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  1. Word Routes

    "Tweet" Named Word of the Year, "Google" Word of the Decade
    - 24 Comments
    After much good-natured debate at its annual meeting in Baltimore, the American Dialect Society has made its selections for Word of the Year and Word of the Decade. As proof that we're truly living in a digital age, the winner of Word of the Year for 2009 was tweet ("to post an update on Twitter") and the Word of the Decade for 2000-09 was google (the generic verb meaning "to use Google or another search engine").
  2. Word Routes

    In a First, the Word of the Year is a Hashtag: "#blacklivesmatter"
    - 11 Comments
    The American Dialect Society made its 25th annual selection for Word of the Year, and for the first time the winner was actually a Twitter hashtag: #blacklivesmatter. Even though the socially conscious slogan is formed by combining three words, as a hashtag it was converted into something linguistically innovative, attracting the attention of the assorted language scholars who gathered for the vote at the society's annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.
  3. Word Routes

    Now Presenting: The Nominees for the 2011 Word of the Year
    - 11 Comments
    Greetings from Portland, Oregon, where the American Dialect Society is having its annual conference. As chair of the New Words Committee, I had the honor of presiding over the nominating session for the Word of the Year. On Friday evening, winners will be selected from the different categories, and then nominations will be made for the overall category of Word of the Year. What do you think the category winners should be, and what should be crowned the Word of 2011?
  4. Blog Excerpts

    Word History
    The Online Etymology Dictionary explains that it is "a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago." To learn the story of your favorite word, click here.
  5. Blog Excerpts

    Remembering the Language of Steve Jobs
    Today marks the first anniversary of the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Shortly after his passing last year, Ben Zimmer mused on "Jobs's unique and spirited way with words," from "think different" to "stay hungry." Read his Word Routes column, "'And One More Thing': The Insanely Great Language of Steve Jobs," here.
  6. Word Routes

    Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee: Two Million Words and Counting
    - 2 Comments
    The 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee kicks off today, an annual celebration of America's passion for competitive spelling. We here at the Visual Thesaurus know just how deep that passion runs: our own Spelling Bee, launched less than a year ago, has already attracted tens of thousands players who have tried their hand at spelling a grand total of more than 2,000,000 words. And all of the data that we've collected thus far is providing new insights into the mysteries of English spelling, pinpointing the words that are the most devilishly challenging — even for the very best spellers.
  7. Announcements

    The Visual Thesaurus and The New York Times Team Up for Learning
    - 1 Comment
    For the past few years, the Visual Thesaurus has been a proud partner of The New York Times Learning Network, helping students boost their reading, writing and communications skills. We've been working together to develop innovative lesson plans that integrate the Visual Thesaurus with engaging articles from the pages of The New York Times. Now, as the Learning Network gets a new look, re-launched as a Times blog, we're working even more closely to provide new resources for teaching and learning.
  8. Word Routes

    Puzzlin' Evidence
    - 5 Comments
    Tonight the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament kicks off at the Brooklyn Marriott with "an evening of games and entertainments" — a night of conviviality before the Tournament proper begins Saturday morning. We here at the Visual Thesaurus are happy to help sponsor the Friday fun, providing complimentary VT subscriptions to the prize-winners. I'll be attending tonight (in advance of competing in the Tournament in the "rookie" category), and I'm looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new in this collegial community of diehard verbivores.
  9. Word Routes

    The Year of "Tender Age"
    - 2 Comments
    For the first time ever, a euphemism been chosen as the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year. The winning term has an innocent sound that masks a sinister reality.
  10. Word Count

    Lincoln the Writer at 200
    - 3 Comments
    On the occasion of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, Dennis Baron discovers that the Great Emancipator was also the Great Reviser. Baron is professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois and writes regularly on linguistic issues at The Web of Language.

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