Holidays

  1. What Is The Former Name Of Memorial Day?

    Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May and marks the solemn time when Americans honor the soldiers that died in military service. What was the original name of Memorial Day? When the observance was first declared in 1868 by General John Logan, it was called Decoration Day in reference to a tradition of decorating the graves of those whose lives were lost in the …

  2. What Word Is Your State Looking Up On Mother’s Day?

    By now, we trust you’re not looking up when Mother’s Day is. Surely you’re just consulting the dictionary for the perfect words to grace your mother’s card, right? Well, the numbers don’t lie—and especially not to mothers. Our Data Scientists analyzed what users looked up on Dictionary.com on Mother’s Day in 2018 and found these as the top trends by state. They give and they …

  3. Quinceaneras: More Than Just A Pretty Dress

    Sure, some quinceaneras can get over-the-top, but that’s not the point of the ceremony. There’s a lot more to it ...
  4. The Story Behind Saint Patrick’s Name

    March 17th marks the annual celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, or Lá Fhéile Pádraig in Irish. The holiday honors its fifth-century namesake, Saint Patrick, Ireland’s shamrock-loving patron saint, who died on this date in 461 A.D. These days, the holiday is observed all over the world to celebrate Irish cultural heritage, which is ironic considering Patrick himself wasn’t Irish. Nor was Patrick his real name. …

  5. Groundhog Day Or Groundhog’s Day: What’s The Holiday Really Called?

    Every year, February 2 marks Groundhog Day. While the frost is still thick on the ground in some places in the country, spring may be on the way. But why is this holiday not called Groundhogs Day or even Groundhog’s Day? Groundhog Day seems pretty strange … Why is it called Groundhog Day? Well, let’s start with why it’s not called Groundhogs Day, OK? It’s simple really … the …

  6. Why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” Was Pure Poetry

    Politicians and political figures often use anaphora in speeches to emphasize their points. A classic example of anaphora comes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. King uses the anaphoral phrase, “I have a dream,” to start eight consecutive sentences: “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi … will be transformed into an oasis of freedom …

  7. Do You Give Presents Or Gifts? Here’s The Difference

    Where do the words gift and present come from? Why does English use both? We’re pretty sure it’s not just so that children can ask for toys in multiple ways … Language is not a linear, predestined development. Even though it may feel as if the language we speak is in some way the logical conclusion of thousands of years of development, every word that …

  8. Why Is “Christmas” Abbreviated As “Xmas”?

    Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word Xmas, as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do, but the origin of this controversial term might change your mind! You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Some people associate Xmas with the holiday as a commercial, secular occasion instead of as a …

  9. The Word Stories Behind The “Twelve Days Of Christmas” Gifts

  10. How Do You Spell Chanukah (Or Is It Hanukkah)?

    Chanukah, Hannukah, Hannukkah, and Channukah. Why is this Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, spelled in so many ways? The right way to spell Hanukkah The answer comes down to transliteration. Unlike translation, transliteration is when you “change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.” In Hebrew, the language from which the Jewish festival originates, the word for Hanukkah is …