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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
, reduplicative words are silly, childish, catchy, animalistic, nonsensical, and awesome.
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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.
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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.
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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