The Word

Hello, banh mi! How food words join the dictionary

From pepita to saison, 2014’s most delicious new entries into American English.

The Word

‘Lockdown’ vs. ‘silent safety drill’: The school security language debate

How do we talk about shootings without traumatizing kids?

The Word

How poker players’ language gives them away

Until the arrival of the quants, reading “table talk” was a form of art.

the word | Oct. 18, 2009

The case for Dictionary Day

If we did want to turn Dictionary Day into a real holiday how could we go about it?

The Word

The Dreadnoughtus effect: Why dinosaurs have awesome names

What do you call a gigantic lizard no human will ever see?


Why we call it ‘whooping,’ not child abuse

The words for hitting children are often indirect, gentler than the words for hitting adults.

The word

Why we love the language police

An eccentric British grammar scold named N.M. Gwynne wants to take English back to the good old days, and readers are eating it up.

The word

Scofflaw vs. spigot-bigot: The word contests of Prohibition

In 1924, Bostonians argued their case with goofy neologisms—one of which stuck.

The word

The long strange journey of ‘über’

The company of the moment picked a name with a very pungent history.

The Word

How to talk like a doomsday prepper

Useful jargon for the zombie apocalypse.