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Late last year, there was some controversy in the media over a new book by Sarah Ogilvie about the Oxford English Dictionary's historical coverage of foreign words. The controversy turned out to be a tempest in a teapot, overshadowing the worthy book behind it. Here, Mark Peters has an appreciation of Ogilvie's Words of the World.  Continue reading...
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The presidential inaugural address, that quadrennial high point in American political rhetoric, invariably attracts a huge amount of attention. President Obama's address yesterday was the subject of meticulous scrutiny: his word choice, his rhetorical devices, and even his grammar all were analyzed by countless language kibitzers.  Continue reading...
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Looking Back on the Oath Flub

President Obama was officially sworn in to a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts yesterday in a private ceremony at the White House. Afterwards, Obama's daughter Sasha told him, "You didn't mess up." But four years ago, the oath didn't go so smoothly, thanks to a misplaced adverb. Ben Zimmer covered the oath flub for his Word Routes column. Read it here: "Taking the Oath of Office... Faithfully."
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In the wake of all the gleeful bashing of "phablet" (an ungainly blend of "phone" and "tablet"), we're opening up the floor. What words get your goat? "Moist"? "Slacks"? How about "nostril"?  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Happy Thesaurus Day!

January 18th is celebrated as Thesaurus Day to honor the birthday of the author of the first thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget. Get into the spirit by reading our two-part interview with Roget biographer Joshua Kendall here and here. Also check out an ode to the thesaurus penned by Franklin P. Adams here and Johnny Carson's hilarious "Funeral for a Thesaurus Editor" sketch here.
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Everyone's been a name developer at least once. But I'm guessing you haven't named many things with which you had no personal connection. Year after year. For money.  Continue reading...
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Some people have "pet peeves," while others have "pet hates." What's the difference? Are "pet peeves" particularly American? And what about "pet aversions"? Linguist Neal Whitman investigates the vocabulary of annoyance.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 29 Articles