Happy Fourth! It's time for fireworks, picnics, swimming excursions, ice cream cones...and word learning! Continue reading...
Topics: Words Fun
While many of our fellow Vocabularians have finished the school year and are heading out for their summer breaks, we here at Vocabulary.com are hard at work making improvements to the site. Continue reading...
For my latest appearance on the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, I take a look at the clownish roots of the word bozo. While the image of TV's Bozo the Clown is familiar to many generations of American youth, how did Bozo get his name in the first place? The answer may lie in vaudeville. Continue reading...
The Supreme Court has issued a decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and as significant as that may be, as vocabularians, we can't get past the sighting of jiggery-pokery in Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion. Continue reading...
Have you ever struggled to explain a nuclear meltdown caused by an incredibly stupid mistake? You would have been grateful for alternative terms, such as "a core rearrangement caused by an ill-advised learning opportunity." You can find these terms and more in Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceitful Language. Continue reading...
Topics: Usage Books Language
Sunday is the longest day of the year and the official start to summer. To get ready, we're taking a look at the words and terms enshrined in our language that capture our collective experience of the summer season — trotted out once again like the shorts and sandals we've been waiting all winter to wear again. Continue reading...
Did that headline peak your interest? Or did it pique it? I'm waiting with baited breath for your answer. Or would that be bated? All of us have a tendency to replace a fossilized word, whose nuances have been lost, with a more standard definition of that word or a different word entirely. Through this process, phrases, like words, can change meaning over time. Continue reading...
Topics: Usage Words Language
Beadazzled is the name of a shop in a small town in the UK. A church in a city in Australia encourages passersby to "Prevent Truth Decay – Brush up on you Bible." These signs create something linguists Rodrigue Landry and Richard Y. Bourhis defined as "the linguistic landscape of a given territory, region or urban agglomeration" and they are all useful tools in the teaching of English to non-native speakers. Continue reading...