- 188 Free Online Mad Libs™
Search for word usage in movies and television over time
Movies and television shows often reflect cultural trends of the time they are made in. Even movies that take place during the past or future can say something about the present through metadata or production style. Using the Bookworm platform, Benjamin Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a tool that lets you see trends in movie and television dialogue.
, buildings are constructed from the letters that make them up. Construct buildings by typing words like "HOUSE," "OFFICE," or "PARK."
is a wonderful throwback to the early days of the Web, when someone would just helpfully organize and present a wealth of information on a given topic for free, simply because they were that into it. [more inside]
55 Canadianisms You May Not Know or Are Using Differently
A (non-scientific) survey providing a thorough & fascinating look at words in Canadian English [more inside]
What do the words "safety," ''chaotic" and "problem" have in common? They're all on General Motors' list of banned words for employees who were documenting potential safety issues
. The revelation of the 68-word list is one of the odder twists in GM's ongoing recall of 2.6 million older-model small cars for defective ignition switches. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
A Browser Extension That Replaces "Literally" With "Figuratively".
Built by a programmer named Mike Walker
, it’s an extension for Google’s Chrome browser that replaces the word “literally” with “figuratively” on sites and articles across the Web, with deeply gratifying results. Previously.
"In very many cases, English has borrowed a word
from one language that had previously borrowed it from elsewhere. Among those Portuguese and Spanish words there are many that originated among speakers of very different languages. For instance, piranha comes ultimately from Tupi (a language of Brazil) and acai comes from a related language called Nheengatu, while mango is probably ultimately from Malayalam across the other side of the world in India, and monsoon is ultimately from Arabic (and in a further twist, Dutch may also have played a hand in how it came into English from Portuguese). " (There was a previous BBC article on this topic which is linked in the post which contains more examples.)
BBC article about how words have flowed back and forth over the centuries.
The Made Up Words Project
is an on-going undertaking by illustrator Rinee Shah
(who you may remember from her Seinfood
poster series.) The goal is to collect and catalog the made up words that we share with family and friends.
only lists adjectives. English Synonyms and Antonyms
takes the time to explain the small distinctions of meaning and usage between, for example
, example, archetype, ideal, prototype, type, ensample, model, sample, warning, exemplar, pattern, specimen, exemplification, precedent,
--or, at least, such distinctions as author James C. Fernald, L.H.D., perceived in 1896.
on your birth year in the left-hand column to discover your OED birthday word. [more inside]
"We began the present study by asking, as some linguists have asked before us, why the ordering of certain conjoined elements is fixed
." -Cooper and Ross, 1975 (pdf)
Siamese twins in linguistics
: examples are "here and there (and everywhere)" and "peas and carrots." Siamese twins are also known as "binomial freezes," "irreversible binomials," or "freezes," and they can change over time
, too. And that can lead to fossil words
! Speaking of fossil words, did you know about cranberry morphemes
? [more inside]
From the New-York Mirror
of February 24, 1883:
“. . . a new and valuable addition has been made to the slang vocabulary. … We refer to the term “Dood.” For a correct definition of the expression the anxious inquirer has only to turn to the tight-trousered, brief-coated, eye-glassed, fancy-vested, sharp-toes shod, vapid youth who abounds in the Metropolis at present. …
The Dood is oftenest seen in the lobbies of our theatres on first-nights. He puffs cigarettes or sucks his hammered-silver tipped cane in the entr actes, and passes remarks of a not particularly intellectual character on the appearance and dresses of the actresses. His greatest pleasure lies in taking a favorite actress or singer to supper at Delmonico’s or the Hotel Brunswick—places he briefly calls ‘Dels’ and the ‘Bruns’—where he will spend his papa’s pelf with a lavish hand. … ” [more inside]
What Three Words
has changed the complex numbers of zip codes and post codes, longitude and latitude, into three English words
. [more inside]
Download The Stories: Five Years of Original Fiction on Tor.com
Nearly 4000 pages of some of your favorite authors for free. [Past offers not valid in all countries. Sorry if yours is one of these.]
"In 1872 two men began work on a lexicon of words of Asian origin used by the British in India. Since its publication the 1,000-page dictionary has never been out of print and a new edition is due out next year. What accounts for its enduring appeal?
Hobson-Jobson is the dictionary's short and mysterious title.
" [more inside]
POWER VOCAB TWEET
. Boost your vocabulary with these fiercely plausible words and definitions. About
. [via mefi projects
] [more inside]
Mining books to map emotions through a century.
Emotion words aren't consistently used through time, it seems. Things got scary in the 80's.
Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language
, and 470 million to over a billion people speak it as a second language (to varying degrees). Even so, there are some words that do not exist in English, even with new word entries periodically being added to the Oxford Dictionary
. 25 words that do not exist in English
. [more inside]
Challenge: Create an image out of a word
, using only the letters in the word itself.
Rule: use only the graphic elements of the letters without adding outside parts
From the mind of Ji Lee [more inside]
Trench Talk now entrenched in the English Language
- Military historian Peter Doyle
and Julian Walker
, an etymologist at the British Library, have written Trench Talk
about how words from the first World War have become part of everyday English. [more inside]
Oxford Dictionaries' 2012 words of the year have been chosen: for the US, it's "gif" (as a verb)
; for the UK, "omnishambles."
It contended for this crown with the likes of "YOLO," "superstorm," and "nomophobia." Previous Oxford words of the year can be found here (other notable year-end word lists such as those from Merriam-Webster
, the American Dialect Society
, and the Global Language Monitor
, have yet to appear).
Starting with a bracket for every letter
of the alphabet
, a bracket suggested by readers
and a "Fuck" play-in bracket
, blogger Ted McCagg just finished a contest for the Best Word Ever. In the running
were Umpteen, Eke, Isthmus, Skedaddle and Akimbo. The Final Four
. The finals
. The champion
. [Via The Paris Review & Kottke.]
The alphaDictionary Historical Dictionary of American Slang
presents a unique way for studying slang. It contains over 2200 slang words with the centuries in which they were first printed. The dates were taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, the Online Etymological Dictionary, or the earliest occurrences the editors can remember. [more inside]
Mysteries of Vernacular
is a series of delightful papercraft animations about etymology, by filmmaker Jessica Oreck
. Four of a projected 26 videos, one for each letter of the alphabet, have been completed so far: Assassin
, and Clue
: A Lackadaisical Lexicon for Laggard Logophiles. [possibly nsfw]
Are the verbal pignuts nipping at thine clay-brained heels yet again? Does your dankish, knotty-ated mind quiver at scouring the bard's
for suitable defense? Then attend thee to the Shakespeare Insult Kit
, where all manner of creations await your dullish wit
with no simple English equivalent
The Project Twins
have created bold illustrative posters of unusual words from A to Z
Recent technologies developed at American universities are making communication easier for the sight and hearing impaired. Last summer a Stanford undergrad developed a touchscreen Braille writer
that stands to revolutionize how the blind negotiate an unseen world by replacing devices costing up to 10 times more. Thanks to a group of University of Houston students, the hearing impaired may soon have an easier time communicating with those who do not understand sign language. During the past semester, students in UH’s engineering technology and industrial design programs teamed up to develop the concept and prototype for MyVoice
, a device that reads sign language and translates its motions into audible words, and vice versa.
Save the Words:
Adopt words that have been abandoned by the English language.
— Emotions and their sound can invade our digital messages. Our words become flexible and vibrate according to the volume of our voices, transforming their written form into an expressive and resonating language. Without the help of body language, words can sometimes fall short in our digital conversations. However, sound, volume and rhythm can influence the spelling of our words, helping to translate our emotions hidden behind our screens.
Kingdom of Loathing
creator Jick and the rest of the Asymmetric crew
have spent the last four years developing a new game. Next month, the beta for the game is coming out: Word Realms
! Make sure to watch the video, it's full of hilarity. [more inside]
is an arcade/word game for Mac, PC, and Linux. The goal: guide your guy (@) deeper into an infinite of letters by clearing words from the board! Multiple game modes, detailed record-keeping, online global leaderboards—there's something here for everybody! Pay what you want (even $0, if you are so inclined)." [via mefi projects
] [more inside]
The Lonely Planet
has come up with a list of thirty travel terms
that aren't in the dictionary.
"What do reindeer, Christmas trees, eggnog and Hanukkah have in common? They’re all part of what our elected representatives have been saying around the holidays. Things get even crazier when their quotes are taken out of context and made into crafty, bizarre and occasionally touching holiday e-cards
Dave Wilton of wordorigins.org
) has been compiling etymological snapshots for each year of the past 100 years, based on words that first appeared in English that year. As of now, he is up to 1941
. The 1911
entry gives a good overview of his goals and parameters. (via
) [more inside]
Living in a post-modern, information-rich world should lead us to more civility rather than less –
thought this might be interesting to readers - Both Nietzsche and Brecht understood the temptations of arguing in rage, but did not follow their own prescriptions; we should learn from their example.