Today’s pet peeve is often tomorrow’s standard usage. Nineteenth-century grammarians railed against the use of the word campaign to denote an electoral contest, arguing it was an inappropriate use of a military term. C.W. Bardeen’s 1883 volume Verbal Pitfalls: A Manual of 1500 Words Commonly Misused is a trove of similarly silly and often unintentionally hilarious advice. This is part of a complete episode.
- Flee Fly Flo 01/02/2017: Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well... [more]
- Gaslighting 01/02/2017: A listener in Tampa, Florida, was discussing the 2016 presidential election when the term gaslighted came up. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in... [more]
- Being Have 01/02/2017: A caller who grew up in rural Pennsylvania remembers being asked as a child, "Are you being have?" instead of "Are you behaving?" Being have,... [more]
- Stay Woke 01/02/2017: The slang term woke, as in stay woke, arose among African-Americans to refer to being aware of social injustice or racism, and then doing something... [more]
- What To Call a Parent Who Loses a Child 01/02/2017: Although in English we have the terms orphan, widow, and widower, our language lacks a one-word term that means "bereaved parent." A few other languages... [more]