Yearly Archives: 2018

  1. The Most Searched Words Of 2018 On Dictionary.com

    What could words like laurel, dog whistle, lodestar, and self-made possibly have in common? These words and others like them sent hundreds of thousands of folks to Dictionary.com in 2018, searching for answers. Whether you were challenging your friends and family to declare themselves #TeamLaurel or #TeamYanny or playing armchair detective with the words in a cryptic New York Times op-ed, Dictionary.com was here to …

  2. Where Does Champagne Get Its Name?

    Champagne has been associated with luxury, special occasions, and rites of passage since the days of French royalty when kings were anointed with bubbly. But not just any bottle of the sparkly stuff gets to be called a champagne. Where did this festive libation get its name? And what makes a champagne a champagne? What champagne is made from Champagne is a sparkling wine made …

  3. Prognosticator, Herpetologist, And Other Trending Words On Dictionary.com

    Do you have your eyes on the news? Here are the words that made headlines and drove searches December 14–21, 2018 on Dictionary.com! Prognosticator The word prognosticator tends to get its biggest use in February, when a groundhog is hauled out to forecast the arrival of spring. But the noun, which means “one who forecasts or predicts (something future) from present indications or signs,” jumped onto …

  4. “You Guys”: Is There A Better Option?

    Hey, y’all, it’s time to talk about you guys. We don’t mean you specifically … but the term itself. For years, the phrase you guys has been employed as a useful workaround when addressing a mixed-gender group. But as gender norms evolve, the usefulness and appropriateness of you guys comes into question. The gendered baggage of this term has some calling for its retirement from …

  5. The Surprisingly Religious Background Of “Golly,” “Gosh,” And “Gee”

    Gosh, golly, and gee casually express surprise or excitement, right? Well, yes, but when they were first introduced to the English language, these short words had a much more serious origin and purpose. Where did golly, gosh, and gee come from? While this folksy trio are informal interjections, they are also euphemistic alterations of the word God or, in the case of gee, Jesus. Of the three, gosh is recorded …

  6. Do You Give Presents Or Gifts? Here’s The Difference

    Where do the words gift and present come from? Why does English use both? We’re pretty sure it’s not just so that children can ask for toys in multiple ways … Language is not a linear, predestined development. Even though it may feel as if the language we speak is in some way the logical conclusion of thousands of years of development, every word that …

  7. These Idioms Were Turned Into Some Of TV’s Most Popular Shows

    Television has a habit of repurposing and repackaging common sayings into names of shows, from Breaking Bad to Six Feet Under, and it’s easy to understand why: Idioms are packed with rich associations that resonate instantly with viewers, and when applied to titles of the small screen, they quickly communicate the sensibilities of the shows. Take a look at how some of these idiomatic phrases were …

  8. Why Is “Christmas” Abbreviated As “Xmas”?

    Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word Xmas, as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do, but the origin of this controversial term might change your mind! You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Some people associate Xmas with the holiday as a commercial, secular occasion instead of as a …

  9. All Of These Words Are Offensive (But Only Sometimes)

    How can a word be insulting sometimes … but not always? One of the many complexities of English is the ability of words to have multiple definitions, which opens the door for some words to be both derogatory and not derogatory, depending on who is using them or when. These words can be confusing, especially to people who are just learning English and all of …

  10. Ghosting, Seething, And Other Trending Words On Dictionary.com

    From the sentencing of the president’s former attorney to the holiday season, there’s plenty going on to drive word searches on Dictionary.com. Here are some of the biggest search spikes of December 7–14, 2018! Synergy Searches for the meaning of synergy spiked 1,561% in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s use of the word in court filings. Mueller alleged that Michael Cohen, former attorney for …

  11. Why Are People Getting “Canceled”?

    We could always cancel our plans or a magazine subscription, but these days it’s people who are up for cancelation. The verb cancel dates back to the days of medieval Latin, meaning “to cross out.” It’s only in the past couple of years that it’s been used to declare people null and void. Everyone from Kanye West to Lena Dunham has now been labelled as “canceled” …

  12. Why Was Z Removed From The Alphabet (And Then Put Back)?

    Poor lonely Z finishes up the alphabet at number 26. But, that’s not the only insult this lonely letter suffers!Z’s history includes a time when it was so infrequently used that it was removed from the alphabet altogether. Where did Z come from? The Greek zeta is the origin of the humble Z. The Phoenician glyph zayin, meaning “weapon,” had a long vertical line capped at …