4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 201 Articles

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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With the government shutdown over and the default crisis averted, what many commentators called a "game of chicken" has finally ended on Capitol Hill. In my latest column for the Wall Street Journal, I take a look at how political stare-downs earned this appellation, and how chickens became animalistic symbols of cowardice in the first place.  Continue reading...
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The word hardcore has been getting more powerful in English for the past 80 years or so. What started as a way of describing the persistently unemployed has expanded into the domains of politics, music, and video games, not to mention general usage.  Continue reading...
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Given how much our day-to-day lives are influenced by weather — and especially by storms — perhaps it's not surprising that we have a rich vocabulary for these natural phenomena.  Continue reading...
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KUOW, Seattle's NPR affiliate, kicked off a new midday show this week called The Record. The show is featuring a regular series on the origins of peculiar words and phrases called "Strange Language," and they're getting the straight dope from our own Ben Zimmer.  Continue reading...
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There is a new trend in concierge medicine, with concierge practices consisting of concierge doctors, concierge physicians, or maybe concierge dentists, all offering their versions of concierge healthcare. How did the word for the guy in the hotel lobby who can get you show tickets, a restaurant reservation, or almost anything else you need, come to refer to this kind of ultra-personalized medical care?  Continue reading...
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"We have to turn the page on the bubble-and-bust mentality," President Obama said in a recent weekly address. After the economic ruin of the housing bubble, it's hard to argue with that sentiment. But "bubbles" have long been with us — the metaphor of the bubble has been applied to fragile financial schemes for nearly three centuries, originating as a literary device.  Continue reading...
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4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 201 Articles