Every copy editor and logophile will, from time to time, get roped into an argument about what the word decimate means and how it should be used. Etymological purists get upset when they find the word being used to indicate any general drastic reduction in the size of something. The exact size of the reduction, these purists argue, is inherent in the word itself: decimate stems from the Latin root decem, for the number ten, so the word must mean "to reduce in size by ten percent."
Anyone who has suffered the utter horror of a gritty mouthful of undissolved sugar from the bottom of a glass of iced tea* will find it fitting that the Sanskrit word from which sugar is derived, śarkarā, also means "gravel." That same Sanskrit word also led to two homophones whose spellings can be confused by even the most diligent proofreaders: saccharine and saccharin.
There is never a bad time to contemplate kindness. But today —when millions in the U.S. are remembering the shocking loss that occurred fourteen years ago on 9/11 and since — today seems like a particularly good day for it.
The local mayoral election is a dead heat between two candidates. The week before election day, representatives of both sides hit the streets, knocking on doors and talking politics with the people who actually answer.
One petitioner knocks on the door of an elaborate, expensive-looking home, interrupting its occupants while they prepare to spend the next six months at their second home, where the politics aren't so heated and the weather isn't so cold.
It surprised no one that last Thursday’s Republican presidential debate sent Twitter into a tizzy. While the sentiments if many of those tweets were the predictable mud-slinging, faulty logic, and one-sided rhetoric heard during every presidential election, one relatively new epithet was making the rounds that night: cuckservative.
Today is the 118th anniversary of the birth of aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Although she is perhaps most well-known today for her sudden disappearance while trying to fly around the world, she contributed so much more to aviation history in the four decades before she vanished: