Dept. of Word Lists
March 18, 2009
Bob Greenman, an award-winning writer, educator, and speaker, has written two outstanding guides to vocabulary enrichment: Words That Make a Difference and More Words That Make a Difference, with illustrative passages from the New York Times and the Atlantic Monthly, respectively. We asked Bob to pick some choice words from the second volume (co-authored with his wife, Carol), and he came up with a trio of words exposing the seamy underbelly of Old Hollywood. Continue reading...
May 14, 2008
May 7, 2008
To supplement our two-part interview with William Safire about the new edition of Safire's Political Dictionary, we've provided extended excerpts from the dictionary entries that came up in the course of our wide-ranging discussion. If you want to know the difference between an old pro and a curmudgeon, read on! Continue reading...
November 16, 2007
Chef Terrance Brennan is the founder of Artisanal Premium Cheese, a company that practices the fine art of affinage -- the age-old craft of maturing and aging cheese to achieve peak flavor. He's also something of a cheese revolutionary -- a chef who's helped Americans discover and appreciate the sublime magic of handcrafted artisanal cheese (we'll get to that word in a minute). What better person to ask about cheese words?
Paste. "The body within the rind of the cheese, what the French call the 'pate.' In other words, the interior of the cheese."
Farmstead. "Cheese milked and produced from the same farm."Continue reading...
September 15, 2007
"Baseball has had a phenomenal influence on the English language," says writer and lexicographer Paul Dickson. Paul should know. As the author of The Hidden Language of Baseball and The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary (and over 40 other books!), he's studied the impact of America's favorite pastime on English for the past three decades. Paul graciously shared some examples of baseball lingo that's now part of everyday speech.
Designated hitter. "This is a strange construction in English, 'designated 'x'' but it gave birth to the term 'designated driver.'"
Hit-and-run. "A baseball play that's been around since the 19th century. When the automobile arrived, all of a sudden the phrase also meant 'a hit-and-run accident.'"Continue reading...
August 11, 2007
Beer authority Justin Philips was originally a wine guy -- until his epiphany. "I worked in a wine shop in Boston and we started carrying boutique beers," he explains, "And I got hooked." So hooked went to work for specialty beer importer B. United, and is now opening a beer-focused restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, called the Beer Table, which is where we called Justin to ask about these beer-related words:
Head. "Refers to the foam on the top of a glass of beer. Wheat beers are traditionally served with a big monster head that's inch and a half to two inches high and stays around for quite a while."
Stout. "A style of beer, originally a heavily malted, lightweight 'session beer.' A session beer is one you can sit down and drink a lot of - it has low alcohol and is very drinkable."Continue reading...
May 5, 2007
You may remember an interview we did last year with Katie Raynolds, a remarkable 10th grader and dedicated linguaphile from Seattle, Washington. Katie recently spent a busy week with us here at the VT's New York office as our editorial intern, and put together this list of SAT words -- with tips on how to remember them:
The SAT, of course, is one of the most important tests a student takes during their scholastic career. I can't help you with the math section, but I thought to give you a useful method for remembering tricky vocabulary. In the list below, I'll show you "memory hooks" you can find right within the word and its Latin root. I'll also share some cool linguistic histories!