Articles written by: Howard Richler

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The Word Nerd: Exploring the ever-changing and evolving meanings of words

Senior Times reader Shirley Skeans Newell asks, “Can you give me your interpretation of the word “triangulation”? Yes, there is the old geometric definition but in psychiatric circles nowadays, it has interpretations. It can signify gossip as in two people talking about a third person or it is a situation […]

Hamlet (Christopher Moore) and Laertes (Lucas Chartier-Dessert) cross swords in Persephone Productions' Hamlet.
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Word Nerd: William Shakespeare is a man for all ages

It is fitting that the phrase “We all make his praise” is an anagram of William Shakespeare.

So the Treasure was Divided: pirates dividing their loot. The oil painting, which the illustration was of, was sold in 1905, and is currently part of the Delaware Art Museum's collection.
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Word Nerd: Politics plunders words from military, religion, even pirates

The language of politics has borrowed from other disciplines.

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Howard Richler on being nerdy with words in The Senior Times

Writing for The Senior Times for the last ten years has given me an opportunity to explore some of my favourite language themes.

Word Nerd: The word of the year is an emoji, and it’s crying tears of joy
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Word Nerd: The word of the year is an emoji, and it’s crying tears of joy

What qualifies as a word lexicographically has always been problematic.

The Infinius S opto-mechanical star projector in the Milky Way Theatre of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. (Photo by Hayley Juhl)
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Word Nerd: The universe and English are expanding, fo’ shizzle

Please refrain from sexting while twerking. While it might be hyphy, fo’ shizzle it is both jank and meh.

The Word Nerd: Greek myths return with a vengeance
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The Word Nerd: Greek myths return with a vengeance

We find in the works of great writers such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Dante many allusions to Greek mythology. This pattern continues into the early part of the 20th century in the writings of Joyce as well as in the terms Freud borrowed such as Eros, and the Oedipus complex. […]

The Word Nerd: Feminist organized first Mother’s Day in 1908
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The Word Nerd: Feminist organized first Mother’s Day in 1908

Thanks to the efforts of American Ann Jarvis, Mother’s Day began as a way of honouring the sacrifices Mothers made for their children.

The Word Nerd: Deconstructing austerity, which once meant stormy weather
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The Word Nerd: Deconstructing austerity, which once meant stormy weather

Austerity — a much despised term. Judging by the manner the word is ejaculated by some people, you’d get the impression ‘austerity’ represents a form of financial waterboarding.

Chess pieces by David Lapetina - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11164358
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The Word Nerd: How Persian words were bequeathed to anglos

The time is ripe to take stock of the western world’s debt to the Persian language.