In the past year, fake news has gained currency as well as a new sense: Not only can it signify "disinformation or falsehoods spread as real news" – but it has also come to mean "actual news that is claimed to be untrue" if it's perceived as unflattering.  Continue reading...
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Bomb, like its close relative boom, is an irresistible word that helps us describe an unpredictable world that can leave any of us feeling shellshocked and, lately, snowed-over.  Continue reading...
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At the end of each year, while linguists and lexicographers cast votes for words of the year, I'm compiling a different list: the brand names that distilled the mood of the previous twelve months. To narrow the field, I add another criterion: the brand names must be linguistically notable.  Continue reading...
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I'd give a kidney if there were no more euphemisms, but then I'd be out of a job, so let me rethink that. In the meantime, here are some euphemisms — all harvested fresh and ready to transplant into your interoffice memos and supersized tweets.  Continue reading...
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A high percentage of that malarkey consists of euphemisms, which is why we could probably develop fusion energy by harnessing the grave-spinning of George Orwell.  Continue reading...
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A craving for linguistic rationality – not to mention a fondness for wordplay – explains how acronyms begat backronyms.  Continue reading...
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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...
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