Posts Tagged: vocabulary

Do You Remember That Thing?

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Where do our words go when we lose them? Jenny Diski embarks on an exploration into vanishing vocabulary: So I had a thought about writing a book for the elderly, the old. Those who have lost their words more comprehensively than the friends around our lunch table, but haven’t lost themselves entirely. A book about where all the […]

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Rushdie Goes Medieval

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Salman Rushdie, no stranger to controversy, now finds himself under scrutiny from a different sort of institution: the Times Literary Supplement. Michael Caines, writing for TLS, takes issue with Rushdie’s recent use of the word “medieval” in a statement made about the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Caines unpacks the word’s historical usage in distancing Renaissance thinkers […]

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“Pop,” “Soda,” or “Heaven Bubbles”?

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You’ve probably seen this regional-dialect quiz from the New York Times making the rounds on your social networks. You answer questions about your vocabulary and pronunciation, and it tries to determine where in the United States you’re from. But the New Yorker‘s Shouts & Murmurs blog is really upping the ante with their own dialect quiz, which […]

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These Words All Have Neoflects Coming Off Them

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Did you know that, like aglets for the end of a shoelace or tittle for the dot atop an i, there’s a whole delightful host of terms for the visual cues used in comic strips? Invented chiefly by cartoonist Mort Walker in a half-joking illustrated mini-dictionary called The Lexicon of Comicana, they include plewds (the big drops of sweat that […]

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From “Beef-Witted” to “Zafty”

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The lists of obscure vocabulary passed around among word nerds can get kind of repetitive (we all know what “schadenfreude” means by now, thanks very much), but this one from Death and Taxes is great the whole way through. It catalogs “18 obsolete words which should never have gone out of style,” and each one is a […]

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