History

  1. 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 …

  2. 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 …

  3. The United States Of Diversity: Borders

    Dictionary.com’s United States of Diversity by Taneesh Khera In 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. …

  4. 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 …

  5. 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 …

  6. Exploring A Runner’s High And Other Myths

  7. Know Your Meme

    The Original Memes (Before Memes)

    The word meme, coined in 1976 by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, goes way beyond social-media pixels. Meme captures the concept of “cultural transmission” of ideas in general, where customs and ideas spread from brain to brain.  Which means memes have been around longer than Success Kid or Kermit sipping tea. Wildfire ideas have been around as long as humans have—in fact, discovering fire is …

  8. A Smack Of Jellyfish And Other Strange Animal Groups

    What do hunting and sexual desires have in common? We could point to several things, but from a linguistic point of view, we’re referring to the archaic word venery , which means both hunting (from the Latin venor) and sexual desire (from Latin veneria, referring to Venus). Strangely, terms of venery is a collective noun that means a group of animals. And, many of these …

  9. Every Day Was Wacky Hair Day In The 1700s

  10. Where Did African American Vernacular English Come From?

    Dictionary.com’s United States of Diversity series by Taneesh Khera Welcome back to our United States of Diversity series, where we travel the country exploring the minority languages, dialects, and people that live here. In this episode, we’re happy to give you our tribute to African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Also called Black English or Ebonics , a blend of the words ebony and phonics, AAVE …

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