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Lexicographer Hugh Rawson died recently. Among other accomplishments, he wrote Rawson's Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk, a monumental, essential look at euphemisms that every language-lover should own. I can't recommend it enough.  Continue reading...
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How to Not Write Bad — by the prolific Ben Yagoda — is an original, amusing, practical take on the writing self-help book. Yagoda points out that most writing book are about writing well, then makes the refreshing observation that writing well is beyond most people.  Continue reading...
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I believe in equality: in society and in columns. Last month, I looked at the prolific use of gentleman in euphemisms. This month, I turn to lady. Lady euphs prove something I always suspected: the English language is seldom a well-behaved lady, but it always shows you a good time.  Continue reading...
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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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Do gentlemen exist anymore? The word feels old-fashioned and paleolithic in the era of dudes, bros, and creeps. However, the word gentleman has a long, vibrant history as a euphemism. That history is worth celebrating. In the spirit of a recent column on angels, here's a look at the critters and crimes gentleman has coddled and concealed.  Continue reading...
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Over the past couple of years, I've done several columns on massive dictionaries that have been recently completed or published, like the Dictionary of American Regional English and Green's Dictionary of Slang. Unfortunately, not all lexicographical projects have such a happy ending.  Continue reading...
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I've gone theme-happy with this column in recent months, looking at euphemisms for death, pregnancy, 30 Rock, and angels. Enough cohesion! It's time for a random roundup of terms that have crossed my eye, brightened my day, and befuddled my brain.  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 99 Articles