‘Moment’ Is Having a Moment [New York Times]
“What, exactly, is a cultural moment? How long does it last? Who participates in it? Who on earth gets to decide? Can you marshal literally anything that has happened in the last 10 years, or 10 months? What are the parameters? Is there a minimum Q rating? Who has to experience a thing, be aware of it, find satisfaction (or prestige) in discussing it? And how do we distinguish kairos from chronos — a moment from an ordinary shred of time? How do we distinguish a meaningful, fateful, crucial moment from all the other moments that fall all over the place like bread crumbs out of an overturned toaster?”
From plitter to drabbletail: a few writers choose the words they love. [The Guardian] [Books]
Dialect terms such as yokeymajig or whiffle-whaffle; all-time favourites like cochineal, clot or eschew; antiquated phrases such as ‘playing the giddy ox’ … leading writers on the words they cherish.[more inside]
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.
Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.
Collins Dictionary is seeking suggestions for popular new words that deserve official definitions. Most recent suggestions: blurge, wammocky, dingbat, sloading, and many more.
"Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."
Save the Words: Adopt words that have been abandoned by the English language.
What's in a name? The UK riots and language: 'rioter', 'protester' or 'scum'? [Guardian.co.uk] "The BBC drew a small storm of criticism for the word it initially used to describe the people taking part in this week's trouble."
Worn-out Words: [Guardian] Last year Ledbury poetry festival asked poets to name their most hated words. For this year's festival – running from 1 to 10 July – they've asked for the expressions that have become such cliches that they have lost all meaning. Here are their responses: please add your own.
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.
A poem that builds upon itself and grows as the world wide web grows. The Apostrophe Engine is a website operated by Bill Kenney and Darren Wershler-Henry. It is the source of the poems in apostrophe, a book published by ECW Press in 2006. The home page of the Apostrophe Engine site presents the full text of a poem called "apostrophe", written by Bill in 1993. In this digital version of the poem, each line is now a hyperlink. How it works. [more inside]