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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.
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A peculiar feature of some adjectives ending in -y
is their ability to take on a semantic life of their own, separate from the meaning of their root. A handful of food-based adjectives fit this pattern, in which an English learner would be at a great disadvantage in thinking that the adjective's meaning might be composable from its parts. Think of corny
, and cheesy
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Adding to our collection of Beatles linguistic analysis (we've written about the iconic band's pronouns, nonsense sounds, and gear language) and in a manner reminiscent of recent analysis of rappers' vocabularies, the Liverpool Echo has conducted a vocabulary survey of British pop music, and concluded that the Beatles "have one of the smallest vocabularies in pop music."
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"A breath of fresh air." "Few and far between." "At the end of the day." These are just a few of the clichés examined by Orin Hargraves, an experienced lexicographer and one of our regular contributors, in his new book It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliches
. In this excerpt, Hargraves explains how to "free your speech and writing of unneeded and detrimental clichés."