Cook’s more empathetic and direct apology has the edge over Jobs’s mea culpa, analysts say. “Cook’s statement was structured more effectively, with the apology front and center,” says Ben Zimmer, a language expert and executive producer of VisualThesaurus.com. Jobs, in contrast, framed his letter to customers noncommittally as “observations and conclusions,” Zimmer says. That said, the Maps debacle is a much bigger PR problem for Apple than the price-point issue was, he says, and the current situation demands a stronger apology. Jobs did show greater contrition in 2010, when the release of the iPhone 4 was dogged by complaints about its antenna.
One of the expression’s earliest appearances came in the 1850s, when the “thin red line” was used to describe the British army at the battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War, according to Ben Zimmer, a language columnist for The Boston Globe newspaper.
“There was a regiment of Scottish soldiers who wore red coats, and they were holding off the Russians in the battle,” he said. “They became known as the ‘thin red line,’ and that became a famous expression to refer to the British army.” …
“Kav adom,” the Hebrew equivalent of “red line,” might have been the first appearance of the phrase in the region, said Zimmer.
“The earliest example that I’ve seen is from 1975, and a quote from the Israeli foreign minister, Yigal Allon, who said at the time, ‘Washington has managed to draw a red line, which all the Arab countries know they must not cross, then America is not going to sacrifice Israel for Arab support,’” Zimmer said, adding that Netanyahu may be using “red line” because of its historical resonance.
Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, and language columnist for the Boston Globe: “When I revealed in a New York Timesarticle last year that I’m overly attached to em-dashes, I was taken to task by the redoubtable John McIntyre, copy editor for the Baltimore Sun. ‘When you are tempted to use dashes,’ he wrote, ‘stop for a moment to consider whether you really want dashes there rather than commas or parentheses.’ Properly chastened, I’ve tried to tone down my dashiness. But I still admire the artfully wielded em-dash, especially used near the end of a sentence—when it works, it really works. (Some might have preferred a semicolon in the previous sentence; I can appreciate the affection for the humble semicolon, less flashy than the em-dash.)”
According to Ben Zimmer from Visual Thesaurus, their subscribers’ least liked words are “hate,” “no,” “like,” and “impossible.” These four make some sense–”like” is an overused filler word, and the other three are negative. Some of their other least-liked words, however, are less easily explained: “moist,” “panties,” “ointment,” and “slacks.” As Zimmer points out, it seems odd that “moist” should get such a bad rap, when words that sound like it, “hoist” or “joist,” are perfectly acceptable.
acq-hire (v.):to buy a company in order to absorb its human resources. This definition is adapted from a Visual Thesaurus piece by linguist Ben Zimmer. He traces the term to a 2005 blog post, which describes the act thusly: “When a large company ‘purchases’ a small company with no employees other than its founders, typically to obtain some special talent or a cool concept.” Kind of like when Christian Grey buys a Seattle publishing company so he can keep Anastasia Steele close. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.