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Gift, 38, attributes her attitude toward renegade plants to a grandmother, Clara Choate Gift, who taught her to love wildflowers; and to an interview more than two decades ago with Wendell Berry. Gift was a Henry Clay High School student at the time. Berry, the celebrated Henry County, Ky. For an English class assignment, Gift went to talk to him about writing.

Design a Simple Life

She got an earful about sustainability. That advice has stayed with her.

'Pale' in 'Beyond the Pale'

A lawn healthy enough to support weeds is, if necessary, healthy enough to grow food. She also is concerned about the health effects of lawn chemicals on humans. But instead of trying to scare us with herbicide horror stories, she encourages us to get to know weeds as individuals — some good, others not so much.

Weeds Quotes

Gift knows her weeds. And she doesn't love them all. In the book, she describes hacking at a multiflora rose and spraying poison ivy. She pulls exotic garlic mustard with relish while letting native mustards be. Once upon a time, she said, grass seed routinely had some clover seed mixed in.

Wiz Khalifa: I've Been Arrested for Weed 21 Times

It killed clover but not grass, so the seed companies started promoting clover as an undesirable — a weed. Gift has come a long way since high school. Consider the comments on our definition of the word chillax definition " slang : to calm down : relax" :.

The Word on Weeds

Believe it or not, many words accepted as Standard English today were previously considered to be slang. We need only look at the pages of a dictionary that was published at the same time that Driggs was inveighing against this dastardly strain of language: [Merriam Webster's Third Collegiate Dictionary. The Third Collegiate , published in , contained 97, headwords, including a hefty dose of slang. Whether you find these words to be acceptable is a personal decision, but note: not a single one of them is labeled as slang in our dictionary today.

The Word on Weeds

It raises the question of whether some of the more recent slang additions — legit , dis , stoked , crappy , and many others — might someday gain acceptance as proper English. Or will these words always be disputed as "language weeds"? In light of the changing views we have of the slang of a century ago, it is at least possible that in people will look back at these disputes and say, "chillax.

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Some imitative words are more surprising than others. How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts.


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The awkward case of 'his or her'. Test your visual vocabulary with our question challenge! On Contractions of Multiple Words.