A nice explanation by Shweta Narayan about smol having become a separate word, with different connotations, from small. (Published in 2017, I think.) (Via Jen L.)
Archive for Specific Words
I recently got curious about the history of sarcasm, so I looked up sarcasm in Wikipedia. I was surprised to see that Wikipedia distinguishes between sarcasm and irony (which can refer to many things, but in this context they’re talking about saying the opposite of what you mean), so I checked my dictionary. And I […]
The line about two countries being separated by a common language? More than two.
Wikipedia’s List of foods named after places is pretty interesting, although like most Wikipedia articles it could use some cleanup and reorganization. (And it’s certainly not a complete list.) It’s more specifically a list of “English language food toponyms which may have originated in English or other languages,” although I suspect some of the terms […]
In an article about Trump canceling the in-person Republican National Convention, the following line appears: “This is the cancel culture run wild,” said one top Republican donor. …I can’t tell whether the donor intended that line as a joke, or whether they were just unclear on the meaning of the phrase cancel culture. I’m guessing […]
According to Wikipedia: In rhetoric, anthimeria […] involves using one part of speech as another part of speech, such as using a noun as if it were a verb: “The little old lady turtled along the road.” […] Other substitutions could include an adjective used as a noun, as in “She dove into the foaming […]
I’ve been seeing a word usage on the rise lately that I find difficult and tense-making, and I want to talk a little about it. It’s the use of the word or prefix murder as a sort of an adjective, meaning something like “endearingly very good at being violent for purposes that I approve of […]
Not everything usage that sounds wrong to me is objectively wrong, but I think this one is.
At first I thought this line in a Verge article was a typo: “According to one cryptogopher working at Google,…” I also thought that cryptogopher sounded like a great superhero name. “Look, down in the ground! It’s Cryptogopher!” But it turns out that Filippo Valsorda describes himself as Cryptogopher @Google in his Twitter profile. I […]
From a footnote in Joanna Russ’s book Kittatinny (p. 49): “Aeluromancy” is magic by means of cats (I don’t know whether you use the cats or the cats do it themselves.)