If you’re a regular reader, you might remember me writing about the verb to decimate some time ago. The gist was, to decimate had never been used to mean destroy or reduce by 10% in English, so it was incorrect and unjustified to “correct” people using it to mean to devastate or kill a large proportion of a group of people.
And I still basically stand by that assertion. Basically… Continue reading
You might hear this sound quite a bit over the next few days. Perhaps someone might be trying to give you a scare. Or perhaps they might be expressing disapproval at your choice of Hallowe’en costume. But why do we always use boo to frighten or to show disapproval? Continue reading
Outer Mongolia and Timbuktu are often used as shorthands in English for somewhere remote and inaccessible. But why exactly do we use these two places specifically? Continue reading
No, I won’t get political. I promise. I mean yes, this post was directly inspired by the fact that it’s just been announced that the former lawyer of the current president of the United States has pleased guilty to violating campaign law at the direction of said president, which reminded me of him recently calling someone in a roughly similar position a rat on Twitter recently.
No, I won’t get political. But I do wonder why we call someone who betrays others by giving up information a rat… Continue reading
This is a term you might have heard in the news recently, particularly in relation to, sigh… yes, Donald Trump. Continue reading
It’s football time again! I can’t believe it’s only been two years since I last thought about the English language and football.
Are you excited about the World Cup? Continue reading
No, not, nothing, neither, nor, none, nil, no-one, nobody, nowhere.
Notice a pattern?
Why do so many negative words begin with N? Continue reading