Yearly Archives: 2013

  1. autocorrect square

    Autocorrect: How does it work? Do we need it?

    Autocorrect is almost as old as personal computers. Even some of the earliest word processors had a spellcheck feature that suggested alternative words if a word you typed did not appear in its internal dictionary. Certainly, today, autocorrect has come a long way since the Cupertino effect. What’s the Cupertino effect? Well, in its early days, word processors would replace the word “cooperation” with “Cupertino” …

  2. What Does Yule Really Mean?

    The lyric from “Deck the Halls” goes “Troll the ancient yuletide carol.” Amidst all the fa-la-la-ing, did you ever ask yourself exactly what yuletide is? Yule is the ancient name in the Germanic lunar calendar for a winter festival corresponding to December and January. Later, yule referred

  3. Santa Claus, Krampus

    Meet Krampus, Santa Claus’ Disturbing Sidekick

    Christmas isn’t simple. If you think you’ve got a handle on its melange of Christian, pagan, and national traditions, here’s one more wrinkle. In Austria and Hungary, and some parts of Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Northern Italy, a bleak myth describes what happens during the Christmas season to children who have misbehaved during the past year. According to legend, unruly kids are paid a visit by Krampus. Unlike St.Nicholas, who brings gifts and treats, …

  4. furlough

    Around the Web: Privacy, Furloughs, and Crosswords

    On Tuesday we announced that privacy is the 2013 Word of the Year. Here’s our reasoning (and our infographic too). We also unveiled the misspelling of the year. Friend of Tyler Schnoebelen explains.

  5. Crossword

    Who Invented the Crossword?

    Arthur Wynne is usually credited with inventing the crossword. His first puzzle, called a word-cross, was published in December 1913 in the New York World. But there may have been other predecessors to the crossword: in England in the 19th century and an Italian version called per

  6. Misspelling of the Year 2013

    To explore the psyche of a people, do not look at what they do–look at what they do wrong. Today, we introduce the Misspelling of the Year. A word that was looked up significantly more this year than the year before. A word with lots of different misspellings. A word in the news. The word: furlough.

  7. Word of the Year, Privacy

    Why Privacy Is Our 2013 Word of the Year

    From PRISM and the Edward Snowden scandal to the arrival of Google Glass, 2013 was the year that the desire to be seen and heard was turned on its head. Consider the following: In January, the TSA scrapped airport body scanners that produce near-naked images of travelers; In June, Edward Snowden revealed the widespread global-spying program, Project PRISM; In October, Google announced new privacy policy …

  8. Word of the Year 2013, privacy, infographic

    The Year in Privacy: 2013

    Why did we select privacy as the Word of the Year in 2013? Here’s our analysis. (Download the infographic here.)

  9. Jane Austen

    Jane Austen’s Neologistic Contributions to English

    In honor of Jane Austen’s birthday on December 16, we’d like to highlight some entertaining words that appear in her books and letters. For the following terms, Jane Austen has the distinction of being the first citation in the OED; this doesn’t necessarily give Austen coinage credit, though it does mean that she was an early user of these terms.

  10. driving while texting

    The Dictionary Just Got a Little Bigger

    2013 was an exciting year for the English vocabulary. Some long-simmering terms like twerk bounced into the spotlight, while new coinages (from the trendy cronut and selfie to the serious Obamacare) cemented their place in the English language. As the English language grows and evolves, so must our dictionary. Here are just a few words recently added to Google Glass DWT bitcoin binge-watch confusticate …