Topic:Words

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In just about every city, people repeat variations of the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait an hour." And for good reason. Weather is an ever-changing — and, on our stressed-out globe — increasingly extreme phenomenon. Weather never stops: it just keeps shifting and mutating into something else. That sounds like another natural phenomenon I know: language. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Language, Words
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Blog Excerpts

Dog Blends, from Wienerhuahuas to Peekapoos

One of the commercials run during the Super Bowl this year was one from Audi featuring an imagined "Doberhuahua," a cross between a Doberman and a Chihuahua. But as VT contributor Mark Peters explained on OUPblog, real-life canine hybrids often have blended names that are just as fanciful, whether it's "wienerhuahua" or "peekapoo." Read Mark's blog post here.
TOPICS: Fun, Language, Words
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After the Seattle Seahawks shellacked the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl last night, the Seahawks players, coaches, and owners all made sure to thank "the twelfth man," as the team's boisterous fans have come to be collectively known. But the Seahawks only have the right to use that phrase because of a licensing agreement worked out with Texas A&M University, the trademark holders. Texas A&M claims the expression goes back to a legendary 1922 game, but its true history is far more complex. Continue reading...
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The great folk-music pioneer Pete Seeger died on Monday at the age of 94. He's best known for such classics as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" But we're particularly fond of a song that he performed about the irrationality of the English language, "English is Cuh-Ray-Zee." Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Language, Words
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With the Super Bowl just around the corner, our own Ben Zimmer talked to Seattle's KUOW about the origins of some football language. Some of the terms, like "the 12th man" and "the Legion of Boom," have special resonance in Seattle, home of the Super Bowl-bound Seahawks. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Language, Words
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When coming up with adjectives for made-up things, we have many to choose among: fictional, fictitious, or fictive, or even factitious. Choose wisely, or risk saying something you don't mean. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Usage, Vocabulary, Words
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In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Usage, Words
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 744 Articles