Blog Excerpts

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Last night, Jon Stewart announced that he will be retiring from Comedy Central's The Daily Show. We'll miss Stewart and his writing team for lots of reasons. But as dedicated vocabularians, we'll be especially sorry to see the end of Stewart's skewering of overhyped news through clever use of word blending, known as portmanteaus. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Media, Vocabulary, Words

A Junior Dictionary Kerfuffle

"The lexicographic kerfuffle, thank goodness, isn't dead," writes Stefan Fatsis in The New Yorker. Fatsis is referring to the recent controversy over the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which has substituted all-natural words like "almond," "blackberry," and "minnow," with such 21st-century fare as "blog," "chatroom," and "database." Some noted writers have said they are "profoundly alarmed" by the changes. Read all about it here.
East Coast residents (outside of New England) might have been a bit underwhelmed by the blizzard-that-wasn't known as "Winter Storm Juno." While this "junior" storm has fallen short of the hyped-up expectations, it's still interesting to consider how it achieved named status in the first place. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Media, Naming, Words
HuffPost Live hosted a chat about the uncertain future of dictionaries in the digital era. Among the panelists was our own Ben Zimmer, who talked about how the move away from the printed page opens up exciting new possibilities for what a dictionary can do. Continue reading...

The Story Behind Stuart Scott's "Booyah!"

ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott died of cancer over the weekend, and tributes to him have noted his ebullient use of slang, especially his signature word, "Booyah!" For Slate's Lexicon Valley blog, our own Ben Zimmer traces the origins of "Booyah!" back to a hip-hop imitation of gunfire. Read all about it here.
TOPICS: Fun, Word Origins, Words
The holiday season is famous for its hustle and bustle. But that doesn't mean word learning has to come to a stop. In fact, the holidays provide many opportunities to acquire and think about words. It's just a question of knowing where to look for them. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, whose "Colbert Report" ends this week after nine years on the air, Ben Zimmer gets the inside scoop on truthiness, Colbert's ultimate "silly word that would feel wrong in your mouth." Continue reading...
1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 219 Articles