6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 1019 Articles

I've written columns culled from the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) before, but it wasn't easy. I always had to thumb through the pages like a caveman. No more! Now, finally, DARE is available digitally, allowing this deep well of regional English to be searched easily. This is a bonanza for writers and word nerds everywhere, so get a subscription or take your library hostage until it does so.  Continue reading...
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An intriguing new theory holds that Egyptian animal mummies were intended as messages to the gods. The theory is yet more fodder for an age-old problem: how do we reconcile our dependence as humans upon language to communicate to divine beings who in nearly all cases are thought to have pre-existed the emergence of languages that we use and who could never have learned them in the natural way that we do?  Continue reading...
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A "bear market" is one where stock prices fall, and a "bull market" is one where prices rise. But why do financial folks talk about "bears" and "bulls"? The public radio show Marketplace looked into various origin stories and called on our own Ben Zimmer to explain the history.  Continue reading...
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Sometimes, a photo "ekes out of the printer." Other times, electronics help "to eke out extra mileage" in cars. And in a more familiar usage, a movie "shows how a once-budding folk singer tries to eke out a living." It's no wonder, then, that most people think "eke out" means to achieve something through effort, to barely get by.  Continue reading...
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A law firm that specializes in defending whistleblowers has started a petition on Change.org to persuade dictionaries and thesauruses to ditch their derogatory synonyms for whistleblower in favor of positive terms.  Continue reading...
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Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history this week as the first Americans ever to win the Olympic gold medal in ice dancing. But for language watchers, an even more interesting question than who would take first place was this: What's a twizzle?  Continue reading...
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While watching the Winter Olympics, did you ever wonder why figure skaters await their scores in the "kiss and cry" area? Stefan Fatsis, sports blogger for Slate, tells the story behind the phrase.  Continue reading...
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6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 1019 Articles