VOCABULARY.COM BLOG

The critically lauded film The Imitation Game just won an Oscar for Graham Moore's screenplay, adapted from Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. Crosswords play an important role in the story of the World War II codebreakers, but it turns out they also mastered the art of the palindrome. Palindromist Magazine editor Mark Saltveit reveals a long-hidden chapter of wordplay history. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Fun, Language
Over the weekend, The New York Times presented an interactive quiz on newly prominent slang terms entitled "Are You On Fleek?" But what does "on fleek" mean, and how did it get to be such a trendy expression, especially on social media? Our resident linguist Neal Whitman investigates. Continue reading...
In January, I took part in an interesting discussion on Twitter. Washington Post copyeditor Bill Walsh posted a headline: "Hole-in-the-walls: East, west, and downtown, 19 named." He asked, "Would you take your sister-in-laws to such a place?" Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Language, Usage
In a continuing series of SAT study tips provided by Veritas Prep, BloombergBusiness advised students last month to "approach the SAT as if it were an athletic event." The recommended training regimen involves healthful eating, exercise, anxiety avoidance, and most importantly, consistent review. Continue reading...
The public radio show "On the Media" notes that "in the age of Snowden and Manning, the term 'whistleblower' is increasingly present in our media. But where exactly did the word come from?" Brooke Gladstone talked to our executive editor Ben Zimmer for some historical background. Continue reading...
Short and spare, and following a two-and-a-half-hour oration that had brought listeners to tears, The Gettysburg Address received only polite applause when Abraham Lincoln delivered the speech. Of course, it has since come to be considered one of our country's defining statements of national values. Continue reading...
At a time when every civilized man carried a sonnet to his secret lover tucked into a back pocket, Shakespeare's sonnets out-swooned every other swoon-seeker's, and Sonnet 116 "Let me not to the marriage of true minds," has remained a favorite of lovers everywhere. For Valentine's Day, master some tricky words using our Sonnet 116 Vocabulary List. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Vocabulary
The story of Steve Henderson — a software engineer bent on single-handedly fixing every use of the word comprise in Wikipedia entries where compose would be more appropriate — has captured the popular imagination. Yesterday, Southern California Public Radio invited our own Ben Zimmer to explain the difference and weigh in on the wisdom of Henderson's quest. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Grammar, Usage
TOPICS