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The Internet makes it possible to publish dictionaries containing entries of any length, in any format, that are not necessarily subject to traditional rules or conventions. So it's fair to ask: is abandoning the traditional short-form definition, along with the paper it was once printed on, a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Or is it a good opportunity to reinvent lexicography?  Continue reading...

Words step outside of their borders all the time; and once they are in new territory, they rarely follow the rules that bound them in their original context. As time passes, they can become complete strangers to their original users, and may even be seen as betraying them.  Continue reading...

The idea of the "elevator talk" is that you only have the duration of an elevator ride to get your idea across, so you have to strip it to its essentials. Starting long before this idea came along, however, organizations and institutions have striven to encapsulate their essence even more succinctly, in a short form of expression called a "motto."  Continue reading...

If we divide up the short list of English parts of speech according to status, adjectives are at the top of the B-list. The elites, nouns and verbs, seem to get everyone's attention because without them, sentences wouldn't have a job.  Continue reading...

English is not long on productive verb-creating affixes — things you can tack onto or tuck into words at will to make entirely new verbs and get away with it — so it's worth celebrating one of the few that have a proven track record: the suffix -ize. -Ize allows you to neologize when the occasion calls for it, in a way that very few other English affixes do.  Continue reading...

The 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible does not pass without notice in the English-speaking world. David Crystal's book on the subject has received widespread media attention. The particular ways in which the famous translation has influenced the course of English are fascinating and well-documented by Crystal and others; this month, we'll look at some of the other features that give the KJV its enduring appeal.  Continue reading...

The idea that we all have a soul mate out there somewhere is a popular cultural meme. Words seem to have soul mates as well, judging by the way that they mate for life. But such word unions are not always marked with ceremony, the way human ones are, and this makes some of the hookups a bit difficult to document and validate.  Continue reading...

3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 114 Articles