language of Winnie-the-Pooh here. And if you have any documents that need proofreading, don\u2019t forget to have it checked by our expert editors (rather than a woozle).