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About this site

The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or change their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least some part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

This is the archive of pieces that have appeared in the free newsletter. Weekly issues include much more than appears here, including comment by readers, serendipitous encounters with unfamiliar language, and tongue-in-cheek tut-tuttings at errors perpetrated by sloppy writers.

New this week

Lucubration Today a lucubration (or lucubrations — the word more often appears in the plural) is a derisive reference to a pedantic, over-elaborate or muddled attempt to make a point ...
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Blooper We have to go back to the pioneering days of radio broadcasting in the US in the early 1920s. The primitive valve radios of those times suffered from a serious problem. To make them more ...
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Randomly chosen

Lipogrammatist As opposed to pangrammatists, who strive to crowd all the letters of the alphabet into a composition of the very briefest scope, a lipogrammatist systematically leaves one letter of ...
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The next website update

The next update is due on 9 August 2014. You should then be able to read about the splendidly poetic-sounding word pair epilimnion and hypolimnion as well as discovering why nail has two such disparate meanings. If you subscribed to my newsletter, you would already have seen it, and more besides.

Recently added pages

Bounding main; Precrastination; Logocidal; File; Bat an eyelid; Closet versus Cupboard; Gyre; Skeleton in the closet; Nuciform; Red rag to a bull; Colporteur; Hail fellow well met; Kith; Busman’s holiday; London to a brick; Opusculum; Marthambles; Nipcheese; Flammable; Odd; Bug letter; Stitched up like a kipper; Hodmandod; On the lam; Decussate; Cacoethes; Supernaculum; Box of birds; Misanthrope; Sugar daddy; Brown Windsor soup; Hypnopompic; Ham; Fawn.

Last updated 2 Aug. 2014.

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World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved. See the copyright page for notes about linking to and reusing this page. For help in viewing the site, see the technical FAQ. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 17 July 2014.