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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
2answers
30 views

Phant Latin root and similar words

I ran into an unfamiliar word recently: sycophant. I am wondering now if phant means anything but simple google searches aren't leading me anywhere. Hierophant - someone who shows sacred things ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Which is the correct plural of Atlas? [on hold]

Good evening, in a "creative writing" course this question was brought up. Some of my classmates argued the plural form is "Atlas" because the word comes from Latin. Others favored "Atlases". What is ...
-1
votes
2answers
68 views

In search of a word this is in either in English or Latin

The thing is there might not be a word for it, but if there is I am looking for the exact word for it. The meaning of the word would literally be 'Has no shadow' or 'Shadow-less.' You might not say ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Anglicized plural and zero plural

What is the difference between "anglicized plural" and "zero plural"? I found those terms used in http://www.onlinegrammar.com.au/plural-of-status/ which says, What is the correct plural of ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

How is “viz.” pronounced?

How does one read out “viz.”? “Namely”, “to wit”, or something else entirely?
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Does the English prefix hiberno- mean that the Irish were associated with winter? [closed]

In Medieval Latin, hibernus meant Irish: https://www.google.com/search?q=hiberno+etymology In Latin, hibernus meant wintry: https://www.google.com/search?q=hibernate+etymology Therefore, can I say ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the opposite of “pro bono”?

The Latin pro bono is used to describe performance of (often professional or specialized) services for free or for reduced compensation. Is there a corresponding (hopefully Latin, perhaps ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

What is the etymology of “floccinaucinihilipilification”? [closed]

I recently encountered this word, "floccinaucinihilipilification" while watching Jason Bateman's directorial movie debut "Bad Words", in which he stars as a 40+ year old participant in a spelling bee ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

What is the correct usage of the word “Contra”?

According to multiple sources (1 and 2), the word "contra" can be employed as either a preposition or an adverb. From my perspective, however, there is a dearth of clear examples featuring this word ...
1
vote
4answers
86 views

Correct term for a group of thirty-two things (or the general rule for anything over twenty) - duotrigectet?

I have found this source a little useful, but I am unsure what the correct term for a collection of thirty-two things is. Sextet, octet, dectet etc. are the terms for 6, 8, 10 etc. The "prefix form" ...
3
votes
2answers
207 views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [closed]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [duplicate]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

English, Latin, or Malay pronunciation of betta fish

The genus name of the aquarium fish Betta splendens derives from the Malay word "ikan betah." The common name of the fish is also "betta," which in English we'd pronounce with a soft e. I often hear ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Can “e.g.” be used to indicate that the preceding clause is an example?

I was advised not to use "for example" in academic work. If I have the following sentence: "The state of New York, for example, uses Auctions to assign...", is it possible to substitute the "for ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

Does syllabus derive from Greek or Latin?

I'm looking for some hard evidence to determine whether syllabus is a word that derives from Greek or Latin. This came about from a discussion asking whether the plural of syllabus is "syllabuses" or ...
4
votes
2answers
570 views

From Latin prefixes and suffixes and its usage, does “absolute” denote “freedom” or “away from freedom”?

First of all, I would like to apologize for my title's awkward formulation. English is not my mother-tongue. I am looking at the word "absolute", which, according to Dictionary.com, has the ...
2
votes
2answers
85 views

“Stadiums” vs. “stadia” [duplicate]

I'm not that old, but when I was a child/teen, stadia was the common term. As in: Wembley, the Nou Camp, and the Santiago Bernabeu are football stadia. The MCG and Lord's are cricket stadia. ...
3
votes
1answer
176 views

Is there any connection between “machination” and Machiavelli?

Is there any connection between the term machination and the writer Niccolò Machiavelli or is it just a coincidence that they are so similar? It seems logical because aside from having similar ...
4
votes
3answers
69 views

Mars Anniversary

Does a word already exist for the anniversary of an event as measured by the orbital period of another planet? For example, (as of today on Earth) Curiosity Mars Rover has been on Mars for one Mars ...
3
votes
2answers
134 views

What are the technical symbols used in the margin of a page called?

I research Latin texts which discuss a peculiar medieval practice: the addition of minute graphic symbols into the margins of the page, for example in order to indicate passages of interest, flaws in ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Is the use of the dative of possession (from Latin) in English phrases proper?

I am an avid Latin III student studying in high school, and I often think about the effect that Latin has had on English, not just through etymology and morphology, but in semantics and pragmatics. ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

Mashing parts together to form Philanthropomath [closed]

I've always been unskilled with prefixes, suffixes, roots, etc. I was wondering if I combined philanthrope(ic) and philomath to form Philanthropomath Does this turn into nonsense? Or through the ...
-2
votes
6answers
357 views

What is a good substitute word for the X-cum-Y construction? [closed]

I wanted to use the word "cum" to avoid repeating "and" in the following phrase: example.com is a teacher-cum-student search and listing site... But on second thoughts, the word "cum" is also a ...
3
votes
2answers
173 views

When (if ever) to use plural form of Homo sapiens?

Which should I say? These are two fine Homo sapiens. or These are two fine Homines sapientes. (Assume I insist on using the Latin Homo sapiens in my sentence, for whatever reason. Edit to ...
6
votes
5answers
818 views

“Rogative” root (as in prerogative, derogative, interrogative)

Prerogative, derogative, and interrogative all seem to have the root "rogative" (or perhaps it's not a root at all) and I'm wondering what it means. I was having trouble seeing a connection between ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

Latin for “to Hide Complexity” as Related to “to Abstract”

In computer science and programming we talk a lot about "abstraction" by which we mean to create ever "higher" level code to that accomplishes increasingly complex task with less programmer decision ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the history of “nil” in British football /soccer?

In British football if neither team scores a goal, the score is said to be: nil-nil or nil-nil draw. Curiously, the winning team's results are always spoken first. So if Arsenal are playing home the ...
3
votes
5answers
8k views

Does the etymology of the word “government” mean “to control the mind”?

I've heard some conspiracy theorists say that government, when broken down into its root Latin words, means "to control the mind". I'm wondering if this is really true or not. Is it? Edit: My own ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

Quis? Ego! (Child's phrase)

In British private schools children shout "Quis?" and the person to shout "Ego!" in reply first gets whatever was on offer. The Latin derivation is clear but I have two questions. First, when did ...
2
votes
4answers
530 views

What is the formal plural of the word theorem?

The word theorem comes from late Latin theōrēma and the Greek θεώρημα . If one wanted a plural form other than theorems that reflected its etymology, what would it be? I understand the standard ...
25
votes
5answers
27k views

What is the proper plural form of 'apparatus'?

Dictionary.com claims that the plural of 'apparatus' is 'apparatuses'. Surely that can't be right... isn't it 'apparati'?
-1
votes
1answer
215 views

Why is “success” spelled with double -S?

What is the function of the double s at the end of the word, success?
6
votes
1answer
277 views

Are “adult” and “adulterate” cognates?

The word adult appear to have derived from the Latin term adultus, meaning grown up, mature, adult, ripe. Adulterate (and its cognate adultery) is reported to derive from the Latin adulterare - to ...
3
votes
2answers
290 views

Names of some months don't make sense [closed]

I'm not a native English speaker but I'm always trying to do my best. Unfortunately I have a real problem with dates for some odd reason, I couldn't learn when was my birthday until I was 12 years ...
0
votes
1answer
34k views

What are the correct plural forms of “penis”? [duplicate]

I was reading this Reddit post's comments: 'I am the guy with two penises. AMA' (NSFW), and came upon this discussion (of sorts), where the plural of "penis" has been suggested to be either: ...
0
votes
2answers
852 views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
5
votes
4answers
233 views

Latin-derived verbs

Are all Latin-derived English verbs regular? For ex. decide, arrive add -ed in their past forms. Are there any specific rules to follow? To spend is irregular: why? Does it depend on when these verbs ...
8
votes
1answer
442 views

Why and how did “a sensible boy” become “intelligent and prudent”?

Italians often get confused by sensible and sensitive. If I tell them He's a sensible boy; he studies hard, saves his money, and plans ahead. They are quite bewildered. To them, sensible is ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Modus vivendi, modus praevalentis [closed]

As you may know, when two states fail to come to permanent treaty terms, they may agree for the time being to a modus vivendi, an interim memoradum of indefinite term specifying usually mutually ...
7
votes
1answer
712 views

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham's name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by ...
8
votes
2answers
386 views

Is there a Latin term for the concept of “ad infinitum”, but in reverse?

When someone says that a process happens ad infinitum, it tends to imply that the process happens again and again, carrying on into the future. But how do you talk about something that has been ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Latin abbreviation to use in English to replace “as such” [closed]

I was wondering if I can use "et al." in order to say "as such" after a list of elements in a sentence given as example. If not: What can be the correct Latin abbreviation to use to replace "as ...
4
votes
1answer
750 views

English words of Latin origin: Did they replace existing words?

According to Wikipedia, the Latin influence on English builds more than half of its vocabulary. The same source furnishes a percentage of 26% for words of Germanic origin. Although I can easily ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Australis, Austrinus, Australe - in constellations

I was having a look at the official constellations, and I noticed three with similar names: Corona Australis Piscis Austrinus Triangulum Australe Now the "Austral" definitely means "southern", as ...
6
votes
1answer
234 views

History of the non-rule that proscribes ending a sentence with a preposition [duplicate]

Famously, if not accurately, Winston Churchill is supposed to have responding to an editor who had "fixed" a sentence ending with a preposition by writing, "This is the sort of thing up with which I ...
0
votes
4answers
236 views

Usage of 'AD' era designation

Considering the sentence: AD 1453, the city of Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman empire. Is this a complete sentence? From what I understand of the situation: The era designator ...
0
votes
2answers
306 views

People eighty years and up

Is there a word for people in the 80+ age group? I know octogenarian means 80-to-89-year-olds. Is there a word for people in their 80s, 90s, 100s, etc., inclusive? Supraoctogenarian?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Change of form of some (Latin) prefixes like ex-, ad- into ef-, a-: are there rules or conditions?

There are many cases of prefixes changing their forms. For example ex- can change to ef- in front of f, e.g. effusion. ad- becomes a- in front of b, e.g. abate. Are there some more general rules ...
5
votes
3answers
524 views

1000 Day “Anniversary”

"Anniversary" comes from Latin: "anni" [genitive of annus = year] + "vers(us)" [past participle of vertere = to turn]. I am interested in constructing a similar word which means "reoccurring every ...
1
vote
2answers
216 views

Data as a plural noun [duplicate]

In an academic writing, is it correct to make reference to "the data itself", being that data is a plural noun and itself is a singular pronoun?