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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
3answers
207 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
451 views

How is “viz.” pronounced?

How does one read out “viz.”? “Namely”, “to wit”, or something else entirely?
9
votes
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
115 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
424 views

Term for converting to black&white

Is there a single word to denote reducing the color palette of an image to two colors: black and white? For instance, navy becomes black and beige turns into white. I know there is desaturate, but ...
8
votes
3answers
16k views

What is the difference between “Hept-” and “Sept-” prefixes?

As I understand it, both the prefixes "Hept-" and "Sept-" are used to indicate seven of something. We have examples of English words that use both: e.g. Heptathalon, Heptagon, Heptane vs ...
3
votes
2answers
378 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
votes
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

What does “imperio in imperium” mean?

I've heard the Latin phrase imperio in imperium used in political discussions a few times. While I understand what the phrase literally means in Latin ("by command into command"), I'm not sure what ...
0
votes
2answers
364 views

Is there a Latin phrase (which can be used in English) for “as per convention”? [closed]

I want to say something in an academic setting to the effect of "as expected" or "as per convention", when dealing with repeated lists of things with expected formatting. Is there a Latin phrase that ...
-3
votes
1answer
54 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
votes
6answers
2k views

Is “ad hominem” gender-neutral?

My immediate thought is that the term is generic, and yet I read recently a verbal brickbat described as ad feminam. Was that just a po-mo back-formation, or is there some merit to the distinction? ...
4
votes
1answer
625 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
votes
3answers
392 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
13k views

How should an English speaker pronounce “vice versa”?

When using vice versa in spoken English, I tend to just completely Anglicise it and pronounce it vise VER-ser, with only one syllable in vice. The original would be something like VEE-cay VER-sa, but ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Where do “‑ess” and “‑ine” suffixes come from?

English has a lot of words in which the suffix ‑ess makes a word feminine, such as actress, hostess, huntress. That looks like a suffix that is also used frequently in Italian, so I’d guess it has ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Abbreviation for “or the rest” (or “or others”)?

The Latin et cetera, abbreviated etc., is often used at the end of an incomplete, inclusive list of items when it is clear that there are more items than can be enumerated conveniently and there is no ...
1
vote
0answers
87 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
vote
1answer
1k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
6k views

Where on Earth is “penguin” from?

Fact or fallacy? It's one of those things you hear or casually read somewhere that sticks with you. The word penguin is derived from Welsh; pen refers to "head", while gywn means "white". Well, it's ...
2
votes
2answers
91 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 ...
190
votes
7answers
35k views
15
votes
7answers
20k views

Is “et al.” used as a singular or plural subject?

When referring to multiple authors by using the name of the first author and "et al.", is it correct to grammatically treat this as one person or multiple persons? Gamma et al. are saying in their ...
-3
votes
2answers
210 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
vote
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
vote
2answers
159 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
197 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
vote
2answers
130 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

“omni”-prefixed word for “all seeing”?

Is there single word that means "all seeing"? From what I can tell, omniscient is often used to cover this, but that more accurately means "all knowing". It likely stems from a presumption that if ...
1
vote
2answers
143 views

The noun “alternative” [closed]

If I am not mistaken, the noun alternative has roots in the Latin word alter, which translates to: the other (of two). My question would be: why does the word alternative have plural in English? It ...
3
votes
2answers
407 views

Plural of “camera obscura”

While reading an article about history and use of the camera obscura and camera lucida the use of camera obscuras for the plural felt increasingly wrong. (whinge over) In general when a (foreign) ...
-5
votes
1answer
60 views

Does the English verb 'project' correctly represent the Latin 'columna'?

kel-2 [=] To be prominent; hill. [...] 3. c. extended and suffixed form * kolumnā‑ . colonel, colonnade, colonnette, column, from Latin columna, a projecting object, column. [M-W:] ...
2
votes
3answers
212 views

Etymology of “amoral”

Many internet sites (like this one) say that the word amoral was coined by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) as a differentiation from immoral. These sites also say that amoral comes from the Greek ...
2
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

How does the gerund 'bear, carry'?

[ Etymonline: ] 1510s, from Latin gerundum "to be carried out," gerundive of gerere "to bear, carry" (see gest). In Latin, a verbal noun used for all cases of the infinitive but the nominative; ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Subtrahendum/Subtrahenda

We are familiar with addendum (and addenda), which we take directly from Latin to mean "something (or things) added" This is used especially in regard to written work such as books. Today I was ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Is there a collateral adjective for 'game'?

I was looking for an adjective that would describe anything game-like that is either taken directly from Ancient Greek or Latin. 'Ludic' comes to mind, but it came to assume the same connotations as ...
2
votes
2answers
225 views

Short phrase to convey “but consider the source”

Is there a short phrase (one to three words), Latin or otherwise, that conveys "but consider the source"? For example, "I heard that pigs fly on television (your phrase here)." I'm thinking perhaps ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

Why is “de facto” often written in italic?

Often when I see "de facto" written somewhere it is in italic. For example: LaTeX website: LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of ...
3
votes
2answers
97 views

How did 'to' and 'to throw' combine to mean 'adjacent'?

adjacent = 1. Next to or adjoining something else Etymonline for: adjacent (adj.) = early 15c., from Latin adiacentem (nominative adiacens) "lying at," present participle of adiacere ...
1
vote
1answer
157 views

Neoclassical Neologisms [closed]

Could anybody give me a few interesting examples of neologisms of Latin or Greek origin, or containing affixes from Latin or Greek which are popular nowadays but haven't entered the dictionaries yet? ...
0
votes
2answers
151 views

Operator, operand - term for the result?

How the result may be called when applying an operator to its operands? In eg. programming one may be familiar with a so-called "expression" like this one from a SO question: x>y && z==5 ...
11
votes
2answers
17k views
0
votes
1answer
454 views

Using “e.g.” instead of “for example”

I am reviewing a software manual, and I frequently come across sentences like (made-up example): The value is 1, but you can set it to e.g. 100 It seems to me that the use of "e.g." is wrong in ...
3
votes
3answers
230 views

How did 'pick out' evolve to mean 'read'?

Initially, I wanted to know the etymology of eclectic. Then I saw that it referred to lecture {noun}: late 14c., "action of reading, that which is read," from Medieval Latin lectura “a reading, ...
6
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Abdominal; Why isn't it 'abdomenal' (with an 'e'), and is there a name for such words?

Why is the word 'abdominal' formed of an altered spelling of 'abdomen'? I have noticed other words similar, but none spring to mind; is there a name for them?
17
votes
5answers
53k views

What is the plural of “scenario”?

What is the plural of "scenario"? I have always used "scenarios", but have recently come across "scenaria" and "scenarii". Should I be treating it as an Italian or Latin word?
0
votes
1answer
1k views

“An erratum to” vs “Erratum to” vs “Erratum”

I have had to write an erratum (single) to one of my papers recently. I searched the internet and I found out that there are at least three versions as follows: An erratum to "the title of the ...
1
vote
1answer
324 views

Derivations of operation, operable vs. reparation, reparable

After a little thought I decided irreparable derives from repairable, but a few seconds later, decided it stems from reparation, "like operable from operation". Looking the words up, I found I was ...