Degree modifiers, degree words or intensifiers are linguistic elements which convey the degree or the exact value of the quality expressed by the item they modify. They are typically adverbs, as in very hot, really interesting, greatly appreciate or completely absurd, but adjectives may also fulfil this function, as in utter nonsense. As noted by Bolinger (1972: 18), degree words offer a picture of ‘fevered invention’, and without any doubt constitute one of the major areas of grammatical change and renewal in English (Brinton & Arnovik 2006: 441), especially from the Early Modern English period onwards (Peters 1993). It is therefore no surprise that degree modifiers have attracted so much scholarly attention from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. Pioneering studies, such as those by Stoffel (1901), Borst (1902) and Fettig (1934), provide comprehensive inventories of intensifying adverbs in both modern and earlier English, as well as valuable insights into how they originated. In the last decade, however, intensifiers have become the object of renewed interest; this can be attributed in part to the development of computerized corpora, and also to advances in theoretical linguistics, more specifically in the study of semantic change and of grammaticalization processes. This renewed interest has focused, for example, on the individual histories of particular degree items as seen from the perspective of grammaticalization, on the competition of different intensifiers within a given period and across time, and on their distribution across different social groups, varieties or registers.