At the 2015 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, it came down to a neck-and-neck battle between Dan Feyer and Tyler Hinman, the two titans of speed-solving. And in an absolutely heart-stopping finish, Dan beat Tyler by half a second.
On the latest installment of Slate's podcast Lexicon Valley, I look at the roots of the festive word carnival
, associated with pre-Lenten celebrations around the Christian world. Some scholars speculate that the true origins of carnival
actually lie in pagan rituals predating Christianity.
is a word with a background so baffling it might make you feel a bit quizzical. For Slate's Lexicon Valley podcast, I delve into the mysterious origins of quiz
and its long-forgotten brother quoz
Etymology can take some peculiar turns as a word criss-crosses different cultures. For the latest installment of Slate's Lexicon Valley podcast, I take the hosts along on the journey of the word cockamamie
, which might seem stranger than fiction.
The American Dialect Society made its 25th annual selection for Word of the Year, and for the first time the winner was actually a Twitter hashtag: #blacklivesmatter
. Even though the socially conscious slogan is formed by combining three words, as a hashtag it was converted into something linguistically innovative, attracting the attention of the assorted language scholars who gathered for the vote at the society's annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.
Greetings from Portland, Oregon, where the American Dialect Society is holding its annual conference. On Thursday, in my capacity as chair of the society's New Words Committee, I presided over the nominating session for various categories in our Word of the Year selection.
It's time once again for the annual look back at the noteworthy words of the past year. Did you indulge in any manspreading
this year? Were you concerned about dark money
? Here's a veritable vortex
of words that rose to prominence in 2014.