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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Are the rhetorical meanings of “elliptic”, “hyperbolic”, and “circular” connected to their mathematical meanings?

The words "elliptic", "parabolic" (or "like a parable"), "hyperbolic", and "circular" all have meaning in rhetoric. Are these meanings etymologically connected to the conic sections?
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“Unconscious” versus “nonconscious” in everyday dialogue

These words have subtle distinctions in related research fields, but even there are often considered interchangeable or just an matter of tradition/trendiness in a particular field. Since I am a bit ...
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5answers
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Argentine or Argentinian?

I was taught in my school days that Argentine was the correct adjective for something relating to the country Argentina. However, these days, even in common speech (but moreover in formal English on ...
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6answers
441 views

What is a gentler word than “suspended” or “closed”?

What word can show that an action is redeemable? Is there a synonym for closed/suspended that connotes a chance at redemption?
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What is the superlative of “fun”? [closed]

I've seen funniest a few times in that context, but isn't that a derivation of funny? Is there a superlative of fun or do we really use funniest for the lack of one?
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8answers
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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 ...
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3answers
186 views

“Political magazine” or “politics magazine”

Which is more grammatically correct? London's first political magazine London's first politics magazine
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3answers
4k views

Increasingly + positive or increasingly + comparative?

For instance, would you rather say "It became increasingly hard" or "It became increasingly harder"? From my understanding, both are possible, but their meaning is slightly different. The first ...
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Difference between “valuable” and “invaluable” [closed]

Invaluable intuitively seems to imply a higher degree of importance. Please explain the difference between valuable and invaluable and in what context you'd use one or the other.
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6answers
362 views

How to Say Something was 'Not an Improvement'

There is a mother, Ann, who has a stereotypical 'good' personality: she is religious, a teacher, and a very generous lady. Her daughter, Emily, isn't the nicest lady: she whines a lot, insults ...
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3answers
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What is the difference between “pliable” and “pliant”?

I am confused between pliable and pliant. What's the difference? The explanation in the Oxford Dictionary seems vague: pliable 1. easily bent; flexible [quality leather is ...
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6answers
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Are the rules regarding absolute modifiers too absolute?

A common grammar lesson that was taught to me in the US and that I've had to teach abroad in EFL classrooms is that we're not to use adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers, just as we're not ...
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1answer
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Usage of “cowardly” and “coward”

I recently discovered that cowardly, which looks like an adverb, is actually also an adjective. So far so good. Then what is the difference between cowardly and coward, and is there any preferential ...
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1answer
456 views

What's it called when you make an adjective post-positive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify? In English, adjectives usually precede the nouns they describe, as in "organic carrots". However, in some cases ...
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2answers
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Does “flattered” have a negative meaning in this context?

When I finished my business trip, my customer unexpectedly invited me to his home for dinner. Can I say "I am flattered" to show my unexpectation of their kindness? And what else can I say in this ...
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3answers
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“Unexplainable” vs “Inexplicable”

What is the difference between unexplainable and inexplicable? Are they exact synonyms or are there situations where one is preferred over the other? Is unexplainable a clumsy modern variant ...
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2answers
167 views

Are “misty-eyed” and “misty” interchangeable?

Today, I came across a pair of sentences using these terms: And while people may get misty-eyed about the "open web", or the "neutral net", this kind of utopianism was always naive in the extreme. ...
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3answers
159 views

Is “obscure” the same as “undocumented”?

I posted a question on another SE site that was quickly closed due to issues irrelevant to my current question. My question was about an "obscure" behavior of a programming language called Python. ...
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17answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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Is “uncomplete” a word? [closed]

Or would I just use incomplete? Would there be any instance that one would uncomplete?
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What are the adjective counterparts for “sense” and “sensibility”?

What are the adjective counterparts for "sense" and "sensibility" as in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility? Would the one for "sensibility" be "sensible"? What is the one for "sense"? Does it have ...
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2answers
4k views

Difference between “notable” and “noteworthy”

Which would be more appropriate in this case? I currently do not have any affiliation that would be notable in the context of this election I currently do not have any affiliation that would ...
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5answers
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Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify?

Right now I can only think of one instance in which this regularly occurs. The adjective proper is sometimes placed after the noun it modifies, e.g: Reptilia: A class of cold-blooded oviparous or ...
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7answers
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Do “asymmetric” and “dissymmetric” have different meaning?

I get that usually a- (or un-) and di- prefixes mean different things, e.g. uninterested and disinterested. However, both asymmetric and dissymmetric refer to the lack of symmetry (which the NOAD ...
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3answers
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A positive alternative to “smelling” to describe something with a pleasant odor

When one hears that something smells, one would generally assume that it smells bad. Isn't there a word which wouldn't bring to mind the idea of a bad odor? For example, how would you describe ...
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10answers
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Difference between “I'm fine” and “I'm good”

When my coworker in the US asks me "How are you?" I usually answer "I'm fine", but the last time I told him "I'm good" and he replied "I'm glad to hear that". It looks like "I'm fine" means "I'm OK" ...
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Adjective for “Visual Cacophony”

What is an adjective that describes something very visually crowded or busy? Cacophonous is perfect, but it describes sound.
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3answers
185 views

What is “outbearded”?

I was reading Scott's Woodstock the other day, and came upon the word outbearded. Searching with Google reveals nothing relevant and I am wondering what it means. The context is that Everard and a ...
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2answers
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Is “subtle” a positive, neutral or/and negative word?

I wonder whether subtle is a positive, neutral or/and negative word? Looking up its definition, it seems that the word means things unclear for good reason. For example, I  wonder if subtle can ...
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6answers
397 views

How do you say 'self-important' when applied to a group of people?

I am writing a text about how the team "Leopard Trek" (Tour de France) is perceived by people in Luxembourg as a 'luxembourgish' team, even though it has an international roster of multiple countries. ...
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5answers
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“Demonstratable” — a dictionary word, or just a well known hack?

Someone has just pointed out a mis-spelling on my site - demonstratable, as in "demonstratable experience of...". I can't see it in the New Oxford American Dictionary or the Oxford Dictionary of ...
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3answers
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What is the adjective form of “turmoil”?

What is the adjective form of "turmoil"? Might it be "turbulent"? I have a feeling that that isn't it, though.
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3answers
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Is there any adjective synonymous to “to the point”?

Is there any adjective synonymous to "to the point"? For example, "Jack's and Jill's answers are quite to-the-point, but Mary's answer is the most-to-the-point one" EDIT: A better example: ...
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1answer
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Is “what a badass of a barber!” correct?

If one wants to informally exclaim about the excellence of someone, say a barber, using the word badass, should one say "What a badass of a barber!"? Or is "What a badass barber!" more correct? Are ...
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Use of a comma within a descriptive phrase

In the sentence "Their work involves commercial solar heating systems," should there be a comma after the word "commercial"? These are solar heating systems for commercial use as opposed to private ...
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1answer
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What is an appropriate word for a third-tier item (primary, secondary, …)? [closed]

If a first-tier item is called primary, and a second-tier item is called secondary, what can third, and greater, -tier items be called?
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6answers
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“Optimal” vs. “ideal”

I was wondering when to use which because both optimal and ideal convey the same meaning to me. For e.g., comparing these two usages: This is the optimal temperature for the machine to work ...
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4answers
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“Nose” is to “nasal” as “ear” is to what?

If the adjective relating to the nose is nasal then what is the adjective relating to the ear? I don't think it's "aural". I think it begins with ot-.
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2answers
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How to use the words ending with “-ly”?

First question: in the grammar world, where do the -ly ended words belong? Second question: how to use them correctly? Rarely (oops!), if ever, I get myself using -ly ended words in my writing. I'm ...
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2answers
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Any adjectives for the noun 'Renaissance'?

I have a blog titled 'Renaissance' which means revival of art and literature. I was keen on slightly changing the title of the blog by adding a proper adjective to the noun 'renaissance' but I could ...
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Adjective describing things that can be given value

Some things are valuable, i.e. they are of great worth or appreciated for whatever reason. Some other things, however, are not valuable at all to start with, but we can assign value to them by ...
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2answers
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Which adjectives can describe verbs?

Certain nouns can also be verbs, i.e. run or play. Some adjectives can be applied to both forms of such a word, by switching the positioning: Run fast Fast run Play clean Clean play ...
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Adjective defining a property of an object that is possessed by many of those objects

Is there a word defining an object's property possessed by many similar objects? Something like this: Tommy bought a red balloon at the circus. Many kids have red balloons there. Hence ballon's ...
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8answers
432 views

How to express misusing a tool

I am not a native English speaker. I was wondering how to express the situation in which one uses a tool for something other than what it was meant to be, and in a bad way so that you are not doing ...
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Adjective describing the “finiteness” of something

I'm trying to find another term which means "finiteness". To me, it sounds too clumsy. Part of my mind gesticulates wildly toward a "-cy" suffix word to describe this, like "captaincy" or "valency"... ...
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1answer
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Usage of “infinities”

What is the usage of the word infinities? Is the term infinite infinities correct, and how is it used?
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Term for “constantly unsatisfied soul”

Is there a single word or phrase which can describe a person who is always slightly unsatisfied? Update: To provide more context, This person is slightly unsatisfied with all things of life. Does too ...
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5answers
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Use of “completely rubbish”

I notice that it is rubbish means it is bad, but can we say it is completely rubbish meaning it is completely bad in everyday English? Do native speakers of English say that, other than the obviously ...
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Adjectives that do not have predicative position

I've read somewhere that some adjectives cannot be used in the predicative position; for example "this is a major problem" is acceptable, but "the problem is major" is not acceptable. I'm wondering ...
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Meaning of “be brought low”

Context (New York Times), The episode has been a sobering lesson in how even an agency that carries some 350,000 passengers over 104 miles of track every workday can be brought low by a seemingly ...