8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 1019 Articles

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, our own Ben Zimmer talked to Seattle's KUOW about the origins of some football language. Some of the terms, like "the 12th man" and "the Legion of Boom," have special resonance in Seattle, home of the Super Bowl-bound Seahawks.  Continue reading...
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We welcome back James Harbeck for another installment of his "Word Tasting Notes." Here he considers "a word for people who look at things with the arch eyebrows and droopy eyelids of cool superiority," supercilious.  Continue reading...
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When coming up with adjectives for made-up things, we have many to choose among: fictional, fictitious, or fictive, or even factitious. Choose wisely, or risk saying something you don't mean.  Continue reading...
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It's a popularly held idea that dictionary writers have the power to add words to the lexicon when in fact language is changed the by people who use it and the job of the lexigrographer is to take note. Our own Ben Zimmer revisits this distinction in a look at a recent episode of the Nickelodeon teen comedy "Sam & Cat," in which the titular characters take on word-creation head on.  Continue reading...
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In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else.  Continue reading...
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When Run Run Shaw, a giant of the Hong Kong entertainment industry, died earlier this month at the ripe old age of 106, I took the opportunity to look at a term with which he was intimately connected: kung fu. In the 1970s, martial-arts movies from the Shaw Brothers studio (and its Hong Kong rival, Golden Harvest) firmly planted kung fu in the global consciousness. But I was surprised to learn that kung fu as we know it was actually born on American soil.  Continue reading...
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Here's a riddle for you: How is clothing similar to a bomb that doesn't detonate or a seed that doesn't sprout? No, the answer is not "They're all useless." (Sorry, nudists.) Rather, they all share a single label: duds.  Continue reading...
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8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 1019 Articles