Tag Archives: slang

#WordUse Series: I’m Over It! (These Words Have Got to Go)

I love slang as much as the next person. As a frame of reference, slang instantly conveys humor, sarcasm, or solidarity. Just think about the meaning occupy has taken on recently, and the myriad ways it’s been applied. Pop culture (that is, the world we live in) is a rich minefield for slang—I particularly love tiger mom and fauxdashian. (I see […]

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#WordUse Series: Blame It On the Bossa Nova … er, the Brits

I am more sensitive than most to how many differences there are in the way native English speakers from different regions or countries wield the language. Some years ago in a lengthy conversation with a European friend—some of which had to do with how differently we spoke, in spite of that fact that we were […]

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A Lighter Shade of Pale (#WordUse Series)

We’ve got exciting times goin’ on here in the good ol’ US of A, with one political party making some pretty interesting claims and the opposing party reacting with outrage. (See how I did that?) My Irish immigrant husband has spent hours watching debates and newscasts and commentaries on the television. He also follows the […]

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#WordUse Series:
What’s In a Name? That Which We Call a Pudding …

I grew up the child of two Midwesterners of modest means, so I knew from an early age about pudding—it was that powder Mom mixed with milk on her old Kenmore mixer until it thickened, then put in the fridge to cool and thicken a little more. You know—like a soft custard.* But … not […]

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#WordUse Series:
May the Blessing of the Rain Be on You

We’ve had a drought here in the American South. It stopped raining in early August and didn’t start again until early December, after the irrigation system had been turned off for some weeks. So it seemed only appropriate to republish this post from 2012—a sort of written rain dance. Let me know how it works […]

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#WordUse Series:
The Soda / Pop Conundrum

My siblings and I talk like Midwesterners, although none of us live there (or have ever lived there). Our mother was a Midwesterner: born and raised in Chicago. Daddy was also a Midwesterner, born/raised in St. Louis, although he had Southern roots: his mother was born/raised in Tennessee, as were her people, while his father’s […]

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#WordUse Series:
You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

I admit I’m sometimes out of the loop. (Or behind the curve. Or whatever.) I don’t watch television and it’s only me up here in the swanky second-floor office in the pink house with the blue door, so whole fads pass me by. Whole memes pass me by. But I am up on my word usage, kids. And Your […]

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#WordUse Series:
Gosh, I Had No Idea!

One of my authors was dismayed, recently, when he got a disturbing letter from a young reader who took his book back to the bookstore without finishing it because we (the author, his publisher, and me, his editor) had used the word gosh. The letter came complete with a photocopy of the page in Webster’s […]

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#WordUse Series:
A Puke of Politicians, or Collective Nouns

A book I’ve been working on has an interesting and lovely mention of terms of venery—which are a very special form of collective nouns—and it occured to me that it would be fun to take a look at them. You know what a collective noun is—team, committee, crowd are all collective nouns. They are words […]

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#WordUse Series:
The Language Metamorphosis

We’ve talked a lot here about how the language we use—the words, the grammar—is a constantly evolving, living, almost breathing thing. (And still, still we want to stop that process! Human nature, I guess.) I’ve written about it in various ways, from evolving spelling and compounds to singular they and even usage problems. We’ve talked about word use, literary devices, and slang too. And—as with the word meme—I’m always a little fascinated when […]

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