words

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Wordy Road Sign Gets Man Out of His Ticket

Seattle's Jason Canfield spent $800 to prove his point about school speed zone

(Newser) - When Jason Canfield got a speeding ticket in May 2016, he didn't pull out his checkbook to pay the $234 fine: He started gathering records of national and state traffic codes to contest the charge of driving too fast in a Seattle school zone. And his efforts paid off,... More »

Oxford Dictionary Boasts a New Final Word

'Zyzzyva' has been added, as have 'post-truth,' 'unclick,' and a word describing sperm

(Newser) - And you thought "covfefe" was hard to pronounce. The Oxford English Dictionary has added more than 1,200 new "words, phrases, and senses" to its tome, per a blog post , and among them is an entry that nabs the spot as the last word in the book. "... More »

Can You Name 'Light Blue' Using Just One Word?

The Japanese call light blue "mizu," or water

(Newser) - In Japan, there are a dozen basic colors that almost everyone in a recent survey was able to name using one word. And 11 of them—black, white, gray, blue, green, yellow, red, purple, brown, pink, and orange—all overlap with the basic colors Americans can describe in one word.... More »

This Is the Most Annoying Word, According to New Poll

But what about 'moist'?

(Newser) - A poll has found that the most annoying word or phrase used in casual conversation in America is "whatever." The Marist College poll released Wednesday indicates the word irritates 38% of Americans. The AP reports the pollsters offered up five options for most annoying word or phrase: "... More »

Online Dictionary Pleads for Public's Help With 'Fascism'

That's Merriam-Webster's most-searched word of 2016, and it wants to change that

(Newser) - Merriam-Webster sent out a tweet this week subtly asking for help from the public in fixing the situation surrounding the lead contender for its "word of the year" honors. "'Fascism' is still our #1 lookup," it informed Twitter. "There's still time to look something... More »

Donald Trump Inspired This Word of the Year

'Post-truth' gets the nod from Oxford Dictionaries

(Newser) - Oxford Dictionaries has taken inspiration from the US election in choosing its 2016 word of the year: "post-truth." How does "post-truth" relate to Donald Trump? Well, Oxford's own definition of the adjective—use of which spiked 2,000% this year, especially when Trump won the Republican... More »

You Don't Know as Many Words as You Think You Do

Maybe about 42K if you're a 20-year-old, slightly more if you're older—but definitely not 200K

(Newser) - You don't have to be a lexicographer to have a pretty ample lexicon—but your word knowledge still may not be as ample as you think. At least, that's according to a Ghent University study published in the Frontiers in Psychology , said to be the largest ever of... More »

Stop Using '-Splain' as a Suffix

It's a 'lazy joke,' Katy Waldman writes for Slate

(Newser) - "Mansplain"—the act of a man explaining something to someone, typically a woman, "in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing"—has been a part of our vernacular for a few years now. But writing for Slate , Katy Waldman says "-splain" itself has since become... More »

Why People in Hot Climates Use Fewer Consonants

Linguists see link between language and weather, landscape

(Newser) - It turns out there might be a simple reason why native Hawaiians have a word like "luau," whereas mainlanders say words like "spritz" or "Cumberbatch." And its the same reason you'd probably rather sunbathe on Oahu than in Svalbard. Discover Magazine reports two linguists... More »

Dictionary Names Its Word of the Year

'Binge-watching'

(Newser) - Collins Dictionaries is out with its top 10 words of the year—and its accompanying definitions are pretty amusing. Here's a sampling, with "binge-watch" taking the No. 1 spot:
  • Binge-watch: "To watch a large number of television programs (especially all the shows from one series) in succession"
... More »

At Oxford Dictionary, It's Now 'Wine O'Clock'

'Manspreading,' 'butt-dial' also new additions to Oxford's online dictionary

(Newser) - Manspreading is so widespread it's now a word. The term, coined by commuters, refers to men on public transportation who splay their legs wide and encroach on neighboring seats—and it's now been added to OxfordDictionaries.com . The free online dictionary of current usage, created by the publishers... More »

After the Bee: What Happens to Whiz-Kid Spellers

Former victor likens the Scripps spelling contest to 'Hunger Games'

(Newser) - Tonight we get to see 285 young minds square off in the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals (8pm EDT on ESPN), and meet at least one more member of one of the world's most elite clubs: winners of the bee . Past victors describe to the Guardian the high stakes... More »

Guy Who Made 47K Wikipedia Corrections Is Wrong

Crusade against 'comprised of' is unfair: newspaper editor

(Newser) - David Shariatmadari just can't go along with the grammar guy who's correcting everyone on Wikipedia . As a newspaper editor, Shariatmadari admits to having "grammatical bugbears," but the crusade by software engineer Bryan Henderson to eliminate every "comprised of" on Wikipedia is way over the top.... More »

'Duck Face,' 'Hawt,' 'Lolcat' Make It Into Dictionary

Oxford added 1K new terms to online dictionary? Cool beans!

(Newser) - If you're a shiny bum taking a meal break and eating a mahoosively xlnt meatball sub al desko right about now, then you might also have a few minutes to scroll through the 1,000 or so new terms that OxfordDictionaries.com has added to its massive collection. Editors... More »

Twitter Account About to Finish Tweeting Every Word

@everyword will send out its last tweet Saturday

(Newser) - After seven years spent tweeting every word in the English language one at a time, what was @everyword ’s most popular tweet? “Sex.” The popular Twitter feed will finally complete its task early Saturday, but until then, creator Adam Parrish is keeping the last word that will... More »

'Yoopers,' 'Freegan' Added to Dictionary

Merriam-Webster gives nod to Upper Michiganders

(Newser) - Da "Yoopers" up dere in da U. P., Michigan's Upper Peninsula, have hit it big with inclusion of their nickname in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. The moniker for native or longtime residents of the Lake Superior region known for a distinctive manner of speaking and its Scandinavian roots... More »

'Selfie,' 'Twerk' Dubbed Most Annoying Words of 2013

People are pretty sick of '#hashtag' too

(Newser) - A Michigan university has issued its annual list of annoying words, and those flexible enough to take selfies of themselves twerking should take note. In addition to "selfie" and "twerking," there was a strong sense among those who nominated words to this year's list that the... More »

9 Business Words We Heard Too Often in 2013

No. 1: 'content'

(Newser) - Put them together, and you've got your standard company email sent this year. Business ETC has teamed up with the Global Language Monitor to determine the "most overused" business words of the year, based on GLM's analysis of the words used in an overwhelming number of places,... More »

New Dictionary Definition Is Just Insane ... 'Literally'

Oxford added new meaning because people mis-use the word

(Newser) - A recent change to the Oxford English Dictionary must have pedants ripping their hair out ... literally. It went unnoticed, but the OED added an additional meaning to the word "literally" two years ago because people use the word for exaggerated effect, the Daily Mail reports. "Our job is... More »

Germany's Longest Word Is No More

The 65-character tongue-twister has been taken off the books

(Newser) - A tweak to state laws in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to conform with current EU regulations has caused an unexpected casualty: the longest word in the German language. The Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz is no more. The "law delegating beef label monitoring" was introduced by the state in 1999 as... More »

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