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Millions heard Taylor Swift singing “All the lonely Starbucks lovers” instead of her actual line, “Got a long list of ex-lovers.” What’s that called?
This is a language column, so we won’t go into the politics of the impeachment. Instead, let’s talk about the complicated origins of “quid pro quo.”
I have been writing “In a Word” for almost two years, and I have made mistakes. To the readers who have written in when I have erred: This is for you.
English has so many creative ways to proclaim that something is ‘nonsense.’ Part 2 of a series on the nuts and bolts of humorous words.
No one, or at least no member of Congress, says malarkey more than Joe Biden does. Its connotation is avuncular and proudly old-fashioned.
The top words of the year in 2019 reflected shifting attitudes toward gender identity, along with an increase in anxiety about climate change.
If you have a dim view of the past 10 years, you could call it the “Ten-sions”; if you look on the bright side, you might use the “One-ders.”
The word Christmas itself is a relatively recent introduction, dating “only” from 1123. You might be surprised to hear what came before it.
The more research I did into the history of fulsome, the more confused I became. This slippery word has distinct, sometimes contradictory meanings.
The term “and/or” rapidly became known for producing more problems than it solved, especially in the legal realm. Can sign language save us?
And/or may not be beautiful, but it usually does the job. It seems we are stuck with it – but perhaps Boolean logical operators offer a solution.
Puritans frequently bestowed “grace names” as a way of encouraging children to strive for moral goodness.
Did you know there’s a special word for a group of cats? Welcome to Part 2 in our series on the strange world of collective nouns.
Has anyone in all seriousness ever said, “Oh no, I’m right in the middle of a smack of jellyfish!”? Welcome to the strange world of collective nouns.
Etymologically speaking, an impeachment hinders or impedes an unlawful or suspicious statement or course of action.
What does U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise's hashtag #KangarooCourt – a nickname for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump – even mean?
There is little truly new under the sun; unprecedented should thus be an uncommon word. The fact that you often hear it means it’s being overused.
It takes a pricey education to understand classical tongues. That’s why Latin-based pleb and hoi polloi are choice barbs used by the “upper class.”
What does it mean when newspapers say Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament, and why did his actions set off a constitutional crisis?
There are plenty of words that can be used to poke fun at pretentiousness. Let’s take a look at the wonderful highfalutin, hoity-toity, and la-di-da!
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