15 Common English Words That You Probably Didn't Know Were Still Trademarked

The English language is a voracious eater, consuming words and digesting them into whole new things. Sometimes words that used to be trademarked by companies pass into generic use—like escalator, thermos, and aspirin. And sometimes words live in limbo: still trademarked, but used all the time as generic terms. Here… »9/02/15 4:07pm9/02/15 4:07pm


An Illustrated History Of The Word "Dude" From 1883 To Today

“Dude” has become a remarkably versatile word that can be used to describe a variety of people or express a whole host of emotions. But when “dude” first arrived on the linguistic scene, it meant something very specific. This video traces the history of “dude” from a word to describe 19th-century hipsters to its many… »6/18/15 1:40pm6/18/15 1:40pm

Trying To Stop Words From Changing Their Meanings Is "Literally" Useless

Lately, it seems that there are few words in the English language that stir up as much semantic ire as "literally" does. As more and more people have been using "literally" to mean "really," some English speakers fret that the meaning of the word will change. But the truth is that it would hardly be the first. »3/26/15 4:10pm3/26/15 4:10pm

R.I.P. Suzette Haden Elgin: Author, Poet, Verbal Self-Defense Coach

Suzette Haden Elgin, who died last week, was a pioneer of using linguistics in science fiction, creating a whole constructed language in her novel Native Tongue. She was a giant of feminist SF. And she helped bring SF poetry to prominence, while also teaching us to defend ourselves with wit rather than bile. »2/05/15 1:47pm2/05/15 1:47pm