Posts by Dictionary.com

  1. From Suffrage To Sisterhood: What Does Feminism Actually Mean?

    Held on March 8, International Women’s Day celebrates the progress women have made over the last century, and the inspiring women who helped make that progress happen. From the suffragist movement of the 1800s to the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, women have used the power of language and oration to inspire countless people. Early inspiration: the Enlightenment Early feminism was heavily influenced by the …

  2. The Forgotten Verses Of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

    Do you know all the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Many people have difficulty memorizing the lyrics of the first verse of the US anthem, which is commonly performed at sports events and other public gatherings. But did you know that there are three additional verses that we almost never hear? As if one verse weren’t hard enough to learn … Why is the “Star-Spangled …

  3. Does The Month of March Have Anything To Do With “Marching”?

    Where did the name March come from? The name March is ultimately derived from the Latin word Martius (named after Mars, the Roman god of war). Martius was the name of the first month in the original Roman calendar. Along with January, May, and June, March is one of several months named after a god. While many have adopted the Gregorian calendar (the Roman ruler, Numa Pompilius, is traditionally credited …

  4. Why Do We Call It The “Silver Screen”?

    Since its introduction in the early 20th century, the film industry’s contributions to the English language have been manifold. Some terms, along with the concepts they described, were fleeting. Take Smell-O-Vision, the movie-going experience in which plot-related scents were pumped into the theater during screenings; it made its first and last appearance in the same 1960s film, Scent of Mystery. (That’s probably a good thing.) With …

  5. What Is So Romantic About The Romance Languages?

    The word romance is used in a variety of ways, especially as it relates to love. As you well know, a romance is a novel, movie, or fiction genre “in which characters fall in love or begin a romantic relationship,” and the word can also refer to a romantic character, a love affair, an attraction between two people, or a romantic sentiment, among many definitions. There’s just so …

  6. What Does It Mean To Ask Someone To Be Your “Valentine”?

    The first records of the word valentine in its modern sense come from the 1400s. Valentines and Valentine’s Day get their name from feast day of Saint Valentine, but there are at least two saints named Valentine, one of whom became a martyr around the year 270 CE. The name Valentine comes from a Latin word meaning “strength.” There are many legends about it, but …

  7. What—And When—Is The Lunar New Year?

    For millions of Asian Americans, the Lunar New Year is a time to gather with family, start the year off right, and eat a lot of delicious food. Like, a lot. One of the biggest holidays in East Asia, the Lunar New Year will fall on February 12, 2021. Because it’s based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, we tend to call it Chinese New Year here …

  8. How Did The Color Pink Become Associated With Valentine’s Day?

    You’re minding your own business in the grocery store when—wham! There they are … those pink hearts and candies placed at eye level by merchants reminding you that once again, Valentine’s Day is here. Why pink? How did pink become so strongly associated with February 14, roses, and romance? Where does the word pink come from? The origin of the word pink is notoriously uncertain. The word …

  9. Why Roman Numerals Are The Super Bowl’s Signature

    Sure, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the world (World Cup fans, feel free to weigh in here), and an unofficial national holiday in the United States. This year is Super Bowl LV (55) between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. While sports fans are watching to see if Brady can pull off a record seven wins in …

  10. Why Do Americans Call Football “Soccer”?

    If you’re reading this in the US or Canada, you’re likely familiar with the sport of soccer. But, if you’re reading this pretty much anywhere else, then you probably know the same game rules and call it football. What’s the difference? How did we end up with two names, football and soccer, for the same sport? Let’s start in England in the 1800s. Young men, …

  11. “Pup-ular” Words To Use During The Doggone Puppy Bowl

    There are two big games scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday. For sports fans, there’s the football game, sure. But for fans of furry adorableness, Animal Planet will be returning with their annual Puppy Bowl. Team Ruff tangles with Team Fluff for all the marbles. Or all the kibble, if you will. Prepare yourself for the ultimate puppy showdown with some phrases inspired by man’s best …

  12. Meet Two Extinct Letters Of The Alphabet: “Thorn” And “Wynn”

    The English alphabet, as you likely know, is made up of 26 letters. But it wasn’t always that way. How old is the alphabet? Before we get to the history of specific letters, let’s talk a bit about Old English. English was first written in the Anglo-Saxon futhorc runic alphabet, also known as Anglo-Saxon. The Angles and Saxons came from Germany and settled in Britain …