Thursday, June 5, 2014

Okay! or not OK? Either way, I love a good word origin story

I love, love, love this CBS broadcast about the history of the word Okay. OK?

Speaking of a storied past, a list recently circulated by a friend (thanks, Lisa!) highlights the history of several other words and phrases that could contribute racist undertones to everyday speech. While communication is always improved by using the just-right word (meaning, consider connotation and denotation), I think there's something else to point out:

Often, a word's origin is a solid hook on which to hang a history lesson.

Now that school's out for the summer, why not delve into a few moldy old words and see what you can dig up about the past? It could put a whole new spin on your communications.

Avoid Marketing Communications Missteps 

This belongs in the Well, Duh column, but is worth mentioning: When you're updating your company website, managing a corporate blog or social media campaign, or involved in any marketing communications activities, you'll certainly want to watch your words and know their histories. I love to say it, because it's so true: words should work for you, not against you.

Word Wayback Machines

Word origin teasers from Oxford Dictionaries
The history of Call Me Maybe, and what's a photocopier?
Etymonline had me at "wheel ruts" of modern English

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