Mark Peters is a language columnist, lexicographer, and humorist who has written for Esquire, The Funny Times, New Scientist, Psychology Today, Salon, and Slate. He contributes to OUPblog and writes the Best Joke Ever column for McSweeney's. You can read Mark's own jokes on Twitter, such as, "I play by my own rules, which is probably why no one comes to my board game parties anymore."
Bomb, like its close relative boom, is an irresistible word that helps us describe an unpredictable world that can leave any of us feeling shellshocked and, lately, snowed-over. Continue reading...
Words won't keep you warm in the winter, and they won't shovel your driveway. But they will improve the quality of your complaints about the winter. At least that's something. Continue reading...
Star Wars has made many contributions to English, but none more significant that Jedi. Continue reading...
The recent discovery of Octlantis, an undersea community of octopuses just off the eastern coast of Australia, is a reminder of how a novel blend can perfectly name a new phenomenon, no matter how wild or multi-tentacled. Continue reading...
Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Here's an alternative to the retail frenzy: accumulate some new words. They don't take up any space, and they're free! Continue reading...
Fortunately, it doesn't take radiation or a distant home planet to learn new words. We're all capable of donning the mantle of Word Person. Continue reading...
Words like hallow and eldritch aren't as catchy as "trick or treat," but they are part of the colorful history of this popular holiday. Better to learn them now than later: don't take a chance of being haunted by the apparition of a weak vocabulary. Continue reading...
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