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There are two books here. I love one of them, but I don't care for the other. Somehow, they're both Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk by Washington Post copy editor Bill Walsh.  Continue reading...
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Silicon Valley's Favorite Word: "Delight"

Los Angeles Times tech reporter Chris O'Brien has discovered that the favorite word among techie types is "delight": "A squishy, subjective, hard-to-pin-down term. So daringly unquantifiable, so proudly immeasurable. And now, suddenly, all the rage in data-driven Silicon Valley." Read O'Brien's delightful piece here.
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No other novel is more worldly than HonorĂ© de Balzac's Lost Illusions, delighting us with courtesans and countesses, misers and millionaires. Yet no other novel is more word-y, more focused on the art and business of writing.  Continue reading...
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When I was 10 years old, one summer morning I remember standing at my kitchen door, talking to a neighborhood pal of mine. Suddenly, wasps started swarming around us. Terrified (I'd been stung on the lip on the first day of grade 1 — an extraordinarily painful experience), I slammed the door and ran to get my mother. It never even occurred to me to try to rescue my friend.  Continue reading...
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With Baz Luhrmann's movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby arriving in theaters, this week has been full of Gatsby talk. Online commentators have been writing about words coined or popularized by Fitzgerald, the slang of the 1920s "flapper" era, and even the name Gatsby itself.  Continue reading...
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The mayor's op-ed piece urged action on a regional 911 system, which, among other things, would "provide consistent and transparent performance metrics countywide." Alas, the program has not been put into effect, "as a result of the political optics." Jargon and more jargon.  Continue reading...
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There are all sorts of words in English based on the -onym word part, which derives from a Greek word that means name. Everyone knows about homonyms and synonyms, but what about retronyms, demonyms, and aptonyms?  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 15-21 of 26 Articles