Writing about an opt-out of testing movement brewing in her children's elementary school (and elsewhere), New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead used the highly-specific invigilate which, despite the fact that it describes a practice taking place in schools around the world every minute of every day, is a word most people don't know. Continue reading...
The great folk-music pioneer Pete Seeger died on Monday at the age of 94. He's best known for such classics as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" But we're particularly fond of a song that he performed about the irrationality of the English language, "English is Cuh-Ray-Zee." Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language Words
Don't just learn Obama's State of the Union words. Learn the vocabulary the media's using to write about "State of..." addresses with this Quick Current Events Quiz: ten key words cropping up in this week's New York Times and Washington Post State of the Union/State coverage. Continue reading...
Add the words President Barack Obama's got everyone talking about to your vocabulary with a free, interactive Vocabulary List: Obama's State of the Union Address, 2014. Then check out Mark Liberman for Language Log of the words Obama likes to use the most. Continue reading...

Dept. of Word Lists

Words to Remember Pete Seeger By

Words to Remember Pete Seeger By

As The New York Times wrote in an obituary for Pete Seeger, who died Monday, "folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action." Celebrate his legacy by learning vocabulary from his songs.
With the Super Bowl just around the corner, our own Ben Zimmer talked to Seattle's KUOW about the origins of some football language. Some of the terms, like "the 12th man" and "the Legion of Boom," have special resonance in Seattle, home of the Super Bowl-bound Seahawks. Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language Words
Whether you're a football purist or just in it for the seven-layer nachos dip, here are some football-centric word learning resources, Super Bowl-style. Continue reading...
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