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]
posted by mannequito
on Oct 26, 2013 -
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.
posted by netbros
on Jul 3, 2012 -
— 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.
posted by netbros
on Jun 25, 2012 -
Daniel Soar on the militarisation of metaphor
: Spies aren’t known for their cultural sensitivity. So it was a surprise when news broke last month that IARPA, a US government agency that funds ‘high-risk/high-payoff research’ into areas of interest to the ‘intelligence community’, had put out a call for contributions to its Metaphor Program, a five-year project to discover what a foreign culture’s metaphors can reveal about its beliefs.
posted by jack_mo
on Jun 27, 2011 -
Climate change and the vuvuzela leave mark on Oxford Dictionary of English.
Other words and phrases introduced for the latest edition include 'toxic debt', 'staycation', 'cheesebal' and 'national treasure'. To balance them out among the 2,000 or so new items there are a few more left-field choices.
Among them are 'cheeseball', which refers to someone or something lacking taste, style or originality, and the more disturbing phenomenon of 'hikikomori', the Japanese word for the acute social withdrawal that occurs in some teenage boys.
posted by Fizz
on Aug 19, 2010 -
"four-letter words have a special status in the english language and culture. counting in at over 1650 words,...this small project is an attempt to give a spacial overview of the entirety of this part of english language heritage, as well as to explore and visualize relations between all those words."
posted by hortense
on Jun 4, 2009 -
Why would an evolutionary biologist study words? It turns out there is an astonishing parallel
between the evolution of words in a lexicon and the evolution of genes in an organism. The word two
, for example, has been around much longer than most, and will likely be with us for millennia, whereas the comparatively rare and recent word dirty
has undergone many mutations, and will probably be extinct in a few hundred years. Professor Mark Pagel
, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, UK, tells us why on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's program As It Happens
. Pull slider to 16:00 to start the seven minute interview
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium
on Mar 7, 2009 -
International House of Logorrhea
, at The Phrontistry
, a free online dictionary of weird and unusual words to help enhance your vocabulary. Generous language resources, 2 and 3 letter Scrabble words
l The Compass DeRose Guide to Emotion Words
l all kinds of glossaries for color terms
, love and attraction
, scientific instruments
, manias and obsessions
, feeding and eating
, carriages and chariots
, dance styles
and all kinds of fun word stuff. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Jan 11, 2009 -
is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
posted by blue_beetle
on Aug 11, 2008 -
The Dictionary of Coming to Terms with the Past (Wörterbuch der 'Vergangenheitsbewältigung'
) examines over 1,000 German words that have Nazi connotations, such as Endlösung
(Final Solution) and Selektion
, It is featured in a review
by der Spiegel. Such loaded words still constitute a minefield for Germans today, as the Archbishop of Cologne discovered
last year in a situation analogized
to Senator Biden's use of the term "articulate" when referring to Senator Obama. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Feb 17, 2008 -
"The old, mean man" vs. "The mean old man."
Here's an aspect of English (and other languages) I've never thought of before. If you're using a string of adjectives, there's a natural order for them to appear in: "opinion :: size :: age :: shape :: color :: origin :: material :: purpose". (Although I find "old, mean," due to it's strange order, sort of striking.) [more info: 1
posted by grumblebee
on May 19, 2007 -
Pompous Ass Words
is a site dedicated to identifying words that shouldn't be used, on the grounds that doing so makes you sound like a pompous ass. With humorous citations and links to examples of pompous word usage by the media.
posted by amyms
on Jan 27, 2007 -
social networking... for words. Catalog your favourite (or least favourite) words — make any variety of word lists, and connect to other users using the same words. Silly, but fun!
posted by Robot Johnny
on Nov 29, 2006 -
Were you a minger
, sporting a mullet
, looking a bit naff
when you were getting mullered
while out on the pull
, anytime before 1988? Or were you posh
, looking snazzy
after spending your dosh
to get a nip and tuck
before 1980? If so, the Oxford English Dictionary and the BBC
need you for their Wordhunt
– a call to help find the earliest verifiable usages of a list of words
from the past decades whose origin is still uncertain.
posted by funambulist
on Jan 9, 2006 -
Merrian-Webster open dictionary
"Have you spotted a new word or a new sense for an old word that hasn't made it into the dictionary yet? Well, here's your chance to add your discovery (and its definition) to Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary"
posted by robbyrobs
on Dec 11, 2005 -
Charming and unexpected vocabulary from many languages.
Why did Persians need a word, alghunjar
, to express 'the feigned anger of a mistress'? Could there really have been that many insincere mistresses in Persia? Why does Russia need a word meaning, 'dealer in stolen cats'? Or 'someone with six fingers'? And who can resist the Chinese xiaoxiao
, meaning, 'the whistling and pattering of rain or wind'? "These are more than funny foreign vocabularies; they are tiny windows into the way other people live, and the obsessions that drive them." [via]
posted by Slithy_Tove
on Oct 2, 2005 -
'Spare Don Watson, author of Death Sentences from all of these weasely, wishy-washy, and worst of all, ugly bits of management-speak that have drifted out of consulting sessions and into the social realm.' Forbes.com.....................
Your favourite spin doctoring ?
posted by johnny7
on Sep 6, 2005 -
A picture of English nouns
is a map of 33,000 English nouns. Each tiny rectangle corresponds to a noun. The color of the rectangle has been assigned a color, based on an internet image search for that noun. The words are clustered so that similar words are near each other. Gallery
. (Java required)
posted by jikel_morten
on Aug 14, 2005 -
Looking for ohibitutic
words, but need something a little more rhymmeal
might just be the tingulen
posted by Robot Johnny
on Jan 7, 2005 -
Collins Word Exchange
"At Collins we pride ourselves on reflecting current language, used by real English speakers across the world."
Collins have launched a public forum designed for (amongst other things) discussing 'new' words and the legitamacy of their inclusion in official dictionaries. Chav
is probably on its way, but I'm no intellectual snob, but bounce-backability
? Even I'd balk at that one.
And, just remember kids, flip-flopper
is not valid for use in scrabble
posted by qwerty155
on Dec 16, 2004 -
Etymology-wise, which hormone is an island? What word both denotes a prime and euphemizes Satan? What word denotes "the future" and abbreviates the unknown? Is urine pith? These are some of the questions from "Moot: The World's Toughest Language Game
," a homemade and little-known board game for lovers of words. Some puzzles
are available online; there are a few more available on a page detailing the interesting story
behind the game's creation. You can sign up
to have a new language puzzle e-mailed to you every week.
posted by painquale
on Dec 4, 2004 -