Slut: The Other Four Letter S-Word

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Geoff Nunberg says the magic of metonymy helped propel the word "occupy" into the global consciousness. Douglas Araujo de Moura /Occuprint hide caption

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'Occupy': Geoff Nunberg's 2011 Word Of The Year

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A message honoring Steve Jobs is scrawled on a blacked-out window at an Apple store in Seattle.

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Steve, Myself And i: The Big Story Of A Little Prefix

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In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx (above) and Friedrich Engels used the German word Klassenkampfen, which translates as "class struggles." Their critics rendered it as "class warfare."

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Unlike Most Marxist Jargon, 'Class Warfare' Persists

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No Language Legacy: Where's The Sept. 11 Vocab?

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What The Word 'Compromise' Really Means

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Bad Apple Proverbs: There's One In Every Bunch

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If It Ain't Broke ... The word "broke" comes from an old use of the word break, meaning "impoverished," says linguist Geoff Nunberg. "It suggests an abiding association between destitution and destruction." iStockphoto.com hide caption

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'We're Broke': Empty Bank Accounts, Empty Meaning?

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Fox News Channel's Hannity, Jan. 17, 2011. FoxNews.com hide caption

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How Traumatic Events Change Our View Of Language

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The Year Of No: Geoff Nunberg declares "no" to be the 2010 word of the year. (In case you're curious, NPR wrote 1,640 articles featuring the word "no" in the past year.) Stephanie d'Otreppe/NPR hide caption

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Knowing Geoff Nunberg's 2010 Word Of The Year

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English novelist Jane Austen is known for her polished prose, but her handwritten manuscripts reveal some telling grammatical errors. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Was Jane Austen Edited? Does It Matter?

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Recently, people have invoked sensitivities to oppose the building of an Islamic center near ground zero (above) and to urge Glenn Beck to move his rally at the Lincoln Memorial — which took place on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Seth Wenig/AP Photo hide caption

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Maybe We All Need Some 'Sensitivity' Training

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Geoff Nunberg says that pop singers such as The Beatles and Elvis Costello may have visited wordplay from time to time -- but country music lives there. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Puns In Country Music Songs Done Right

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Sarah Palin's use of the nonword "refudiate" set off a storm of mockery -- and support -- among partisans. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Refudiate? Repudiate? Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

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A Twitter haiku / A tiny Internet thought / That people enjoy. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Haiku Takes To Twitter, 140 Characters At A Time

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