Word Facts

  1. Getty

    What Is The Difference Between “Gender” And “Sex”?

    When two words have the same meaning, we call them synonyms. When two words have different meanings but people use them interchangeably, we write articles about what those words actually mean. Take gender and sex. While people substitute one for the other on the regular, their meaning and usage are significantly—and consequentially—different. Because we’re most often talking about human beings when we use these terms, …

  2. Do Zoologists Pick Animal Names Like “Pink Fairy Armadillo”?

  3. 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 …

  4. Dictionary.com’s Top 10 Grammar Tips

    Read on to see what we consider the top 10 grammar rules to remember. Maybe you'll like grammar a little more afterwards.

  5. What’s The Word For When You Can’t Remember A Word?

    The word was there a second ago. You were just about to say it. And then poof, it was gone, like a gnat buzzing just out of your reach when you’re about to smack it mid-air. So what the heck is going on. Is there a word to describe what you meant to say when you just can’t remember that word? Well, yes! It was …

  6. Why We Need The Serial Comma: 10 Hilarious Real-World Examples

  7. New Year’s vs. New Year: How To Ring In The Year With Good Grammar

    As if the words to “Auld Lang Syne” weren’t difficult enough to remember, ringing in a brand-new year comes with some particularly befuddling grammar landmines. Of course, the punctuation we use when talking about the New Year’s holiday couldn’t do us a solid and follow the same pattern as Veterans Day (note the lack of apostrophe), because … well, that’s the English language for you. Don’t …

  8. 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 we …

  9. The X In Xmas Is Really About Jesus Christ

    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. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend toward materialism and is, sometimes, the target of people who …

  10. Why Was Z Removed From The Alphabet (And Then Put Back)?

    Poor lonely Z finishes up the alphabet at number 26. But, that’s not the only insult this lonely letter suffers! Z’s history includes a time when it was so infrequently used that it was removed from the alphabet altogether. Where did Z come from? The Greek zeta is the origin of the humble Z. The Phoenician glyph zayin, meaning “weapon,” had a long vertical line capped …

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.