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Doctor Who’s ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ included in Oxford Dictionary

The addition of the Doctor’s trademark gadget coincides with the premiere of the tenth season of the show

Theo Davies-Lewis
Theo Davies-Lewis
Theo is a first-year undergraduate at St. Hugh's College. He was Broadcast Editor in HT17, and is now News Editor in TT17. He has had experience working with News UK, ITV, and the BBC. Feel free to contact Theo via email: [email protected]

While it has been a device synonymous with the Doctor for five decades, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has finally included ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ in its latest edition.

It first appeared in the show in 1968 during ‘Fury from the Deep’ with second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, when he used it to open a hatch on a gas pipeline.

The addition coincides with the premiere of tenth season of the show on Saturday, 15 April.

According to a post in the OxfordWords blog: “Although the revised, third-edition text of the OED entry for sonic adj. won’t be published until June, we can travel forward in time to take a sneak peek at this Whovian entry ahead of Doctor Who’s Series 10 premiere, ‘The Pilot’.

“The ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ is defined as: ‘a (hand-held) electronic device which uses sound waves to perform various mechanical and technical functions. Originally and chiefly in (or in reference to) the British television series Doctor Who.'”

Oxford Doctor Who Society President James Ashworth commented: “We at the Doctor Who Society are very pleased that the Sonic Screwdriver will finally be materialising in the OED ahead of its 50th Birthday next year.

“Now, when someone asks what that thingy the Doctor uses is called, the OED will give them the answer!”

Other Whovian words to be inducted into the OED ‘TARDIS’, ‘Dalek’ and ‘Cyberman’.

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