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.
- Noon of Night 06/26/2017: As a kid, you may have played that game where you phone someone to say, "Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!"... [more]
- Boss of Me 06/17/2017: 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 06/10/2017: 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]
- Naked as a Jaybird 06/05/2017: What's the best way for someone busy to learn lots of new words quickly for a test like the GRE? Looking up their origins can... [more]
- Hot Dog, Cold Turkey 05/29/2017: Why do we call a frankfurter a hot dog? It seems an unsettling 19th-century rumor is to blame. Also, if someone quits something abruptly, why... [more]