Posted in: 2023

195. My Bonds and Mutual Funds Are Doing Great, but My Stonks Are Way Down

I’m solo today and the topic is the English language, specifically one of its very recent words: stonk. It’s a nice case study of one of the ways in which new words come into the language. First, they’re known by only a few people; then there’s a niche who know about the meme (if it was coined online, as stonk was); and then it starts to gain some acceptability (appears in dictionaries, for example).
Words We're Watching: The Story Behind "Stonks": Buying Low and Selling High in the Meme Market

What Meme Man Looks Like

Urban Dictionary


Memes Dictionary

Posted in: 2023

181. A Few More Words: Doomscrolling

I talk about the word doomscrolling and make some searches in dictionaries, in a linguistics corpus, and in Google advanced search to try to get an idea of when it first started being used. I end with a brief etymology of the very old word, doom itself.

Merriam-Webster: Words We’re Watching
“On ‘Doomsurfing’ and ‘Doomscrolling’”


NOW Corpus (News on the Web)

The Decibel
“The Problems with the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive”

Posted in: 2023

175. A Few More Words: Empath

I talk about this relatively new word in English, which actually has its origin in science fiction. The word follows a common pattern for words that start with a very specific meaning in a field or discipline, and then once they're in use in standard English they develop their own meanings and history. I wrap up by comparing it to the word schizophrenic, which has behaved similarly, but with a bit of a twist.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR)

Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

Dictionary of Psychopathology, by Henry Kellerman