Today is Thanksgiving Day! Your are probably in the midst of celebrating with friends and family gathered around a turkey right this very minute. But in case you're not, we invite you to celebrate for a moment here with us by contemplating the difference between Thanksgiving with a capital T and thanksgiving, the word. The difference comes down to simple grammar, but perhaps we can find in the distinction something more?
Last year for Thanksgiving, I did something gastronomically delicious but linguistically impossible: I dry-brined
my turkey. The very word brine
implies water. Tons of sea-faring stories reference the briny deep
as a euphemism for the salty sea. So what could a dry-
brine possibly be?
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.
Recently we announced a powerful new Teacher Dashboard that gives educators a comprehensive look at exactly how their students are doing in their progress toward vocabulary mastery. Now administrators have a dashboard of their own, with the ability to see how Vocabulary.com is helping teachers and students, allowing them to recognize the efforts of their school's top performers.
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!
Before the highly overused nice
slips off your tongue one more time, check out some more specific options at your disposal.
Bellaire High School in Bellaire, TX won the school leaderboard banner for October, competing not only against schools across the country, but also with two schools in their own back yard. What does this prove to fans of our yearlong Vocabulary Bowl? Don't mess with Texas.
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