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After months in a teeming sea of words, the Loungeurs have crawled to shore to issue a report. It turns out that computers have as much to teach us about language as we have to teach them! Continue reading...
State-of-the-art technology now allows the Loungeurs to detect usage infractions in real-time; this month we share recent findings with our visitors, along with tips that will help you slip your weasel word into the mainstream. Continue reading...
This month we open the kimono for lounge visitors and reveal why Samuel Johnson, all those many years ago, characterized lexicographers as harmless drudges. Continue reading...
A couple of weeks ago we ran the first part of our fascinating conversation with Professor Anne Curzan of the University of Michigan, an expert in the history of English and a member of the American Heritage Dictionary's usage panel. Here is part two of our interview -- a jaw-dropper for anyone interested in language -- where we focus on gender, spelling and much more: Continue reading...

You may remember an interview we did last year with Katie Raynolds, a remarkable 10th grader and dedicated linguaphile from Seattle, Washington. Katie recently spent a busy week with us here at the VT's New York office as our editorial intern, and put together this list of SAT words -- with tips on how to remember them:

The SAT, of course, is one of the most important tests a student takes during their scholastic career. I can't help you with the math section, but I thought to give you a useful method for remembering tricky vocabulary. In the list below, I'll show you "memory hooks" you can find right within the word and its Latin root. I'll also share some cool linguistic histories!

Dubious
Root: Dubious derives from the Latin word dubitare (to waver, to hesitate)
Relatives: Doubt
Hook: When you see the dub-, you should remember the word doubt.

Brevity
Root: Brevity comes from the Latin breve (short)
Relatives: Abbreviation, brief, breve
Hook: If you're more familiar with the word abbreviation, then you should see the brev- in brevity and remember short!

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Topics: Vocabulary Words
We have bedizened the Lounge in old-fashioned language this month and invite visitors to behold. Continue reading...

Dept. of Word Lists

Words About Words

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You may remember an interview we did last year with Katie Raynolds, a remarkable 10th grader and dedicated linguaphile from Seattle, Washington. Well, Katie just spent a busy week with us here at the VT's New York office as our editorial intern! She graciously put together this word list:

I discovered when I searched through the Dept. of Word Lists that they're based on a subject a person is passionate about. So I thought, what is my passion? The answer clearly is: words! I found the following words that serve to describe other words, and I explain how we use them. For some I also included interesting stories about their origins.

Eponym, a name derived from the name of a person (real or imaginary). Examples: Achilles tendon (Achilles the Greek hero), Freudian slip (Sigmund Freud), Louisiana (King Louis XIV).

Onomatopoeia, words that imitate the sound that they denote. Examples: Pow! Bam! (a type of onomatopoeia that was made popular in comic books), chickadee, meow.

Sibilant, a consonant characterized by a hissing sound (like s or sh). The word sibilant comes from the Latin word sibil (hiss), which is actually onomatopoeia for the sounds that a snake makes. Example of sibilance: Sally sells sea shell by the sea shore.

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Topics: Vocabulary Words
1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 33 Articles

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