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.
- Loose Lips Sink Ships 02/20/2017: The phrase loose lips sink ships is a warning to be careful about what you say publicly. It stems from propaganda posters from World War... [more]
- Irish Pennant 02/20/2017: An ex-Marine reports that his commanding officer used to castigate his men for any stray threads hanging from their uniforms, calling those loose threads Irish... [more]
- To Bat Wings and Eyes 02/20/2017: In the 17th century, the verb to bate and the likely related verb, to bat, were used in falconry to mean "to flap wildly." By... [more]
- Periodic Table Word Game 02/20/2017: Quiz Guy John Chaneski's puzzle is inspired by the periodic table, and involves adding the chemical symbol for an element to one word in order... [more]
- Light Bulbs Mean Ideas 02/20/2017: In comic strips, a bright idea is symbolized by a light bulb over a character's head. This association between an incandescent bulb and inspiration was... [more]