Category Archives: history of language

The Hidden Past of Words: English final -y


Consider the following list of everyday English words:  memory, happy, baby, crazy, victory, city, silly, puppy, army For starters, they all end in -y and they can be grouped further as nouns (memory, baby, victory, city, puppy, army) or adjectives … Continue reading

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Nutty Nomenclature


Have you ever wondered why walnuts have surfaces with ridges and grooves whereas almost all other nuts are smooth? Pecans have rows of ridges, but hazel nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds, macademia nuts and pistachios are all smooth, even though … Continue reading

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Word Relics


Today’s word of the day is fortnight. When I first heard this word as a kid, I immediately concluded it had something to do with forts and battlements, some length of time during which soldiers of kings did something or … Continue reading

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Among and Amongst


English usage seems to be getting hipper and leaner.  We’ve nearly lost our subjunctive mood (how many American English speakers even recognize this construction on the printed page?)  and whom should certainly be on the List of Endangered Words. (Is … Continue reading

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