Long before last week's verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, viewers of Nancy Grace's Headline News program had gotten used to her referring to Anthony, accused of murdering her daughter Cayley, as the tot mom
. People hearing tot mom
for the first time sometimes ask if it's connected to another parenting-related compound word that has gained prominence in recent years: baby mama.
The Supreme Court is using dictionaries to interpret the Constitution. Both conservative justices, who believe the Constitution means today exactly what the Framers meant in the 18th century, and liberal ones, who see the Constitution as a living, breathing document changing with the times, are turning to dictionaries more than ever to interpret our laws.
What would graduation season be without complaints about the misuse of the verb graduate
? Usage guides these days warn against using graduate
as a transitive verb, as in "She graduated college," or "He never graduated high school." The standard phrasing uses the preposition from
: "She graduated from
college"; "He never graduated from
The killing of Osama bin Laden by a team of Navy SEALs has brought new attention to the military term kinetic
, referring to violent (or lethal) actions in the field of battle. Our resident linguist Neal Whitman takes a look to this addition to the lexicon of war.
In the past few months, Americans have probably heard more about collective bargaining than in the past few decades. I've heard and read the term collective bargaining
so much recently that it has gotten me thinking about the strange nature of English gerunds.
The OED has put ♥ into the dictionary, along with such internet terms as OMG
. At least that's what the headlines are screaming, and commentators world-wide have been praising or damning the dictionary editors' decision to go both graphic and digital.
Today, March 23, 2011, is the first annual OK Day, celebrating America's greatest word (or expression?) and most successful export.
It's not the first birthday of OK, of course. OK was born 172 years ago, in the Boston Morning Post
of March 23, 1839. But it's the first celebration.