Tagged Questions

The relation of a word to its base. e.g. happiness and unhappy from happy (in contrast to the process of inflection). Ascertaining or stating the derivation of a word. The source, origin, descent or origination. Similar to Etymology.

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4
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1answer
154 views

What is the source of the phrase “phony baloney”?

The term baloney means Foolish or deceptive talk; nonsense: typical salesman’s baloney [corruption of bologna] [Oxford Dictionaries Online] Etymonline provides the following derivation ...
17
votes
2answers
961 views

What is the etymology of the term “private eye”?

The term private eye has widespread use to mean private detective or investigator. See, e.g., Oxford Dcitionary Online Several websites, such as this one, suggest that the term was based on a logo ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

Highlit vs Highlighted, Lit vs Lighted

Most dictionaries seem to indicate that highlighted is the past tense for highlight, rather than highlit. However, we use lit as the past tense for light without reservation, with lighted appearing ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

“Exigent” derivation

I'm working through a book in which I'm to define words using their prefixes, suffixes, and roots, and I ran across "exigent." adjective \ˈek-sə-jənt\ : requiring immediate attention : needing ...
-1
votes
2answers
82 views

Suppose that one were to concatenate *-ology* and *science* to derive a new word, what rules would determine its spelling?

I've asked this specific question as a means to learning about the rules that determine, or patterns that describe, the spellings of derived words. Suppose that someone were to concatenate -ology ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Derivation of the phrase “what the dickens”?

What is the derivation of "what the dickens"? It features in the Merry Wives of Windsor "I cannot tell what the dickens his name is." So the meaning doesn't seem to have changed ie synonymous with ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

early on, later on - How to explain “on”?

I have been thinking about these adverbials for a long time to understand this connection of "early/later" with "on". These adverbials are used for introducing a sentence or they are placed at the ...
4
votes
5answers
203 views

Single-word verb for “to keep private/confidential”

What would be a single-word verb for 'to keep private/confidential'? My first thought was the verb "to privatise" but it doesn't connote this.
12
votes
3answers
340 views

Term for words like Snowmageddon, Nipplegate and even cheeseburger?

Is there a term for words like Snowmageddon, Nipplegate and even cheeseburger? I know they're portmanteaus (or portmanteaux), but they seem to belong to a special class of portmanteau. In the title ...
6
votes
1answer
271 views

Are “adult” and “adulterate” cognates?

The word adult appear to have derived from the Latin term adultus, meaning grown up, mature, adult, ripe. Adulterate (and its cognate adultery) is reported to derive from the Latin adulterare - to ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't “-use” verb-noun pairs obey initial stress derivation?

It's well known (and several past questions on this SE have covered) that to convert a two-syllable Latin-derived English verb into a noun, you shift the stress to the first syllable. This is ...