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Six years running, the logophiles at Wayne State University, a.k.a. the Wayne State Word Warriors, have curated a crowd-sourced list of rare words that "deserve a bit more love." These are words that used to be commonly known and are still useful, but have started to drop out of the English lexicon. Wayne State Warriors' mission? To bring them back.
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The American Dialect Society made its 25th annual selection for Word of the Year, and for the first time the winner was actually a Twitter hashtag: #blacklivesmatter
. Even though the socially conscious slogan is formed by combining three words, as a hashtag it was converted into something linguistically innovative, attracting the attention of the assorted language scholars who gathered for the vote at the society's annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.
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On the surface, and/or
seems like a helpful but mostly harmless little phrase — a little ugly, perhaps, but still useful for those times when you want to be extra clear about what all the options are. Most people associate the phrase with legal writing, but it turns out that a surprising number of lawyers and judges hate it, claiming that it's actually un
clear and thus impossible to interpret.
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ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott died of cancer over the weekend, and tributes to him have noted his ebullient use of slang, especially his signature word, "Booyah!" For Slate's Lexicon Valley blog, our own Ben Zimmer traces the origins of "Booyah!" back to a hip-hop imitation of gunfire. Read all about it here