In the News

  1. Is “Anti” Actually An Inclusive Term?

    When we think of positive language, anti isn’t the first word that comes to mind. In fact, anti seems like the very opposite of it. The word is a verbal line in the sand—a division between people who are for something and those who are against it. So, it might surprise you to know that the negative anti is being hailed as a more inclusive way to …

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    What Is A “Ban”?

    The word ban gets bandied about a lot these days, from vegan brides wanting to ban meat-eaters from their weddings to plastic straws getting banned from coffee drinks. On an individual level, banning things we don’t like or agree with can be an easy way to rid them from our life. But, zoom out to a governmental and societal level, and bans become much more complex. What …

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    Is “Emergency” The Right Word To Describe What’s Happening At The Border?

    by Ashley Austrew and John Kelly In late February 2019, the House of Representatives voted to block President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border. Trump’s declaration—issued on February, 15, 2019 and based on the emergency powers granted to the presidency by the Constitution—would build a wall with funds not approved by Congress, which has authority over the nation’s finances and budget. …


    Game of Thrones Language Explained: What’s “Dothraki”?

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    From The Grammys To The Oscars: The Stories Behind The Names

    We are approaching the end of the awards season, which begins each year with the Emmy Awards in November and culminates with the Academy Awards in February. (The Tonys are a summertime outlier.) Rare talents can sometimes win all four of the major performing arts awards–an almost mythic achievement known colloquially as an EGOT: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. There are …

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    Has The Word “Expert” Lost Its Meaning In 2019?

    by Ashley Austrew What makes someone an expert? In the days of the internet, it seems like it’s gotten much harder to tell. Social media and the instant expert Social media makes it possible for anyone to have a platform, and that’s given rise to the phenomenon known as the instant expert. These self-appointed authorities on everything from federal policy to last night’s episode of This Is …

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    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. But, do you know how the Super Bowl got its name? Or why it uses Roman numerals? How did the Super Bowl get its name? In the 1960s, American pro football was divided …

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    What Does It Mean To Be Electable?

    by Ashley Austrew In January 2019, several big and small name politicians have announced their candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, prompting the rest of us to start the usual pre-election year arguments about which candidate is the most electable. The word electable seems self-explanatory. Technically, it means “capable of, or having a reasonable chance of being elected.” But, what are we really talking about …

  9. Twerk And Other Trending Words On

    What do Cardi B and Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen Pence have in common? They both helped put words on this week’s most searched list! Contumacious Second Lady Karen Pence made headlines this week with an announcement that she’s accepted a job as an art teacher at a conservative Christian school in Virginia. The vice president’s wife landed on the trending words list thanks …

  10. Why Can’t Women Swear?

    by Ashley Austrew It’s not every day you hear the F-word at a congressional event … But in January 2019, at an event celebrating progressive women in congress, that’s exactly what happened. Rashida Tlaib, the country’s first Palestinian-American congresswoman, told a story about what her congressional win meant to her son. She told the crowd, “…when your son looks at you and says: ‘Momma, look, …

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