Tag Archives: English language

Is This Trio of Words the Longest English Homonym?

These word pairs (and one trio) are identical, but not twins or triplets. Like the mythical doppelgangers, they were born at different times and places. Continue reading“Periwinkle 3” by Mokkie http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Periwinkle_3.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Periwinkle_3.jpg “Littorina littorea 02” by H. Zell – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Littorina_littorea_02.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Littorina_littorea_02.JPG Rosalba … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: 14 Food and Beverage Words with Arabic Origins

An  alcoholic’s first nip of the morning may be called an “eye opener,” but who would have thought that the word “alcohol” derived from a term related to eyeliner?  Get the scoop here: http://shar.es/N9myH

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Extra Lex: Lonely Negatives in Mental Floss

  We interrupt Lexie’s adventures for another Mental Flossing (which is entirely different from brainwashing). Disgruntled, disgusted and disheveled: Negative words that have lost their positive partners: Mental Floss

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Batsh*t Crazy

“What about [ahem] …guano,” Batman wanted to know. “Well, as Steven Pinker points out in The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, the number of Eskimo words for ‘snow’ is small potatoes compared to the range … Continue reading

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Ben Franklin Gets a Charge Out of an Invention and Coins a Phrase

My poor battered brain must have been suffering from CDS (caffeine deficiency slump). In pondering the origins of the word “battery,” I short-circuited the discussion, completely skipping over the electric battery. So what does a cell that stores chemical energy … Continue reading

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Battling Etymologists

By now there were two dozen kids, each in possession of a cell phone with a distinct cry. The place buzzed, rumbled and hiccupped like an earthquake in a cuckoo clock factory. But I was still intently batting around words … Continue reading

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Holy Hollywood! Has Batman Gone Batty?

A door swung open, sending a blast of cold air and a flapping sound through the java joint. Slowly, I lifted my head. A black-clad, caped figure with a pointy-eared hood stretched over his face flapped into my office. Batman. … Continue reading

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