Tag Archives: word-nerd


In 1938, Edward Kasner’s nine-year-old nephew, Milton Sirotta, coined the term googol, which is 10100, then proposed the further term googolplex to be “one, followed by writing zeroes until you get tired”. I propose we let 9 year olds write the next dictionary. via Googolplex – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Semantic Satiation

Semantic satiation is the effect best summarized by Homer Simpson: “You say that so often it’s lost all meaning.”  Ironically, you will be satiated with the word “satiation” by the end of the article. Semantic satiation (also semantic saturation) is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaningfor the listener, who then processes the speech […]

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Whistle While You Work

I’ve been obsessing over Andrew Bird lately; the musician I describe to my friends as “Radiohead if they grew up in the bluegrass”.  His lyrics are obscure and magical I haven’t paid too much attention to their meaning, or the fact that he seems to have invented his own vocabulary.  As a word nerd, I […]

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Noun logophilia (uncountable) The love of words and word games. I looked this up. How apt. (All three definitions.) logophilia – Wiktionary.

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Drawn from my Band of Brothers viewing. Shibboleths appeal both to the history nerd and the word nerd in me. During the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War, the American forces used the challenge-response codes “Flash” – “Thunder” – “Welcome”. The last response was used to identify the challenger as a native English […]

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I like words

Oh, to have this man’s wit, whimsy, élan, verve and vocabulary! Dear Sir: I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, […]

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Phatic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phatic In linguistics, a phatic expression is one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information… For example, “you’re welcome” is not intended to convey the message that the hearer is welcome; it is a phatic response to being thanked, which in turn is a phatic whose function is […]

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Obama, a stickler for pronunciation – Yahoo! News

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090703/pl_politico/24466 An article about Obama’s predilection for correct pronunciation of foreign names: From the page: “He rolled his r’s in Puerto Rico when discussing Sonia Sotomayor’s background during her nomination announcement. He even started out pronouncing Sotomayor’s name in Spanish (So-toe-my-YOR), but he’d lapsed into the English pronunciation (So-toe-my-yer) by the time he handed the […]

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http://havemacwillblog.com/2009/04/11/10-words-you-dont-know/ I love learning new words, but really there isn’t much point in presenting examples of some that will never be useful in any context.

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Sphygmomanometer – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphygmomanometer Word of the Moment: Sphygmomanometer, a device used to measure blood pressure. Note that it’s also known as a “blood pressure meter”, which has one syllable fewer, and less “sphygm”. Lucky it isn’t a more urgently-needed piece of equipment: “Nurse, he’s crashing! Hand me the sphy… uh, sphygm… uh, the…” “The blood pressure meter?” […]

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