The word 'apparently' is one of several words that has been stolen from the English language in a daring raid on a secure vocabulary facility in Oxford. Police were first alerted to the theft at about eight o'clock in the evening when a man out walking his dog noticed that the gates to the facility had been forced.

The Oxford storehouse was built in 1882 and the English language has been housed there ever since, excluding the duration of the Second World War when it was removed to a disused salt mine in North Wales for safekeeping. The original stone building has since been augmented with modern alarm systems and a coded locking mechanism. The words themselves are kept in airtight containers - away from light sources which may cause them to fade - except when they are made available for study by academics or loaned to museums.

Police have not suggested a motive for the theft, although it has almost certainly been stolen to order. Most words are currently kept at Oxford but there are still a few in private hands. Original English words are therefore highly sought after, with verbs in particular fetching huge sums. For example, the word 'shatter' recently sold for over three hundred thousand pounds and the irregular verb 'porunk' was listed with a reserve price of half a million by one auction house, until it was subsequently revealed to be a fake.

Adverbs can still fetch a fair amount on the black market and it seems that there is no shortage of unscrupulous collectors who wouldn't baulk at breaking the law to get hold of one. For some time there has been a thriving overseas market for stolen words and it used to be a favourite technique to smuggle them out of the country hidden in the pages of a book. Now, the internet has made such methods redundant and it is a simple enough matter to simply email the stolen word to its recipient. All of which means that the word is most likely out of the country already, and there is probably very little chance of ever recovering it, apparently.

The Annual 2018


The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2018

Download PDF Version

Read online

Books and Free Downloads

The UBO Annual 2017 The UBO Annual 2016 The UBO Annual 2015 The History of Rock The Bongo Lectures Kicking and Screaming Dead Peasants Recalled to Life UBO Volume 1 UBO Volume 2 Death Doom and Disaster Goldilocks and the Free Bears Find out more...



Promo Image


Prof Jim Spanners explains chaos theory

Promo Image

Is Your Office Chair Road Legal?

Stop right there! Your furniture could soon be illegal.

Promo Image

Well Stuffed

Rogue taxidermist at large.

Promo Image

Excitement at discovery of Big-Eared Dinosaur

Yes sir, a good pair of ears is about the most useful thing that you could possibly have in the animal kingdom.

Promo Image

Exploding Dogs

It's for their own good

Promo Image

Herman Logins

Aberdeen man to be Olympic venue.


Standard British NunsTeaching Carrots to FlyStandard British NunsExtreme Dinosaurs


Latest blog entries...