The 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee kicked off yesterday, with 278 spellers getting whittled down to 50 semifinalists who will compete in the nationally televised action on Thursday. A precocious six-year-old didn't make the cut, but an old friend of ours, Nicholas Rushlow of Pickerington, Ohio, will be back in the thick of it for his fifth consecutive year.
It's time once again for the Scripps National Spelling Bee
! The preliminaries are today, and the nationally televised semifinals and finals are tomorrow (May 31). Vocabulary.com lexicographer Ben Zimmer will be live-tweeting the competition tomorrow on the Twitter feed
of our sister site, the Visual Thesaurus, as well as reporting on the results here in his Word Routes column. In the meantime, read Ben's observations on tricky spelling here
, and try playing your own spelling bee game on Vocabulary.com. Here's how
For years I've been reading the phrase at/in one fell swoop
, and even using it occasionally, without ever examining it closely. I knew what it meant ("all at once"), and that it came from Shakespeare, but only recently did I stop and wonder: What's that fell
Vocabulary.com will join the New York Times Learning Network in a summer reading kickoff on Thursday June 7. Together with a host of terrific organizations, we will be tweeting the hashtag #SummerReading to all our Twitter followers, and letting the world know: The Summer Reading (and consequent vocabulary absorption) Season is here. Join us by tweeting your summer reading plans as well!
On the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States. But wait: is celebrated
the right word? Would it be more appropriate to say Memorial Day is observed
? Wendalyn Nichols, an experienced editor and lexicographer, guides us through this usage quandary.
Last week, in the first part of this series on buzzwords and catchphrases of the current political season, I looked at six words that caught the national attention, from brokered convention
. Here, in alphabetical order, are another half dozen more that have crossed my political radar.