Articles written by: Howard Richler

Help the Word Nerd define himself
Columnists

Help the Word Nerd define himself

My latest word obsession is to create a term to describe folks like myself and many of you who are over 65 but uncomfortable with the terms “senior” or “elderly.”

The Word Nerd: Why are Mama and Papa on so many tongues?
Columnists

The Word Nerd: Why are Mama and Papa on so many tongues?

Surprisingly, the near universality of recognition for parents is almost matched by the similarity many languages have for these two words.

Word Nerd: In the art of punning, ‘Shakespeare was great shakes, without peer’
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Word Nerd: In the art of punning, ‘Shakespeare was great shakes, without peer’

Not everyone appreciated the bard’s puns.

Word Nerd: Ode to the pun — ‘the lowest form of humour …’
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Word Nerd: Ode to the pun — ‘the lowest form of humour …’

If you are a reticent punster, be aware that you represent the not-so-silent majority.

The Word Nerd: Acronyms — new in English but ancient in Hebrew
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The Word Nerd: Acronyms — new in English but ancient in Hebrew

Want to save time and space? Try acronyms and initialisms.

Word Nerd: What’s an ‘at’ symbol? Hard to pronounce, mostly
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Word Nerd: What’s an ‘at’ symbol? Hard to pronounce, mostly

I asked him for his email address to which he replied, “It’s umuellerklammeraffegmail.com.”

Word Nerd: The co-opting of the word “elite”
Columnists

Word Nerd: The co-opting of the word “elite”

Surely billionaire Donald Trump, who was born into a rich family, is also an elite?

Word Nerd: What’s in a Word of the Year?
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Word Nerd: What’s in a Word of the Year?

We are constantly bombarded by new English words and meanings to words, so why not honour these innovations?

Book review: A penetrating look at Sports Talk and how it’s enriched our lexicon
Reviews & Previews

Book review: A penetrating look at Sports Talk and how it’s enriched our lexicon

I was surprised to find many new terms from the world of sports that in the last two decades have further
penetrated and enriched our lexicon.

The Word Nerd: Let’s call the caliphate wannabes Daesh – because names matter
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The Word Nerd: Let’s call the caliphate wannabes Daesh – because names matter

BBC News always adds the qualifier “so-called” when describing the Islamic State. As I find this usage clumsy, I decided to investigate why the BBC employs it.