The prevalence of the McWord

We’ve all heard one variety or another. When the great anti-nutrition factory, McDonald’s, began naming lots of its products with a Mc prefix, the floodgates were opened. There’s a McMuffin, a McFeast, even a McCafe for lovers of truly awful coffee. Here in Australia...

Coca no more

Bolivian coca farmers are trying to pressure one of the world’s largest companies to abandon one of the world’s most recognisable brands. Bolivia is rewriting its constitution and wants to re-establish the standing of the humble coca leaf to its religious and cultural...

Strange annotation

It’s been pointed out to me that a number of posts here at The Word are coming out a bit strangely when the site is viewed through Internet Explorer 7. There are occasional !–[if !supportEmptyParas]– type things cropping up.I don’t know why...

World changing words in Sydney

Every once in a while a book comes along that really changes the world. I’m not talking about publishing phenomenons like the Harry Potter books or John Grisham’s superselling novels. I’m talking about a book that stops the world in its tracks and makes everyone...

The Lady Mondegreen

An ongoing series of letters in the Sydney Morning Herald recently has been discussing the strange words people think they hear in verse and songs. It all started with one person asking what ‘gibbous’ meant, in reference to a gibbous moon. (To put that to rest early,...