Sarabande Books is publishing a fascinating new anthology entitled, One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe. The editor, Molly McQuade, asked 66 writers the question, "What one word means the most to you, and why?" Among the essays McQuade has collected is "Sixpack," an exploration of six words by the experimental writer Thylias Moss. Tucker Capps has drawn from Moss's musings on the word fork to create a captivating short film. Continue reading...
Earlier this month, a post by Dan Frommer on Business Insider had this to say about Google, Facebook and Apple: "Recently, all three companies have been making a lot of 'acq-hires,' where they buy a company to acquire its human resources." You read that right: acq-hire. Where did this odd word come from? Continue reading...
We recently heard from Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer about the "chunking" approach to English-language instruction, which focuses on teaching students how stretches of words ("lexical chunks") tend to fall together in high frequency. Brett Reynolds, a professor of academic English at Humber College in Toronto, has long been somewhat skeptical of chunking, and we asked him to offer a contrasting perspective on the value of the approach for language teaching. Continue reading...

Blog Excerpts

People Who Became Nouns

"It's easy to forget that some of the English language's most common words had real-life namesakes in living, breathing people." Life Magazine has put together a slide show of some of the most notable eponyms, from Henry Shrapnel to Etienne Silhouette. Check it out here.

Blog Excerpts

New Words for NOAD

- 12 comments
The New Oxford American Dictionary has released its third edition, and in the time-honored tradition of lexicographical publicity, a sampling of the dictionary's new words and phrases has been making the rounds. Some have griped that the list "reads like a list of Twitter trending topics" that is designed "to bait bloggers, who really are obsessed with the Interweb." Is the list too preoccupied with evanescent online culture? You be the judge! Continue reading...

Stan Carey, a professional editor from Ireland, writes:

We think of balance as a good thing, associating it with poise, equilibrium, evenness and harmony, as stability in unpredictable circumstances or as a healthy mix of disparate elements. It's a versatile metaphor. We try to balance our lives by living a balanced lifestyle, holding balanced views and following, on balance, a balanced diet. We balance work and play, overtime and downtime, business and pleasure. Mostly business: we balance our books, accounts, loans, budgets and balance sheets. Continue reading...
This Sunday's New York Times Magazine was a special issue on education, with a focus on education technology. I used the opportunity to write an On Language column that explored new theoretical approaches to language learning that are having important practical applications in the English-language classroom. Continue reading...
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