1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 28 Articles

The latest selection for 2009 Word of the Year comes from the good people at Merriam-Webster. Unlike other dictionary publishers that anoint an annual word, Merriam-Webster bases its winner and runners-up on actual user lookups to its online dictionary and thesaurus. So instead of the novelties selected by its competitors (distracted driving from Webster's New World, unfriend from New Oxford American), Merriam-Webster's choice is an old word that worked its way into current events: admonish.  Continue reading...
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Dog Eared

Books we love

2009 National Book Awards

The prestigious National Book Awards have been announced for 2009. The winners are:

Fiction: Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

Nonfiction: T.J. Stiles, The First Tycoon

Poetry: Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies

Young People's Literature: Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin

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We were pleased to discover that the Visual Thesaurus has fans in the Blue Man Group, the highly creative outfit that has been producing theatrical shows and concerts for the past two decades. We talked to one of the original Blue Men, Matt Goldman, about how the group has drawn on the Visual Thesaurus for inspiration in both their stage productions and in their latest venture, an innovative pre-K and elementary school known as the Blue School.  Continue reading...
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Wendalyn Nichols, editor of the Copyediting newsletter, offers useful tips to copy editors and anyone else who prizes clear and orderly writing. Here she looks at some pitfalls in using the word proscribe.  Continue reading...
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The New Oxford American Dictionary has announced its Word of the Year for 2009: it's unfriend, defined as "to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook." Readers of this space will be quite familiar with the term, as I discussed it along with similar un-verbs on Word Routes in May and then again in September as a followup to my On Language column in the New York Times Magazine, "The Age of Undoing." It's nice to feel ahead of the curve on this one, but truth be told, unfriending has been going on for many years.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Quadrivial Quandary

Software engineer Rudi Seitz has set up a fun challenge he calls Quadrivial Quandary: "Each day we present four words from our favorite dictionary sites. Your challenge is to use them all in a sentence that illustrates their meanings." Join in the logophilia here.
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University of Illinois linguist Dennis Baron explains how a simple grammar lesson can lead to a clash of civilizations.

Everybody knows that a noun is the name of a person, place, or thing. It's one of those undeniable facts of daily life, a fact we seldom question until we meet up with a case that doesn't quite fit the way we're used to viewing things.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 28 Articles