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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
1answer
140 views

Is there a verb that means “to make poor”?

Is there a verb that means to make poor, such as a derivative form of the adjective poor? If not, what would be its best alternative?
2
votes
2answers
118 views

What's the origin of the demonym Thai?

I was curious why we called people from Thailand "Thai" and those from Taiwan "Taiwanese." The latter by itself is a bit less surprising, though. See also: Are there any rules governing what we call ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Derivatives of “ea” in the sense of “river”?

"Ea" is a largely archaic word still used in some dialects to mean a river or watercourse. The Online Etymology Dictionary mentions "ealand" as a term formerly used to mean a watery place or meadow ...
2
votes
2answers
576 views

What is the origin of the phrase “grease the skids”?

What is the origin or derivation of the phrase "greasing the skids?" The phrase connotes preparation, in such a way as to make the subsequent activities easier. Definitions are available various ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Why are surnames often misspellings of English words? [duplicate]

Why do English surnames so often seem to be derived from slight misspellings of common English words? Weekes Thorne Browne Lilley Keene Paige Lowe Hooke Hawthorne Sargent Whyte Chappell Horne ad ...
0
votes
4answers
190 views

What is the nominal form of the verb “to give”?

Normally one can add -tion or -ation to a verb to make it nominal, but that nominalization doesn't work for "give". Is there a nominalized form of "to give"? If not, is there a word that could serve ...
4
votes
1answer
725 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
1k 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
744 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
91 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
109 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
68 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
290 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
407 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
461 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
632 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
3k 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 ...