Tag Archives: etymology

8 Popular Phrases You Probably Didn’t Know Were Coined by Shakespeare

The Bard may be long gone but his influence on the English language persists hundreds of years after he penned his last work. William Shakespeare created new words and phrases all the time for his plays and poetry, and a lot of them surprisingly still persist today. When we’re not making use of his plot(…)


8 Wacky English Words that Sound Completely Made-Up

The English language is both complex and quirky. Its idioms, words that aren’t pronounced at all like they’re spelled,  and confusing (or contradictory) rules, all from a part of the wonderful language we call English. So don’t be a nincompoop and stop your lollygagging, and read onto to learn about some of the craziest English(…)


The US Dollar’s Name Origin and Associated Common Slang

Money talks and nobody walks, and that is just the way it is. In a consumer-based society, money is at the top of our conversational pyramid. How often when hanging with friends, having dinner with family or chatting with colleagues at work does someone ask: “How much was that?” Even between strangers waiting for a(…)


Giving Life to Language: How New Words Are Created

Not yet halfway through the year and already Webster’s has added a 1,000 new words to their dictionary. Though the old man Noah Webster himself might have been stymied by words like humblebrag, photobomb and listicle, the lexicographers at Merriam-Webster are encouraging the unstoppable language revolution. It’s true that none of these words are necessarily(…)


Food Name Origins: ‘Why Hot Dog?’

I enjoy stories of how foods travel and get named and then often re-named as they mutate to fit changing tastes. One of my favorite documentaries in recent years was The Search for General Tso which traces the origin of the famous dish while uncovering the history of Chinese immigration to the US in the process.(…)


British vs. American: The Battle of the Dialects

Might you be from the UK or United States and ever wonder what the differences between American English and British English are? Well, aside from that whole accent thing and spelling, believe it or not verb usage and vocabulary vary quite a bit. As you know, with language variation, we’re here to break down some(…)


How Hipsters Are Bringing Words’ Groove Back

In the last five or so years, hipsters have become a huge part of Millennial culture. They’re usually known for their love of flannel, skinny jeans, obscure bands, and indie films. They can be found hanging out at hole-in-the-wall coffee shops or browsing for clothes at their local vintage shop. Furthermore, hipsters are generally famous(…)


Things You Never Thought You’d Say: Are Dictionaries Dying?

There is often much conflict about which words rightfully and wrongfully end up in the Oxford Dictionary each year. Recent areas of conflict have been the Word Of 2015, which was the winky face emoji, and a very new entry which is the questionable Chinese helicopter, already receiving complaints in the form of a petition(…)


Colour coding languages

A fun item today comes from Ideas Illustrated, who have colour coded words according to their origin. This allows readers to quickly see the word origins of a block of text – from Old English to Classical Latin. It turns out that the texts ‘translated’ mostly contained words with their origins in Old English (represented(…)