Arts & Entertainment

  1. Ode To The Schwa

    How do I love thee? Let me count the schwas. Not exactly what Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in Sonnet 43 . . . but we like it all the same. Why? Because it finally pays tribute to the most frequent vowel sound in English: the schwa. What is the schwa and how does it sound? Simply put, the schwa is a reduced vowel sound written as …

  2. Literature’s Most Lovable Grumps

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! That cheer-boosting adage works for some people, but others are perfectly happy sucking sour lemons. Literature is full of chipper lemonade-makers, but there’s something about those lemon-sucking grumps that draws readers in. Is it their angsty sarcasm? Their jaded world-weariness? Their stubborn dedication to doom-and-gloom even when everything else is giggles and rainbows? Are Negative Nancys somehow more …

  3. Famous Writers And Their Oddball Routines

  4. The Best Podcasts About Language

    Sometimes a dictionary is too heavy to carry around for some light reading and too daunting to listen to as an audiobook. For all your language needs from etymology to grammar to more creative ways to curse, check out our recommendations below for the best language podcasts. 1. The Vocal Fries A newer podcast, The Vocal Fries has two female hosts talking about language—and it takes …

  5. Villainous Pets We Love To Hate

  6. Know Your Meme

    The Original Memes (Before Memes)

    The word meme, coined in 1976 by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, goes way beyond social-media pixels. Meme captures the concept of “cultural transmission” of ideas in general, where customs and ideas spread from brain to brain.  Which means memes have been around longer than Success Kid or Kermit sipping tea. Wildfire ideas have been around as long as humans have—in fact, discovering fire is …

  7. A Smack Of Jellyfish And Other Strange Animal Groups

    What do hunting and sexual desires have in common? We could point to several things, but from a linguistic point of view, we’re referring to the archaic word venery, which means both hunting (from the Latin venor) and sexual desire (from Latin veneria, referring to Venus). Strangely, terms of venery is a collective noun that means a group of animals. And, many of these animal …

  8. theblackpanthers.com

    The United States of Diversity: Ebonics or AAVE

    Dictionary.com’s United States of Diversity series by Taneesh Khera Welcome back to our United States of Diversity series, where we travel the country exploring the minority languages, dialects, and people that live here. In this episode, we’re happy to give you our tribute to African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Also called Black English or Ebonics, a blend of the words ebony and phonics, AAVE is …

  9. Don’t Be Accident Porn And Other Hilarious Typos

  10. The Origin Stories Behind Gaga And Other Musicians’ Names

        Before he was Snoop Dogg, the West Coast rap icon went by his given name: Cordozar Calvin Broadus. He was named after his stepfather. His stage name was inspired by Snoopy though, a childhood nickname. His parents gave him the pet name because of the way he looked.     She might be known as Iggy Azalea on stage, but this Australian-born rapper’s official name …

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