Ben Zimmer's 30 Great American Words 30 words

Ben Zimmer is the executive producer of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus. He is language columnist for The Boston Globe and the former "On Language" columnist for The New York Times Magazine. He has worked as editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press and as a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary. He is also the chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society.

We asked Ben, as an expert on the history of American English, to give us some of his favorite words that originated in the United States.


"I'm fascinated by how the English language developed a unique American flavor (not flavour!) beginning in colonial times. I've been collecting examples of great contributions from American English. Here is a cornucopia of copacetic coinages from fertile American minds."

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