Ben Zimmer

Ben Zimmer appears in the following:

Ben Zimmer on Supercalifragilisticexpialodocious

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, tells the untold story behind the word "supercalifragilisticexpialodocious." He wrote about it in his latest Boston Globe column.

Comments [2]

Ben Zimmer on the Origin of the Word "Jazz"

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, will talk about the first known use of the word “jazz”—and its surprising link to baseball.

Comments [1]

The Words of 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wordsmith Ben Zimmer talks about the year in words—from "occupy" to "supercommittee" to "bunga bunga" to "tiger mother." He'll also look at some of the phrases, like "leading from behind" and "win the future" to tell us what the national vocabulary reveals about 2011. Ben Zimmer writes a biweekly language column for the Boston Globe and is the former "On Language" columnist for The New York Times Magazine. He's also executive producer of and

Let us know what your words of the year are! Leave a comment below!

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Decoding Your E-Mail Personality

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ben Zimmer, executive producer of and, and New York Times contributor, explains how forensic linguists try to detect "fingerprints" in e-mails and other digital writing. His article "Decoding Your E-Mail Personality" looks at the how it's done and what your e-mails and digital writing reveal about you.

Comments [9]


Friday, May 06, 2011

Tonya Gonella Frichner, president and founder of the American Indian Law Alliance, recent North American Regional Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, discuss the controversy over the use of an  American Indian hero, Geronimo, as the code-name for the Bin Laden operation. 

Comments [55]

True American Words: Our Hosts Test Their Knowledge

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ben Zimmer, Executive Producer of the Visual Thesaurus and is putting John and Celeste to the test by asking them to identify the real definition of words with truly American origins. Could you identify absquatulate, callithump and copacetic? If so, you might do well on producer Kristen Meinzer's quiz.

Here are the words with which Ben Zimmer tried to stump the hosts: absquatulate, callithump, copacetic, hornswoggle, lagniappe, rumbustious. Do you know what they mean?


Watson Won!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Language columnist for the New York Times Magazine Ben Zimmer and Stephen Baker, author of Final Jeopardy: Man vs Machine and the Quest to Know Everything  talk about how the IBM's super computer won last night on Jeopardy! and what it means when artificial beats human intelligence.

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Parsing the State of the Union

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ben Zimmer, "On Language" columnist for the New York Times and executive producer of Visual Thesaurus and, takes a closer look at some of the words and phrases that the president used in his State of the Union speech. Also, we get more insight into the president's smoked salmon joke from Niki Russ, fourth-generation co-owner of the Lower East Side fish shop staple Russ & Daughters, who explains the difference between smoked salmon and lox.

Comments [10]

Ben Zimmer on the Worst Words of 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ben Zimmer, New York Times magazine’s “On Language” columnist and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, discusses the worst words of 2010—from “enhanced pat down” to “anchor baby” to “mama grizzly.” We’ll be speaking with listeners about the words they hope disappear with the year’s end.

Leave a comment to share your nominations for the worst words of the year!

Comments [33]

Ngram Searching

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ben Zimmer, writer of the New York Times Magazine "On Language" column, plays with Google's new Ngram linguistic search tool and looks through lists of comparisons.

Post your suggestions from the Ngram search tool below

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Following Up: Presidential Second Languages

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ben Zimmer, On Language columnist for The New York Times, follows up on President Obama's knowledge of Indonesian with a discussion of other presidents' second languages.

Comments [7]

The 'World Wide Web' Turns 20 Today

Friday, November 12, 2010

The "World Wide Web" has become the central way most people interact with (and describe) the network of text and media on the internet. Twenty years ago today it was a temporary name given by British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee to an information management project he was working on. Ben Zimmer, linguist, lexicographer and “On Language” columnist for our partner, The New York Times Magazine, joins us to discuss how language describing the Web has evolved over the last two decades.


Ben Zimmer Refudiates Fake Words

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ben Zimmer, the On Language columnist for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, discusses recent invented words: from Sarah Palin’s recent use of the word “refudiate,” to words like "ginormous," which have become part of the popular lexicon. We’ll be taking calls!

What are some of your favorite—or least favorite—made up words? Tell us by leaving a comment!

Comments [59]

Following Up: Sheppard's Style; Old Timey Speech; Bumper Rules

Friday, July 16, 2010

Legendary announcer Bob Sheppard is being honored at Yankee Stadium today. We follow up on a particular quirk in his delivery. Ben Zimmer, writer of the "On Language" column in the NY Times Magazine, talks about Sheppard's voice and why people spoke so differently way back when. Plus, did Ronald Reagan really make your car's bumper less effective?

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Stories of unintended consequences -- from a psychologist who may have helped create a terrorist, to a toxic lake that spawned new life.

Comments [139]

What Should We Call the Oil Spill?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For more than two months, we've tracked news and developments of the Gulf oil spill. But is it technically a "spill?" The broken pipe is spilling (or gushing, or spewing, or leaking) as many as 30,000 to 60,000 gallons of oil a day. Is it time for some new terminology? What would you call the oil spill, and why?

Comments [24]

Word Play

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Linguist, lexicographer and the new "On Language" columnist for the New York Times Magazine Ben Zimmer talks about the latest in language.

→ Contest! How can you use today's buzz phrase "Top Kill" in a sentence?

Comments [7]

Talking about Language

Friday, March 19, 2010

Linguist, lexicographer and the new "On Language" columnist for the New York Times Magazine, Ben Zimmer, talks about the latest in political language and about how he'll approach taking over for the late William Safire, the founder of the "On Language" column.

Comments [38]

On the March

Friday, March 19, 2010

The House is set to vote on health reform this weekend. New York Times columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins discuss the messy politics around the final push for this legislation. And, day laborers from New York are marching en masse to Washington D.C. Hear what they want from Congress. ...

To Boo or Not To Boo?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Metropolitan Opera's production of La Sonnambula was booed recently by fans because of the postmodern staging by director Mary Zimmerman. Jessica Simpson was recently razzed for forgetting the lyrics to her songs. Today we ask whether booing is ever appropriate, and we find out about the origins of booing. ...

Comments [8]