4
votes
1answer
63 views

How does the word “cardinal” relate to “cardinal numbers”

Cardinal number In linguistics, more precisely in traditional grammar, a cardinal number or cardinal numeral (or just cardinal) is a part of speech used to count, such as the English words ...
0
votes
3answers
67 views

What is the difference between “universal” and “generic”?

I hear lots of time the words universal and generic being used in similar contexts (especially in software engineering) - what is the difference between them?
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Can someone provide an explanation regarding the etymology of the adjective “hell-bent?”

It's etymology is given as: hell-bent, 1835, U.S., originally slang, from hell + bent How do the the words "hell + bent," when taken together, form the definition "determined to achieve ...
2
votes
0answers
174 views

Is language inherently circular? [closed]

I looked up "Hallelujah" in etymonline.com today, and the result, as often happens with etymological research, ended in following a rabbit warren of possibilities. Take the word "Hallelujah" for ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Should I wash my hands of this?

Should I wash my hands of this? Has this expression ever been used as a way of suggesting a bribe?
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Time before now vs. time before us

We all know that before normally means "earlier in time", but I've been thinking about the opposite meanings of those expressions: The days before now (the past) The days before us (the future) ...
2
votes
4answers
310 views

Etymology of the phrase “Twenty-three Skidoo” as used in “Hey Arnold!”

The phrase “Twenty-Three Skidoo” has a very interesting and mysterious history described very thoroughly by the wikipedia article on the phrase. However, this article seems to indicate it’s usually ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

Etymology of the word “generator” when used in the context “random name generator” [closed]

I'm also curious to hear synonyms for this meaning-in-context; the idea that "this is a thing which generates other things algorithmically." Sorry for the pathetic definition that uses the word ...
1
vote
1answer
449 views

Meaning and etymology of “Crabbit” [closed]

What does this phrase mean? Being a crabbit is not gonna make it any easier for you.
3
votes
5answers
695 views

Why “science fiction” and not “scientific fiction”?

Everybody knows the term "science fiction" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction But I am wondering why "science fiction" and not grammatically more correct form "scientific fiction"? ...
1
vote
1answer
593 views

What is the difference, if any, between “divine providence” and “Providence” (with a capital p)?

ODO defines providence as: providence: [mass noun] 1 the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power: they found their trust in divine providence to be a source of comfort ...
4
votes
2answers
283 views

Meaning and etymology of “down with”

I've searched a lot and found out that down with as a slang phrase means "being in an agreement with something". On the other hand, I know that it also means "death upon something". So in a sentence ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

How offensive is to call a girl “Barbie doll”? Why?

I remember I had a conversation where I have told a girl she was Barbie doll. I just meant she looked beautiful like a Barbie doll: blond, and with blue eyes. Needless to say, she was really offended, ...
2
votes
2answers
453 views

What is the meaning of the word “this,” all by itself?

I suppose this one might qualify as an internet meme, but I'm not sure. I recently have begun seeing people use the word "this" as a single word sentence, such as in response to someone else's post. ...
16
votes
3answers
812 views

Where does “patching through” come from?

Where does "patching through" come from? And what did it originally mean? Usage: "I'm patching through a call from Mr. X"
14
votes
3answers
7k views

Origin and exact meaning of “taken to the cleaners”

I know the meaning of this phrase by context, but the German analogs are no literal translations of this phrase and very dissimilar metaphors, meaning roughly: being tricked into something being ...
2
votes
4answers
136 views

meaning and origin of “syndicated feeds”

How would you explain the meaning of the word syndicated in conjunction with feeds and the origin (etymology) of this? It's used quite often on the web. I already found a few definitions but need ...
9
votes
1answer
540 views

What does “let it bleed” mean in this context?

What does 'let it bleed' mean in the following sentence? Though the actors give their all, notably Stellan Skarsgård as the brother of the missing Harriet and Joely Richardson as an estranged ...
2
votes
3answers
323 views

Why pool of processes?

I hit the sentence: The ProcessPoolExecutor class is an Executor subclass that uses a pool of processes to execute calls asynchronously. I was looking for the word pool which means swimming ...
4
votes
2answers
459 views

Original use of kosher in the English lanuage

Recently I saw a post on the meta.rpg.se site that asked When is editing your answer not kosher?, and it got me thinking. Why is the word Kosher used, instead of, for example, Halal, Permissible, or ...
5
votes
2answers
33k views

What is the origin and meaning of the phrase “all day” when used in a commercial kitchen?

I've heard the phrase "all day" used when commanding a kitchen brigade. It's generally used in a phrase like "I need 3 filets .. all day". What does this expression mean in this context? And what is ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What is a toit?

From the compound word hoity-toity meaning 'thoughtless giddy behaviour', where hoity is the word hoit, meaning 'to behave thoughtlessly and frivolously'. However, I can't seem to find the meaning of ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does “sucker” mean “unexpected” in “Sucker Punch”?

Sucker punch seems to mean "an unexpected punch" in slang. What is the origin of this term and why does sucker mean unexpected in sucker punch?
6
votes
1answer
7k views

Origin of the term 'bastard sword'

In many computer games (usually role playing games), there is an item called a bastard sword. Why is this name used, and does it bear any relation to the usual meaning of the term bastard?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the origin of being in “hot water”?

When a person is suspected of doing something that is wrong, they are said to be in "hot water". Why? Did law breakers long ago have hot water thrown on them for their punishment? Were they dunked in ...
9
votes
8answers
6k views

Why would the “wind blowing in the East” be considered a bad thing?

I've been recently working through the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, and enjoying it very much. However, there's a particular motif that's bothering me, whose logic I haven't been ...
11
votes
2answers
550 views

What is the meaning of “hypos” here in this passage from Moby Dick?

Yesterday, I asked a question over at the Gaming StackExchange, and eventually received an answer whose primary thrust was this wonderfully written passage from Moby Dick: My questions are: What ...