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Dip Your Card

Over at Visual Thesaurus, I have a column talking about how diphthong (or dipthong) has joined a family of dip-based insults, including dipstick, dipshit, and just plain dip. When I researched the column, I was surprised to learn that my imagined chronology for these insults was backwards. I first heard dipstick in the early 1980s, [...]
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On the Carpet

Academics / Linguistics : Literal Minded (5 years ago)

Over at Visual Thesaurus (behind a paywall), I have a column talking about the history of the idiom to call someone on the carpet. I’ve sometimes wondered why this expression says on the carpet instead of onto the carpet. Was there ... Read Post

Wh-Pronoun, Why You Wanna Go Down in the Clause Below?

Academics / Linguistics : Literal Minded (4 years ago)

When I was doing research for my Visual Thesaurus column on Im(m)a a couple of months ago, I made a point of listening to more of the Top 40 radio station in town than I had done in years. (Listening less to current music is what ha... Read Post

VISUAL THESAURUS SPELLING BEE.

Academics / Linguistics : Language Hat (6 years ago)

From Ben Zimmer comes news of a neat offshoot of his Visual Thesaurus:When we launched the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee this past summer, we knew there was a built-in interest, but the response was still surprising. So far there ha... Read Post


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