Word Matters Articles

A Word for Home

House, home, dwelling, residence… I’ve been thinking about the nuances of these words and why the distinctions matter.

Character-Driven Fiction: Perspective & Empathy

Character-driven fiction can change the way we see the world by helping us practice looking from a different perspective. It’s possible in any genre.

Noah Webster, Demoralized

Last weekend, I visited Dearborn, MI — specifically, the Henry Ford [museum] and Greenfield Village. Lots of interesting old cars and so on in the museum, as you'd expect. (My favorites: the Bugatti and the X-Prize winner.) Greenfield Village was good, too. The...
Noah Webster, Demoralized

Noah Webster, Demoralized

Last weekend, I visited Dearborn, MI — specifically, the Henry Ford [museum] and Greenfield Village. Lots of interesting old cars and so on in the...

Philology & Logophilia

One of Dictionary.com’s words of the day last week was “philology.” An interesting word. The second definition given, which is the more familiar one...

The Back Streets of Vocabulary

The Back Streets of Vocabulary

Learning new words is something profound. A new word can bring a new idea into focus. Vocabulary is the foundation of thought. There doesn't seem to be a standard answer to "how many words are there in the English language". The problems with counting are pretty...

read more

Backpacking Across the Thesaurus

The way words filter through languages and culture and history is fascinating. Sometimes they gain nuance as they evolve, and sometimes they lose it. Tonight’s realization, prompting this little jot, is that knapsack, rucksack, and haversack – which most English...

read more