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By now, you've likely heard about an awful incident in which a man was viciously dragged off an overbooked United flight. You've likely also heard about the euphemism United CEO Oscar Munoz used in the immediate aftermath: "I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers." Deep down, we're all clueless airline executives. When we're ashamed or just want to dodge blame, we use or concoct terms that create a bubble of balderdash around the truth. Here are some of the latest and lamest.  Continue reading...
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Anyone interested in literature or becoming a better writer will find something to like here: Blatt doesn't just shine a light on writing, he lets in a whole new area of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Continue reading...
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Lexicography is famously considered an art and science, but Kory Stamper thinks of it as a craft, a term implying "care, repetitive work, apprenticeship, and practice." Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries is a wonderful firsthand account of a lexicographical craftsperson who is master of another craft: writing. Few books about words—or anything else—are this well-written.  Continue reading...
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Just as enhanced is a term that attracts euphemisms like catnip attracts cats and cats attract YouTube views, alternative is no newcomer to the euphemism game.  Continue reading...
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Though I made a case for alt-right as 2016's Euphemism of the Year, the American Dialect Society went in another direction, those rascals! They selected locker-room talk, which is a pretty solid euphemism, though I'm not sure it made the top ten twaddlesome terms of 2016. This year is young, but there's already a candidate I suspect everyone and their uncle is going to support or at least suggest for 2017's euphemism of the year: alternative facts.  Continue reading...
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The American Dialect Society will be meeting in early January to present papers and share research about our ever-evolving language. They'll also pick the Word of the Year, along with many other categories—including Euphemism of the Year. Here's a list of suggested contenders.  Continue reading...
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Just as the OED will never be finished documenting the English language, there's always more to tell about the OED itself. So the latest addition to the historical record of our greatest historical dictionary—The Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by lexicographer Peter Gilliver—is most welcome.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 1-7 of 142 Articles