The Culture In a Word

  • In a Word When plump was a pleasing word

    It was only at the turn of the 20th century that a high enough proportion of Westerners had so much food that thinness resulting from self-denial became the standard of beauty. 

  • In a Word Can the punniest also be the funniest?

    Why, as John Pollack writes in “The Pun Also Rises,” do we consider puns “the lowest form of humor?”

  • In a Word Must Dennis be a dentist?

    A group of psychologists recently published a paper claiming that nominative determinism actually works. They found that men named Dennis were more likely to be dentists, the theory being that 'people choose – or are unconsciously drawn to – careers that resemble their own names.'

  • In a Word Can comity and Comey coexist?

    The US Senate is – or was – strongly associated with ideals of comity. Many of the recent articles about former FBI Director James Comey, however, suggest that Senate comity is under threat or already destroyed.    

  • In a Word Exactly how often is that?

    Even if you decide to make a firm distinction between bi- and semi-, these words are used so interchangeably that it’s still confusing.


Photos of the Week 0618 Photos of the week

A crew member hugs a migrant child aboard the Aquarius rescue ship before disembarking in the port of Valencia, Spain, June 17.

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