6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 199 Articles

It's April, which means that the major league baseball season is once again under way. Time to celebrate America's favorite pastime with a look at the origins of words from the baseball diamond.  Continue reading...
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The NCAA College Basketball Tournament, nicknamed "March Madness," is in full swing again, and some early-round upsets have spelled bad news for those betting on chalk, meaning the favorites in the tournament. How did the term chalk come to be associated with teams favored by oddsmakers? A Word Routes column by Ben Zimmer has the answer.  Continue reading...
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Scalawag, "a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel," is a fun word to say. It sounds like something a pirate on the high seas might call a rival. In fact, it originated in western New York in the 1830s, and a young genealogy buff recently turned up some fascinating early evidence on the word when he was investigating an ancestor.  Continue reading...
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This is a topical word: the cardinal electors have just spent two days locked into their pressure-cooker, the Sistine Chapel, to determine who will bear the keys of St. Peter. They were all sequestered in the Vatican, that enclave in the middle of the Eternal City, locked in debate and prayer and voting. Literally locked in: the doors of the Sistine Chapel were locked.  Continue reading...
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Etymology — the roots (or, etymologically speaking, seeds) of words — can sound like a pretty dry pursuit if you aren't a word farmer by trade. But knowing a word's derivation has all kinds of benefits. It can make you a better, more nuanced communicator, of course, and if you happen to find words fascinating and beautiful, it can heighten your, ahem, textual pleasure.  Continue reading...
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We're in the middle of awards show season: January saw the People's Choice Awards, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the action continues this month with the Grammy Awards next week, culminating with the Academy Awards. January and February are an extended kudofest for the show business and recording industries. Yes, "kudofest."  Continue reading...
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Last week, the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year honors went to the Twitter-friendly hashtag. But another techie term emerged in a less prestigious category, Least Likely to Succeed. Finishing in a virtual tie with the much-maligned acronym YOLO was phablet, a blend of phone and tablet coined for new devices that are not quite smartphones and not quite tablet computers.  Continue reading...
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6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 199 Articles