It's almost Euphemism of the Year time, and whoa nelly, do I have a contender: sluggish cognitive tempo. As Peter Aldhous notes in Slate, "The name of a 'new attention disorder' sounds like an Onion-style parody. It also sounds like a classic case of disease mongering: blurring normality with sickness to boost drug companies' bottom lines."  Continue reading...
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Ripped. Slapped. Poked. Swatted. If you've been watching the World Series, you've probably heard some of these verbs for hitting a baseball. Sports can involve a lot of repetition, so to make it different and exciting, sportscasters often use a wide variety of terms to describe the action. It is this variety that makes sports lingo an interesting object of study.  Continue reading...
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Garbage is such a trashy word. It suggests rubbish, waste, and, well, garbage. So why not put a positive spin on refuse with the term non-core assets? It applies equally well to financial garbage and garbage garbage, not to mention anything else that's not worth a lick.  Continue reading...
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I've spent 81.7% of my life watching Seinfeld, but I just realized I never mentioned a Seinfeldian euphemism in one of my columns. Bagel technician, meaning someone who makes bagels, is the preposterous title on Kramer's business card during "The Strike" episode, which is better known for launching the holiday Festivus.  Continue reading...
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We have another Euphemism of the Year candidate—and perhaps an entirely new category. In reference to her impending divorce, singer Jewel called the event a tender undoing, apparently seeking to create a more gibberish-soaked term than conscious uncoupling, which Gwyneth Paltrow famously used to describe her own divorce.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Why You'll Be Able to Play "Qajaq" in Scrabble

The new edition of the official Scrabble dictionary is being released, and with it come 5,000 new words that North American players will be able to make with their tiles. There are helpful two-letter words like DA, GI, PO, and TE, but perhaps most interesting are such oddities as QAJAQ and QUINZHEE. It turns out those are both Inuit words, included because the Canadian Oxford Dictionary is one of the sources. Read all about it in the National Post here.
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