7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 750 Articles

Dec. 21, 2013 marks the hundredth anniversary of the crossword puzzle. But the crossword has come a long way since Arthur Wynne's first creation for The New York World. In a lively new book entitled The Curious History of the Crossword, Ben Tausig, himself a noted constructor and editor of crosswords, argues that the day Will Shortz took over the New York Times crossword 20 years ago marked a watershed moment in the puzzle's history.  Continue reading...
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Many people complain about the use of elecrocute to mean "to shock non-lethally." But as with most usage complaints, it's not that simple. The argument is that electrocute only means "to kill with electricity," not "to shock with electricity." The purists have etymology on their side — but only to a degree.  Continue reading...
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I had a lot of fun asking my social media community, friends and family about their word quirks, specifically words they've misread (and, thus, mispronounced). Everyone seems to have one or two — maybe more — of these. I found that they can sometimes be quite revealing.  Continue reading...
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In 1835, Charles Follen wrote, "The German language is sufficiently copious and productive, to furnish native words for any idea that can be expressed at all." In Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition, Ben Schott proves Follen correct, while establishing himself as the Rich Hall of German with this wonderful collection of Sniglet-like terms.  Continue reading...
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How to choose the most important brand names of a year? Some lists emphasize companies' value, others sales volume, and still others ad spending. I look for brands that are newly prominent or notable in the last year. Then I factor in the brand names' linguistic significance and the degree to which they represent naming trends or breakthroughs.  Continue reading...
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English language users have long struggled with lie, meaning "to recline," and lay, meaning "to put down." Many of the traditional English Christmas carols we hear at this time of year were written or translated during the 19th century and use lie and lay distinctly.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Freshman? Freshperson? Frosh? First-Year?

Despite the successful efforts of nonsexist language reform, the word "freshman" persists on college campuses. On the Chronicle of Higher Education's Lingua Franca blog, University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan considers why this is and weighs the alternatives. Read her article here.
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7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 750 Articles