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The Roots And Reasoning Behind ‘Boston Strong’

The phrase "Boston Strong" was one of the first rallying cries in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. T-shirts, posters and stickers were produced in a matter of hours after the events on April 15. (flickr/craig a michaud)

The phrase “Boston Strong” was one of the first rallying cries in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. T-shirts, posters and stickers were produced in a matter of hours after the events on April 15. (flickr/ craig a michaud)

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombings, two words have become famously associated with the city’s response: “Boston Strong.”  You see it and hear it everywhere — and it’s become a handy short-hand for defiance, solidarity and caring. But where does this verbal branding come from and what makes it so powerful?

Guests

Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com and the language columnist for The Boston Globe.

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The Boston Globe, “As a verbal meme, “Boston Strong” spread so quickly that it felt like a blooming organic force.”


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