"Across America, independent coffee bars have developed private vocabularies to describe the intricate beverages they brew and the idiosyncrasies of those who order them," writes Ben Schott in Sunday's New York Times. Schott presents an "Op-Art" revealing some of this local barista slang, from "crushtomer" to "bro 'spro." Check it out here
The NBC comedy "30 Rock" is ending its seven-season run, and Slate's Browbeat blog
has an appreciation of the show's linguistic legacy, from "Blergh!" to "I want to go to there." And check out what our euphemism-wrangler Mark Peters had to say about the show in his column, "Good God, Lemon! A 30 Rock Euphem-palooza
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.
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
. 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
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"?
"Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious," the sesquipedalian word made famous by Mary Poppins
, has a peculiar and contentious history. Ben Zimmer told the story of his hunt for the word's origins, ending up in Syracuse, in his Word Routes column
. Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Sean Kirst talked to Zimmer about the search in his latest column. Read it here
"Santa Claus is male, so why isn't he Saint instead of Santa? Does he have a gender issue?" On the Grammarphobia blog, Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman answer that holiday question by looking at how "Santa Claus" entered American English from Dutch. Read their explanation here