Questions about the use of Latin words and phrases in English.

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1answer
25 views

“cactusings” or “cactiing”

I am aware this is a nonsensical / silly question, but my last question got me thinking about this. Say you have a hypothetical verb ending in -us. Lets pretend this verb is the word "Cactus". Some ...
0
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2answers
67 views

The prefix “post” can it mean before? [closed]

The posterior is the behind, the postero-dorsal is behind the antero-dorsal. But when we're talking about time, postmodern means "of, relating to, or being an era after a modern one". So are there ...
3
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1answer
79 views

What is a word for “having the form of a Brussels sprout”?

Inspired by Dictionary.com's Word of the Day, "botryoidal" (adj. -having the form of a bunch of grapes), and the ongoing naming process of a product at my work which has these features: What is a word ...
1
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2answers
52 views

Do “empirical” and “imperial” share a common etymology? [closed]

Nothing more to my question, really. I just wonder if the words share an etymological root. Thanks.
6
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1answer
123 views

“Remember thou shalt die”: Shall/will

A common translation of the Latin hortative memento mori is "Remember thou shalt die." I am not interested in a discussion of the Latin, nor of what the expression actually means in English. I am ...
2
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1answer
35 views

Does “pro-” always precede “pre-” in a sequence? Why?

In biological vocabulary, sometimes both pre- and pro- are used as prefixes to indicate something earlier in a sequence. For example, pro-B cells develop into pre-B cells, which eventually develop ...
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0answers
36 views

Is There a Word for “Burning Fungus”?

I'm reading the etymology of the Latin word fomes, it's a fungus. Are there any words to accompany this one by meaning the "burning of a fungus"?
1
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1answer
63 views

When does a plural end in 'es' instead of 'i'? [duplicate]

Take, for example, 'ignoramuses' instead of 'ignoramae', or 'cacti' over 'cactuses'? In which cases does the plural end in 'es' instead of 'ae'? Can it be either one for any given case? Why?
9
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3answers
611 views

What do you call two consecutive months; a sixth of a year?

Half a year is a semester, i.e. (literally) 6 months. Since it’s often wrongly thought to derive from semi- ‘half’, there’re contradicting definitions of similar terms: Both a trimester and a (rare) ...
5
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1answer
72 views

What semantic notions inverted the meaning of 'with' (from opposition to association)?

[Wiktionary :] From Middle English with, from Old English wiþ ‎(“against, opposite, toward”), a shortened form of wiþer, from Proto-Germanic *wiþr- ‎(“against”), from Proto-Indo-European *wi-tero- ...
2
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3answers
138 views

Do “mens rea” and “actus reus” need an article?

In criminal cases, there exists two elements: a guilty mind (mens rea) and a guilty act (actus reus). Do these two Latin terms require a preceding article, and which would it be (definite/indefinite)? ...
1
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1answer
85 views

Use of “ante” to refer to previous pages in an English text

At work I have seen "ante" being used for referring to previous pages of notes written by staff. For instance, when one has to refer to something on previous note, he/she would write, "Refer ...
6
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2answers
107 views

Etymology: predicament

Can anyone explain how predicament from the Latin word family dicere ‘to say’ and praedicare, can develop the meaning precarious situation? Etymonline can't. early 15c., "category, class; one of ...
3
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2answers
115 views

When should 'viz.' be followed by a comma?

Some Latin abbreviations as 'i.e.' and 'e.g.' are always followed by a comma. For the Latin abbreviation 'viz.', sometimes it is followed by a comma, sometimes it is not. What is the rule for ...
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3answers
92 views

Are there other well-known examples of the type “Illigitimi non carborundum”?

Illegitimi non carborundum, mock-Latin for "don't let the bastards grind you down", dates to early WWII, and later in the war was adopted by Gen."Vinegar" Joe Stillwell as his motto. For more, ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Has there ever been an antonym for “benefit” that includes the latin affix “neg-”?

I understand bene to roughly mean well, good, or rightly so from Latin, while neg- coming from Latin negare to roughly mean deny, negate, or against. The words benefit, beneficial, and benefactor all ...
2
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2answers
127 views

Difference between gerund and present participle [duplicate]

What is the difference between a gerund and present participle? When should we use a gerund and when should we use a present participle ?
2
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1answer
65 views

“Tonight let's go with the bottle of Cabernet *vs.* the Merlot.” [closed]

(Note that the home wine rack has 10 different kinds of wine in it.) I've been told now and again over the years that this kind of use of vs. (versus) is improper. Apparently it's supposed to only ...
2
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0answers
87 views

What did people really say when knighting someone? [closed]

A while ago, on a different PC than the one I am now using, I curiously looked up this question and found out that people did not say "I dub thee..." or "Arise..." to him who was being made a knight, ...
5
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1answer
238 views

What is the accurate English translation/meaning of the phrase “In nocte consilium”, the motto of Birkbeck College in London?

Not sure if this is the appropriate place to pose this question, but apparently we don't have a Latin Stackexchange... The motto of Birkbeck College in London is "In nocte consilium". However I have ...
9
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1answer
264 views

Latin words borrowed from Roman occupation?

English has a lot of words borrowed from Latin. The great majority were borrowed in the 14- and 1500's from Church/Medieval Latin, a huge influx via educated neologism. I'd like to know if there are ...
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0answers
55 views

Is there a word meaning “vicarious speaker”?

I remember that there is a word (I can't recall if it is an adjective or a noun) referring to the author when he/she makes a point vicariously through his character's voice. As far as I can recall, it ...
3
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1answer
135 views

A diptych is a pair of paintings. What is a single painting called?

A diptych (from the Greek di "two" and ptychē "fold") is a pair of paitings. You can also say triptych for a group of three paintings belonging together, septych for a group of seven and so on. ...
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2answers
305 views

Latin equivalent for “case-by-case” phrase

I would appreciate a reminder of the Latin-phrase equivalent, or alternative suggestions, for "case-by-case," specifically for language to be included in a public-private case-study. Thank you.
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1answer
46 views

“Experiments are in vitro” [closed]

In most contexts seem to say "in vitro experiments". Would it be grammatically correct to say "an experiment is in vitro" or "all the experiments are in vitro"?
1
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0answers
51 views

Of the Same Genera or Genus?

I'm into the marine fish hobby and quite a few are aggressive to those that are too similar; usually fish that are congenital to themselves; however most people just refer to the group as ...
0
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1answer
90 views

Plural of Quorum or synonym thereof

I am writing some APIs and documentation. We have configurable "voting rules" which are methods for deciding when a business process may proceed. Some examples: First valid response Majority Super ...
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1answer
165 views

What is the difference between “invasion” and “intrusion”? [closed]

What is the difference between "invasion" and "intrusion", according to the original latin meaning?
3
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2answers
210 views

What is the etymology of 'superstitious'?

Clearly superstitious is of Anglo-Norman origin, used in English since well before Chaucer's time to refer to 'unorthodox religious beliefs'.(OED) But the classical Latin is often written hyphenated ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Is the plural of 'prefix' really 'prefixes' rather than 'prefices'?

It looks like the plural of 'prefix' is 'prefixes' - while I would expect it to be 'prefix' => 'prefices' like 'matrix' => 'matrices' or 'index' => 'indices'. Is 'prefix' an exception to the rule? ...
1
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1answer
71 views

Why use “ex post facto” when “post facto” means the same thing? [closed]

In legal language I have come across the term "ex post facto". Isn't "ex" redundant in this phrase? "post facto" also means "after the fact", so it should be sufficient. This is commonly used in ...
9
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2answers
125 views

Declined Latin nouns in English prose

In German it was customary to decline Latin words used in German prose. One might, for instance, speak of performing a reductionem ad absurdum, using the the accusative form of the word reductio when ...
10
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3answers
247 views

Why does “stigmata” [often] have penult stress?

I enjoy studying the pronunciation of Greek-derived words in English, and I've found an odd anomaly. There are (at least) two possible pronunciation patterns for words ending in the plural suffix -ata ...
3
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0answers
118 views

Can the stress pattern of “uroboros/ouroboros” be explained by any principle, or is it random? [duplicate]

The word "uroboros," coming ultimately from Greek, has a couple of spellings and also pronunciations (see How to do you pronounce Ouroboros?). As explained by Nohat in the linked page, the two ...
3
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2answers
408 views

What is the plural of status quo?

A quick search suggests that status quos is most common pluralization of status quo. This form, however, is deeply unsatisfying. Clearly, status is the noun in this phrase, while quo is some sort of ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Meaning of the ending “‑exia”?

If a word ends in -exia (such as dyslexia, anorexia, and pyrexia), does this imply anything about the word itself? For example, in electronics a word ending in ‑ance (such as impedance or ...
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1answer
55 views

Are “sola scriptura”, “prima scripture”, and “prima ecclesia” nominative or ablative? [closed]

I need to know so that I can properly form neologisms based on these terms. For example, if I were deferring to the authority of a baker, would I say that I believe in primus pistor or primo pistore? ...
4
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1answer
680 views

verbatim vs verbatum

I know that verbatim has a Latin origin, but why is it not spelled verbatum? English does not seem to have many Latin words that end in ‑im.
3
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3answers
394 views

Expression for the advantage of being in possession of disputed goods in a civil suite?

Some time (years?) ago I saw (In fact it might have been in a comic, possibly Zits.) an expression/proverb that basically said that being in possession of a disputed goods meant that a civil law ...
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0answers
92 views

How did 'to intimate' evolve to mean 'suggest indirectly'?

intimate (v.) [⟸] "suggest indirectly," 1530s, back-formation from intimation, or else from Late Latin intimatus, past participle of intimare. [...] intimate (adj.) [...] [⟸] ...
1
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1answer
2k views

“Ex Machina” versus “Deus Ex Machina” [closed]

I have recently watched a movie called Ex Machina. I searched for the meaning, but Deus Ex Machina was the closest to this title. There certainly must be a relation but can someone please tell me ...
2
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2answers
95 views

etymology of predation and predating?

Do predation and predating share a common etymology? Predation seems to imply that one species holds precedence over another species in the food chain, whereas predating seems to imply that one ...
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votes
1answer
103 views

Etymology of 'patch' in the verb 'dispatch'

dispatch (v.) [<--] 1510s, "to send off in a hurry," from a word in Spanish (despachar "expedite, hasten") or Italian (dispacciare "to dispatch"). For first element, see dis-. The exact ...
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2answers
223 views

The word “benefit” in Old English or Latin [closed]

Is there a Latin word for benefit or an Old English word? I cannot find any via Google Search, I only get: Beneficium, which doesn't look promising. I am thinking of more ...
1
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0answers
54 views

Did 'inter-' evolve to mean 'together'?

entertain (v.) (<--) late 15c., "to keep up, maintain, to keep (someone) in a certain frame of mind," from Middle French entretenir, from Old French entretenir "hold together, stick ...
1
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2answers
165 views

(Latin) Abbrevation for 'apropos' / 'regarding' / 'with respect to'

I am looking for a convenient abbreviation for the construction of 'with respect to' or 'regarding' or 'apropos'. I used to write "A with respect to B" as "A cf. B" but this is not really correct. Is ...
0
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2answers
88 views

How did “out, away” + “to play” combine to mean 'elude'?

elude (v.) = 1530s, "delude, make a fool of," from Latin eludere "finish play, win at play; escape from or parry (a blow), make a fool of, mock, frustrate; win from at play," from ...
3
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3answers
213 views

Why Greek morphemes over Latin, or Latin over Greek? *A Call to Lexicographers*

Is there a rationale behind why certain English words take Greek morphemes (or affixes) over Latin morphemes, and vice versa? Why do certain Greek morphemes become standard English idiom over Latin ...
3
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3answers
201 views

Does “Magna Carta” require an article?

I have seen (the) Magna Carta referred to both with and without an article, a distinction that doesn't seem to have any relation to nationality (i.e. I've seen British sources and American sources ...
1
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2answers
131 views

What is the origin of the use of “Lorem ipsum …” as a placeholder in web design? [closed]

The Wikipedia article pretty much sums up the meaning of this gobbledegook, a mangling of 1st century Latin, but fails to explain WHY variations on this particular filler are used as placeholders on ...