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Part two of our interview with William Safire focuses on new political terms that have entered the latest edition of Safire's Political Dictionary. Below, for your delectation, you'll find extended excerpts from relevant dictionary entries.  Continue reading...

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...

Cheese Words

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."

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Baseball Words

"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.'"

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Beer Words

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."

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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!

Root: Dubious derives from the Latin word dubitare (to waver, to hesitate)
Relatives: Doubt
Hook: When you see the dub-, you should remember the word doubt.

Root: Brevity comes from the Latin breve (short)
Relatives: Abbreviation, brief, breve
Hook: If you're more familiar with the word abbreviation, then you should see the brev- in brevity and remember short!

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Words About Words

You may remember an interview we did last year with Katie Raynolds, a remarkable 10th grader and dedicated linguaphile from Seattle, Washington. Well, Katie just spent a busy week with us here at the VT's New York office as our editorial intern! She graciously put together this word list:

I discovered when I searched through the Dept. of Word Lists that they're based on a subject a person is passionate about. So I thought, what is my passion? The answer clearly is: words! I found the following words that serve to describe other words, and I explain how we use them. For some I also included interesting stories about their origins.

Eponym, a name derived from the name of a person (real or imaginary). Examples: Achilles tendon (Achilles the Greek hero), Freudian slip (Sigmund Freud), Louisiana (King Louis XIV).

Onomatopoeia, words that imitate the sound that they denote. Examples: Pow! Bam! (a type of onomatopoeia that was made popular in comic books), chickadee, meow.

Sibilant, a consonant characterized by a hissing sound (like s or sh). The word sibilant comes from the Latin word sibil (hiss), which is actually onomatopoeia for the sounds that a snake makes. Example of sibilance: Sally sells sea shell by the sea shore.

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2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 38 Articles