The Italian publisher Treccani will change how it lists nouns and adjectives in the next edition of its Dizionario della Lingua Italiana (Dictionary of the Italian Language), due to come out in October. Previous editions have followed the traditional practice of listing nouns and adjectives under only the masculine form of the head word. The…… Continue reading Italian dictionary will now include feminine forms
I recently came across a word that was new to me: contronym. A contronym is a word that is its own opposite. An often-given example is sanction. Sanctioning an action can mean either penalising it or permitting it. Some other examples are: WordOne meaningAnother meaningcleave clingsplitclipattachcut offdustremove dustadd a layer of dustapologystatement of regret for an…… Continue reading Contronyms
In the last couple of years I’ve started hearing the phrase “based off of” instead of the seemingly more logical “based on”. Perhaps this upstart conveys greater dynamism, like some kind of springboard. (I’ve only heard it from Americans.) I tried searching Google Ngram to see how long it has been around but Ngram didn’t…… Continue reading What is this, like, based on?
Does the verb be have the same function in the two phrases was born and was killed? I don’t thing so. I just tried writing the following sentence: He was born in 1898 and killed in action in 1918. To my ear, that sounds very odd. I think it needs to be He was born…… Continue reading Was born and was killed
In the last few years, I’ve heard my daughter saying in restaurants things like: Can I get the pasta? That usage of get still sounds very odd to me. If I said that, I would mean: Can I bring the pasta to you? not Can I receive the pasta from you? Intending the latter meaning,…… Continue reading Can I get this change?
In cricketing circles, there has been a trend recently to using the term batter instead of the traditional term batsman. I often side with (bat for?) the dinosaurs on this sort of terminology question, but on this one I’m now batting for the innovators. Here’s why. In the past, when I heard someone talk about…… Continue reading Time for batters to join the bowlers and fielders
To my mind, ‘good to see you’ is something you say only to someone you already know. When meeting someone for the first time, ‘good to meet you’ feels more appropriate to me, perhaps because it puts more emphasis on the meeting. But increasingly people seem to be saying ‘good to see you’ even when…… Continue reading Good to see you—or is it?
“Literally” everyone now says “literally” when they mean “figuratively”. Maybe we should now say “figuratively” when we mean “literally”.
I’ve recently heard my daughter asking her children whether they are excited for things, for example about something that will be happening at school or about a friend’s forthcoming party. That usage sounds odd to my dinosaur ears. I would say I’m: excited about an event or thingexcited for a person I had a quick…… Continue reading Excited for
I recently came across Longman Guardian New Words, by Simon Mort (1986). It gives a fascinating interesting snapshot of words that entered mainstream British English in 1986. The author says the book has 3 aims: to entertainto provide a convenient reference package of the patterns, logic and fashion of word formation of 1986to be a…… Continue reading New words of 1986