Word Trends & Stories

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    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 …

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    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 …

  3. “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 …

  4. 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 …

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    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 …

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    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 …

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    Why Do Journalists Avoid The Word “Liar”?

    by Ashley Austrew Politicians aren’t exactly known for being honest. President Nixon had the Watergate scandal. President Bill Clinton lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. And, in the first two years Donald Trump was president, the Washington Post  reported he’s made over 8,000 “false or misleading claims” to the American public. Still, it is rare to see a headline declaring any president or politician …

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    French-Inspired Slang That Makes English Sound Très Chic

    We've gathered some French-inspired expressions and slang words that will have you saying ooh-la-la because everyone wants to speak a foreign language, right? Especially one that sounds so enticing.

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    What Are The Differences Between These Emoji Faces?

    Emoji help us convey our feelings over text or on social media. It's still not always clear what these emoji emoters are meant to show. That's why we've rounded up some of them. You'll laugh, you'll cry … or, at least, the emoji will.

  10. Have You Ever Experienced Language Denialism?

    What makes something a “real” language? For most of us, real language is the language we speak and the languages that large groups of other people speak. You may not know how to speak French, for instance, but many other people do, and it’s an official language of many countries, so clearly it must be “real.” But, what about different dialects of languages, regional languages, …

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