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  1. a word used in communications to represent the letter O.
  2. a male given name: from Old English words meaning “god” and “spear.”
  3. Military. the NATO designation for a class of nuclear-powered Soviet attack submarine armed with 24 antiship cruise missiles.


  1. one of a group of statuettes awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievements in motion-picture production and performance.
Compare Academy Award.

Origin of Oscar2

allegedly named in 1931 by an employee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, after her uncle


  1. one of a series of small communications satellites, launched into polar orbit as piggyback passengers on U.S. launch vehicles, for unrestricted use by radio amateurs.

Origin of Oscar3

1980–85; o(rbiting) s(atellite) c(arrying) a(mateur) r(adio)

Oscar II

or Oskar II

  1. 1829–1907, king of Sweden 1872–1907; king of Norway 1872–1905.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for oscar


  1. Australian slang, rare cash; money

Word Origin

C20: rhyming slang, from Oscar Asche (1871–1936), Australian actor


    1. any of several small gold statuettes awarded annually in the United States by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievements in filmsOfficial name: Academy Award
    2. (sometimes not capital)an award made in recognition of outstanding endeavour in any of various other fieldsthe TV Oscars
  1. (without capital) any annual award for excellence
  2. communications a code word for the letter o

Word Origin

C20: sense 1 said to have been named after a remark made by an official on first seeing the statuette, that it reminded her of her uncle Oscar

Oscar II

  1. 1829–1907, king of Sweden (1872–1907) and of Norway (1872–1905)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for oscar


masc. proper name, Old English Osgar "god's spear," from gar "spear" (see gar) + os "god" (only in personal names); see Asgard.

The statuette awarded for excellence in film acting, directing, etc., given annually since, 1928, first so called 1936. The name is said to have sprung from a 1931 remark by Margaret Herrick, secretary at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on seeing the statuette: "He reminds me of my Uncle Oscar." Thus the award would be named for Oscar Pierce, U.S. wheat farmer and fruit grower.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

oscar in Culture


A small statue given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to winners of its annual awards. (See Academy Awards.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.