Words at Play

The Origin of "Nerd" & More

Most Popular Tweets About Words, Vol. 1

Photo: From If I Ran The Zoo (1950), Dr. Seuss

A selection of the most retweeted posts about words and language from @MerriamWebster.

From March 2nd: Happy Birthday to one of our favorite wordsmiths, Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), whose many linguistic triumphs include coining the word "nerd."

Image: From If I Ran The Zoo (1950), Dr. Seuss

"I thought canoodle meant chat": Why it's not always great to learn a word's meaning from the producer in your ear https://s.m-w.com/MQz9SG

"19 Regional Words All Americans Should Adopt Immediately" (This list is a whoopensocker) https://s.m-w.com/PfrKdU

"I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar" – a simplistic but provocative (& controversial) post via @HarvardBiz https://s.m-w.com/PqOqsN

Underused Word for a Rainy Day: "Galoshes," a word whose actual origin is unknown, but happily sounds like stepping in puddles.

Zombie Nouns: How to avoid words that "suck the lifeblood" out of writing & put your readers to sleep https://s.m-w.com/Qn2uq7

Go Shake a Tower (go take a shower): Examples of wordplay known as "spoonerisms" https://s.m-w.com/pkU1ov

"The Accidental History of the @ Symbol": The symbol of modern communication is 500 years old https://s.m-w.com/NlWVax

A Foolish Competition: "nincompoop" vs. "nitwit" vs. "numbskull" (way to go, nincompoop!) https://s.m-w.com/PqPjkW

Up Next

Teflon, "Gunk," & More: Products That Became Words

It's All in the Apostrophe: "a clever dog knows its master" vs. "a clever dog knows it's master." (#2 gets the woof of approval.)


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