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"Swine flu is the new Susan Boyle of search terms," announces a headline in Australia's The Age. The Scottish singing sensation was last week's news: people are no longer busy conducting online searches for Ms. Boyle (or for her favored expression, gobsmacked). Instead, they're trying to discover anything they can about swine flu, now that health authorities are warning of a possible pandemic. Let's take a look at how the disease got its name.  Continue reading...
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In the April edition of the Visual Thesaurus crossword puzzle, we're celebrating National Poetry Month. Figure out the hidden word chain and you could win a Visual Thesaurus T-shirt!  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

A Million Words? Not So Fast...

Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer explains to Washington Post Book World why the claim that English is adding its millionth word lacks credibility.

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I do not have any sisters. I have but one sibling, a beloved brother, Poopie (not his real name). I'm blessed in that over the course of my life, I have made very close female friends who feel like family to me, but no actual sisters of the Lord-Help-The-Mister-Who-Comes-Between-Me-and-My-Sister type. Maybe that is why I've long been fascinated with Louisa May Alcott's classic American novel, Little Women, about four sisters.  Continue reading...
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Forbes.com is running a special report on neologisms — all about how and why new words enter the language. And the Visual Thesaurus family is well-represented, with featured articles by editor Ben Zimmer and contributor Mark Peters.  Continue reading...
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Mayor Richard M. Daley, Jr., has proclaimed today, William Shakespeare's 445th birthday, Talk Like Shakespeare Day. (Or should that read, "Mayor Richard II hath proclaimed"?) But as University of Illinois linguist Dennis Baron points out, we don't actually know how Shakespeare talked.  Continue reading...
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