Results tagged “etymology”

Do you love words?

February 19, 2006

I sure do love words. And even better, my friends do too. So they make great websites and books about it. Mark made Neologasm, which I am very partial to because it documents (among other things) the words we regularly make up around the office at Six Apart. I am very glad to spend my days in a workplace that enjoys wordplay. But that's not enough!

So, I return to the classics, Double-Tongued Word Wrester, the excellent word blog by Grant Barrett, noted lexicographer and author of the upcoming Official Dictionary of Unofficial English. In addition to his linguistic expertise, Grant was my original influence in learning how to become an expert on a subject by loudly and repeatedliy asserting one's own overwhelming authority on a topic until others can't help but acknowledge one's genius. Though this isn't a rare tactic in the technology industry, particularly in the niche which I inhabit, it came as a revelation to me that this technique could be so effective. Witness it for yourself in Grant's history of Ask MetaFilter answers!

But blogs have a lot more to give to the worlds of etymology: There's the concept of the snowclone, the trope of performing a selective search and replace on a familiar linguistic structure. Besides being a favorite method of titling blog posts, it's one of the few new words whose etymology is completely documented. Language Log is a great resource; Its history of covering the "many words for snow" myth that gave snowclones their name is well documented.

Of course, blogs have a long history of being obsessed with words. The blog that is responsible for the word "blog", as well as having most directly inspired me to start blogging, has had a peculiar etymological fixation for some time. Bloggers are the new neologists, if not the new etymologists.

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