Tag Archives: Words

For readability, choose words that communicate

Why say “the earthy scent released when rain hits dry earth” when you could go with “petrichor”? That’s what Merriam-Webster tweeted recently. I love words almost as much as Merriam-Webster, but I would pick the full description. One, it’s wonderfully evocative. You can almost smell that earthy scent, and feel the drops of rain splashing […]

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10 ways to spot a word nerd

Happy New Year, and Happy Word Nerd Day! You know you are a word nerd when… You receive a word-a-day calendar for Christmas (featured today is Occam’s razor, “a scientific or philosophical rule that favors the simplest explanation”). Your Christmas gifts also include several books about words and/or bookstore gift certificates. You’re thrilled when The […]

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Don’t weaponize that toxic misinformation

Toxic. Misinformation. Justice. Weaponize. Do these words capture the mood of your 2018? They do for many people, according to the various dictionaries and online sources that track the topics we search for online. Here are the Words of the Year for 2018 that caught the public’s imagination, showed widespread use or reflected important events, […]

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7 words more people should look up

The word nerd in me loves the idea of trending words. I love that people want to know the meaning of a word, and take the time to look it up. News events, celebrities, politics and sports often drive a sudden spike in people looking up a specific word. Trends this week include synergy (Russians […]

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The cadence of jargon continues to annoy

Jargon has welcomed some new members to the fold this year. Or maybe it’s been happening longer, but I’ve been running into fresh examples over the past few months. Either way, I’m hopping on my Grouch Train. You know I’ve had issues with the phrase “like a boss” before. “Resonate” gets thrown around so much […]

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Look for words that count people in

A post about looking for a gender-neutral option for man-hours is one of the most-read on this blog, according to the analytics. (Long story short, person-hours is an acceptable substitute; also try work-hours or staff-hours.) Increasingly, people are looking for words that count people in. These days, we have a new way to count people […]

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Votes being counted…for Word of the Year

Hot on the heels of this month’s midterm elections in the United States (no, I’m not going there) is voting of a different sort. I’m talking about choosing the Word of the Year. The big names like the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster wait until late December, even January, to make their choice. This makes sense, […]

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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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