This tag is for questions related to the English language as used in the United States of America.

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8
votes
1answer
548 views

What does “I have no shame when it comes to ignorance” mean? [closed]

Does it mean one chooses to be ignorant regardless of shame, or submit to shame while admitting ignorance? Interviewer: Tell me about your first felony arrest? Candidate: I have no shame when it ...
34
votes
15answers
8k views

Words with opposite meanings in different regions

I can't recall it, but there is a word in American English which now means the opposite of itself in British English. What words are there that have opposite (not just different) meanings in different ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the source of “Long time no see,” and when did it enter U.S. English?

A question from almost two years ago asked "In which countries is that “long time no see” greeting common?" The question drew a number of answers that were squarely on point, but also a couple that ...
31
votes
6answers
86k views

What is the difference between dialogue and dialog?

I am American, and I always thought the difference between dialogue and dialog was one of meaning, the way Merriam-Webster has them listed: 2 entries found: dialogue (noun) dialog box ...
26
votes
2answers
5k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
1
vote
3answers
105 views

On the circuit - what does it mean?

What does on the circuit mean in the following sentence from Michael A. Stackpole's book 21 days to a novel? She wants to make it big in Hollywood or New York or on the circuit. Update 1 ...
-1
votes
1answer
346 views

Are you sure to delete or are you sure you want to delete

When the user wants to delete smth on the website I am showing a message for him/her to confirm. What is the grammatically correct way to say so Are you sure to delete this item or Are you ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
10
votes
4answers
693 views

Do brides in church weddings go up the aisle toward the altar or down the aisle toward the altar?

Nigel Rees, The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1987) has this entry regarding the question "WHY DO WE SAY ... BRIDES GO UP THE AISLE?" Sir Thomas Bazley fired off a letter to The ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

What is the etymology of “word!” [duplicate]

Many people have begun to use the word "word" seemingly as an exclamation point or as a means to be emphatic. Where and why did this begin?
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Difference between “how you are” and “how you were”

I heard in a talkshow that someone said. "I wanted to see how you were doing after the operation" My question is what the difference is to: "I wanted to see how you are doing after the operation" ...
0
votes
3answers
711 views

Is “Drop the big hammer” American slang?

In a trailer for the movie "Black Hat", one person says "The guy we're working with will drop the big hammer and not think twice about it" Is this some sort of American slang, possibly for a ...
2
votes
4answers
192 views

What's it called when someone is trying to end a conversation?

Everyone does the thing where while speaking to someone you'll start inching away in order to end the conversation. Or you'll say something thats a conversation ender like "time to get back to work" ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

“Grit” vs “gritted”

Dictionary sources tell me that the past tense of grit is gritted rather than grit. Why does that sound weird to me? Am I delusional, or is this one of those words changing in current usage? Pet is a ...
4
votes
3answers
241 views

Is or Was when talking about a historic figure in the present?

If I ask someone the question "Who is Martin Luther King Jr." is that correct compared to "Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?" Which one is the correct sentence and how?
2
votes
1answer
131 views

The word “cooker”

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the word "cooker" is "a person who tends a cooking process (a cook)." The dictionary provides the following example sentence: Dad was the ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

How do native speakers answer questions like “what's cooking”?

I work in an office environment as a software developer in Massachusetts, USA and every so often have some colleague ask me a question like "what's cooking? anything good?" When they say that they ...
1
vote
2answers
96 views

What is a word which describes something you are looking for

The word would fit within the following context: I found the ______ of my search. I know there there is a simple word which describes an object which is being searched for, but I just can't ...
14
votes
5answers
26k views

“Have not” versus “do not have”

As a non-native English speaker, I have a little doubt about using, or not, the auxiliary verb "to do" with the verb "to have". Are there differences in meaning between "I have not" and "I do not ...
2
votes
3answers
195 views

Road to English fluency for advanced speakers [closed]

I have been learning English all my life. I have been in the US for three years. I consider myself an advanced English speaker. There are many resources on the internet that are geared towards ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

Do you know the meaning of the American idiom “pot calling the kettle black”? [closed]

I would like to know something more about this American idiom and how north American or English speaking people use it. Can you guys answer my questions? Do you know the meaning of this idiom? Are ...
0
votes
3answers
90 views

Walk across/through/on the crosswalk?

What is the correct collocation here? Do you walk across the crosswalk, through the crosswalk, or on the crosswalk? Or can you say cross the crosswalk?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Convolve vs. convolute

I understand that for common usage these words have distinct meanings. However in mathematics there is a process called convolution, and sometimes you hear "you need to convolve X" and sometimes "you ...
1
vote
2answers
764 views

What does the expression “Word.” mean? [duplicate]

I was watching the 1989 movie "Bill and Ted's excellent adventure" a couple of weeks back and in one scene Bill replies to some statement (I forgot whom he is replying to) with just "Word." What does ...
18
votes
7answers
6k views

Asking female employees to come to my room [closed]

I have a few female employees working at my office, and being a manager, I need to text them via Skype or Messenger to come to my room. How can I ask them politely to come? Please come to my room ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Different Meanings of 'Jumper' (Transatlantic embarassment)

I'm originally from Wales, now living in the USA, and as the cold weather is approaching I'm determined, this year, to start using the word sweater to describe the item of clothing I'm wearing, as ...
2
votes
3answers
520 views

Is the 'th' sound usually reduced in spoken English?

I am working on my accent and pronunciation. I use American Accent Training and it says that in spoken English, speakers usually run words together. For example, "Run them all together" turns into ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

When did “y’all” become improper?

It is my understanding that the contraction y’all was considered correct American English in times past. At what point was this word removed from valid American English?
0
votes
0answers
12 views

What is the proper usage of “The… of…” and “A … of …”? [duplicate]

I wrote an article, and will submit it soon. I am troubled in its title: "The Speedy Application of Augmented Dickey-Fuller Test for Stationarity Analysis with causfinder Package in R" I have learnt ...
-2
votes
1answer
98 views

Is there any difference between 'plaid' and 'tartan'?

It seems to me that some Americans will say plaid where we will use tartan. Whilst tartan refers to woollen cloth woven in one of several patterns of coloured checks and intersecting lines; plaid ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

When to use named and called? [duplicate]

I am writing my Statement of Purpose. I am writing a sentence such as I moved to a small town called Falmouth where I .... Should I use named or called? I moved to a small town named ...
14
votes
3answers
19k views

Why is “lucked out” such a good thing to be?

This still strikes me as odd, even after 12 years in the US. Being out of luck is a bad thing, but lucked out is a good thing, e.g. we 'lucked out' and were able to get two extra tickets for the ...
10
votes
7answers
24k views

“On/at/for/over the weekend” in American English

Some sources say that "at the weekend" is wrong, while other ones say it's correct. Which form is acceptable in American English? On Saturdays her sister Ann usually comes to stay with Mary ...
0
votes
2answers
50 views

A term for Not Applicable in the context of UI/UX [closed]

I want to give an option to a user to check if an option is not applicable for her. However the two words in "Not Applicable" are too huge for my GUI. Suggestions Would be greatly appreciated :)
0
votes
2answers
66 views

What is a “turkey walk”?

I once read that a "turkey walk" was going to be held on a Sunday at 8.00 a.m. in a small town in New England. I tried to find it in dictionaries and I also googled the expression, but got no ...
5
votes
3answers
482 views

What does “consound” mean?

Hello and happy holidays. While reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, I came across the expression "consound it" in Huck's dialogue parts. "Consound it, Tom Sawyer, you're just old pie, 'longside ...
2
votes
4answers
211 views

Up Hill vs. Down Hill [duplicate]

The expression "It's all up hill from here!" and "It's all down hill from here!" mean that things will only get better or things will only get worst. Metaphorically going uphill can provide for a ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

What is an Anglepoise lamp called in America?

What word do Americans use to refer an Anglepoise lamp?
0
votes
3answers
208 views

What is a “plumber's wife”?

This is about an expression used by a female manager at a hotel in Philadelphia (PA) some years ago. She was showing me around as part of my employment interview, and during this made a statement that ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Word for mildly popular (used as a compliment)

I'm trying to find a word for something meaning not explosively popular or successful, yet not a failure. It should not be intended as criticism and should represent something not necessarily new but ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

What does “even the keel in favour of ” in the sentence mean?

Even the legal framework that is supposed to provide a modicum of protection to workers is fraying. For instance, the state’s unwillingness to use the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act or the ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Is the title of a US President permanent? [duplicate]

Ultimately I'm wondering whether the descriptive in "former President [Name]" is superfluous or necessary in everyday usage, such as when talking to an audience who knows who the current president is. ...
3
votes
4answers
207 views

Why is it always women and not men in: “Soccer mom,” “Tiger mom,” “Helicopter mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” and “Security mom”?

In connection with my question about the meaning and currency of “Security mom,” I was drawn to the fact that all the following labels; “Soccer mom,” “Wal-Mart mom,” “Security mom” are combined with ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

“And to you” or “you too”?

I really like to chat with English folks, so I have wished them Merry Christmas. To my surprise I have noticed the following pattern — the British answered "and to you", but Americans "you too". The ...
5
votes
2answers
268 views

What did “eating 'mad cow'” mean in the 1800's?

In the December 1885 Lippincott's Magazine article COOKHAM DEAN, about an artistic area 40 miles up the Thames from London, Margaret Bertha Wright (an American author) wrote: Probably nine-tenths ...
5
votes
4answers
229 views

Can “barge in” be used as an informal and quirky way of saying “come in” and “come on in”?

I am looking for a specific US expression. An informal way of saying "all right, come on in" to a very good friend in a situations as follows: The (drunk) friend who is barging into my suit suite ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

First use of the slang term “Scrub”?

The slang term "scrub", when referred to a person, can mean several things. It seems like the original usage as an adjective is someone who is not good at something - video games, sports, etc. I am ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

Where do “shenanigans” come from?

Shenanigans, or shenanigan, also with several variant spellings, can be dated to 1855 USA in both the OED and Etymonline, but the OED simply says "Origin obscure" and Etymonline throws a few guesses ...
4
votes
8answers
31k views

Pronunciation of 'aunt' in the US

I was under the impression that all Americans pronounced aunt like the insect, ant (/ænt/), or relatively similar sounding variants such as the southern aint (/eɪnt/). According to both Webster and ...