245 posts tagged with words.
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A kit for the pen-sucked flap-dragons in your life

Are the verbal pignuts nipping at thine clay-brained heels yet again? Does your dankish, knotty-ated mind quiver at scouring the bard's odiferous works for suitable defense? Then attend thee to the Shakespeare Insult Kit, where all manner of creations await your dullish wit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 29, 2012 - 5 comments

"Grief bacon."

Wonderful words with no simple English equivalent.
posted by mudpuppie on Aug 13, 2012 - 231 comments

Fearing cacodemonomania from jettatura, the acersecomic leptosome set off a biblioclasm of his scripturient neogenesis on ktenology, unwittingly bringing about hamartia.

The Project Twins have created bold illustrative posters of unusual words from A to Z. (via)
posted by divabat on Jul 25, 2012 - 19 comments

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.
posted by Fizz on Jul 19, 2012 - 29 comments

Technology Enhancements for Sensory Impaired

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 - 4 comments

"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.
posted by Fizz on Jul 3, 2012 - 83 comments

Our heads are round so that our thoughts can fly in any direction. - Francis Picabia

Little Surrealist Dictionary A game of re-definitions.
posted by adamvasco on Jun 30, 2012 - 138 comments


Sound-Word Index — 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 - 1 comment

If you liked the verbal portion of the SAT, but hated the monster portion...

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]
posted by Night_owl on May 25, 2012 - 28 comments


"Lexcavator 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]
posted by davidjmcgee on May 10, 2012 - 13 comments

Need a word for it?

The Lonely Planet has come up with a list of thirty travel terms that aren't in the dictionary.
posted by gman on Feb 5, 2012 - 70 comments

This Year's Just Six Words Long

Inspired by SMITH magazine's six-word Memoir project and books (previously), Minnesota Public Radio asks, "In six words, how would you describe 2011?"
posted by ZeusHumms on Dec 29, 2011 - 94 comments

Capitol Words Holiday eCards

"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."
posted by sciurus on Dec 18, 2011 - 10 comments

Words of the last 100 years

Dave Wilton of wordorigins.org (prev) 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]
posted by kmz on Nov 10, 2011 - 9 comments

Drink My Words

My machine converts words into cocktails. And, yes, it does work. Now I can literally taste the flavor of my words. [more inside]
posted by zamboni on Sep 23, 2011 - 39 comments

don't abuse the online haters

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.
posted by hopefulmidlifer on Sep 21, 2011 - 30 comments

"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter,"

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."
posted by Fizz on Aug 11, 2011 - 146 comments

Literally Awesome!

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.
posted by Fizz on Jul 1, 2011 - 163 comments

The Metaphor Program

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 - 41 comments

metafilter = cvcvcvccvc

The "convowel" tag on Wordnik tracks consonant-vowel patterns in words. "bleeding", "pheasant", "shoeless", "trousers" — ccvvcvcc; "quiet", "naiad", "Sioux", "feuar" — cvvvc; "anglophile", "attractive", "impressure", "ingressive" — vcccvccvcv
posted by Rory Marinich on May 26, 2011 - 41 comments

Friending Iceland

Halló humans on the Inter-net. My name is Iceland. I am an island, full of mountains and glaciers and hot water and sheep and many nice Icelandic people, who like to make music, and who are sometimes cold. (Maybe you have seen me on your tele-visions, or your Inter-net.) I have heard that many humans use the Inter-net to make friends, and to talk about themselves. I decided to do this, too.
                      Iceland wants to be your friend. [more inside]
posted by carsonb on May 19, 2011 - 57 comments

Online Corpora

Online Corpora. In linguistics, a corpus is a collection of 'real world' writing and speech designed to facilitate research into language. These 6 searchable corpora together contain more than a billion words. The Corpus of Historical American English allows you to track changes in word use from 1810 to present; the Corpus del Español goes back to the 1200s.
posted by Paragon on Jan 24, 2011 - 11 comments

Wonderful Wordage

The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English and The 100 Funniest Words in English by Robert "Dr. Goodword" Beard. Yes, it's promoting a couple of books, but scroll down to see the complete lists (and a few examples of his write-ups on each). Nothing LOLCAT-ish, you ailurophiles, but good for your abibliophobia. I hope the fine assemblage here at MetaFilter (you are all so becoming and not at all anencephalous) will not beleaguer the author or cause an argle-bargle. Well, I must absquatulate, so, see you later allegator.
posted by oneswellfoop on Dec 26, 2010 - 74 comments

Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster Online has come up with its take on the top word of the year -- plus nine others that are close to the top. (I'm partial to no. 10, furtive, myself.)
posted by anothermug on Dec 22, 2010 - 25 comments

Word search

Google's new Ngram Viewer lets you track the history of words in six languages, including several flavo(u)rs of English. Whether it's the rise and fall of a single word, the evolution of technology, or the mysterious seventeenth-century proliferation of fart jokes, there's a lot to play with. More at the Official Google Blog.
posted by theodolite on Dec 16, 2010 - 74 comments

word: /wɜrd/ -noun 1. a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

Words of the World is a site dedicated to the exploration and life of words and language. [more inside]
posted by Cat Pie Hurts on Oct 24, 2010 - 8 comments

“When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.”

Words I love, not to be confused with Words I hate.
posted by Fizz on Oct 24, 2010 - 32 comments

Only Puzz

PuzzGrid is a lightweight, fast game of forming associations, which is, ahem, "based on" the BBC's Only Connect. Hundreds of grids to play and you can submit your own, too! (The BBC site has a few dozen more, in a fancier, louder flash app.)
posted by Wolfdog on Sep 20, 2010 - 40 comments

Hotword Blog

Dictionary.com has a blog! It explains, usually in fairly short articles, the etymology of different words, the reason September is the ninth month, and what an "Emmy" is, among others.
posted by lauratheexplorer on Sep 15, 2010 - 7 comments

"Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools."

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 - 18 comments

Game theory and hangman.

'Jazz' is the best word to use in hangman.
posted by shakespeherian on Aug 19, 2010 - 96 comments

What does that word mean, NYT?

The New York Times has compiled a list of the 50 words which are most frequently queried in their stories. Mirabile dictu (no. 19) that it's redoutable (no. 17)!
posted by anothermug on Jun 13, 2010 - 45 comments

Knowledge but bite sized, often surreal with lots of jokes

Ten Word Wiki is an Encyclopedia for the ADD generation.
We describe everything in ten words exactly. Here's the Index.
posted by finite on Feb 23, 2010 - 38 comments

Raw Material for Puns

When Alan Cooper was in the second grade, his teacher introduced him to "homonyms," those words, like "caret" and "carrot" that are pronounced the same, but are spelled differently, and that have different meanings. The concept intrigued him, and over the years he has maintained an ever-growing list. Alan Cooper's Homonyms. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Feb 20, 2010 - 54 comments

With/In loving memory.

  • You are always in my prayers
  • He/She would be very happy to know that you loved him/her so much

  • For a Friendly Neighbor
  • For a Wife

  • Nevermind why you'd give condolences to "a wife..." let's hope she's not YOURS... obituarieshelp.org will help you fake like you are nice and caring, not just when writing the obit, but at any sorrowful time, big or small. And so much more than just condolence letters you can copy. [more inside]
    posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Feb 7, 2010 - 35 comments

    Renaming The Beaver

    The Beaver: Canada's History Magazine Canada's second-oldest magazine, published since 1920, will be changing its name because in this age of electronic communications its emails keep getting removed by spam filters.
    posted by GuyZero on Jan 12, 2010 - 37 comments

    Malaysian churches attacked over "Allah"

    Malaysian Catholic newspaper Herald was recently involved in a major lawsuit against the Malaysian government, stating that their constitutional rights were violated when they were stripped of their license to publish in East Malaysian indigenous language Kadazandusun. The ruling was overturned, amidst support by state ministers and protests by the Government, the Islamic Opposition party, and Muslim activists - some of whom have spent the past week attacking churches and convents through firebombs, Molotov cocktails, paint, and bricks thrown at glass. [more inside]
    posted by divabat on Jan 10, 2010 - 25 comments

    Regex Dictionary

    Regex Dictionary - for those times when you want a web-based dictionary you can search with regular expressions.
    posted by Wolfdog on Dec 21, 2009 - 31 comments

    That's what they said

    The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English is a searchable collection of almost 2 million words of transcribed spoken English from the University of Michigan, including student study groups, office hours, dissertation defenses, and campus tours. Researchers use the Michigan corpus to investigate questions about usage, like "less or fewer?" (cf. this contentious Ask Meta thread) and more general topics, like "Vague Language in Academia." Browse or search MICASE yourself.
    posted by escabeche on Nov 21, 2009 - 20 comments

    Unfriend Has Been Faved

    The New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is.... UNFRIEND. That's right, the negation of the verbification of 'friend'. Well, it's not quite as cringe-worthy as some of the runners-up... Teabagger?!? And previous winners of this honor were Hypermiling (2008), Locavore (2007), Carbon-Neutral (2006) and Podcast (2005) (links include each year's finalists, including frugalista, staycation, bacn, mumblecore, Islamofascism, funner, lifehack and squick). Best comment about the WotY (so far)? "an unreliable yet fascinating barometer of tech". But, at risk of over-editorializing, these look more like candidates for the Banished Words List. Clearly better is the recent list of "A Word a Year, 1906-2006" from Oxford's website (if only for the invaluable perspective of time).
    posted by oneswellfoop on Nov 17, 2009 - 73 comments

    Silent Conversation

    Silent conversation, a truly beautiful flash game that has you trying to touch as many words of a poem as you can. (Yes it does have Williams Carlos Williams) [more inside]
    posted by litleozy on Aug 14, 2009 - 16 comments

    A post for all the epeoloatrists

    Do you know what you would see a hypothecary about? Have stared down into a joola? Ever come across a jigget of sheep? Has someone called you a slubberdegullion to your face? Learn these and many more words from blogger Robin Bloor's fun 10 Words You Don't Know series of posts. Perhaps the most entertaining is the one where Bloor provides explanatory limericks with his definitions.
    posted by Kattullus on Aug 7, 2009 - 27 comments

    You say poe-TAY-toe.

    Forvo: All the words in the world, pronounced by native speakers. At the time of this post, the tally stands at: 327,492 words; 239,165 pronunciations; in 220 languages; with 25,040 users submitting.
    posted by not_on_display on Aug 4, 2009 - 26 comments

    wetness ... pours onto my paper out of my pen

    Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian-American poet and activist now based in New York, writes about being a Muslim immigrant and also a woman challenging conventions. Spotted by Russell Simmons for Def Poetry Jam, she has performed pieces about love in the time of war, exoticising beauty, and a touching ode to her father, among many others. Suheir has just produced and released her first feature film Salt of This Sea, up for the Cannes Films Festival and possibly an Oscar, and recently performed in Ramallah for the 2009 Palestinian Festival of Literature.
    posted by divabat on Jul 7, 2009 - 5 comments

    Neologisms + Aves = wordbirds

    wordbirds: word coinages illustrated by photos of birds. Glutenglutton Aplorable Mealbreaker Apoca-lips
    posted by Stewriffic on Jul 1, 2009 - 9 comments

    Find the word you can't think of

    Tip of My Tongue: Find that word you've been thinking about all day but just can't seem to remember.
    posted by Miko on Jun 27, 2009 - 26 comments

    All the news that's fit to cromulate

    The 50 words that generate the most click-throughs to the dictionary from the New York Times. The Nieman Journalism Lab reveals the words that sent NYT readers running to the Merriam-Webster. Key fact: Maureen Dowd is overly fond of the word "louche." If the post is TL;DR for you, here's the list in Wordle.
    posted by escabeche on Jun 15, 2009 - 132 comments

    Base 26

    Java Demo: "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 - 18 comments

    Look at all the pretty words

    A few weeks from now, English will have it's millionth word. Or will it? [more inside]
    posted by Dumsnill on May 12, 2009 - 54 comments

    Should the rules of Scrabble be changed?

    Za and qi are now worth more than money, power, and sex. [more inside]
    posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 18, 2009 - 53 comments

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