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Heyday Origins

When something’s in its heyday, its in its prime. What does that have to do with hay? Nothing, actually. It goes back to the 1500s, when heyday and similar-sounding words were simply expressions of celebration or joy. Grant is especially fond...

Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

How many buffaloes can you fit in a sentence? Eight? How about 40? The sentence Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is a staple of introductory linguistics classes because it’s a great illustration of polysemy, in...

It’s WOTY Time

Hi, all -- What's your choice for Word of the Year? "Vuvuzela"? "Starwhacker"? This week, we discuss WOTY candidates, plus the name "Hawaii 5-0," the political tagline "I approve this message,"...

bully whippet

bully whippet  n.— «When mutant, muscle-bound puppies started showing up in litters of champion racing whippets, the breeders of the normally sleek dogs invited scientists to take DNA samples at race meets here and across the country. They...

errorism

errorism  n.— «A group of eight Tamil men are taking their fight for social equality to the streets walking to Ottawa from Toronto to “stop errorism.” Errorism, as described by walk organizer Mayuran Rhaashivam, is when...