Archive for June, 2019


overusedwordsGenius: Ah, ‘genius.’ Once reserved for people of ‘exceptional‘ and ‘extraordinary‘ intellect and/or creativity—Albert Einstein, Shakespeare, and the like—today people use ‘genius’ to laud pretty much anyone who comes up with a helpful solution or performs a routine fix. Deservedly so or no, you may well have been called a ‘genius’ so often that it hardly even seems like a compliment in most circumstances. Is the dilution of ‘genius,’ and the following comparable words, a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing? That certainly depends on who you ask. But there’s no denying that, as the popular, prevailing meanings of words change, they often drift farther and farther away from the ‘correct’ meaning.

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34 military terms and their meanings

 

military_1"Alfa, Bravo, Charlie…" is an alphabet that you may already know and understand. These words represent the letters "A," "B," and "C" in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, or more commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet, used by the military to omit misunderstandings over radio. If you aren’t using it already, this would be a good one to adopt for those customer service calls when you need to read your 17-digit confirmation code that somehow is full of letters that sound the same.

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toilet_paperToilet paper has a critical job. Although it’s an essential bathroom item, thinking about it usually starts and ends with needing to buy or use some. Meanwhile, people spend hours looking for the perfect towel or shower curtain colors for their bathroom, but toilet paper is just plain white. So what got the white toilet paper trend rolling?

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park_1In the 1940s, Coney Island dazzled
You wouldn’t know it from the vibrancy of these pictures, showing the vast array of people enjoying the many and varied pleasures of New York’s Coney Island in the heat of 1948, but the glory years of Coney Island were over.

Forty years before, it had boasted three extraordinary pleasure parks  Luna Park, Steeplechase Park and Dreamland.

Shimmering white against the twilight, Luna Park alone was lit by a quarter of a million separate bulbs.

And until World War II, Coney Island was the most successful amusement location in the United States. But the 1930s and the Great Depression were not kind to Coney, as Americans struggled to survive, let alone pay for entertainment.

In 1944, Luna Park was ravaged by a fire, and two years later shut for good.

After 1945, attendance began an inexorable decline, amplified by the post-war boom in car ownership.

Just a year after these pictures were taken (in 1948), the land along the waterfront was commandeered by Robert Moses, NYC parks commissioner, and rezoned for housing.

 


flagdayWhen most people think of summer holidays, they think of the big three: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. But people often forget another important American observance Flag Day.

Flag Day, celebrated on June 14 every year, is the celebration and recognition of the stars and stripes. Although it isn’t a federal holiday, it is a state holiday in Pennsylvania and New York.

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mooseThe English language doesn’t always abide by its own rules. It’s a giant melting pot of etymologies, sourcing itself from all over the world. The perplexing silent letters in words like "tsunami" and "rendezvous" are carried over from Japanese and French, respectively. The varying origins of words also produce a lot of strange, irregular-seeming plurals. That’s why we have to look back through the history of English to figure out why the plural of "goose" is geese…but the plural of "moose" is not "meese." If you’re curious about silent letters, learn more about why we What is the plural of moose?have them here.

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Common clichés

common_clichesSlang is an interesting linguistic phenomenon. Even if you’re a native English speaker, you may not understand some of the things Americans say if you’re from another anglophone country. Even within a country, slang can vary from state to state or region to region.

But certain slang terms and phrases are common throughout America, or even the English-speaking world as a whole, to the point that they’ve become clichés. These phrases tend to have quite a bit of interesting — and often unexpected — history that may change the way you look at them or give you some clarity as to how to properly use them. You may find yourself quite surprised as to the real meaning behind these 15 common clichés.

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