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

How ‘As If!’ Became a Catchphrase in ‘Clueless’ (Mar. 12, 2016)
Writer-director Amy Heckerling of the comedy classic “Clueless” talks about the source of the famous quote “as if!”

‘Running the Table’: From Pool to Politics (Mar. 5, 2016)
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump uses a phrase that originated in billiards.

Britain’s EU Choice: ‘Brexit’ or ‘Bremain’? (Feb. 27, 2016)
As Britain debates whether to leave the European Union, the coined words “Brexit” and “Bremain” get a workout.

‘Vinyl’ Survives the Digital Age to Re-Emerge as a Title (Feb. 20, 2016)
The name of the material used to make records—and a catchall term for the records themselves—is finding renewed popularity in an HBO series.

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

Slate’s Lexicon Valley

Take It With a Grain of Salt! But Why a Single Grain? And Why Salt? (Episode 81, Mar. 8, 2016)

The Trumpian Conditional (Feb. 22, 2016)

Studies in Sweary Syntax (Feb. 15, 2016)

A British MP Called Donald Trump a Wazzock. What’s a Wazzock? (Episode 79, Feb. 8, 2016)

Read more language commentary on Slate here.