Current Events

  1. Absentee Ballot vs. Mail-In Ballot: Is There A Difference?

    As if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t already challenging enough, the US will be holding a general election in the midst of it. Many people are rightfully concerned that traditional, in-person voting could spread COVID-19, and so some states are changing (or considering changing) their voting rules to make it easier for eligible people to vote by mail. Voting by mail can be done by what’s …

  2. Systematic vs. Systemic: There’s A System To The Difference

    The George Floyd protests have brought attention to the word systemic—among many other powerful words that speak to this historic time—like never before. Many activists and public officials are calling to dismantle the systemic racism in policing and other social institutions that are disproportionately killing and oppressing Black people. These calls, and our broader cultural conversation around them, have compelled significant interest in—and considerable confusion …

  3. 5 More Pandemic Words & Phrases People Want To Stop Hearing

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so too does the repetitive language people are using to talk about it. After a while, it gets exhausting hearing the same words over and over again in every article, tweet, and news broadcast. A few weeks ago, we rounded up the overused pandemic words and phrases our Twitter followers told us they were absolutely tired of hearing. The list …

  4. Free Pandemic Zoom Backgrounds To Impress Your Coworkers

    If video conferencing and Zoom happy hours are our new reality, then backgrounds and filters are our new currency. Zoom backgrounds help you hide the dirty laundry you forgot was piled up behind you, and they give you a pass on having to share the details of your living space with your boss, your teacher, or 35 nosy coworkers. We’ve all seen coworkers rocking backgrounds …

  5. What Are Antibodies, And Do They Kill Viruses?

    Terms and concepts to understand coronavirus antibody testing by John Kelly, Senior Research Editor at Dictionary.com Testing continues to be a major story—and concern—amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes diagnostic testing to determine if one is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. It also includes serological tests to determine if a person has antibodies that can signal immunity to COVID-19. But what does serological …

  6. Coronavirus: The Words You Need To Understand The News

    by John Kelly, Senior Research Editor at Dictionary.com The situation of the coronavirus outbreak is changing fast. And news and information about the disease can be overwhelming, not least of which are the many new, confusing, and technical terms being used about the outbreak. Understanding these terms is essential to helping people stay informed and safe—and we take seriously our role in defining and explaining …

  7. Dictionary.com’s Words To Inspire You For Earth Day

    We love the earth, it’s beautiful, amazing … and it needs our help. The phrase Earth Day originated in 1969. It means “a day’s observance of the need to protect the Earth’s environment, in many countries on April 22.” The first Earth Day was organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin in 1970. He was upset that politics and media were not addressing the concerns of our …

  8. How Did April 1 Become “April Fools’ Day”?

    For pranksters and mischievous older siblings all around the world, April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, is as eagerly anticipated as Christmas. After all, what other holiday encourages you to think up practical jokes and fool’s errands, from swapping your spouse’s keys to tricking your friend into thinking their car got towed? (Not cool, Steve.) But how did this odd, prank-centric holiday come …

  9. How Young People Are Redefining “Transgender” And “Nonbinary”

    by Rory Gory While not all transgender or nonbinary people can or want to be visible in society, having language to describe gender identity and expression is extremely important. It helps avoid their erasure in legislation. Language that affirms gender identity—including names, pronouns, and labels—can even be lifesaving for young people. Specific words that communicate the complexities of gender identity, such as agender, demigirl, bigender, …

  10. Is The Coronavirus A Plague?

    by John Kelly, Senior Research Editor at Dictionary.com Most of us have never lived through a pandemic like the coronavirus before, but we have heard or learned about them, from the Spanish flu to, more notoriously, the plague, like the Black Death. And perhaps, as you’ve followed the news or talked to people about COVID-19, you have even heard the coronavirus called a “plague.” No, …