Ben Zimmer is a linguist, lexicographer, and language columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
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.