The Many Uses of “Set”

The OED has nine entries for the ubiquitous word set: an acronym, two nouns, two adjectives, two verbs, an obsolete […]

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What Does “Mien” Mean?

Until recently, I thought everyone agreed on the meaning of mien. Dictionaries do. Someone’s mien is their general appearance and […]

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The Name Is not the Person

Words as labels The first principle of semantics is that the word is not the thing. Words are labels for […]

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Inception and Conception

A reader has asked for a post on the words inception and conception, speculating, “Might they be synonymous?” Conception comes […]

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Words of the Year

Since the 1990s–beginning with the American Dialect Society—various entities, including dictionaries and individual lexicographers, have announced Words of the Year […]

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