London's colossal clog is a reminder of the history of berg and its parent word iceberg. With language, there's always a lot going on beneath the surface.  Continue reading...

Besides college football, New Year's Eve toasts and a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne at midnight, the other New Year's tradition is the New Year's resolution. Here's a look at the lexical mysteries surrounding some of the holiday's traditions.  Continue reading...

With the new Star Wars movie Rogue One opening today, it's a fitting moment to look at how the meaning of rogue has evolved over the years, from one who is deceitful and worthless to today's connotation of the charming scoundrel.  Continue reading...

While college basketball fans may be marveling at the exciting upsets of March Madness, the world of competitive crossword solving has experienced a major upset as well, as six-time reigning champion Dan Feyer was dethroned in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, losing out to first-time champ Howard Barkin.  Continue reading...

Gathering in Washington D.C. for its annual meeting, the American Dialect Society has made its 26th annual selection for Word of the Year. And as predicted in this space last month, the winner is a lowly pronoun: they used as a gender-neutral alternative to he and she, with special attention paid to its use as an expression of "non-binary" gender identity.  Continue reading...

Greetings from Washington, D.C., where the American Dialect Society is holding its annual conference. On Thursday, in my capacity as chair of the society's New Words Committee, I presided over the nominating session for various categories in our Word of the Year selection. Winners will be selected from the different categories on Friday evening, culminating in the vote for the overall Word of the Year. Here's the list of nominees.  Continue reading...

As is the annual tradition, it is time once again to look back at the new and notable words of the past year. In 2015, could the most significant word have been a lowly pronoun?  Continue reading...

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