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Naming Nature

For a fantastic read about the history of taxonomy and the ways we use language to try to divide up and impose order on the world, check out Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science (Bookshop|Amazon) by science writer Carol Kaesuk Yoon...

Synonyms for “Synonym”

Is there a synonym for the word synonym? Yes, there are two: polyonym and poecilonym, but they’re rarely seen except in collections of unusual words. This is part of a complete episode.

The Names of Clouds

In the early 19th Century, a shy British chemist named Luke Howard self-published a pamphlet called Essay on the Modifications of Clouds, which proposed a taxonomy of cloud formations. To his surprise, the pamphlet captured the public imagination...