Topic:Words

Although turkeys were domesticated by Native Americans, turkey itself is not a Native American word. In this excerpt from a new book The Language of Food, linguist and Stanford University professor Dan Jurafsky charts the complicated path the word turkey followed into English, then serves up a slice of etymological pecan pie. Continue reading...
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Before the highly overused nice slips off your tongue one more time, check out some more specific options at your disposal. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Vocabulary, Words
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Blog Excerpts

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
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In the latest installment of the Slate podcast "Lexicon Valley," I presented the hosts Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield with a bit of a mystery. Where did the expression "get one's goat" come from? Theories abound, but hard evidence of the phrase's early use has only recently come to light. Continue reading...
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Welcome to the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. In this tip, Mignon advises on the usage of toward vs. towards. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Usage, Words
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Blog Excerpts

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
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Verizon offers "Even faster FiOS Quantum Internet" speeds. Duracell has a new Quantum alkaline battery. James Bond had his Quantum of Solace. Any number of companies have "quantum" in their names as well. The implication is that "quantum" is something big and powerful, with a hint of science behind it. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Usage, Vocabulary, Words
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