Word Facts

  1. Does Traditional Grammar Matter When It Comes To Singular “They” And “Themself”?

    Has someone ever asked you to refer to them as they instead of he?or she? Or, are you hedging because you can’t possibly refer to one single person as they? Well, what if we told you that they has been used to refer to just one person since at least the 1300s? And what if we also told you themself is perfectly acceptable—and in many …

  2. What Is The Difference Between “Judgement” And “Judgment”?

    Have you ever seen the word judgment spelled two different ways? Sometimes, it appears as we spelled it here (no e), and other times it appears with an e: judgement. Which one is correct? Is?judgment?spelled with an?e? Well, the short answer is that?judgment is the prevailing (“dominant”) spelling. Judgment is a noun that has several meanings, including “the act or instance of judging,” and “the …

  3. What’s The Difference Between Atheism And Agnosticism?

    Studies have found that both atheists and agnostics are surprisingly knowledgable about a variety of religions. Which begs the commonly asked question: what is the difference between someone who defines themselves as “atheist” and a professed?“agnostic?” Atheist vs. agnostic There is a key distinction. An atheist doesn’t believe in a god or divine?being. The word originates with the Greek atheos, which is built from the …

  4. The Most Epic Words You’re Probably Neglecting

  5. Where Does The Name “October” Come From?

    October is here, and in the Northern Hemisphere, that often means the days are flush with falling leaves, chilling weather, and growing anticipation for the holiday season. The tenth month by our Gregorian calendar, October shares a root with octopus and octagon—the Latin octo and Greek okto, meaning “eight.” So, how did October become the 10th month? The original Roman calendar had only ten months, …

  6. Why Are A, E, I, O, U, And Y Called “Vowels”?

    In elementary school, we all learned the vowels of the English language: A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. Or, at least how we write them out, that is. But what makes a vowel a vowel? Vowels and consonants are two different?categories of sounds that linguists use to better understand how speech sounds work. The study of the sounds that?human beings can produce?is called …

  7. “Dissent” vs. “Protest”: Why Choosing The Right Word Matters

    Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have put the words?dissent?and?protest?at the center of our vocabulary this year. Dictionary.com has seen a surge of interest in these words, which?speak to their relevance to our current times. The death of George Floyd—a Black man who was killed after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes—has inspired worldwide protests that continue …

  8. “Infamous” vs. “Notorious”: Which One Is Better?

    Thanks to clicks, likes, and verified blue checkmarks, a person’s reputation can extend far beyond those who know them personally. For example, it’s widely known that Chris Evans is a real-life Captain America who holds doors open for people, and we all acknowledge that Beyoncé is a goddess among us mere mortals. Speaking of superpowers, before she passed away on September 18, 2020, Supreme Court …

  9. Idioms That Make Our Skin Crawl

  10. Fall Once Had A Different Name

    We may now call it fall, but once upon a time, the season that comes after summer but before winter was referred to simply as harvest. An old name for fall According to the written record, harvest?is the earliest name for the third season of the year. It’s found in Old English as h?rfest, a word of Germanic stock, perhaps with an underlying, ancient sense …

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