Blog Excerpts

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On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Americans kick off the holiday shopping season with a bang. We look back to a Word Routes column by lexicographer Ben Zimmer exploring the origins of the phrase "Black Friday." It is not, as many believe, the day when retailers' balance sheets change from red to black. Continue reading...
There are many things we can all love about Thanksgiving, but word confusion is not one of them. That's why, as food talk get increasingly hysterical at this time of year, and recipe words blur before our eyes, we bring you clarity. Or, for those of us who find a profusion of new and abundant vocabulary as welcome as the pilgrims found the assistance provided by Native Americans, call it a cornucopia of delight! Continue reading...

Oxford's Word of the Year is "Vape"

The editors at Oxford Dictionaries have selected their choice for 2014 Word of the Year, and it is "vape," defined as "to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device." Check out Oxford's announcement here. Our contributor Nancy Friedman was on the case back in 2010, in her column, "But Wait, There's Less!" (Nancy also named "vape" one of her Words of 2013.)
TOPICS: Language, Usage, Words

One Troop, Many Troops

As Veterans Day is observed in the United States, a question of military usage continues to pose a puzzle: if "50,000 troops" refers to 50,000 people, then does "one troop" refer to one person? Linguist Neal Whitman looked into the matter on Veterans Day in 2009. Check out his column here.
TOPICS: Usage, Words
Tech with Kids, a digital magazine founded and edited by USA Today Kid-Tech columnist Jinny Gudmundsen, awarded a BEST PICK APP Award and featured the app in a review. Continue reading...

Ben Zimmer Wins LSA's Linguistics Journalism Award

The Linguistic Society of America today named Thesaurus Executive Producer Ben Zimmer as the first recipient of the Linguistics Journalism Award. The award honors "the journalist whose work best represents linguistics" during the past 12 months. In addition to his stellar work on and the Visual Thesaurus, the LSA singled out Zimmer's language column in the Wall Street Journal, as well as "articles on linguistic topics for the Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Slate's 'Lexicon Valley' blog, and Language Log."

Following up on the American Association of School Librarians' selection of as a "Best Website for Teaching and Learning 2014," the association released a review of, in which it recommends our site for differentiated learning and suggests several concrete ways teachers can make use of our tool. 

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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 217 Articles