Slips of the tongue? Mixed up consonants? Verbal blunders are more than simple mistakes to linguist and journalist Michael Erard. The author of Um... Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean, Michael explores what gaffes in speech tell us about language, and ourselves. We called him to learn, um, more about this subject: Continue reading...

Dept. of Word Lists

Baseball Words

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"Baseball has had a phenomenal influence on the English language," says writer and lexicographer Paul Dickson. Paul should know. As the author of The Hidden Language of Baseball and The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary (and over 40 other books!), he's studied the impact of America's favorite pastime on English for the past three decades. Paul graciously shared some examples of baseball lingo that's now part of everyday speech.

Designated hitter. "This is a strange construction in English, 'designated 'x'' but it gave birth to the term 'designated driver.'"

Hit-and-run. "A baseball play that's been around since the 19th century. When the automobile arrived, all of a sudden the phrase also meant 'a hit-and-run accident.'"

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This month we sweep away the cobwebs in the Poetry Corner to spend some time with a poem just over a hundred years old that still speaks loud and clear today. Continue reading...
Topics: Vocabulary Poetry
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