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Allan Metcalf

Stories by this Author

  • Lingua Franca

    Kory Stamper, Lexicographer, Is Working On a New Book

    Allan Metcalf reports the latest news from the author of the acclaimed Word by Word.
  • Lingua Franca

    Eat These Words

    Allan Metcalf relishes a wide menu of origin stories about food and drink in the current issue of a scholarly journal on etymology that has never gone online.
  • Lingua Franca

    Is Donald Trump the Andrew Jackson of Our Time?

    Both shocked their adversaries, Jackson by his lack of formal education, Trump by his indifference to cultivated talk. Allan Metcalf looks for lessons in that history on Election Day.
  • Lingua Franca


    An immense group of people is walking across Mexico, drawing our attention as it draws ever closer. Allan Metcalf notes the power of caravan to evoke visions.
  • Lingua Franca

    2018, in a Word. But What Word?

    Allan Metcalf contemplates candidates for 2018’s Word of the Year (or phrase, as in some years). “Shouting head,” anyone? “Tweetstorm”?
  • Lingua Franca

    Got a Minute? How Long It Lasts Depends on Where You Are.

    Allan Metcalf examines the flexibility of 60 seconds.
  • Lingua Franca

    ‘Selfie’: One Word to Characterize a Generation

    Transparently both selfish and selfless, it is an almost perfect way to express the millennial attitude, says Allan Metcalf.
  • Lingua Franca

    From Criminal Slang to Modern Acceptability: ‘Kibosh’

    From the etymologist Gerald Cohen, Allan Metcalf learns why to stay out of range of the kibosh.
  • Lingua Franca

    To Each Their Own Language

    Everyone understands their own language a little differently. Could that assumption lead us to the anonymous White House blogger? Allan Metcalf explains why not.
  • Lingua Franca

    Who Is ‘Anonymous’? An Extraordinary Writer

    The linguist Allan Metcalf looks for clues to the author of the New York Times column on the administration’s anti-Trump cabal.