Archive for Specific Words

Foods named after places

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 […]

cancellation culture

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 […]

A recent usage of the word “murder”

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 […]

Job title of the week

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 […]


I was already low-key planning to write this note before seeing the word where I didn't expect it. I was low-key shocked, you know? And the show looks low-key terrible. No, I'm definitely low-key using it wrong now.


Recently I heard a fellow say that the word blackball (meaning to keep someone out of something, without the person knowing exactly who was doing it or why) comes from Hollywood in the 20s, and I thought That’s just wrong. I believed that the use of the word was much older, coming from ‘Gentlemen’s clubs’ […]