History

  1. Who Is Jack In Jack-o’-lantern, Anyway?

    This month thousands of Americans will scoop out the flesh of a gourd, carefully carve a haunting face into its rind, and stick a candle inside. The creations are called jack-o’-lanterns, and they will be proudly displayed on porches and stoops across the country. But who, or what, is the namesake of this autumn tradition? Who are jack-o’-lanterns named for? Jack has been a general term for …

  2. The Loaded History Of “Shitfaced”

    Here's a little-known origin story of one of our most loaded words ...
  3. What’s The Origin Of The F-word?

    It’s one of the most versatile words in the English language, but where did the F-word really come from? Originally, the naughtiest of naughty words was actually quite an acceptable word, though no English speaker would say that today.F-ck is believed to have first showed up in written form some time in the 1400s, and it was disguised in a cypher, although it was in use …

  4. What Does Amen Mean At The End Of A Prayer?

    Weekends are when many Americans gather in their respective houses of worship and repeat the same word: amen . But, what does the word mean? And, why do people say it? Origins of amen Amen is commonly used after a prayer, creed, or other formal statement. It is spoken to express solemn ratification or agreement. It means “it is so” or “so it be.” Amen …

  5. Slam Poetry Is Helping People Work Through Their Pain

    by Taneesh Khera In this column, we travel the US exploring the minority languages, dialects, and people who call it home. Then, we step back to see what effects they might have on society at large. Today, the spotlight is on slam poetry. What is slam poetry? I figured I’d go to the Starry Plough in Berkeley, California to find out. Started in 1999, they …

  6. Did One Man Write The First Great English Dictionary All By Himself?

    We’d like to take a moment to celebrate the man behind A Dictionary of the English Language, the first definitive English dictionary, the famous Samuel Johnson. A Dictionary of the English Language, also called Johnson’s Dictionary, was first published in 1775 and is viewed with reverence by modern lexicographers. Who wrote the first English dictionary? Samuel Johnson created a widely imitated style of biography and literary …

  7. The United States Of Diversity: Borders

    Dictionary.com’s United States of Diversity by Taneesh KheraIn April, 2018 I traveled to India for a college friend’s wedding. When I came back, I read part of this essay to two friends, and we began to discuss borders and what they’ve become today. That conversation was inspiration for this episode, so grab a cushion and get comfortable for the United States of Diversity: Borders. Communication …

  8. The United States Of Diversity: Fargo And Its NCVS Don’tcha Know

    by Taneesh Khera Dictionary.com’s United States of Diversity You’ve stumbled onto our United States of Diversity series, welcome! If you don’t already know, here we explore a minority language or dialect in the country, and this episode’s no different. Does your keeat sit an the meeat? Or, maybe you wait for the boss down the black? Do you cal your mam an Sundays? If you …

  9. Take A Ride Around The World On These Unusual Transports

    One way to get to know a country is through its food. Another way is by using the country’s public transportation. Some unique modes of transportation are just for fun, like dog-sledding trips in Norway and zorbing in New Zealand (which involves rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball, just saying). Other means of transportation are more practical . . . here’s a …

  10. Exploring A Runner’s High And Other Myths

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