When new words pop up in pop culture, as they do, it never occurs to me to bemoan the state of the English language or the literacy of the current generation. Whether I like a modern coinage or think it’s the worstmanteau ever (surely that one is in the running), my initial response tends to be appropriately learned and eloquent, like “Heck yeah — words!”
The Nobel Committee awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India today “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
This month marks 50 years since President Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, establishing a “National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes” (Public Law 88-577 [PDF]).
We’re gearing up for a happy holiday weekend here in the United States as we celebrate Independence Day tomorrow. Finalize fireworks-watching plans? Check. Make sure flag-displaying etiquette is correct? Check. Use the proper vocabulary during fireworks watching and flag displaying? Better check!
Do you know your fireworks from your flag works? Match the term with its appropriate definition. [Difficulty level: moderate]
The New York Public Library, a feat of architecture and public access, was dedicated on May 23, 1911. It was exactly 16 years after the Astor and Lenox libraries agreed to combine with the Tilden Trust to create a truly “free library and reading room” as envisioned by former governor Samuel Tilden when he made his $2.4 million bequest. On May 24, the day after the dedication, the NYPL opened to the public. Between 30,000 and 50,000 people visited on that first day.
Just before the turn of the twentieth century, Homer Plessy, a U.S. citizen of white and black ancestry, was arrested for refusing to move from the whites-only car of a Louisiana train. Plessy and his lawyers used the case to challenge segregation laws. The laws were upheld. The decision given in the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson confirmed that “separate but equal” would be a protected legal doctrine for decades.
On December 21, 1913, Arthur Wynne created and published the first crossword puzzle. Running in the “Fun” section of the New York World and including the given word FUN, the puzzle was called a “word-cross” and it started the crossword craze that we still enjoy today.
I’ve never thought of myself as a Halloween enthusiast. A quick look at the posts I’ve written for Copyediting over the last couple of years, however, reveals the truth. I’m a sucker for fantasy, phantasmagoria, and even a good old-fashioned frightening now and then. The proof:
With 60 million readers worldwide, National Geographic celebrates its 125th year this month. The first issue, published in October 1888, was a modest brown pamphlet that did not yet sport the iconic yellow-bordered cover or include any photographs.