Jeff Wysaski heads to another store and swaps its signage with more logical names for things. You’re welcome, Lowe’s. H/T Pleated Jeans
Today, we recognize the word hearse as a vehicle that carries a coffin to a funeral. Jessica Oreck explains how this word has, at various times, described a wolf, a rake and a frame, eventually landing at its meaning today. H/T TEDEducation
Clue or clew? Before the word clue became associated with mystery novels, it meant a ball of string or thread, a definition dating back to Greek mythology. Jessica Oreck unravels this mystery of the vernacular. H/T TEDEducation
At face value, the lines between verbal irony, sarcasm, and compliments can be blurry. After all, the phrase ‘That looks nice’ could be all three depending on the circumstances. In the final of a three part series on irony, Christopher Warner gets into the irony you may use most often and most casually: verbal irony.
What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually. Sally Le Page with Shed Science shares the stories behind six of the most interesting animal species names from the misconceptions around apes and monkeys to the downright bizarre Beyonce horsefly.
Can we define our own world or do we live inside a box of well-defined and predefined reality? Here’s a short comedy skit exploring this conundrum, a collaboration by YouTube artists The Kloons and The Brothers Reidell.
Not only politicians, but also the media, often use euphemisms to soften the truth and camouflage hard realities. Civilians killed in wars are called “collateral damage.” No one’s rich or poor, anymore. Soldiers don’t suffer shellshock, but post-traumatic stress disorder.
This report from Russian TV examines the bureaucratic ”newspeak,” invoking George Carlin in the process. Of course, Russian politicians and media are just as adept as their American counterparts in lying to the public.
Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today’s print dictionary is poised for transformation. As the CEO and co-founder of new online dictionary Wordnik, Erin McKean is reshaping not just dictionaries but how we interact with language itself.