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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 discussion by readers, serendipitous encounters with unfamiliar language, and tongue-in-cheek tut-tuttings at errors perpetrated by sloppy writers.

New this week

Bounding main The song that was being discussed was presumably this, a children’s song written under a pseudonym by the British organist and composer James Frederick Swift: “Sailing, sailing over ...
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Precrastination Many of us are procrastinators, putting off inescapable tasks as long as possible. At Pennsylvania State University, David Rosenbaum and colleagues Lanyun Gong and Cory ...
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Randomly chosen

Grok We must look to Robert Anson Heinlein for the origins of this word, which he invented for his science-fantasy book Stranger in a Strange Land in 1961. In this, Valentine Michael Smith, a human ...
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The next website update

The next update is due on 2 August 2014. You should then be able to read about the rare word lucubration and where blooper for an embarrassing error originated. If you subscribed to my newsletter, you would already have seen it, and more besides.

Recently added pages

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; Blind Freddie; Fawn; Grimoire; Haymaker; Turdiform; Nummits and crummits; Whet one’s appetite.

Last updated 26 July 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.