1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 884 Articles

From a linguistic perspective, the now burgeoning field of genetic genealogy provides an interesting case study for the ways in which we develop new terminology for new concepts, picking and choosing among the raw materials we have (that is, words) to designate things for which we didn't have or need particular names before.  Continue reading...
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Are you so worried about global warming you can't carbon-restrain yourself? If so, you have a vocabulary term in common with Energy Secretary Rick Perry. This term, and the other euphemisms collected here, are real but insubstantial, like a vengeful ghost or stubborn denial of science.  Continue reading...
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When judges cite dictionaries, especially as a way of underpinning or justifying a particular decision, the dictionary is suddenly elevated to a position of influence that it did not previously enjoy.  Continue reading...
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One purpose of slang is to keep illegal doings off the radar of any noisy bystanders, especially cops. So even though slang and euphemisms tend to be on opposite ends of the honesty scale, they can both be used as cloaking devices.  Continue reading...
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In many areas of business and personal life, failure is being redefined as either a challenge that can be overcome with the right coaching or attitude – or, at the extreme, as a source of pride. What's behind this upbeat sense of what it means to fail?  Continue reading...
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Do you have a transfusion specialist? Transfusion specialist is a euphemism for blood boy: a young, healthy fella who the wealthy pay for their invigorating blood. This term comes from the land of fiction, but treating youthful blood as a fountain of youth is all-too-real. Whether you're young enough to sell your blood for a pretty penny or old enough to prey on the young like Nosferatu, I hope you can appreciate a heaping helping of hokum.  Continue reading...
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Eight pairs of sounds that are scattered across the lexicon of English support Henry Fowler's observation that relations among words in English come to us from our forefathers as an odd jumble and plainly show that the language has not been neatly constructed by a master builder who could create each part to do the exact work required of it, neither overlapped or overlapping; far from that, its parts have had to grow as they could.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 884 Articles