Tag Archives: Words

So many ways to get words wrong

Stumbling over a few misused words recently brought to mind the 1987 movie, The Princess Bride. Vezzini (Wallace Shawn), the “mastermind” hired to kidnap the princess, constantly describes unfolding events as “inconceivable.” Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” * I […]

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I love the spirit, but the words are ‘recondite’

Wayne State University is again trying to draw attention to some of the English language’s “most expressive — yet regrettably neglected — words.” Its annual list shares words it says “deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose.” I love the spirit of the idea, as I said in 2016. But some of […]

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Wordies, we’re in the dictionary

Wordies, rejoice; we’re in the dictionary. Yes, we lovers of words join foodies and groupies in having a dictionary-blessed term that defines us as a collective. As Merriam-Webster.com notes, “Language doesn’t take a vacation, and neither does the dictionary.” Thus they’ve added 850 new words that have been used often enough to warrant being in […]

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30+ ways to steer clear of the T word

Writers and editors love a short, punchy word, especially in headlines. A short word grabs attention while saving precious space. It’s memorable. It gets to the point. Sometimes, though, that word brings something else to mind. I’m guessing that short punchiness is the reason for what seems to be an increasing use of the term […]

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Words of the year are no ‘fake news’

If you’re a word nerd, like me, you probably look forward to the release in early January of the “words of the year” from the previous year. They’re out! In past years, the words chosen were often catchy new portmanteaux – words formed by blending two or more distinct forms (smoke + fog = smog). […]

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‘Fake news’ among words we’d like to banish

The wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan are at it again. Among the words they’re trying to banish for “Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness” are fake news, gig economy, impactful and unpack. As an unnamed spokesperson said when releasing the 43rd annual list, “We’ve drilled down and unpacked tons of pre-owned words and phrases […]

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Avoid confusion by keeping it simple

“What does eponymous mean?” I’m usually your go-to gal for the meaning of words, but this one stopped me. I knew I should be able to explain the meaning, but the question sent me to the dictionary. Good for you if you know “eponymous” is an adjective relating to the person/thing for whom/which something is […]

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Resist the initialization of the world (please)

Over the holidays, I was in the store formerly known as Mountain Equipment Co-op. Great name, isn’t it? Without even trying, you can tell it sells outdoor recreation gear and clothing. One of their taglines is “Outside is our place. Canada is our backyard.” Nice. In 2013, the company decided to rebrand itself as “MEC” […]

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New misused words join the list to be banished

Post-truth, on fleek, Dad bod and listicle are among the terms that made the 42nd annual list of words and phrases the wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan want to banish for “Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.” Distressingly, making the list does not, in fact, banish awful jargon and overused terms. The hated […]

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Jargon and insider language? The Olympics have ‘em

The Olympics can’t keep up with the corporate world when it comes to jargon, but they sure have a vocabulary all their own. With the 2016 Summer Olympics in full swing in Rio, let’s take a look. The most noteworthy/cringeworthy is how achieving a medal has become a verb. Athletes are now “expected to medal” […]

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