Ben Zimmer is the executive editor of, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal,
and former language columnist for The Boston Globe and The New York Times Magazine.

The Wall Street Journal

‘Suffragette’: Insult Worn With Pride (Oct. 17, 2015)
The film “Suffragette,” with Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, portrays the struggle of British women to win the right to vote. Where the word comes from.

In Conflict Over Russian Role in Syria, ‘Deconfliction’ Draws Critics (Oct. 10, 2015)
As the dispute over Russia’s role in Syria heats up, White House use of the term ‘deconfliction’ has spurred ridicule.

A History of ‘Maroon,’ From Trees to Slaves and ‘The Martian’ (Oct. 3, 2015)
The many meanings of “maroon,” used to describe what happens to the Matt Damon character in “The Martian,” include slaves, chestnuts and abandonment.

Read more language commentary in The Wall St. Journal here.

Slate’s Lexicon Valley

A Drone, a Bell, and a Suffix. It’s a Real Humdinger! (Episode 71, Oct. 19, 2015)

Yogi Berra Turned Linguistic Vice Into Virtue With His Cockeyed Tautologies (Sept. 23, 2015)

An Ambitious Enterprise, Quixotic and Unavailing (Episode 69, Sept. 21, 2015)

Read more language commentary on Slate here.