The world in a book

Are we done playing with words? I don’t know. That’s all I’ve written about for the past few months, and I know I could go on forever. I was one of those kids who read the encyclopedia and dictionary for fun. I still have an inordinate attachment to the World Book. My family didn’t come… Continue reading The world in a book

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Serendipitously rite—er, right

For the past couple of months, I’ve written about some of my favorite words and their distractions. Today I want to marvel at our lingua franca more generally. Last week I nattered on about cliché and stereotype, and how they both came from the French and that cliché meant the same thing as stereotype: a… Continue reading Serendipitously rite—er, right

Symbols of Ostracism

All of the talk in the past few months about the so-called Muslim ban and the attempts to ostracize Muslims in the U.S. got me thinking about that word, ostracize. No matter where you come down on the issue, the word ostracize has a fascinating history. In the fifth century B.C., Athenians had a chance… Continue reading Symbols of Ostracism