If we start from the fact that language is first and foremost a spoken activity, the methods by which people have extended its powers to writing offer a fascinating lens into human history.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Language Lounge.

In the American West, wildfires have become both more frequent and more destructive. With this ominous shift has come a new vocabulary for describing fire and its outcome – and new attention to some of the oldest words in our language.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Candlepower.

These days we need all the levity, lunar or otherwise, that we can get. This lexical lunacy is a flimsy excuse for me to write about my favorite type of word: the reduplication. From ack-ack to zip-zap, reduplicative words are silly, childish, catchy, animalistic, nonsensical, and awesome.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Routes.

Multiverse is a word with multiple meanings and origins, ranging from heady philosophy to spandex-clad superheroes, but the first examples of multiverse are a lot older than you would think and not where you would expect.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Routes.

I have long been a bit disposed (and definitely not predisposed) to peeve about pre- words that don't really require pre-. Lately I have added a new peeve, actually a lexicographer's lament, about words that begin with the complementary prefix post-. These two prefixes share the quality of suggesting a timeline, and the problematic nature of both of them arises when the reader or listener isn't quite clear on where to land on that timeline, or what is happening there.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Language Lounge.

If you're a fan of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I have some bad news for you: The English language is notoriously anti-minimalist. English loves multiples and hangs onto old words while continuously adding new ones. I could dig up many examples, but today I want to talk about just one pair, crisp and crispy, both of which mean essentially the same thing. Except when they don't.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Candlepower.

Though I made a case for alt-right as 2016's Euphemism of the Year, the American Dialect Society went in another direction, those rascals! They selected locker-room talk, which is a pretty solid euphemism, though I'm not sure it made the top ten twaddlesome terms of 2016. This year is young, but there's already a candidate I suspect everyone and their uncle is going to support or at least suggest for 2017's euphemism of the year: alternative facts.  Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Evasive Maneuvers.

1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 1-7 of 1145 Articles