etymology
Videos
Here's How British and American Spelling Parted Ways
A colourful tale of dictionaries, politics, and national identity.... READ ON
Words
The Fascinating Origins of 12 Beautiful Flower Names
With spring in bloom, let’s stop and smell the etymological roses.... READ ON
History
How Bacons (as in People Named Bacon) Have Helped Shape Western Culture
Bacons have shaped American cities, influenced presidents, and given us an enduring parlor game.... READ ON
Words
'Fake' Etymology: The Story Behind One of the Dictionary’s Most Intriguing Words
The story behind one of today's big buzzwords goes all the way back to the secret slang of early 19th century criminals.... READ ON
Big Question
How Did "Jones" Come to Mean "Craving"?
History
What’s the Origin of Jack-O’-Lanterns?
The term was first applied to people, not pumpkins.... READ ON
Words
The Longest Words in English (by Category)
Antidisestablishmentarianism is still regarded as the longest non-medical, non-coined, nontechnical word in the English language, yet it keeps some robust company. Here are 11 examples of some of the longest words by category.... READ ON
Animals
7 Animals With Grand Mythological Names
Like proud parents, scientists often give their discoveries the biggest, most impressive names they can think of.... READ ON
Words
15 Common Expressions Younger Kids Won't Understand
Here are 15 etymologies to answer the questions of future English speakers. Because the future is already here.... READ ON
History
How the Philadelphia Suburbs Got Their Names
Big Question
Where Does The Phrase "Nice Guys Finish Last" Come From?
Words
From Y'all To Youse: 8 English Ways to Make "You" Plural
Lots of languages have distinct plural forms for "you." Wouldn't it be useful if English had one too?... READ ON
Words
12 Animals Whose Names Etymologically Describe Them
Now the names for these creatures big and small make total sense.... READ ON
Big Question
What Are Smithereens?
“Blown to smithereens” is such a great, colorful phrase. Almost everyone knows exactly what you mean, without being able to define what exactly a smithereen is. What the heck are they?... READ ON
Big Question
How Did Caesarean Sections Get Their Name?
Reader Alistair wrote in wondering about the supposed origins of C-Sections: “Was Julius Caesar really born this way and is it the origin of the medical procedure?”... READ ON
Big Question
Where Do the Words “Mom” and “Dad” Come From?
Reader Jack writes in to say, “I can’t for the life of me figure out where the term ‘Dad’ or its similar cousins like ‘Daddy’ or ‘Dada’ come from. What’s the deal with “dad” and why has it become so prevalent in our society?”... READ ON

Engineers have developed light bulbs that gather information about the surface the light hits, allowing anything to be used as a screen.

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