3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 200 Articles

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Americans kick off the holiday shopping season with a bang. We look back to a Word Routes column by lexicographer Ben Zimmer exploring the origins of the phrase "Black Friday." It is not, as many believe, the day when retailers' balance sheets change from red to black.  Continue reading...
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Imitation for a good reason, imitation for a stupid reason, or imitation just by instinct: "Monkey see, monkey do" covers them all. But what's with the non-standard grammar? Why isn't it "Monkey sees, monkey does"? Or "What a monkey sees, it does?"  Continue reading...
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While Americans this week have marked the sad anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination, there is a more pleasant commemoration going on as well. On Nov. 23, 1963, the day after Kennedy died, the BBC first broadcast the science-fiction series "Doctor Who." The franchise is still going strong 50 years later. To celebrate, let's look at one of the lexical contributions of "Doctor Who": the name for the nefarious alien race, "Dalek."  Continue reading...
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Oxford Dictionaries has named selfie its Word of the Year, bringing a great deal of attention to the trendy word. As it turns out, this social-media-friendly term for a photograph of oneself first cropped up in Australia, where the "-ie" ending is often used to form new words.  Continue reading...
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We all know the old fairy tale: Goldilocks enters the house of the Three Bears and samples their porridge, their chairs, and their beds. Each time she finds one item that's "just right." In recent years, the familiar story has been making the rounds, with the word "Goldilocks" showing up in some unexpected contexts, from astronomy to economy.  Continue reading...
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The persistent glitchiness of HealthCare.gov, the website implementing the Affordable Care Act, has given us much time to ponder that peculiar little word, glitch. As it happens, some new research on the word brings its origin, most likely from Yiddish, into a sharper perspective.  Continue reading...
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Two years ago on Halloween, resident linguist Neal Whitman explored the origin of the word Halloween. Just in time for the candy and costumes, we're revisiting his questions: how and why did eve turn into e'en? For that matter, what is a hallow? Why did the all get dropped?  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 200 Articles