CNN Money has announced that it will "steer clear" of the word sequestration
, along with its snappier cousin sequester
, in reporting on Capitol Hill budget negotiations, branding it esoteric jargon. That might be a good move, considering that, according to a recent poll, two-thirds of voters don't even know what sequester
means. How did we get saddled with this bit of Beltway lingo?
In advance of Valentine's Day, the dating site Match.com released some survey results indicating that good grammar is something that both men and women on the dating scene use to judge their potential mates. That finding led to a joke on Saturday Night Live
that was supposed to illustrate "good grammar" but, ironically enough, failed to.
Last year, Season 2 of the popular British TV series "Downton Abbey" yielded a bumper crop of linguistic anachronisms. In Season 3, now airing stateside on PBS, the out-of-place language has continued. There was a particularly glaring anachronism in the most recently aired episode: "steep learning curve."
If you've been following the strange saga of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, then you've likely come across the term "catfishing" to describe the type of prank he fell victim to, in which a romantic interest turns out to be nothing more than a fabricated online identity. The term comes from the 2010 documentary "Catfish," but as I describe in my latest Boston Globe column, it's not the first time that a cinematic depiction has spawned a new verb.
The presidential inaugural address, that quadrennial high point in American political rhetoric, invariably attracts a huge amount of attention. President Obama's address yesterday was the subject of meticulous scrutiny: his word choice, his rhetorical devices, and even his grammar all were analyzed by countless language kibitzers.
Last week, the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year honors went to the Twitter-friendly hashtag
. But another techie term emerged in a less prestigious category, Least Likely to Succeed. Finishing in a virtual tie with the much-maligned acronym YOLO
, a blend of phone
coined for new devices that are not quite smartphones and not quite tablet computers.
The American Dialect Society has selected its Word of the Year for 2012, and the winner was a bit of a surprise. It wasn't fiscal cliff
, the ubiquitous term in the news from Capitol Hill. And it wasn't YOLO
, the youthful acronym for "You Only Live Once" that quickly rose (and just as quickly fell) this past year. No, the ultimate champion was that mainstay of the Twittersphere, hashtag