11
votes
11answers
3k views

“School Students” — what, like there's any other kind of student?

I think this might be a Pennsylvania thing: every so often, you'll see a van or small bus labeled, not "School Bus" or anything sane normal like that, but "School Students". Whenever I see a van ...
0
votes
1answer
204 views

Meaning of “Smiles Slip”

I don't quite understand something: source Brazil will, in one form or another, be ready for the World Cup. But when it comes to hosting the tournament, those famous Brazilian smiles may ...
7
votes
9answers
157k views

What is the difference between “curd” and “yogurt”?

Most people use the words curd and yogurt interchangeably. Both are made by fermenting milk. Is there a difference between the two, or are they the same?
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “slicker than snot on a doorknob” mean?

I have a friend from Mississippi and I've heard him use this expression sometimes: slicker than snot on a doorknob. What exactly does it mean? (I guess it's something positive but I'm not too sure ...
6
votes
3answers
273 views

Is there an incorrect use of “infer” in “Absalom, Absalom!”?

I was taken aback to discover the following in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! on page 157 of my (Vintage International) edition: the magnolia-faced woman a little plumper now, a woman ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Salty” in place of expensive?

Someone I know was talking about 600gb hard drives and his description of the cost was "salty". When I asked him to clarify, he told me it meant that they were expensive. I have searched and can't ...
6
votes
8answers
910 views

Are older senses of “anent” still alive in any dialect?

The obscure preposition anent has a long history, going back as far as Beowulf: him on efn ligeð ealdorgewinna [line 2903] ("beside him lies his great enemy") It has carried many meanings, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the meaning and etymology of the adjective “jammy”, of Yorkshire English?

What is the etymology of the adjective jammy? As in, Thou art a jammy bugger! I confess I've never seen the word before. When I looked it up, I found confusing etymologies: one source says it ...
47
votes
23answers
180k views

“Lunch” vs. “dinner” vs. “supper” — times and meanings?

I've seen cases where a noon-time meal is referred to as dinner, and the evening meal is called supper. There's also lunch around noon followed by dinner in the evening. Is there a particular ...
8
votes
9answers
22k views

What exactly does it mean to “mug somebody off” in British English?

I tried looking this up at the Urban Dictionary, but it gave only one net-upvoted definition, and that definition wasn't even clear. The background for my question is coming my watching from a movie ...
3
votes
4answers
590 views

In which dialect would “poll” mean “a person's head”?

I read that poll means also, in dialect, a person's head; that is the second meaning that NOAD gives to pool as noun. Is there, nowadays, a dialect where the word as that meaning? If such dialect ...
16
votes
7answers
22k views

Why is a woman's purse called a “pocketbook”?

It's not a book, and it doesn't fit in anyone's pocket. Why does my brother-in-law insist on calling his wife's purse a pocketbook? I'm interested in the etymology, and in the chronological and ...
18
votes
7answers
34k views

What does “thy” mean?

I read a sentence containing the word thy, but I cannot find the meaning of that word. Is it older English, or is it still used in contemporary English today?