Category Archives: Word reference

What do a bear, a wagon and a pan have in common?

They are popular names for the seven most well-known stars in the Ursa Major constellation, which becomes very prominent in the night sky at this time of year. This group of stars, a so-called asterism, has been known since ancient … Continue reading

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malarkey, icon, mamba, defund,…

What do these words have in common? They have all been buzzwords in 2020. According to Merriam-Webster, the well-known American English dictionary, these words were among the most popular look-ups during 2020: malarkey, meaning silly behaviour, was used by Joe … Continue reading

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Debatable dictionary practices

Recently Merriam-Webster came under pressure from an online campaign to change one of the example sentences in their online dictionary of English. After a short period of time the dictionary editors caved in and suppressed the disputed example (as reported … Continue reading

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Medical terms and abbreviations

On one of my first days working as a medical librarian at St. Charles Health System (Oregon), I received the following instructions: Please, can you check out a TNCC and an NRP book for Kayla? She is an RN in … Continue reading

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Juneteenth

Juneteenth, a portmanteau word derived from “June nineteenth”, is the anniversary of the proclamation in Texas on 19 June 1865 that freed the last slaves in the USA at the close of the Civil War. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 … Continue reading

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