When I came across the origin of the word dilapidate I was quite excited. There seemed to be the possibility of a great word of the week story behind it. However the links between the word's origins and its current use are not clear. So … given that there is no proper story about the...Read more
What is a zombie?In Martinique and Haiti a zombie is the term for any spirit or ghost appearing at night. But the popular view of a zombie is that a bokor or witch-doctor makes the victim appear dead by magic, hypnotic suggestion, or by a secret potion—and then revives them as their personal slave with...
Academics and teachers ask us to revere Shakespeare as the greatest of English writers but ironically they damage him by creating a false perception that his work is high-brow. Over the many years that I have watched Shakespeare and read about him and his plays, the thing that comes out most clearly to me is...Read more
One of the words in contention for the longest word in the English language is floccinaucinihilipilification (pronounce it flahk-si-naw-si-ni-hi-li-pi-li-fi-kay-shên). Words like floccinaucinihilipilification support my idea that word are more than just tools to describe what is around us but that people love to play with language—we celebrate the exuberance of words and use them not...Read more
I came across the Dunning–Kruger Effect recently. I got quite excited about it because it explains how some of those difficult conversations come about that you have with people who confidently state their views without anything resembling knowledge, experience or facts and how it sometimes can be difficult to deal with clients who don't understand...Read more