Category Archives: The English Language

English Grows Again in 2024

One thing you can say about English, it’s dynamic. (Whoever thought Google would become a verb?) New words get added every year. For example, Dictionary.com has recently added or updated more than 1,700 words. Here are some of the more interesting examples — Bed rotting — “noun. The practice of spending many hours in bed during the day,

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Word For Today: Aptonym

Would you be surprised if I told you Frank Fish was a marine biologist? Or that Carla Dove is the director of the Feather Identification Lab at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.? These are examples of aptonyms, –people with names that fit their careers. This concept shouldn’t be too surprising,

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What is a Portmanteau Word?

Have you stayed at a motel recently? Or when was the last time you dined at a Sunday brunch? You may not have stopped to think about the origin of those words. But its simple — put “motor” and “hotel” together for “motel” to acknowledge the age of the automobile. Similarly, combining “breakfast” and “lunch”

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What is a Paraprosdokian?

The English language never ceases to amaze me. From different words with the same spelling (minute: a unit of time or a very small quantity?; bass: a fish or a musical instrument?) to words that are their own opposite (sanction), it’s a wonder we can communicate as effectively as we do. Thanks to a friend,

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The Speeches You Never Heard

It’s easy to be familiar with history’s great speeches, like President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But have you ever thought about speeches that were written and, for whatever reason, never delivered? Jeff Nussbaum has. As a speechwriter himself, he has researched and authored Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History. His underlying principle

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New Words for 2021

Each year, Merriam-Webster announces new words that are being added to the dictionary. This annual ritual shows how our culture is changing through language. It’s a good indicator to what our thoughts and concerns are. Last year 455 new words make it into the lexicon. They can be divided into the following categories — Online

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What is the 2020 Word of the Year?

In keeping with the tradition of commemorating the past year in every way possible, what language milestone has been honored as the Word of the Year for 2020? Like everything else about this last trip around the sun, it gets messy. Dictionary.com honored (surprise!) pandemic (https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-year/) — “…our choice was overwhelmingly clear. From our perspective

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