Articles written by: Howard Richler

Word Nerd: Expressions we love to hate
Columnists

Word Nerd: Expressions we love to hate

Think outside the box. The tip of the iceberg. At the end of the day …

Word Nerd: Orange you glad it’s not called red?
Columnists

Word Nerd: Orange you glad it’s not called red?

Dedicated readers of the Word Nerd column might remember that five years ago I explained that, lexicographically, at least, there is no debate that the egg preceded the chicken.

Photo courtesy of Shen Yun 2015
Columnists

Word Nerd: How Chinese flavours our language

Chinese civilization dates back at least 4,000 years and is the source of many of the world’s greatest inventions including paper, printing, and the compass, not to mention fine porcelain china.

Word Nerd: What’s in a definition? Maybe a tax on your freedom
Columnists

Word Nerd: What’s in a definition? Maybe a tax on your freedom

Whereas all agree that a rose is a flower, it is not as clear what to call a tomato.

Courtesy of stock.xchng
Columnists

Word Nerd: We are totally surrounded by redundancies

I first became aware of a penchant for political verbal diarrhea back in 1993. CBC journalist, Hana Gartner, was interviewing then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Word Nerd: Attention Scrabble lovers: Geocache no longer cached
Columnists

Word Nerd: Attention Scrabble lovers: Geocache no longer cached

It was 1931 when American architect Alfred Butts joined the bulging ranks of the unemployed. There just weren’t many buildings being erected so Butts decided to construct something else – a game for adults.

"American troops in the field during World War I" by Moore, William E.; Russell, James C. - U.S. Official Pictures of the World War.
Columnists

Word Nerd: Down the foxhole of First World War vocabulary

As this year marks the centenary of the commencement of First World War, it occurs to me that one of the reasons for the immense popularity of the television series Downton Abbey derives from the dynamic era it displayed in earlier seasons. During the helter-skelter years of WWI great social […]

Courtesy of stock.xchng
Columnists

Word Nerd: In context, slang ain’t so bad

Harris Academy, a girls’ high school in South London, wasn’t impressed by the manner its students were rendering the language of Shakespeare. To wit, last October it banned the use of slang by students throughout most of the institution. School principal Chris Everitt introduced this list of eight forbidden words […]

Courtesy of stock.xchng
Columnists

Word Nerd: Nu, let’s sit and kibbitz about those shlemiels and schnorrers

Fewer than one-third of English words stem from the original Anglo-Saxon word stock and to some extent the language’s ascendancy lies in the internationality of its words. Even with its grammatical irregularities and illogical pronunciation and spelling, English is best suited to be the world’s bridge tongue because of its […]

Courtesy of stock.xchng
Columnists

Word Nerd: It takes a lot of gall to accuse someone of chutzpah

“I don’t know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it.” White House Press Secretary Tony Snow July 5, 2007, in reference to Bill Clinton’s criticism of George Bush for pardoning Scooter Lobby, given that Clinton spent his final hours as president issuing 140 pardons […]