World’s Strangest

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Fun With Copyright Traps: 10 Hoax Definitions, Paper Towns and Other Things That Don’t Exist

Facts are hard to copyright—impossible, actually. This is problematic for people who deal in information; any reference material is factual, and therefore difficult to protect from dirty, lying thieves who want to steal your work. That’s where fictitious entries come in: facts become very easy to copyright when they aren’t true. These are people, places [...]

“Luck of the Irish” Is an Old Mining Expression

Erin McKean is the founder of Wordnik.com. She was the editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2e, and is the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, More Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That’s Amore (also about words). This is her first appearance on mental_floss if you don’t [...]

Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

Social networking on the internet has given us plenty of new words and terms (such as “social networking”), and the New Oxford American Dictionary is paying attention. The publishers announced that “unfriend” is their word of the year for 2009. unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such [...]