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Word Play: Portmanteau

word play words Apr 12, 2021

While perusing the dusty shelves of an antiquarian bookshop recently, I ran across a well-worn copy of Rich Hall’s Sniglets, under a stack of Calvin and Hobbes classics. Subtitled, Words that Don’t Appear in the Dictionary, but Should, the little illustrated paperback is a collection...

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Word Play: Once Upon

word play words Apr 05, 2021

“Once upon a time…”

When we hear those very familiar words, we know that whatever follows is likely to be a story—perhaps a fairy tale or a fable or a morality tale.

“Once upon a time, there were three little pigs.”

Or, “Once upon a time there was...

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Word Play: Myth

word play words Mar 29, 2021

These days, there is hardly anything more dismissive than saying that something is a myth. Urban myths are fake news. Ancient myths are old news. They are legends, fables, fairy tales, pulp from the rumor mill. They are lies even larger than statistics.

According to Merriam-Webster, a myth is...

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Word Play: Mail

word play words Mar 22, 2021

I love reading letters. And, not just the letters addressed to me in the post. I love reading the letters of great men and women of the past. I have dozens of books in my library that catalog the correspondence of heroes like Samuel Rutherford, Thomas Chalmers, Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Bonar,...

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Word Play: KJV Words

word play words Mar 15, 2021

In his classic book, The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul bemoans the absence from our vocabulary of certain, once-familiar, King James Version words. It wasn’t so much the loss of antiquated verb forms like walketh and talketh, or sayest and mayest that bothered him. It wasn’t obsolete...

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Word Play: Jargon

word play words Mar 08, 2021

In his 1915 Cambridge lecture, On Jargon, Arthur Quiller-Couch, declared, “There is metaphor; there is ornament; there is a sense of poetry. But, no such gusto marks, no such zeal animates, the practitioners of jargon. Jargon stalks unchecked in our midst. It has become the language of...

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Word Play: Immediately

word play words Mar 01, 2021

Poet, literary critic, and novelist, Arthur Quiller-Couch, was best known for his incomparable anthology, The Oxford Book of English Verse. As a lecturer at Oxford beginning in 1886 and a professor at Cambridge from 1912 to 1944, he taught an entire generation of English writers how to write.

...

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Word Play: Eponym

word play words Feb 22, 2021

What do sandwiches and sideburns, boycotts and bloomers, martinis and mausoleums all have in common?

Well, the same thing that knickers and Nikes, fedoras and Fabians, derbies and derringers have in common. They are all eponyms.

Eponyms are names that have, over time, become familiar words. So,...

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Word Play: Verbing

words Sep 02, 2019

Verbification, or verbing is the common practice of transforming nouns into verbs. This is often a very natural and useful linguistic development. Verbing has long been a feature of everyday English—think of mail, strike, salt, switch, sleep, ship, train, stop, drink, cup, lure, mutter, and...

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SF 33- What We're Reading

Karen and George always have a stack of books they are working through. On this episode of the Standfast podcast they discuss some of the books they are reading right now--and how those books are shaping their thinking and their day-to-day work.

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