Yearly Archives: 2012

  1. The Worst Words of 2012

    2012 has been an interesting time in the life of our lexicon. From new coinages to new usages, English has had a nice growth spurt. Some neologisms quickly outgrow their usefulness, or through overuse, they become meaningless, like an overplayed […]

  2. How do you sign “heterogeneous mixture” to a deaf person?

    Imagine you’re sitting in a high school biology class or a college chemistry lab. The professor is giving a heated lecture using a whole host of long, difficult words. But every time she says “heterogeneous mixture” or “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle” […]

  3. Why “Bluster” is Dictionary’s 2012 Word of the Year

    You may recall that last year we selected a rare word, a tongue-twister of sorts, as the 2011 Word of the Year: tergiversate which means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.” […]

  4. What Should the 2012 Word of the Year Be?

    You may recall last year our editors selected an unusual, rare word, a tongue-twister of sorts as the 2011 Word of the Year. We picked tergiversate which means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, […]

  5. 11/11: Why Today is Special

    11 is a very odd number and has been subject to much interpretation over the ages. According to Yahoo! News, medieval scholars believed that while most numbers had positive and negative qualities, the number 11 represented pure evil. But of course, you […]

  6. How the prefix “franken-” took on a life of its own. . .

    As Halloween quickly approaches, Frankenstorm is sneaking up on the East Coast. Forecasters are calling the hurricane headed for New York, New Jersey, and as far inland as Ohio, “Frankenstorm” because (like the monster in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein […]

  7. Could an animal speak? Not just bark or meow, but actually speak.

    From Dr. Doolittle to Jane Goodall, human-animal communication has occupied our thoughts both in fiction and in reality. Dogs recognize their names when they are called; researchers have successfully taught primates to communicate in sign language; and the famed African […]

  8. Who put the $ in Ke$ha? Where did the $ come from?

    From the California dance band !!! to MIA spelling out her name in dashes, musical artists seem to love putting symbols in their names. Perhaps none more notable than pop star Ke$ha, who differentiates herself with a single letter substitution. […]

  9. How much talking does your body do?

    The phrase “body language” or nonverbal communication often gets tossed around. From public speaking to a first date, our movements and facial expressions say a lot about our feelings and intentions. Now, as we enter into political debate season, politicians’ […]

  10. Do babies speak with an accent?

    We all know that infants don’t actually speak with an accent because they don’t really speak at all. But for a long time scientists presumed that infants’ brains could not process sounds at all. Professor Patricia Kuhl, the director of […]