On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Americans kick off the holiday shopping season with a bang. We look back to a Word Routes column by lexicographer Ben Zimmer exploring the origins of the phrase "Black Friday." It is not, as many believe, the day when retailers' balance sheets change from red to black.
Oxford Dictionaries has named selfie
its Word of the Year, bringing a great deal of attention to the trendy word. As it turns out, this social-media-friendly term for a photograph of oneself first cropped up in Australia, where the "-ie" ending is often used to form new words.
The word selfie
, defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself," took over social media this year, so it's no surprise that it has also been named as Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. Selfie
beat out other contenders like bitcoin
, and of course, twerk
. Read the full announcement from Oxford University Press here
It's time once again for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As the website explains, it's "for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." Visit the NaNoWriMo website
to learn more.
Two years ago on Halloween, resident linguist Neal Whitman explored the origin of the word Halloween
. Just in time for the candy and costumes, we're revisiting his questions: how and why did eve
turn into e'en
? For that matter, what is a hallow? Why did the all
Last night, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses held its annual Spelling Bee in New York, supporting the work of independent literary publishers, and once again the Visual Thesaurus was proud to play a part. For the sixth consecutive year, the VT supplied the words that challenged the literary contestants. This year, the British novelist Patrick McGrath emerged victorious.