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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
3answers
11k views

What does “dorsal” mean? [closed]

I'm having trouble with the adjective "dorsal", as different authorities have seemingly conflicting opinions. Tortora and Derrickson write in Principles of Anatomy and Physiology that the adjective ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

'Potential' as an adjective

Here is one of those things that I have simply never thought about until recently. I have a friend who speaks English as a second language and so still has a few overhanging errors in his speech; One ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Hyphenation in compound adjectives [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: To hyphenate or not? When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word? When is it appropriate to use a hyphen? In the sentence "Portland is known to ...
9
votes
5answers
41k views

Difference between “close” and “near”

What is the difference between the adjectives close and near? Are they totally synonymous? Is there some nuance that I'm missing? As a native speaker of Spanish, I can't see any difference, since ...
5
votes
1answer
191 views

Castleford dialect

I have recently heard the following from young children originating from Castleford, West Yorkshire: Yourn, meaning yours, hern, meaning hers, arn, meanig ours Could this be related to the ...
43
votes
3answers
42k views

“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 ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What's a gay transsexual woman?

I know how it sounds but it's a serious question. I saw an article title about it on the Guardian today. If someone tells you that a person is a "gay transsexual woman", is it possible, logically, to ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Good and bad - suppletive adjectives

In English, there are three suppletive adjectives: good, bad and far. Their comparative and superlative forms derive from different stems, i.e., we have best instead of *goodest, worse instead of ...
3
votes
2answers
756 views

Meaning of “mints”

Context (New York Times), MINTS An organic fudge brownie awaits you in the room, along with a personalized welcome letter... First, I'm not sure if I'm on the right track or not (I'm wondering ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

If I change the part containing “conceivably”, does this sentence still have the same meaning?

I found a sentence in my programming book: Note that the delimiter does not have to be a bracket and could be conceivably any character. If I extracted the part: could be conceivably any ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Word meaning “two paragraphs previous”

Is there a word that can be used to mean two previous places? I want to reference something two paragraphs ago; former would work if it was only one before, and I cannot use penultimate because it may ...
1
vote
2answers
184 views

Meaning of “sharp”

Context (New York Times): Still, rooms were large by the city’s pint-size standards, service was sharp, and for the moment, they offer some of the best values around. Does sharp here mean ...
0
votes
3answers
340 views

A word similar to lofty [closed]

I'm looking for an adjective that means lofty, intangible, hard to incorporate into every day life, not down-to-earth. It would describe an idea or concept. ETA: Example of sentence I would use it ...
1
vote
1answer
249 views

What is the meaning of ‘something blind’?

The phrase “Something ugly, slimy, and blind” is confusing me. Here are my questions. What does the 'blind' part mean? Is ‘something blind’ a special expression? (For I couldn’t find its example in ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Why does ‘you’re on’ mean ‘I agree’?

One dictionary says ‘you’re on’ is used tell someone that you accept a bet or an invitation to compete against them. Then why does it use ‘you’ instead of ‘I’? What’s the ‘on’? In terms of the ...
9
votes
3answers
49k views

“Next Friday” vs. “This Friday” [duplicate]

Duplicate: What day is next Tuesday? I have always considered next Friday to be not this coming Friday, but the one after. This Friday is the Friday at the end of this week. I have a ...
2
votes
5answers
4k views

What's the opposite of “dogmatic”?

I'm trying to describe an approach that doesn't just blindly follow established opinion, but seeks validation through experimentation. Any ideas?
10
votes
3answers
524 views

Do listeners understand different adjective orders?

I found Adjective order, but I keep wondering if listeners actually understand what I mean when I don't follow that order. For example, if I say, "a lovely long white coat," I may change it to "a long ...
1
vote
1answer
681 views

Is ‘eclectic bunch’ trendy instead of simply saying ‘a group of different types of constituents'?

I found the words ‘eclectic bunch’ in the following sentence of a New York Times (July 29, 2011) article reporting increase in foraging in city parks, which is titled ‘Enjoy Park Greenery, City Says, ...
1
vote
1answer
229 views

Does ‘magnificent head’ sometimes mean ‘magnificent hair’?

While searching the Net, ‘magnificent head’ shows me a lot of lion’s heads, but I found ‘a woman with a magnificent head’ in a book. “Fleur Delacour, though she demonstrated excellent use of the ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Differences between “different”, “divergent”, “disparate” and “distinct”

What are the differences between different, divergent, disparate and distinct?
7
votes
7answers
15k views

“Ineffectual” vs “ineffective”

Skeptics argue that these kinds of initiatives are doomed to remain perennially peripheral and ineffectual. Intuitively, changing ineffectual to ineffective in the sentence above seems to ...
1
vote
0answers
179 views

Is there a difference between “elfish” and “elvish”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When to use “Elven”, “Elvish” and “Elfic”? The dictionary seems to think that they are the same. Here are their definitions: ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

A word that means "un-waning''

I wanted to use the word "unwaning" (or, perhaps, un-waning), as in "for his unwaning enthusiasm". However, no decent (online) dictionary I've consulted seems to recognize it. What other word would ...
2
votes
1answer
699 views

Usage of “contributive” vs. “contributory”

Which of the two is more correct? contributory capacity or contributive capacity (referred to the capacity of a province in ancient Mesopotamia to contribute to state demand for foodstuffs)
4
votes
5answers
3k views

“Multiple different” or “different” or “multiple”

I have seen a lot of people using multiple different when only different or multiple would have conveyed the meaning just as well. Is this correct usage? I know that sometimes doubling the words is ...
1
vote
4answers
508 views

What does 'a beautifully-proportioned room' mean?

“Oh I would never dream of assuming I know all Hogwarts’ secrets, Igor,” said Dumbledore amicably. “Only this morning, for instance, I took a wrong turning on the way to the bathroom and found ...
16
votes
7answers
21k views

What does “canonical” mean?

Sometimes I read a sentence containing the word canonical, but I cannot find appropriate meaning of the word. For example, in this link: Returns a canonical representation for the string object. ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Looking for an adjective describing a system with small number of assumptions (or rules)

I am looking for a word that can be used to describe a system (or a model) with a small number of rules or assumptions. For example, the number of grammatical rules in Japanese is much lower than in ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Can 'repeat' be an adjective?

I was sure the word 'repeat' could be an adjective; for example, the phrase "repeat performance" describes a performance that is repeated. To my surprise, however, the Random House dictionary and ...
6
votes
1answer
50k views

“Simpler” or “More Simple” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “More clear” vs “Clearer”, when to use “more” instead of “-er” Which of these two terms is correct? If they are both ...
17
votes
5answers
23k views

What does “pneumatic” mean when applied to a person?

For example, in this review of the movie Unknown, Mark Kermode refers to Liam Neeson's character's wife as being played by "X-Men's pneumatic January Jones". I'm never quite sure whether this refers ...
1
vote
1answer
7k views

Abbreviation for “so-called”

In German there is an abbreviation for so genannt, which is sog. Is there a known popular abbreviation for the equivalent so-called in English?
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Interpretation of “Are you engaged?”

What's the meaning for engage in the conversation below: Are you engaged, Margaret? Of course I'm not. Why do you ask, Nicholett? I only wanted to practice my English. Oh, I see. You want to ...
4
votes
11answers
2k views

What's the inverse of “scalable” — capable to be broken down further and further?

If something is scalable that means that the project is able to operate as it gets bigger. What's the inverse of this? Suppose I have something that is big, but it can be broken down into subsections ...
14
votes
6answers
39k views

An adjective for “able to see the big picture”

Is there a formal word to describe someone who sees not just the particulars, but also the bigger picture?
1
vote
3answers
660 views

What does “a slightly overblown cartoon figure” mean?

“Harry! Good-o!” said Bagman happily, looking around at him. “Come in, come in, make yourself at home!” Bagman looked somehow like a slightly overblown cartoon figure, standing amid all the ...
3
votes
6answers
587 views

Is the word “single” necessary to be added when specifying a thing?

I think the word single is not necessary because the article a or an has done the job. So the phrase "a single object" should be simplified as "an object". What do you think?
14
votes
4answers
74k views

“Pricey” vs. “Pricy”

I've recently encountered these two variations of the spellings for the informal word for "expensive." My dictionary and the online dictionary seem to indicate that both of these spellings are ...
2
votes
1answer
171 views

“Are you happier?”

I was reading an English book. This is a snippet of a conversation below: But please tell us... do you like your job? Are you happier? I am confused at happier. Why not use happy?
3
votes
10answers
8k views

What other word can we use in place of “helpless”

I am looking for an English word I can use sometimes in place of helpless. I have the word in my language, but I am not able to find it in English. The word which we say sometimes if we feel that we ...
2
votes
3answers
828 views

Adjective for not first but either second, third, fourth, etc

What is an adjective for something that is not first but either second, third, fourth, etc? We don't need to know what position it is at; the only thing that matters is that it's not the first one. ...
6
votes
5answers
15k views

What is a good substitute for “echoey”?

As in "an echoey room". People do use this word in speech, but it isn't proper in writing. I thought of "echoing", but that implies that something is currently making an echo, whereas what I'm ...
2
votes
7answers
9k views

Better than premium

Is there something higher (better) than the word premium, or does it mean the best? Also, is there something in between premium and deluxe? Graphically: Does any word fit here? > Premium > Does any ...
41
votes
5answers
41k 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?
4
votes
4answers
945 views

How to write dashes in “a 2-4-room-apartment”?

I want to write in the announcement a description of an eventual apartment, which I am searching as a rental. I am interested in apartments with 2, 3, or 4 rooms. How should I write the compound ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What color does ‘pale thing’ have?

I'd like to focus in on the meaning of 'pale' which is used in color description. My dictionary, OALD, says 'pale' in such case means "light in colour; containing a lot of white". It shows me some ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the reasoning behind the “urban” slang word “tight” coming to mean “cool/great/slick”?

How and why did the word tight come to be appropriated in this sense, for example as in, "That car is tight, cuh!" ? I mean, one easily extrapolates from the "normal" definition to understand why ...
6
votes
2answers
13k views

“Melted” vs “molten”

Is there any difference (e.g. regionality) between the two forms of the past participle of melt (melted and molten)?
0
votes
1answer
717 views

Meaning of “intriguing” in the following sentence

Reading comprehension is one of the most important parts of any management entrance examination and a bit intriguing as well. Does it mean: Challenging? Interesting? Provocative? All these ...