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

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2answers
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Quintology or Pentalogy?

Recently I was looking at the X-Men box set and saw that currently five have been released. I had it in my head that these would be called a quintology but I have seen them being called a pentalogy. ...
0
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1answer
227 views

Etymology of the word 'finesse'

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the word finesse is as follows: refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture Now, based on the fact that the Latin base ...
8
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1answer
171 views

Why is there an “h” in “pulchritude”?

I'd assumed that pulchritude was derived from Greek, because of the "ch" but it turns out to be from Latin pulcher. I've been taught that "c" always has a hard pronunciation in Latin, so why would ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

Is it correct to start a sentence with “Ad question one…”?

I'm pretty sure I've read "Ad question one..." in the sense of "Addressing question one..." before, but the only usage on the web I find is by someone with a Hispanic name and m-w.com doesn't seem to ...
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4answers
1k views

Plural form of Octopus and Radius [duplicate]

I have recently found this video online from Merriam Webster saying the plural form of octopus is in fact octopuses. The video explains how octopus comes from the Greek language and thus it would be ...
3
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2answers
7k 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 ...
12
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6answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
438 views

What is the correct possessive genitive for “media”?

I hope I've used the right terms in the title; I'm not a native speaker. The singular of media is of course medium. So when talking about one medium's content, the genitive s and apostrophe are easy ...
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4answers
940 views

What is the meaning and usage of the abbreviation “v. a.”?

At the time of this writing there is no explanation on wiktionary, and searching the web does not yield an answer, only more instances of its use: A random entry at the Etymological Dictionary of ...
0
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1answer
186 views

Caesar and caesura

Caesar and caesura are two similar-sounding Latin words which have made their way into English unsullied in terms of their orthography. The same can however not be said of their pronunciations. The ...
3
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2answers
13k views

Can “alma mater” refer to any school you’ve graduated from, not just college? [closed]

I was wondering whether alma mater refers to all the schools you have been in, or just to college. For example, suppose someone has an undergranduate degree from one institution, a masters degree ...
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1answer
257 views

Is “… et al. data.” proper grammar? [closed]

Would it be proper grammar to use the Latin phrase in the following way? The items inserted came from departments, employees et al. data.
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4answers
857 views

Latin plurals when talking about fallacies

I have read multiple questions on this site on Latin plurals, and I’ve learned that you can use both English plurals and Latin plurals with words which originate from Latin (e.g. referendum - ...
5
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4answers
279 views

Can et al. be applied to companies?

I am used to seeing this used to condense a list of authors; however, is it correct to apply it to a list of companies? For example, would it make sense to say: Seminars being held by Google, ...
1
vote
2answers
498 views

Exempli Gratia help [closed]

Is there a plural for e.g., the abbreviation of exempli gratia? Or is it regular to use it before multiple examples? I know that some abbreviations double up in their letters in the plural, but I ...
5
votes
2answers
626 views

Plural of “Animus/Anima”

What is the plural of the words “animus” and “anima”? In any context (literary, Jung psychology, apothecary etc.). Is there English v. Latin differences? Interwebs are no help: versions differ from ...
5
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3answers
364 views

What is the correct Latinate prefix for honey-eaters?

In English, a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy products can be referred to as an ovo-lacto vegetarian. By the same token, could a person who eats honey but is otherwise vegan be meaningfully called ...
0
votes
2answers
645 views

Long vs. short vowels in English words of Latin origin

Is there any way to determine if a vowel is short or long in English words of Latin origin? I've noticed that u is usually long in Latin words (e.g., Jupiter) but what about other vowels?
4
votes
2answers
430 views

What is the origin of the different pronunciations of C and G before different vowels?

In English the letters C and G usually have different pronunciation before a/o/u and before e/i. The same is true for Romance languages - French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian etc. What is the origin of ...
7
votes
3answers
495 views

Latin pronunciation [closed]

(You may well say this doesn't fit into an "English language" site, but the scientific Latin terms could be said to be part of English.) My young daughter loves snails; I would like her to learn the ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Pluralisation of Latin Words [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which style of Latin plurals should I use? Is “data” considered singular or plural? Where are the "data"? I only have one "datum". Listening to Radio 4's Today ...
0
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1answer
296 views

What is the meaning of “Ha et cetera”?

In William Golding´s Paper Men, the main character keeps saying "Ha et cetera". What does he mean by this? Is it simply another way of saying "ha, ha, ha" (laughter)?
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3answers
215 views

Why is there a [sic] in this passage?

The following passage comes from The American Journey (sixth edition), page 156. It's a quote of George F. Regas, addressing President George W. Bush (not in person). Notice the [sic] after the word ...
10
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1answer
454 views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the ...
9
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2answers
442 views

What is the ultimate etymology of “false”?

The first two are based on wiktionary false From Middle English false, from Old English fals (“false, fraud, falsehood”), from Latin falsus (“counterfeit, false; falsehood”), perfect passive ...
2
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1answer
2k views

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

English has a lot of words that end in ‑ess or ‑esse, such as actress, hostess, huntress, finesse, duress, prowess, Lyonesse, and Westernesse. That looks like a suffix that is also used frequently ...
3
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1answer
91 views

How do you refer to a member of a biological taxon in the singular?

If I wish to refer to, say, an Owl in the more generic form as a member of the biological order Strigiformes, what is the correct modification of the apparently plural word into a singular form? For ...
5
votes
2answers
165 views

Is “sectio caesare” an appropriate English alternative to “caesarian section”?

On Parenting.se we recently received this question, which refers to sectio caesare birth. I was not familiar with the term, but found that wikipedia redirects the term to the caesarian section page. ...
5
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
5
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3answers
2k views

Using “inter alia” in non-legal language?

I've been reading many opinions from the United State Supreme Court and discovered the phrase "inter alia," meaning "among other things." I have not encountered this phrase outside of these opinions. ...
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1answer
4k views

Synonym for “in terms of” (of Latin origin)

I am trying to remember a synonym for "being" or "in terms of" ... It is a Latin word that has entered the English language.
3
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1answer
340 views

Is the singular form of “desiderata” a disused word?

I was interested in the following paragraph which appeared in an article titled “A New Gauge to See What’s Beyond Happiness" by John Tierney in The New York Times (May 16, 2011). “They wanted to ...
4
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1answer
2k views

When listing species of plants, what does “var.” mean?

Sometimes within the Latin names of plants, I will find the word "var.", which I assume is an abbreviation, e.g. Ursinia chrysanthemoides var. geyeri. What is the meaning of this? Is it sometimes ...
3
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1answer
581 views

Should the abbreviated forms of Latin terms be placed in italics?

When writing English, one often uses Latin terms, such as exemplī grātiā, opere citātō, and id est, but in abbreviated forms, "e.g.", "op. cit.", and "i.e.". When writing Latin terms in English, one ...
2
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3answers
112 views

Something similar to “plepentry envoy”

Long time ago I heard a word that to the best of my recollection is "plepentry envoy" I have googled a few variants, but "pleopentry envoy", "pelepentry envoy" etc. but nothing similar is coming up. ...
7
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1answer
24k views

What is the proper plural of “a series”? [closed]

In math, we use the term series a lot, and there are many types of series. How should I craft my sentence when I have three different ones in mind to talk about? Should I settle down for a less ...
14
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4answers
1k views

When do I use -i for expressing the plural of a word?

I've never been certain of the rules surrounding the use of the -i suffix for pluralizing a word. I had thought that it was used for any word whose singular ended in an 's', but that doesn't appear to ...
2
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3answers
338 views

What are the replacements for “i.e.” and what are their differences?

I can think of "that is to say", "in other words", "put differently". And I'd like to know if there are any subtle differences in the usage of these synonyms. Can they always be used interchangeably ...
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5answers
3k views

Are words “Sophisticated” and “Sophism” logically connected?

I am not a native English speaker. The other day, I've had a conversation with an American, who claims my assumption to be wrong. I still think I am correct, so here it is: According to Wikipedia, ...
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3answers
3k views

Pronunciation and usage of “bona fide”

As I am reading books and articles, I come across this bona fide. How do you pronounce this? How do you use it properly? I know the definition is in good faith, like if you are welcomed to someone's ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
3
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5answers
2k views

Using “exempli gratia” in essays

Can I use "exempli gratia" (short for e.g.) in place of "for example?" If so, do I need to add any words to it to completely replace the phrase "for example?"
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4answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
348 views

Why isn’t “disharmony” spelled “*dysharmony”?

Disharmony is a Greek word with a Latin prefix meaning “absence of harmony” or “bad harmony”. So why not spell it dysharmony, as one spells dysfunction or dyspepsia?
10
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3answers
503 views

Is it acceptable to mix Latin with English?

Is it acceptable to mix small amounts of Latin with English? Right now, ________ is persona non grata. Is this proper English?
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5answers
1k views

How popular is “sine qua non” in English? If I use it in day to day conversation, will I be scoffed at?

I saw the word “sine qua non” in the article of New York Times (October 12) written by Gail Collins under the title, “The Gift of Glib.” The article deals with the big Republican debate held in New ...
9
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1answer
519 views

English Subjunctive: An Imposition from Latin?

Often English grammar (as well as Koinê Greek, e.g "deponent", and probably others), has often been ruled by what I call "totalitarian grammarians" who impose Latin structures on it rather than doing ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Why isn't “muscle” pronounced “muskle”?

It comes from the Latin musculus (meaning mouse) and Latin has only hard c's. The "c" has somehow become soft or silent during evolution. Why did this happen? Also, if muscle is pronounced mussle, ...
1
vote
1answer
224 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

As “postscript” is one word, why do some abbreviate it as “p.s.”?

'Postscript' is a single word in modern English, and Dictionary.com states that it's even based on a single Latin word, postscrīptum. So, why do some abbreviate it to p.s. (or P.S.), as on this ...