Yearly Archives: 2015

  1. You Didn’t Invent That: Charles Dickens and Boredom

    Charles Dickens is often given credit for inventing words that he was not the first to use. This is not surprising, if only because he was much more widely read than some of the people who had used these words before him. Dickens was also far more attuned to the language of the streets than were most of his contemporaries, and so his writing contains …

  2. Why “Identity” Was Dictionary.com’s 2015 Word Of The Year

    In 2015, Dictionary.com saw a number of themes emerge in the words that gained enough traction to be added to the dictionary along with words that trended in user lookups. The most prominent theme across both of these areas was in the expanding and increasingly fluid nature of conversations about gender and sexuality. Additionally, the theme of racial identity led to some of the most …

  3. Feels, Facepalm, And Fleek: What Words Did We Add To The Dictionary in 2015?

    In our November 2015 update to the dictionary, we added more than 150 new words and definitions, and revised over 1,000 entries. New additions such as feels, yaaas, and doge highlight the role of social media in transmitting and popularizing new terms, while fitness tracker, digital wallet, and Internet of Things demonstrate the new ways that technological innovation is changing the way we live and …

  4. Lexical Investigations: Google

    A motley combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the English language (more or less as we know it) coalesced between the 9th and 13th centuries. Since then, it has continued to import and borrow words and expressions from around the world, and the meanings have mutated. (Awesome and awful once meant nearly the same thing.) Some specimens in the English vocabulary have followed unusually …

  5. Lexical Investigations: Goggle

    A motley combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the English language (more or less as we know it) coalesced between the 9th and 13th centuries. Since then, it has continued to import and borrow words and expressions from around the world, and the meanings have mutated. (Awesome and awful once meant nearly the same thing.) Some specimens in the English vocabulary have followed unusually …

  6. For All “Intents and Purposes” vs. “Intensive Purposes”

    Both for all intents and purposes and for all intensive purposes are widely used to mean “for all practical purposes” or “virtually.” But which one is correct? The standard idiom is for all intents and purposes, not for all intensive purposes, though if you were to say these two forms out loud it might be hard to tell the difference between the two. For all …

  7. “Might” vs. “May”: What’s The Difference?

    May expresses likelihood while might expresses a stronger sense of doubt or a contrary-to-fact hypothetical. The difference in degree between “You may be right” and “You might be right” is slight but not insignificant: if I say you may be right about something, there is a higher degree of probability that you are right about it than if I say you might be right about something. Example: You think Einstein is the most brilliant physicist who …

  8. What are Informal, Nonstandard, and Slang Words?

    The status or stylistic labels informal and nonformal as well as colloquial are terms applied to written usage at the lowest level on the scale of formality.

  9. What Is The Difference Between “Partly” And “Partially”?

    Generally, the words may be used interchangeably to refer to some amount or degree that is less than the whole.

  10. What Is The Difference Between Archaic And Obsolete Words?

    The meaning of these temporal labels can be somewhat different among dictionaries and thesauri. The label archaic is used for words that were once common but are now rare. 

  11. What Percentage Of English Words Are Derived From Latin?

    About 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin. Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots.

  12. How can I figure out when to use some time, sometime, or sometimes?

    Most often, sometime is one word: He will wash the car sometime.When some is used adjectivally with time to mean a short time, a long time, or an indefinite time, then it should be written as two words: She has not heard from her friend in some time.