When horses were a common means of transportation, horseshit was as common as potholes are today. While actual horse feces is rare nowadays, horseshit is as common as ever in our vocabulary.The list of synonyms and euphemisms—such as horsefeathers, horse hockey, horse hooey, horse pucky, and horse apples—is huge, taking up many pages in the Dictionary of American Regional English, Green’s Dictionary of Slang, and the Historical Dictionary of American Slang.
I was late turning in this reflection. Do you know how embarrassing that is? The former Editor missing a deadline to the current Editor? Apparently blogging muscles atrophy after you adapt to writing mostly in 140-character sprints.
Twitter is a joke factory, where professional comics and civilian jesters crank out one-liners round the clock. In that joke factory, there are popular models. Every day, new jokes play on phrases such as “Dance like no one is watching,” “Sex is like pizza,” and “When life hands you lemons.” While the repetition can be maddening, I’m impressed by how, inevitably, there’s always another good joke lurking in even the most tired formula.
I’ve been seeing gods everywhere lately. Not gods like Thor, Ganesha, and God. My cinnamon rolls have been deity-free, if not gluten-free. It’s lexical gods I can’t seem to escape. Everywhere I look someone is thanking, cursing, or begging some specific group of supreme beings. For example, I’ve recently spotted the following religious invocations: • […]
Mark Peters explains when and how to properly use the f-word and its variations.
Mark Peters looks at the various uses of “hench” as a prefix.
Mark Peters looks at all the variations of the snowclone “set phasers to x” on Twitter.
Many lessons can be gleaned from watching reruns of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer': Indirect sunlight is not an unlife-ender for vampires. Some small-town mayors may yearn to become giant unholy snake things (no surprise there). As Cordelia Chase said, “People, you’ve got to leave your tombs earthed.” (Whoops, that was on the Buffy spinoff Angel—but whatever).
Mark Peters looks at the language of The Big Lebowski.
Mark Peters, a language columnist for Good and Visual Thesaurus, as well as the blogger behind The Pancake Proverbs, The Rosa Parks of Blogs, and Wordlustitude is our guest blogger this week. In this post, he looks at nonce words in the Oxford English Dictionary
Ben Zimmer looks at hapax legomena.
I’m no doctor, but Facebook-ectomy is a helluva creative word, and it occurs to me that I’ve been taking -ectomy for granted as a wild and wooly word-producer. Well, I haven’t completed ignored it, as my nonce-word blog has included ponytail-ectomy, butthole-ectomy, homework-ectomy, and who-knows-what-ectomy. My favorite finds are right-side-of-my-head-ectomy and alien-head-ectomy. I’m pretty sure either surgery would qualify as an ouchie…
Some word love for Valentine’s Day.