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

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13
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4answers
24k views

What is the origin of the counting prefixes: uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quad-, etc.?

Many English words use the prefixes uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quad- and so on to mean one, two, three, and four. For example: A unicycle has one wheel, a bicycle two, and a tricycle three. I presume ...
2
votes
2answers
141 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
313 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
550 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
72 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 ...
-2
votes
6answers
532 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
194 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
286 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
356 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
2k 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
240 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 ...
26
votes
7answers
81k views

How did “sinister”, the Latin word for “left-handed”, get its current meaning?

Sinister is the Latin word for left-handed. What evolution of meaning turned left-handed into evil and threatening?
14
votes
5answers
34k views

What does the suffix “-saurus” mean?

Is it the same meaning in tyrannosaurus as in thesaurus? I really can’t imagine what those two words could possibly have in common!
51
votes
4answers
7k views

Why is “pound” (of weight) abbreviated “lb”?

Answers to Correct usage of lbs. as in "pounds" of weight suggest that "lb" is for "libra" (Latin), but how has this apparent inconsistency between the specific unit of weight "pound" and ...
7
votes
1answer
634 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
45k views

How does one use the Latin word “cum” in a sentence?

I'm talking about the Latin cum, which I've seen used conjunctively, as in A-cum-B. What does it mean, and how do you use it?
9
votes
2answers
19k views

How is the word “qua” used?

I play Scrabble. I'm learning words with the letter 'q'. What is the usage of the word 'qua'?
5
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
970 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
985 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

Which style of Latin plurals should I use?

Many Latin words in English have both Latin-style plurals and English-style plurals: referendum – referendums, referenda. minimum – minimums, minima. gymnasium – gymnasiums, gymnasia. ...
-1
votes
1answer
323 views

Why is “success” spelled with double -S?

What is the function of the double s at the end of the word, success?
5
votes
4answers
318 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
650 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
74k 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
996 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
255 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k 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
492 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
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
334 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
630 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
5answers
4k 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
457 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?
3
votes
3answers
244 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
895 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
291 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?
3
votes
2answers
252 views

Usage of macrons in Latin loanwords

I know that diacritics are often retained in loanwords in formal writing (cf. naïveté), but I haven't seen this done with direct adaptation of Latin words; i.e., per se. In Latin, per sē comes with a ...
-1
votes
1answer
201 views

Dot (.) usage in Latin Words? [duplicate]

The question is short and simple. Say I use i.e. in my formal publication. Which is correct? ... by the interior landmarks, i.e. elevators and escalators. Or ... by the interior landmarks, ...
13
votes
4answers
152k views

What does 'Ibid' mean in reference/footnotes?

Every so often I read a book with footnotes, and I've seen them use Ibid. followed by page numbers - but I have no idea what this term means. At first I thought it was a reference to a classical ...
4
votes
0answers
248 views

Is the usage of latinisms perceived as common in the English language or does it sound like bragging in ordinary speech? [closed]

My question here is about perception. English has a great and wonderful variety in its vocabulary, and many concepts can be associated with different words, although with slightly different meanings ...
3
votes
2answers
601 views

Is it more formal to use words of Latin origin? [closed]

For example, cemetery instead of graveyard. In which context would a word of Latin origin be more proper? Or is there no difference at all?
8
votes
2answers
12k views

“In toto” versus “in total”

Are the phrases "in total" and "in toto" interchangeable, or is "in total" a corruption of "in toto"?
11
votes
3answers
381 views

Term for converting to black&white [closed]

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a Latin, or English, phrase or acronym for “in summary”?

Is there something similar to TLDR that can be used in professional emails and messages?
7
votes
1answer
189 views

Is “qo” a step in the evolution of the question mark?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Question_mark According to the wikipedia article I've linked to above, "qo" was sometimes used in the middle ages to abbreviate the latin word "questio" in the way that we ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the Latin abbreviation “f” (folio) commonly used in page ranges?

When citing from an inclusive range of two consecutive pages such as pages 25 and 26, one can write 25–26 or 25f I know this is a question of style, but I am having little luck with Google ...
8
votes
4answers
19k views

Correct spelling/italicization of e.g., i.e.?

Should e.g. and i.e. have periods, e.g. "e.g.", or no periods, eg "eg"? Should they be italicized, e.g. "i.e." or not, eg "i.e"?