Articles written by: Howard Richler

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.

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The Word Nerd: Indian spice flavours today’s English

India is second only to the U.S. in the number of English speakers, with 125 million, or 10 per cent of its population, speaking the language of Shakespeare.

Word Nerd: We are a distinct society after all
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Word Nerd: We are a distinct society after all

The Oxford Companion to the English Language is missing an “s” at the end of its title.

Word Nerd: Deconstructing Political ED (Electile Dysfunction)
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Word Nerd: Deconstructing Political ED (Electile Dysfunction)

On August 2 the writ was dropped in Canada. … Actually, no writ is dropped; writs of election are issued.

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Word Nerd: OED is for lovers — language lovers

The online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary affords word lovers a myriad of ways to explore the English language.

Word Nerd: English is flooded with words from away
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Word Nerd: English is flooded with words from away

Alas, because language is in a constant state of flux, a lexicographer’s work is never done. The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), replete with 414,825 words, was completed in 1928 and ceremonial presentations were made to President Calvin Coolidge and His Majesty King George V. Supplements ensued […]