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Ben Zimmer
Works at The Wall St. Journal
Attended University of Chicago
1,963 followers|574,373 views
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Ben Zimmer

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It's that time of year when Hollywood rolls out "tentpole" movies. But how did they get that name? My new column for the +Wall Street Journal​: http://bit.ly/tentpole
The entertainment term “tentpole” has persisted over a century, describing theater, TV and film productions.
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Ben Zimmer

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If you opt your kids out from standardized testing, are you an opt-outer, opter-out, or opter-outer? My latest for the +Wall Street Journalhttp://bit.ly/optoutbz 
The phrase ‘opt out’ evokes controversies over school tests and vaccines—and poses a grammatical problem
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If even the copy editors are relenting on singular "they," has its time finally come? My latest for The +Wall Street Journal: http://bit.ly/theybz
Copy editors, dictionary officials and language experts seem to be coming around to using the gender-neutral ‘they’ in the singular, instead of ‘he or she.’
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My latest column for the +Wall Street Journal is on the backlash against "plus-size," a fashion term with roots in the '20s. http://bit.ly/plusbz #droptheplus
The backlash against “plus-size” is the latest wrinkle in the history of a term that dates back to the flapper era of the 1920s.
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Controversy over Eddie Redmayne's portrayal in "The Danish Girl" puts a spotlight on the term "cisgender." My latest for the +Wall Street Journal: http://bit.ly/cisbz
“Cisgender” and its variants are proliferating as sex-reassignment issues become more popular on cultural websites and pages.
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How "stylus" became a not-so-stylish word in the tech world. My latest for the +Wall Street Journal​: http://bit.ly/stylusbz
The makers of a new breed of smartphones and tablets are reinventing the stylus—but avoiding the word.
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Ben Zimmer

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On the 60th anniversary of the Bandung conference, I take a look at the rise and fall of the term "Third World" for the +Wall Street Journalhttp://bit.ly/3rdworldbz
Reports say the phrase ‘Third World’ had its start at a 1955 conference, but the words grew out of the work of French social scientists.
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Hillary Clinton is the latest in a long line of politicians to appeal to "everyday Americans." My latest for the +Wall Street Journalhttp://bit.ly/everydaybz
Once, ‘everyday’ was a pejorative word implying mediocrity. Now, politicians like Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul are reaching out to ‘everyday people.’
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The "glass ceiling," much in the news with Ellen Pao, may go back to Hewlett-Packard in the late '70s. My latest for the +Wall Street Journal​: http://bit.ly/glassbz
A possible start: a conversation between two women in 1979
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How "unicorn" became a less-than-magical label for billion-dollar startups. My latest for the +Wall Street Journal: http://bit.ly/unicornbz (If paywalled, Google for headline.)
The term unicorn used to refer to magical beasts. How did it come to describe a herd of young Silicon Valley companies?
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Heads up! My latest column for the +Wall Street Journal​ is on the military and baseball origins of the "heads-up" warning. http://bit.ly/headsupbz
The term “heads up,” used in recent tensions over Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, originated in the military and baseball.
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A new GOP breed: the "reformocon" (or is it "reformicon"?). My latest for the +Wall Street Journal: http://bit.ly/reformocon
A new word is describing reform-minded conservatives—‘reformocon,’ or ‘reformicon’—but people are disagreeing how to spell it.
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Have him in circles
1,963 people
Maria Wolters's profile photo
Edward Banatt's profile photo
Lê Xuân Cảnh's profile photo
wendy mccance's profile photo
Asif Shaikh's profile photo
Barine Sambaris's profile photo
Rahul Saraswat's profile photo
Mark Carson's profile photo
ahmed marey's profile photo
Work
Occupation
wordsmithery
Employment
  • The Wall St. Journal
    Word on the Street columnist, 2013 - present
  • Thinkmap
    Executive editor, Vocabulary.com and VisualThesaurus.com, 2008 - present
  • The Boston Globe
    The Word columnist, 2011 - 2013
  • The New York Times
    On Language columnist, 2010 - 2011
  • Oxford University Press
    Editor, American dictionaries, 2006 - 2008
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Benjamin Zimmer
Story
Tagline
language columnist, linguist, lexicographer, word nerd
Introduction
I'm executive editor of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal, former columnist for The Boston Globe and The New York Times Magazine,Language Logger, and Chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society.
Bragging rights
I made this Indonesian palindrome: "Aku suka rajawali, bapak. Apabila wajar, aku suka." ("I like hawks, sir. When appropriate, I like them.")
Education
  • University of Chicago
  • Yale University