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The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which appears this weekend in all its thrilling spy story glory, might leave the non-nindoctrinated among us wondering: What does U.N.C.L.E. stand for? And why did the show's creators select that particular word? Continue reading...
When English-language Scrabble champ Nigel Richards, who does not speak French, won a French-language Scrabble championship, analysts rushed to analyze how much memorization that actually entailed. Ben Zimmer explains that to get a full understanding of Richards' achievement, a simple counting of words in the dictionary only gives a partial picture. Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language
Happy Fourth! It's time for fireworks, picnics, swimming excursions, ice cream cones...and word learning! Continue reading...
Topics: Words Fun
It's time once again for the nationally televised semifinals and finals of The Scripps National Spelling Bee! As in past years, our own Ben Zimmer will be live-tweeting the competition from the @VocabularyCom Twitter account and reporting on the results here in his Word Routes column. Continue reading...
Following the enormously successful release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Slate's words correspondent Katy Waldman raised a question, "Why are they called the Avengers? What are they avenging?" This put us in mind of lexicographer Neal Whitman's observation a few years back that, at least in movies, "Avenging and vengeance are for good guys, while revenge is for the bad guys." Continue reading...
Unless you're a resident of the Lego Movie's Bricksburg where "Everything is Awesome," you may have noticed that awesome is...well...not quite as awesome as it used to be. In fact, says Tim Askew, writing for Inc., awesome has become so overused, it's "inescapable, like verbal kudzu choking out the variegated richness of the English language." Continue reading...
As keynote speaker at the 2015 American Copy Editors Society meeting, lexicographer Ben Zimmer showed off the resources in the Vocabulary.com Dictionary as part of a talk on "Nitpickery, Debunkage, and the Joys of Getting It Right." Not surprisingly, ACES attendees live-tweeting the address were more likely to take note of Zimmer's singing, rapping, and discussion of language anachronisms in "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey." Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language Writing
1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 232 Articles