Ben Zimmer is the executive producer of Vocabulary.com and
the Visual Thesaurus, 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 ‘Affirmative Action’ Acquired Its Meaning (Apr. 26, 2014)
Justice Sotomayor isn’t the only one to find the phrase ‘affirmative action’ problematic; it has always been a slippery designation. (free via G+)
Secrets of the Bright Orange ‘Black Box’ (Apr. 12, 2014)
The use of the phrase "black boxes" to describe flight recorders, as in Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, has its roots in World War II. (free via G+)
Read more language commentary in The Wall St. Journal here.
Slate / Lexicon Valley
Sorry, That’s Not an Emoticon in a 1648 Poem (Apr. 15, 2014)
Read more language commentary on Slate here.