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Internet Meme Lexicon

Ben Zimmer published a brilliant collection of internet memes from the past twenty years in a the journal American Speech. Memes like facepalming and the O, rly? owl have allowed us to communicate otherwise unwritable sentiments via the internet...

Hurt Locker Etymology

The 2010 winner of the “Best Picture” Oscar has a Seattle woman wondering about the term hurt locker. Ben Zimmer wrote about it recently in his column at the Visual Thesaurus and we talk about it, too. Here’s the searing poem by...

Etymology of Slang “Dude”

Dude, how’d we ever start using the word dude? The Big Grantbowski traces the word’s origin—it’s over 125 years old. Here’s a poem about dandy dudes from 1883, the year the word zoomed into common use. Ben Zimmer at Visual...

whimperative

whimperative n. a command or request phrased as a polite or indirect question. Also wh- imperative. Editorial Note: This word is especially used in the linguistic study of discourse. Thanks to Ben Zimmer for helping to clarify this definition...

turkey peek

turkey peek n. a glance around or over an object or surface, such as a corner or wall. Also as verb. Editorial Note: Thanks to Ben Zimmer for suggesting this entry. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

cupcake

cupcake v. to compete or win with little effort. Editorial Note: Usually transitive, especially in the form cupcake it. Thanks and credit go to Ben Zimmer for his research. Etymological Note: Ben Zimmer has suggested comparisons with other dessert...