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Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

Entering crisis mode

Crisis comes from a Greek word that also gives us critical and critic

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

The changing language of ‘mental health’

In recent years the polite convention has been to talk about mental health. Sometimes it seems that broadcasters speak of little else

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

What do ‘catcalls’ have to do with cats?

It was not until the 1980s that the catcall escaped from the theater to the street

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

The etymological ingredients of ‘flageons’

It’s useful to have a name ready when the family asks at dinner: “What’s this?”

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

The not-so-sweet roots of ‘nice’

Nice, as in ‘a nice cup of tea,’ was a word loathed by my schoolmistresses

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

When did brothers and sisters become ‘siblings’?

We never used to use the term in speech

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

The Aesopian language of algospeak

Suicide clubs, sexploiters and political idealists use common methods to evade the censors in a world of spies and algorithms

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

What does ice cream have to do with ‘late capitalism’?

I dislike postmodernist architecture and big business being beastly to workers, but late capitalism seems to me quite a feeble cliché

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

The mechanics of ‘backlash’

Backlash, now in vogue, is often misused

By Dot Wordsworth

And Finally

The French have made a hash of the hashtag

The hash has grown in importance since 2007 when Twitter introduced the hashtag

By Dot Wordsworth

Language

The language of the victimhood war

To own occupies a semantic field which turns out to be a Grimpen Mire

By Dot Wordsworth

Language

What exactly is the ‘festive season’?

No one ordinarily talks of the festive season

By Dot Wordsworth

Language

Can men be witches?

If wicca rings a bell it is because of a sensational intervention into language history

By Dot Wordsworth

Language

The rational meaning of ‘surd’

A surd number or quantity is irrational, such as the square root of two

By Dot Wordsworth

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