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words

  1. Weird

    Let’s Take a Break From All This Valentine’s Stuff and Learn About Word Origins With John Green

    Words are weird, and so are their origins. Why do we call people "dunces"? Why do put the "kibosh" on things? Learn those origins and more from Mental Floss' own John Green in this video.

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  2. Weird

    Why Do We Call People With Orange Hair Redheads?

    Amy Pond is a "redhead" even though her hair is orange -- why? This is true of all natural redheads, really, but since the explanation has quite a bit to do with history and early civilizations, we figured who better than a time-traveling ginger to use as an example. To the TARDIS, everyone! It's time for learning!

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  3. Science

    Merriam-Webster Declares “Science” Its 2013 Word of the Year, We Declare Merriam-Webster Our 2013 Dictionary of the Year

    It's a great day for geeks of all kinds! Merriam-Webster has declared "science" as their 2013 Word of the Year, meaning word-geeks and science-geeks get to party together. While other dictionaries have been throwing around "selfie" as their trendy word of the year picks, MW knows what's important. Let's look at why they chose "science."

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  4. Entertainment

    Language Log Does an [Adjective]-Ass Job of Breaking Down This SNL Sketch

    Did you catch this SNL Weekend Update sketch featuring Taran Killam as Jebidiah Atkinson, the speech critic who panned the Gettysburg Address? It's really funny, but Language Log wasn't focused on the humor. They broke down one line of the sketch to look at whether or not "[adjective]-ass statements" can occur predicatively.

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  5. Weird

    Researchers Have Found That “Huh” Is One of the Most Universal Words in Human Language

    If someone says something you don't understand, it's common to reply with, "Huh?" but we didn't realize just how common. It's so common that it's universal, say a team of researchers. They examined conversations in ten different languages, and "Huh?" or something very similar shows up in all of them.

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  6. Tech

    Twitter Users Call Out President Obama Because “Madder” Isn’t a Word, Except That it Is

    In a speech about the problems with the Affordable Care Act registration site, President Obama said, "Nobody is madder than me." The Internet, ever the haven of grammar trolls, has erupted with people on Twitter calling the President out for using "madder" claiming that it's not a word. Bad news, pedants -- "Madder" is absolutely a word.

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  7. Weird

    On the Heels of “Twerk”, Oxford English Dictionary Considers Several New Silly Words

    In a recent interview with Wordability, Senior Editor at Oxford Dictionaries Fiona McPherson shed some light on words that are "on the radar" for possible future inclusion in the OED. While a serious discussion about the word "bacne" is kind of hilarious, every English teacher you've ever had just felt a great disturbance in the Force.

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  8. Weird

    “Twerk” Added to Oxford English Dictionary, We Don’t Like Their Definition

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines "twerk" as a verb meaning to "dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance." Geekosystem defines the inclusion of "twerk" in the OED as a stupid waste of time, but if you're going to do it, do it right. Let's fix that definition.

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  9. Weird

    Germany Eliminates 63-Letter Longest Word

    A regional parliament in Germany has officially eliminated the need for among the longest word in the German language -- Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, a 63-letter monstrosity pertaining to the the testing and labeling of beef.

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  10. Weird

    Today In Geek History: In 2008, National Grammar Day Begins

    March 4th is National Grammar Day! Now, it's only the sixth year of this universally important holiday, so it's especially important that grammar snobs join together and nurture this young celebration. We must foment superior communication and word snobbery, no matter how unpleasant it may make us at social gatherings. But why does grammar matter? And perhaps more importantly, why does it need a day? Shouldn't we be using good grammar every day? Well, yes, but people aren't. In this age of texting, of truncated language, of abbreviated meaning, we few -- we happy, snarky few -- must hold the line. As King Theoden lamented in The Two Towers -- and I'm paraphrasing -- "What can men do against such reckless word abuse?" Plenty!

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  11. Tech

    Oxford Dictionaries Names GIF 2012 Word of the Year, Celebration GIFs Abound

    It's time to celebrate, Internet denizens. We don't need anyone to legitimize our hobbies, but it's nice when the more traditional establishments make note of our various and sundry online endeavors. Today is one of those times. Oxford Dictionaries has just named GIF their 2012 Word of the Year. Not the image format, which turned 25 this year, but the verb. As in, to GIF, and GIFing. I'm not even kidding.

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  12. Weird

    Merriam-Webster Inducts “F-bomb,” “Sexting,” “Man Cave,” and Others Into the 2012 Dictionary

    It's that time of the year when people who have say over such things get to decide when words we've been using for ages become real, legitimate dictionary words. That happens more than once, actually, since there are more than one legitimate dictionary, but this time around we get to see what Merriam-Webster officially considers a word. The list of words will be included in the 2012 update of the Merrian-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and it includes a hefty amount of casual slang, from "man cave," to "sexting," to "f-bomb." That's right, "f-bomb" is now a legitimate word, and you can drop them into messages while sexting from your man cave and Merriam-Webster will have your back if anyone calls your use of illegitimate words into question.

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  13. Weird

    It’s 11/11, Here’s Some Sarah Palindromes

    In honor of this most reversible day, the good folks over at BuzzFeed have taken one of America's most divisive women and added humorous phrases that can be read both backwards and forwards. Was it a rat I saw? No, it's a Palindrome. Get it?

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  14. Weird

    Wanna Live Forever? Become A Noun! [Video]

    In the search for immortality, humans have built great monuments of stone, had songs sung about their great deeds, and been frozen. However, there may be an easier path. NPR's Robert Krulwich (who comprises one half of the amazing Radiolab program that you really should be listening to) and Adam Cole posit that the fastest way to immortality is simply to have your name become a noun. However, it's not without drawbacks. Sit back, relax, and enjoy toe-tapping etymological madness. (Krulwich Wonders via @JadAbumrad)

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  15. Tech

    France Bans The Words “Facebook” and “Twitter” from TV and Radio

    Marketing by social media just got a little bit harder in France. While the Oxford Dictionaries Online is actively expanding into social networking, going so far as to add "twittersphere" and "unfollow" last week, France appears to be moving in the opposite direction. The French government has banned the words "Facebook" and "Twitter" from being spoken on the radio or television. In a move based on legislation from 1992 that decrees mentioning services by name is a form of advertising, use of the words "Facebook" and "Twitter" will not be allowed on French radio or television, unless part of a news story. France's Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) says the reason for the ban is to avoid giving the American social networking giants an edge over smaller sites.

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