As most histories of Halloween will tell you, Hallowe'en
) is a shortened version of All-Hallow(s)-Eve
, but how and why did eve
turn into e'en
? For that matter, what is a hallow? Why did the all
David Skinner's new book, The Story of Ain't
, is about the controversy that surrounded the 1961 publication of Webster's Third New International Dictionary, which was blasted for not coming down hard enough on nonstandard words like ain't
. Skinner looks at how far we've come in our view of slang and dictionaries in a piece for the Wall Street Journal, "Ain't This Good English?
" And read more about Webster's Third in Ben Zimmer's Word Routes
column last year celebrating the dictionary's 50th birthday.
Get creeped out this Halloween by learning words used by master writers to freak out generations of adults and children alike.
When it first became evident that Hurricane Sandy might merge with an inland snowstorm to create a superstorm, the creative labels started pouring in. Snowicane
. But now that the storm has shut down much of the East Coast, is it time to set aside such wordplay?
In the third and final presidential debate, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama ended up agreeing on many foreign policy points. Despite all the heated rhetoric of the campaign, both candidates are making a play for undecided voters in the middle of the political spectrum. But for those who are disillusioned with the two-party system, Obama and Romney seem interchangeable: you might as well call them Robama
Students: Use new Shakespeare Lists to pre-learn vocabulary from "Romeo and Juliet" and "Macbeth" and boost reading comprehension. Teachers: Assign these lists. They're interactive, which means learning them feels like a game.