Word Trends & Stories

  1. Getty

    When Did “Fat” Become An Insult?

    by Ashley Austrew The word fat holds a complicated place in our society. As an adjective, it joins words like tall, hairy, fluffy, or bright. But, unlike those descriptors, fat isn’t neutral. It’s so often framed as a negative—and used as an insult. However, the body positivity movement, fat activism, and popular books and television shows centered on fat characters are proving that narrative is wearing thin. …

  2. Getty

    Righto, It’s British Slang, Mate!

  3. Getty

    What Kind Of Songs Get To Be Called “Country Music”?

    by Ashley Austrew What comes to mind when we say country music? Pickup trucks and cowboy hats? Garth Brooks and Patsy Cline? How about West African string instruments and Atlanta-based hip-hop? Past and present, country music—and what gets to be called country music—is far more complex than many realize. What is country music? Country music is defined as “a style and genre of largely string-accompanied American popular …

  4. Getty

    Words To Help Explain Relationships In The 2010s

  5. Getty

    When “Mixed” Isn’t Enough

    Why We Need Better Terms For People Who Identify As Two Or More Races by Nicole Holliday When I was a kid, I always just assumed that everyone in the world called people like me “mixed,” because in the 1990s in central Ohio, where I grew up, mixed almost always referred to folks like me, who had one black parent and one white parent. The …

  6. Getty

    The Changing Language Of Climate Change

    The language surrounding climate change is changing right alongside the climate itself. But, it all began with global warming … What is global warming and greenhouse gases? Climate change was first known to many of us as global warming, a phrase dating to the 1950s that indicates “a longterm rise in Earth’s average atmospheric temperature.” The idea that global warming exists and could be attributed to human behavior, however, was first put …

  7. “Mistress” And Other Words That Have No Male Counterpart

    It takes two people to have an affair, but despite this fact, there is a clear disparity in the way the public generally discusses extramarital relationships. Heterosexual men who have affairs are just heterosexual men who had affairs. But, the women with whom they have those affairs quickly get labeled with another term, one for which there is no effective male equivalent in English: mistress. As …

  8. 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 …

  9. Getty

    What’s Happening With The Word “Unicorn”?

    What do Scotland, Silicon Valley, LGBTQ pride, and Jesus Christ all have in common? Unicorns. Yes, unicorns. This connection may sound as fantastical as unicorns themselves, that mythical horse famed for the single horn it bears on its forehead. But, only a creature as unique as a unicorn could span such a wide array of contexts. So, too, can the word unicorn. Since it first named …

  10. Getty

    When Did “Chemical” Become Such A Toxic Word?

    The word chemical elicits strong reactions from many people. You’ve probably seen viral headlines over the past few years about “yoga mat chemicals” in your Subway sandwich bread or “toxic chemicals” in your mascara. Certainly, you’ve seen people online discussing the “dangerous chemicals” they believe are contained in vaccines. When people see the word chemical, it tends to inspire fear, but should it? What is a chemical? A chemical …

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.