Something I dearly love about language is when a word we already know becomes a THING, especially when it manages to seem suddenly completely necessary (how did we live without being able to express what this expresses?!) AND totally unnecessary because we actually have words that do this well…we were just a little tired of … More Dog-Adjacent, Flea-Adsurgent
Hello! I’m here to ruin a word for you: EMULSIFY. Because I was a kid who read a lot, once I hit college or so, it was noticeable and memorable to me when I encountered a word (outside an Obvious Learning Situation like a class/reading) that I didn’t know the meaning of. (It still is! … More A White Amorphous Mass
Usually in weeks where the news is this terrible, I don’t want to write, unless it is about that terrible news. I think this is because to write about some word I think is neat seems disrespectful , particularly to those most directly affected by the catastrophe. This week, though, there is so much terrible … More Une chanson pour ma sirène/Una canción para mi Siren[n]a
Maybe two or three weeks after Renn was born, Maria stopped by with some lactation cookies she’d made. She said: “they are full of GALACTAGOGUES!” I thought: no way is that a real word. But if it is, it means something about spaceships, so these will be exciting cookies. I was right–they were exciting cookies–and also … More Intergalactic Mamammary!
I am so curious how many people without children or experience with childbirth have any idea what the hell a placenta is or does. I certainly had no clue–I knew the term “afterbirth,” which I think I associated with novels set on the plains before statehood, as likely to feature animal births as human ones. … More And Eating It, Too
Hey, so, we totally have a baby! She’s an overwhelmingly delightful person. Her name is Sirenna Winchester Audre Norris*, and we call her Renn. I will not be posting frequent pictures on facebook, because it’s just not my way. I do TAKE like 1000 pictures a day, so what I am going to try and … More UTERus?!…I just MET us!
Some of the best word adventures are those in which I discover that a word I thought I knew contains mysteries untold, or in which I find that sets of words I was certain were connected etymologically just aren’t. This has both, and it’s a word that is so everywhere I can’t even believe it’s … More 21 Weeks Full of Meaning
It’s not the case that I feel unable to do all normal things since the election, but I have experienced confusion in doing normal things that are meaningful to me, including writing. Lidia Yuknavitch said recently “Writing is just a different way to march.” I believe that. And, some writing I can do would be like … More Handing Us Over
A word I’ve been thinking a lot to myself lately is “nourish.” This surprises me, because until the beginning of the month it had been on an internal list I evidently maintain called “words that are beautiful but have ruined by Real Simple (et al).” But then I got back from arting camp and found that in the following swirl of … More Life Suckles
Slay: slaughter :: ____: laughter? It’s shit like this that made me love being a teacher of English to multilingual speakers; I felt dispositionally and linguistically well-suited to absorb their incredulity, because really: WTF. This started, as everything does nowadays, because of Beyoncé’s “Formation.” “Slay” as an alternate verb for “perform magnificently” has been around … More (S)laughter is the Best Medicine