My English friend Fleur recently told me in an email that she wasn’t going to an event because “it really isn’t my pigeon.” I’ve never heard this little avian saying before, and since Glosso has recently posted a piece about expressions using animal (ahem) parts, I was immediately intrigued … Continue reading
National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
Here are twelve poems that Glossophilia has collected over the past year in its “Poetry in Motion” series: click on the hyperlinks to see the image above in full.
You learn something new every day. Today I learned something about one of my favorite phrases. Do you know what “dog’s bollocks” meant originally? (I bet you don’t.) Here’s a clue: it represented what the dog is apparently doing in the picture above. And, perhaps more importantly, do you know what the phrase means today? Continue reading
In recent language news: a trilingual pop artist, singing trilingually; a dating trend gets a trendy name; a capital city changes its name; a typeface makeover; and more … Continue reading
If you’re a Billions fan, you’ll be familiar with Bobby Axelrod, the ambitious American billionaire manager of a hedge fund called Axe Capital. You might also know that Bobby is played by the British actor Damian Lewis. If you had the choice, would you rather be a British billionaire or an American one? (That’s setting aside the difference in currency values, and how you might choose to spend your loot on either side of the Atlantic.) If you know your billions, you might well choose one over the other, and here’s why. Continue reading
Pencil-neck: definition from Oxford English Dictionary: Continue reading
Just in case, like me, you can’t remember the difference between bathos and pathos, here’s a refresher. And no, they don’t mean the same thing. There’s also a surprising connection between pathos and passion … Continue reading
“It came out of left field”; “she threw me a curve ball.” These sayings — and others like them — might have started “inside baseball”, but they’ve traveled outside the ballpark and taken root in our everyday language, especially in the mouths of North Americans. Here are 20 words and expressions that came right off the bat, or out of left or right field. Please feel free to add any others I’ve missed in the comments section below. [Update, March 2019: a new – 21st – entry has been added: thanks, Candice.]
1) Ballpark: Continue reading
I learned a new word today: copypasta. And what better place to discover it than on the Pretentious Classical Music Elitists Facebook group page. So deliciously 21st-century and strangely paradoxical. And in case you don’t know what it means ….
Finishing up Glosso’s short series on “Words with Partners,” here’s a trip through the triplets. They’re basically a triple-take on the Siamese twins discussed last week with the same identifying characteristics, i.e. three nouns, verbs or adjectives joined by and or or, and an immovable word order (“tears, sweat and blood” just doesn’t quite cut it). You’ll also see the comma splice in action here; you’ll know it when you see it. This “linguistic trinomial” (which I prefer to think of as a wordy ménage à trois) is a very good example of the powerful “rule of three” in speech and writing, which was covered in an earlier Glosso post, “Celebrating the rule of three.” Can you think of any more? Continue reading