Word Matters is a show for readers, writers, and anyone who ever loved their English class. Join Merriam-Webster editors as they challenge supposed grammar rules, reveal the surprising origins behind words, tackle common questions, and generally geek out about the beautiful nightmare that is language.
O-N-O-M-A-T-O-P-O-E-I-A. The forming of a word in imitation of a sound.
First, we'll look at some words that first described a sound (like pop, or buzz) that then went on to describe completely different things (like pop, or buzz). Then, we'll get into the phenomenon known as back-formation, or, the creation of a word by the alteration of an existing word (like burgle from burglar). It leaves some people feeling less than gruntled.
Hosted by Emily Brewster, Neil Serven, Ammon Shea, and Peter Sokolowski.
Produced in collaboration with New England Public Media.
Transcript available here.
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