Adjectives are words, or phrases naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.

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What is the rule for adjective order?

I remember being taught that the correct order of adjectives in English was something along the lines of "Opinion-Size-Age-Color-Material-Purpose." However, it's been a long time and I'm pretty sure ...
72
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17answers
14k views

Is there a word for “air can pass through it”?

If light can pass through an object, or if you can see through it, it is transparent. Is there a similar word for "air can pass through", or you can breathe through an object? This adjective would be ...
65
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9answers
12k views

Why is the word “Holy” used before swear words?

People usually use the word "Holy" before "Shit", "Crap" or any other bad words to express their feelings, like surprise, anger, etc. Is there any reason why the word "Holy" is used with these bad ...
63
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13answers
12k views

Is there a polite alternative to “No thanks, I'm full”?

English is not my native language, but when I was studying in the US, I was always trying to find an alternative to I'm full! I felt that it was a very improper way to express that I have eaten ...
59
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10answers
7k views

What's the difference between the adjectives “strategic” and “tactical”?

I recently read this sentence: It was a strategic move rather than a tactical one. I have trouble interpreting it. Can someone help?
59
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5answers
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“More clear” vs “Clearer”: when to use “more” instead of “-er”?

Which one of these adjectives is correct? I can see that both of them are being used, I'm just not sure which one is grammatically correct. Are there any general rules to follow as to the use of one ...
57
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15answers
25k views

When to use “nude” and when “naked”

The question is quite clear. Is there any difference (semantically or connotationally, if that's a word) between nude and naked? Nude seems more formal to me, but I'm not quite sure. Interesting: ...
52
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10answers
8k views

Grammatically correct sentence where “you're” and “your” can be interchanged? [closed]

Most grammar checkers are capable of detecting the the misuse of "your" and "you're"; providing the necessary correction. I'm curious though, is there any sentence that can be constructed where ...
51
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20answers
39k views

Is there a word to describe someone who tends to disagree with others only to upset them?

What's the word to describe someone who acts arrogantly and always disagrees with others unreasonably in order to upset people around him/her? [I'm not looking for adjectives like unpleasant, ...
48
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2answers
2k views

What is the etymology of “yellow”, and why is it so different in other European languages?

It seems like most of our names for colors come from our German roots (blue/blau, green/grün, red/rot, etc.). But yellow is gelb in German, amarillo in Spanish, jaune in French, and giallo in Italian. ...
44
votes
6answers
19k views

How long can you say “the late so and so”?

When you refer to the deceased, you say "the late so and so." How long can you say that? Is JFK referred to as the late John F. Kennedy? How about Abraham Lincoln?
44
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9answers
64k views

What is the difference between “complicated” and “complex”?

I can't understand: what's the difference between complicated and complex? They seem to be used interchangeably. Are they actually different at all?
43
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5answers
2k views

My shoes can't think; how can they be sensible?

Recently as some of us were getting ready to take a walk through the snow, somebody said to me "you're wearing sensible shoes". Now my shoes haven't developed cognitive abilities so far as I know ...
41
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8answers
10k views

Oil is slippery; rubber is _____?

What's the best word (or words) to describe rubber's 'gripping' property that is the opposite of oil's slipperiness? It's not 'rough', since rubber grips without necessarily being rough.
39
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5answers
26k views

What is the difference between “illicit” and “illegal”?

What is the difference between "illicit" and "illegal"? Are they just synonymous? Used in different contexts?
37
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16answers
6k views

What is a word for a person who uses resources to the maximum?

Is there a word (or words) for a person who uses all resources to the maximum; for example, a person who keeps on using pencils even if they are very small?
36
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5answers
4k views

Is “the girls are want to gossip” correct?

Is this the correct use and placement of want? The girls in the office are want to gossip. Does anyone have a reference citing this use?
36
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8answers
20k views

X, Y, Z — horizontal, vertical and …?

When working in a 2D coordinate system you could say that X is the horizontal axis and Y is the vertical axis. Extending this to 3D, is there a similar word for the Z axis? (I'm aware of Width, ...
34
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10answers
8k views

One word - someone so scared that he can't move [closed]

I am not able to find an appropriate word to fill in for "scared". He was so scared, he couldn't move. He turned to stone. He was too shocked. He almost turned to stone and could not move. ...
34
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3answers
2k views

Why is “hysterical” applied to women but rarely to men?

hysterical :  affected by or deriving from wildly uncontrolled emotion, Janet became hysterical and began screaming. Why is the adjective hysterical usually applied to women and ...
34
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9answers
3k views

Why is anyone in a porn movie considered a porn star?

Recently, the media made a big deal about Charlie Sheen dating a porn star. It seems that anyone who is in a porn movie is referred to as a porn star. The same is not true of anyone in a normal movie. ...
34
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3answers
6k views

Why are not “infamous” and “inflammable” the opposite of “famous” and “flammable”?

Why are not infamous and inflammable the opposite of famous and flammable, like incomplete, inactivity, inappropriate and so on?
33
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18answers
9k views

Is there a word for being so polite as to appear insincere?

I'm looking for a term in English to describe being so polite that one appears to be insincere.
31
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11answers
8k views

What's a negative word for “subtle”?

I'm trying to describe software bugs that are hard to track down due to the mistake (introduced by the developer) being a very subtle one. "when these errors manifest they do so in a ...
31
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5answers
6k views

Winter — wintry; summer — summery; spring — ?; autumn — ?

wintry: characteristic of winter, esp. in feeling or looking very cold and bleak: "a wintry landscape". summery: belonging to or characteristic of or occurring in summer; "summery weather"; ...
31
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9answers
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How do you handle “that that”? The double “that” problem

Have you ever had a case where you felt compelled to include strange things like a double that in a sentence? If so, then what did you do to resolve this? For me, I never knew whether it was ...
30
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10answers
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What “Extravagant culture” could be used as an antonym to “Spartan”?

"Spartan" is an adjective derived from Sparta, an ancient Greek city-state famous for its austerity. The adjective is used today to mean basic and minimal. I'm looking for an antonym, i.e. a culture ...
30
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3answers
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“Maximum” vs. “maximal”

What is the difference in usage between maximum and maximal? When would you use one or the other? Maximum can be a noun or an adjective: This is the maximum it can be set to. This is the ...
28
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23answers
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Adjective describing a person who has lots of children, not “fertile”

Is there a single adjective that means "this person has lots of children"? Context: I'm not actually talking about a person. I'm talking about a data structure in a computer program, where objects ...
28
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3answers
4k views

Why “daily” and not “dayly”?

Checking how adjectives related to time are created, I see: year → yearly month → monthly week → weekly day → daily Why has “day” derivated into “daily” with an ‘i’ instead of “dayly” with a ‘y’? ...
27
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10answers
5k views

Adjective that means “snake-like”

If bovine means related to the cow or ox, what is the word that means related to the snake?
27
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8answers
2k views

Are “disgraceful” and “ungraceful” two different kinds of negations?

"Disgraceful" and "ungraceful" are both derived from negations of "graceful". Wiktionary describes disgraceful as bringing or warranting disgrace; shameful. giving offense to moral sensibilities ...
27
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9answers
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Single word for people who are like “a frog in the well”

Is there a single word describing someone who is like a frog in a well? The frog believes the well is the entire world. How can I describe people who think that their own small environment is the ...
26
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15answers
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A word for: someone who is easy to talk to

I want to convey the idea that such and such person is very easy to talk to. I know that: 'talk to-able' is not a word, obviously. I can always say, "He is very easy to talk to." But I am looking ...
25
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17answers
7k views

Noun for “person with intermediate skill”

I'm looking for the noun form of "person with intermediate skill". For example, in the context of a particular activity, "person with no skill" might be designated a novice, and "person with much ...
25
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5answers
15k views

Why is it “your Majesty”, but “my Lord”?

Why is it "your Majesty", but "my Lord"?
25
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4answers
4k views

“Bad with something” or “bad at something”?

In a question on Spanish.StackExchange, a question came up about expressing that you are bad at remembering or doing something. Is one "bad at something" or "bad with something" (nouns)? What about ...
23
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20answers
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Is there a word that means cheating but legitimate?

Is there a word that means cheating and legitimate at the same time? For example: I play a quiz game and set the number of questions to one. So, I get 100% of my answers correct. That's cheating, ...
23
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24answers
7k views

What do you call someone who thinks everyone is incompetent (doesn't know anything)?

I'm looking for a way to describe someone who thinks everyone is incompetent (that is, doesn't know anything) and always has to explain every minute (small) detail because his perception of the ...
23
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8answers
2k views

What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized?

What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized? I have been using unmaximized, but I feel there is a more precise way.
23
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7answers
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Is a lengthy combination of words with hyphens like “the worst not-technically-in-a-recession year in American history” a new fashion of writing?

I found a hyphenated word , “not-technically–in-a-recession” in the sentence of September 28 New York Times’ article titled “Why Obama Is Winning,” written by co-ed columnist, Ross Douthat. It reads: ...
22
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19answers
6k views

What is a word for annoying behavior which decreases enjoyment for the other players in a game?

I'm looking for a word which describes an annoying behavior that decreases the overall quality of a game or match, specifically in online gaming (Halo, Call of Duty, etc.) The behavior, while not ...
22
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7answers
3k views

Treacle is viscous; alcohol is ____?

What's the best adjective to describe the low viscosity of liquids such as water and alcohol? One that came to mind is 'runny', but then some honeys are runny, despite actually being inherently ...
22
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8answers
1k views

What is a better way to name “The Wrong Question”?

On StackOverflow.com I often find that people ask questions about problems that arise due to poor design choices (typically due to a lack of knowledge about the particular programming language). For ...
22
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5answers
17k views

“Extensible” vs. “extendible”

Where does the adjective form extensible come from and does it connote anything different than extendible? What's the difference, if any, between the two?
22
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3answers
1k views

Possessive of a word that is already possessive

If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say "I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services"? It doesn't look right, ...
21
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7answers
2k views

Why “Greater Toronto” rather than “Great Toronto”

Many big cities have their names preceded by Greater. Why not just Great? Does Greater indicate that the city is ambitious to expand itself? Why is Greater not used for country names such as Great ...
21
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7answers
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Difference between “the very first” and “first”

I have the sentence: Who wrote the very first dictionary ever? Is it any different from Who wrote the first dictionary ever? I don't get how something could be more first.
21
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4answers
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Is the adjective “abject” ever found with any word other than “poverty”? Does it mean something other than “very” or “utterly”?

Reading over an answer at the Skeptics StackExchange, it occurred to me that I had never really seen the adjective abject used with any other word other than poverty. Has abject become inexorably ...
21
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6answers
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What would you call a pleading before a judge or God [closed]

Is there a noun or adjective for the following or similar: a pleading before a judge for clemency a prayer before God begging for mercy Is there a better word than "begging", "pleading", ...