Archive for Specific Words

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 […]

low-key

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.

blackball

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’ […]

Fourieriest

A 2013 SMBC comic that I just saw suggested that the superlative of Fourier is Fouriest. Which reminded me that in 1998, I found a typo in the dictionary. Here’s the email that I sent to Merriam-Webster about it: Hi. I was just leafing through my copy of Webster's Ninth New Collegiate, and I found […]

macrodactylous misarchism

A piece of spam email that got past my spam filters the other day included a link to a web page that had the filename macrodactylous_misarchism.html. I suspect that the filename was generated by software that took two random words and strung them together; sadly, there don’t seem to be any web pages that are […]

weblog

I recently saw the word weblog in a Bruce Sterling story (“Black Swan”) that was published in 2009. Which surprised me, because even I, who disliked the word blog for a long time, was writing blog casually by 2002, and I think of Sterling as having been usually somewhere near the cutting edge of the […]

classes

I recently encountered a political article that contrasted the classes against the masses. At first I assumed there was a word missing—maybe the writer meant upper classes? But a bit of research revealed to me that the word classes by itself has long been used to refer to the upper class, especially in contrast to […]