0
votes
2answers
39 views

aberrant vs errant

Aberrant seems a subset of the word errant. Thus, what's the effect of the Latin prefix 'ab-'? What are the similarities and differences? What's this phenomenon called, in which a prefix or suffix ...
2
votes
3answers
240 views

Difference between 'crow's feet' and 'worry lines'

I came across the phrases 'crow's feet' and 'worry lines' several times. Please enlighten me about the origin of these two phrases and the difference between them.
4
votes
1answer
121 views

“Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost”? [closed]

Until today I believed that both terms are basically the same. But our English teacher told us that the correct term is Holy Spirit. Is there any difference between Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost? I ...
1
vote
2answers
494 views

Why are there two different ways to spell “expediter”?

There seems to be two different ways to spell "expediter": expediter expeditor A quick Google search reveals a nearly equal split between the two spellings. Are the two spellings specific to a ...
0
votes
1answer
123 views

History of “asylum seeker” versus “refugee”

What is the history of the term "asylum seeker" as a slightly pejorative replacement for the word "refugee"? The first reference to asylum seeker I can find is 1959 Amer. Polit. Sci. Rev. 53 ...
5
votes
2answers
230 views

Is “nowadays” the same as “today”?

When helping an Italian speaker with her written homework, a cover letter, I told her to change the expression nowadays to that of today. Her original sentence was the following: I would be ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

difference between apt and fit

Question I'm particularly interested in the meaning of apt, but while I was searching through some dictionaries and examples it struck me how close the words apt and fit seem to be. Thus: what ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Etymologies of noun and verb _wimple_

Wiktionary and etymonline show a different etymology for the noun wimple (which has senses including “A cloth which usually covers the head...” and “A ripple, as on the surface of water”) than ...
0
votes
1answer
495 views

Calamity vs Catastrophe

Catastrophe - An event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster. an environmental catastrophe Calamity - An event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a ...
1
vote
3answers
557 views

difference between act and deed

I've been searching the internet, but have not quite found a satisfactory explanation between an act and a deed. Both seem to have kind of a meaning of something done, though through my google and ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

Is there a connection between *miser* and *misery*? [closed]

From OALD: miser: a person who loves money and hates spending it misery: . [U] great suffering of the mind or body Synonym: DISTRESS Fame brought her nothing but misery. . [U] ...
2
votes
3answers
114 views

When did speakers/writers of AE begin to replace the noun “quotations” with the verb “quotes”?

Not being particularly adept at using Google's Ngram viewer, I put the two words (quotes and quotations) into the viewer and it displayed a result, with the two lines staying pretty close together ...
3
votes
2answers
428 views

Is it more formal to use words of Latin origin? [closed]

For example, cemetery instead of graveyard. In which context would a word of Latin origin be more proper? Or is there no difference at all?
0
votes
2answers
95 views

What is the correct use of the word “abuses”?

What is the correct use of the word "abuses"? While the phrase: "Human rights abuses" doesn't seem incorrect, "verbal and physical abuses" does. I am tired, so if I'm being dense please don't be too ...
3
votes
2answers
386 views

Eleusian vs. Eleusinian (and, to a lesser extent, Elysian)

Both Eleusian and Eleusinian are used in relation to mysteries. I've only seen Elysian used in relation to Elysian Fields. Given that the suffix -ian denotes "of or belonging to," I'm wondering if ...
5
votes
1answer
937 views

Why (and for whom) does “unbeknown” become “unbeknownst”

I know there's been an earlier question What is the meaning and usage of the word “beknownst”?. But nothing there satisfies my curiosity about that extra -st at the end. I might have supposed the ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

Differences in the Semantics of Three Tri-Part Phrasal Verbs

What are the subtle semantic differences in the following three tri-part phrasal verbs: (1) be up against (2) come up against (3) run up against
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Does the adjective “swell” have anything to do with the noun/verb “swell”?

Dictionary.com: swell 1. to grow in bulk, as by the absorption of moisture or the processes of growth. The other verb meanings and the noun meanings all tend toward the same underlying concept ...
4
votes
4answers
423 views

Do people really think “muslin” has something to do with “Muslim”?

My boss just floored me with a doozy of an assertion: he had me change someone's password, which contained the word "muslin", because "you can't go calling people Muslims in this day and age". Yeah, ...
2
votes
2answers
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
876 views

What is the relationship between canon and cannon?

The spelling is similar and the meaning so different. Wiktionary indicates that there might be some relation by linking to canon from cannon but I didn't see any specific statements regarding their ...
3
votes
1answer
7k views

“Fillet” or “filet”

My significant other asked me today whether or not she should use a fillet or filet of steak in a recipe. What is the difference between fillet and filet, and the history behind these words? Is there ...
2
votes
4answers
12k views

Difference between “unto” and “to”

What are the differences between "unto" and "to"? It seems that in many contexts where the word "unto" is used, "to" could be substituted and would be perfectly correct. It reminds me of ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“Scholar” vs. “scientist”

I mainly associate scholar with scholarship. But what's its etymological origin? On scientific websites both scholar and scientist seem to be used with the same meaning; A graduate working actively on ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between “jelly” and “jam”?

I've seen both words being used (peanut butter and jelly; peanut butter and jam), but I was wondering whether they were both words for the same thing, or if there's actually a distinct difference ...
3
votes
2answers
617 views

Why does the verb “overlook” have such a different meaning from “oversee”?

Oversee: -verb (used with object), -saw, -seen, -see·ing. 1. to direct (work or workers); supervise; manage: He was hired to oversee the construction crews. 2. to see or observe secretly ...
6
votes
2answers
249 views

“Practise the piano” vs. “practise medicine”

Someone who practises medicine is a professional. Someone who practises the piano is still learning. How have these two apparently opposite senses of the word practise arisen?
3
votes
2answers
199 views

Etymology of close |kləʊz| (klōz) & close |kləʊs| (klōs)

In doing research for the question Is it “close-minded” or “closed-minded”?, which was in turn prompted by the discussion under this answer to another question, I realized that some of the confusion ...
15
votes
5answers
28k views

What's the difference between “Collaborate” and “Cooperate”?

Both of these words seem to mean much the same thing: working together to achieve some goal. I can instinctively feel a difference between them, but I can't easily put it into words. Can you help me? ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

“Destiny” vs. “Fate”

I'm aware a search will turn up many discussions on the differences or interchangeability of these terms, but it would be good to get some answers here with an emphasis on the etymology of the two ...
31
votes
6answers
65k views

“Oriented” vs. “orientated”

What are the origins of the word orientated? As far as I know, the correct spelling is oriented and orientated is not an alternative spelling but an error that is in common use. Is it for example ...
25
votes
5answers
22k views

Is there a difference between “arse” and “ass”?

From a comment here, in frequent usage, arse and ass are often interchangeable when used to refer to buttocks or to a person of dubious charms. However, although “to arse about” has a vague connection ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are clothes “hung” but men “hanged”?

It is said that clothes can be hung but men are hanged. Is this correct, and if so, why?