There are 25 posts.
Like the combining forms –phobia and –cracy, which we have discussed previously, –mania forms part of numerous English words. While it is commonly used in psychology to describe a type of mental illness, mania can also mean ‘an obsessive enthusiasm for a particular thing’ in a broader, everyday sense. But have a look at our […]more
Bread, bones, clams, dough, and moolah: we have a lot of slang terms for money in the English language, to name just a few, er, noteworthy examples. Specific currencies have their own nicknames, too, of course. The Australian and American dollar, for example, often go by ‘buck’, which probably calls back the use of buckskins […]more
Although certain Latin words and phrases have been accepted wholesale into English – think of de facto, per capita, magnum opus, etc. (et cetera is another one!) – Latin is still capable of providing a certain gloss to a statement. When a politician talks about the vox populi rather than the ‘voice of the people’ […]more
Hey, English speaker! Congratulations. You speak a language that straddles the globe like nothing before. Statistically, English is unlikely to be your first language and you are likely to be from an educated background. Again, congratulations. Here are ten things that you may not have known about this wonderful language of ours: 1. It is […]more
Absolute privilege, ad hoc, aforementioned, affidavit, arraignment, arbitrage: the language of law can be dense, demanding, and downright intimidating, and these are just a few of the words and phrases that begin with the letter a. For all the difficulties of legalese, a great number of common words have a surprisingly legal record, so to speak. Mayhem Dating back […]more
Readers of a certain age—and I would count myself among them—regard Latin as a noble thing of antiquity. The language is not nearly as widely studied as it once was. Indeed, Latin was once taught in grammar schools and familiarity with it—if not mastery of it—was a prerequisite for university admission. Today, even those who […]more