Recent Blog Posts

Recently a friend brought to my attention a delightful collection of William Safire’s articles from the New York Times Magazine. Many years ago, my friend wrote Safire regarding the origins of the word “trivia”, which the celebrated journalist had mistakenly attributed to the Latin tri via – the meeting point […]

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Is your company pushing the envelope to create disruptive innovations outside the box? Have you considered how scalable your department’s synergy really is? Can your sales reps proactively leverage their resources to snatch up the lowest-hanging fruit? And is that a win-win situation for all? Whether corporate buzzwords are a […]

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Mathematics has a language all its own – a rich tapestry of systems interconnected with ironclad logic. Linguistics, philosophy, and mathematics have shared insights for centuries – Sir Isaac Newton, for example, composed a hefty treatise in 1687 entitled Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Unfortunately, for most of us, high […]

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February is all about preparing for the coming spring. From Groundhog Day to Lent, the focus of this short month is readying ourselves for the glory of springtime (or at least reminding ourselves that it is coming so we can get through the month). A look at the etymology behind […]

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Legalese – the bone-dry and tortuous language of the law – can be as mystifying as it is ubiquitous. To help our readers parse some of the more common and curious legal terms, below are their Latin roots. a posteriori: A phrase used to describe an argument derived from experience, […]

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Simon Critchley wrote an interesting commentary for the New York Times on Sunday, May 16, 2010, titled What is a Philosopher? He opens the article by stating the obvious—“There are as many definitions of philosophy as there are philosophers – perhaps there are even more”—and then follows a round-about, but […]

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The last week of October and the beginning of November brings together some fairly disparate events, holidays, and emotions. For one, especially here in the U.S., October 31 is Halloween, that strange co-opted holiday where kids dress up in cute or ghoulish costumes and beg for candy from their neighbors. […]

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Although not his most famous work, one of Dante Alighieri’s most important ones was a composition entitled De Vulgari Eloquentia (On Eloquence in the Vernacular or Concerning Vernacular Eloquence), in which the author discusses the development of the Romance languages. He divides Europe into three portions: to the north, the […]

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There are few things that I love more than finding out that two seemingly very different words share the same root. Like the shared history of pomegranate and hand grenade, these connections between word origins sometimes surface in decidedly non-linguistic places. Today’s strange linguistic history comes from Harold McGee’s On […]

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It’s raining heavily again in Atlanta, and the soothing sound of heavy drops hitting against the roof and windows brings to mind the language of house and home. Both the words “house” and “home” found their way into modern English from the Proto-Germanic. Khusan, for “house” was changed into hus […]

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