Ms. Walker has passed on. Here’s a brief bio and a link to some of her best columns.
There are several roots for our terms for summer doldrums – and none of them are positive.
A new term of political insult from the White House carries some serious baggage.
After the Senate’s healthcare votes, the word ‘repeal’ took on a new fascination for me.
Why English has so many forms for the verbs referring to coming out of sleep
Making the case for a go-to term for journalists who want to signal newsworthiness.
A look at the surprising etymology of this dark word in the news.
A vintage mystery-thriller flick provides a very current term for a form of psychological warfare that seems much in use lately.
A look at a word with two very different senses alive and well in the news columns.
A high-flown term for ‘salary’ seems to be rooted in a metaphor of ground grain, but the word’s sound symbolism suggests something else.
An obsolete term still has its place in some legal contexts.
A hardworking ancient three-letter root turns out to be at the foot of many words across Indo-European languages.
The Monitor’s language columnist is reminded that bureaucracy is literally ‘rule by desks.’
A leaked memo and the controversy about Confederate memorials are both potentially monumental stories.
After the French presidential election, a look at our vocabulary for describing political parties.
The roots of this common word hint that striking a deal can be such hard work.
The story of the Huguenots may have some lessons for us today.
After the “dragged passenger” incident, United Airlines has an opportunity to learn what it really means to “accommodate” the public.
A look at a distinctively American political term and its distinctively obscure derivation.
A phrase much in use lately to describe uncomfortable silences reminds us how idioms work best when they stay in touch with their origins.