1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 27 Articles

We're pleased to present another excerpt from Constance Hale's entertaining new book, Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing. Here she focuses on phrasal verbs, "the verbal combos that join an action word with a tiny preposition or particle to make a whole new meaning."  Continue reading...
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For the fifth consecutive year, the Visual Thesaurus assisted the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses with its annual Spelling Bee supporting the work of independent literary publishers. As in past years, the VT supplied the words to challenge some of New York's leading literary lights, and this year singer-turned-memoirist Rosanne Cash emerged victorious.  Continue reading...
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Everyone likes puppies, cookies, Batman, and humorous quotations. Therefore, the fourth edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, edited by the late Ned Sherrin, should be enjoyed by everyone. This Brit-heavy volume leans closer to the witty than the funny, but it's both a serious reference book and a hall-of-fame bathroom book.  Continue reading...
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Last February, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned the House of Representatives that "under current law, on January 1st, 2013, there is going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases." Now, with the election over, President Obama and the lame-duck Congress are trying to figure out a way to avoid the "fiscal cliff." But where did the phrase come from? And is the cliff metaphor really so apt?  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

The Cy Young Winner with a Thesaurus in His Locker

The knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets has won the National League's Cy Young Award, given to the league's best pitcher. We've been Dickey fans ever since we learned that he keeps a dictionary and a thesaurus in his locker. At the beginning of the 2011 baseball season, Ben Zimmer devoted a Word Routes column to Dickey, who had already emerged as a fan favorite, "not just for his way with a knuckleball, but for his way with words." Read it here.
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November 23rd has been named Fibonacci Day since 11-23 doubles as the date's abbreviation and the first numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence (1, 1, 2, 3...). The Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci used this sequence in lots of wacky ways--from predicting the population growth of rabbits to exploring the "golden ratio" formed between two consecutive numbers in the sequence.  Continue reading...
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The Horologicon ("book of hours") is a reference book. Its author, Mark Forsyth (who writes the Inky Fool blog), says so. But it is a very unusual reference book — the kind you could read from cover to cover in an evening or two, and would, willingly and happily.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 27 Articles