Our December issue is out now!
Our writers hold no party line; their only allegiance is to clarity of thought, elegance of expression and independence of opinion.
Crisis comes from a Greek word that also gives us critical and critic
By Dot Wordsworth
In recent years the polite convention has been to talk about mental health. Sometimes it seems that broadcasters speak of little else
It was not until the 1980s that the catcall escaped from the theater to the street
It’s useful to have a name ready when the family asks at dinner: “What’s this?”
Nice, as in ‘a nice cup of tea,’ was a word loathed by my schoolmistresses
We never used to use the term in speech
Suicide clubs, sexploiters and political idealists use common methods to evade the censors in a world of spies and algorithms
So much for philology
I dislike postmodernist architecture and big business being beastly to workers, but late capitalism seems to me quite a feeble cliché
Backlash, now in vogue, is often misused
The hash has grown in importance since 2007 when Twitter introduced the hashtag
To own occupies a semantic field which turns out to be a Grimpen Mire
No one ordinarily talks of the festive season
If wicca rings a bell it is because of a sensational intervention into language history
A surd number or quantity is irrational, such as the square root of two
Can men be witches?
The mechanics of ‘backlash’
The Aesopian language of algospeak
What does ice cream have to do with ‘late capitalism’?
The complicated business of swearing in Ukrainian
Ask Jeeves: who first came out with ‘What ho’?
Thought-provoking commentary and opinion on politics, books and the arts.