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Archives by: Ben Zimmer

Ben Zimmer

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Ben Zimmer Posts

The Lexicon of Tom Wolfe
The paeans to Tom Wolfe, who died on Monday at the age of 88, inevitably extol his colorfully inventive use of language across his decades of fiction and ...

If you tuned in to the finals of last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, broadcast in prime time on ESPN, you would have seen 15 young students remaining ...

‘Chinaperson’ and the Sanitization of a Racial Slur
In a radio interview earlier this week, Don Blankenship, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of having foreign-policy conflicts ...

‘Wop’ Doesn’t Mean What Andrew Cuomo Thinks It Means
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently attracted criticism from immigration advocacy groups for describing himself as “undocumented” during a bill-signing ceremony in Albany. “You want to deport an ...

‘Slimeball’ Is Trump’s Ooziest Insult
President Trump has added a new epithet to his seemingly endless arsenal of invectives directed at political foes. In a tweet sent early Friday morning, he called former ...

How Home-State Pronunciations Can Shape Elections
Woe to the politician who, while campaigning in a particular state, pronounces the state’s name differently from the local denizens. The latest casualty of this phonetic parochialism is ...

The Origins of the ‘Globalist’ Slur
After National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn announced his resignation last week, President Trump offered a back-handed compliment to his departing adviser: “He may be a globalist, but ...