2
votes
1answer
77 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
226 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
109 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
258 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
675 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
519 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
243 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
394 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. ...
15
votes
3answers
728 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"
13
votes
3answers
5k 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
131 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
498 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
282 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
405 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
30k 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
5k 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
2k 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
5k 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
465 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 ...