Because of its ubiquity, the landscape is littered with proposed etymologies of the term "OK." This nice explainer clarifies the murky origins of one of the most widely spoken words in the world. Read the rest
"Titties" is a stupid word. It's so stupid and gross that some millennials are replacing it with even more ridiculous words like "tiddies" or "titays." Brilliantly funny MEL Magazine editor Alana Hope Levinson explores how "The Extremely Online are destroying language — one tiddy (or tity) at a time." From MEL:
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I first started thinking about this when columnist merritt k wrote about the state of fake boobs and tried to get away with “tity” — with one “t” — throughout the entire draft. I thought it was a typo, but I was astounded to learn that merritt is on a one-woman crusade to make “tity” both the singular and plural.
Still, I thought merritt was a lone tity weirdo until I encountered “tiddies” in writer and designer Robyn Kanner’s draft on trolling Instagram’s nudity policy. “Tiddies” — apparently also the choice spelling of my bible, Jezebel — first appeared when Kanner was describing a scene in Garden State where Method Man asks Zach Braff, Peter Sarsgaard and Natalie Portman if they “saw some titties” at a strip club. In this case, Kanner was using the double d (lol) as a pronunciation spelling common in slang cause she thinks it “has more swagger.” “Titties with a ‘t’ is nice, but it just sounds like college boys talking about boobs,” she says. “Tiddies is ‘we are older, but we are recognizing we are making a joke about boobs.’” Because “titties” is so ridiculous, making it even more so somehow neutralizes the effect with comedy — or at least gives you some ironic distance.
Linguist Arika Okrent, author of On the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language, explores the etymology of the word "Gross." Art by Sean O'Neill.
Also in the running was "coulrophobia," the fear of clowns, and "hygge," a Danish concept meaning "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being." From The Guardian:
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Defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, editors said that use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year. The spike in usage, it said, is “in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States”...
Contenders for the title had included the noun “alt-right”, shortened from the fuller form “alternative right” and defined as “an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterised by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content”. First used in 2008, its use “surged” this spring and summer, said the dictionary, with 30% of usage in August alone. Brexiteer was also in the running for the crown, along with non-political terms including coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, and hygge, the Danish concept of cosiness.
But the increase in usage of post-truth saw the term eventually emerge ahead of the pack. “We first saw the frequency really spike this year in June with buzz over the Brexit vote and Donald Trump securing the Republican presidential nomination. Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time,” predicted Oxford Dictionaries president Casper Grathwohl.
In celebration of the centenary of Roald Dahl's birth this month, the Oxford English Dictionary has added words and updated entries related to Dahl's iconic children's books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG. From OED.com:
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This update also includes brand new entries and senses for a range of vocabulary best described as Dahlesque—an adjective which makes its first appearance in OED today with a first quotation from 1983 in which a collection of stories is praised for its ‘Dahlesque delight in the bizarre’. These new additions provide Dahl fans with a golden ticket to the first uses and historical development of words like scrumdiddlyumptious, for those occasions when scrumptious simply won’t do (or at all times if you happen to be The Simpsons’ Ned Flanders), and the human bean, which is not a vegetable, although—according to the Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant—it comes in ‘dillions of different flavours’. A new sub-entry for golden ticket itself reveals that (long before Charlie Bucket found his own in the wrapper of a Wonka Whipple-Scrumptious Fudge Mallow Delight) the first such ticket was granted to the painter and engraver William Hogarth. Hogarth’s ticket granted the bearer and five companions perpetual free admission to the pleasure gardens of Vauxhall, in return for paintings carried out for the gardens by the artist....
The witching hour, the ‘special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up [is] in a deep deep sleep’, and when the BFG and his bloodthirsty cousins wander abroad, was first mentioned in 1762, in a poem by Elizabeth Carter Keene (now all-but forgotten, and dismissed by one twentieth-century critic as ‘a vapid bungler’), where it is a clear reference to—or misremembering of—Hamlet’s ‘the very witching time of night, When Churchyards yawne, and hell it selfe breakes out Contagion to this world’.
Keep etymology wyrd! Er, weird. (The Endless Knot)