What makes a word beautiful? Is it merely how it sounds? Or does a word’s meaning affect its aesthetic effect? Max Beerbohm had some helpful thoughts about gondola, scrofula, and other words in his essay “The Naming of Streets.” Several years ago, Grant wrote a column on this topic for The New York Times. This is part of a complete episode.
- Gee and Haw 03/12/2018: The highly specialized vocabulary of people who work outdoors, communicating with sled dogs, a word from the sport of rock-climbing, church key, browse line, smeuse,... [more]
- Gung Ho 03/05/2018: The origins of the peace symbol, why we say someone who's enthusiastic is gung ho, a tasty spin on stuffed foccacia that originated in eastern... [more]
- Crusticles and Fenderbergs 02/12/2018: A second-generation Filipino-American finds that when he speaks English, his personality is firm, direct, and matter-of-fact. But when he speaks with family members in Tagalog,... [more]
- Bun in the Oven 02/05/2018: How many different ways are there to say you have a baby on the way? You can say you're pregnant, great with child, clucky, awkward,... [more]
- Flying Pickle 01/29/2018: How would you like to be welcomed to married life by friends and neighbors descending on your home for a noisy celebration, tearing off the... [more]