Articles written by: Howard Richler

The Word Nerd: What’s in a literary surname?
Columnists

The Word Nerd: What’s in a literary surname?

What do the Dickensian character Ebenezer Scrooge, Shakespearean character Mistress Quickly, and Richard Sheridan’s character

The Word Nerd: Deconstructing sexual harassment
Columnists

The Word Nerd: Deconstructing sexual harassment

Writing in 1991, Rosalie Maggio in the Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage remarked that “sexual harassment was not a term anyone used 20 years ago; today we have laws against it.”

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’
Columnists

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 …’
Columnists

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
Columnists

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
Columnists

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?
Columnists

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?