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.
- Fickle Finger of Fate 11/21/2016: A young woman wants a family-friendly way to describe a statement that's fraudulent or bogus, but all the words she can think of sound old-fashioned.... [more]
- Stars and Garters 11/14/2016: Novelist Charles Dickens created many unforgettable characters, but he's also responsible for coining or popularizing lots of words, like "flummox" and "butterfingers." Also, the life's... [more]
- Proof in the Pudding 11/05/2016: Have you ever offered to foster a dog or cat, but wound up adopting instead? There's an alliterative term for that. And when you're on... [more]
- Boss of Me 10/31/2016: If you want to be a better writer, try skipping today's bestsellers, and read one from the 1930's instead. Or read something besides fiction in... [more]
- Sunny-Side Up 10/24/2016: Baseball has a language all its own: On the diamond, a snow cone isn't what you think it is, and three blind mice has nothing... [more]