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2013 Words of the Year

This list serves as a shorthand of our preoccupations for the year 2013. It’s a cross-section of words across all public arenas, flavored with the zeitgeist, powered by emotions and spread through innate usefulness. Pop culture, science...

Customers, Patrons, and Guests

Jerry from New York City is annoyed that clerks in his local drug store and coffee shop baristas refer to him not as a customer, or a patron, but as a guest. He thinks guest sounds contrived, and should be reserved for hoteliers and the like. Well...

Tweets of Great Sentences

Sam Anderson, a writer for The New York Times Magazine, tweets the best sentence he reads each day, like this from D.H. Lawrence describing the affection of Italians: “They pour themselves one over the other like so much melted butter over...

Cancer Survivors

Should people living with cancer be referred to as cancer survivors? Mary from Delafield, Wisconsin, a breast cancer survivor herself, doesn’t like the term. Nor does Indiana University professor emerita Susan Gubar, who discusses this in an...

Monkey for a Week

“Order in the court, the monkey wants to speak, the first one to speak is a monkey for a week!” This children’s rhyme appears in print in the 1950s, and Israel Kaplan mentions it in When I Was a Boy in Brooklyn, his take on growing...

Crazy Crossword Clues

Should youngsters learn cursive handwriting in school? Plus, someone can be ruthless, but can that same person be ruthful? Which word refers to something larger, humongous or gargantuan? Also, funny newspaper corrections, a crossword quiz, Texas...

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