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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

28
votes
5answers
51k 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'?
0
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
102 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
94 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
242 views

How is “viz.” pronounced?

How does one read out “viz.”? “Namely”, “to wit”, or something else entirely?
10
votes
3answers
614 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?
6
votes
1answer
411 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
149 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
2k 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
24 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
16k views

“via” vs. “through”

Could you please explain what the difference in usage is between through and via, which sounds like a Latinism? Are they completely interchangeable?
9
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the plural of Prius?

What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
6
votes
3answers
37k views

“Emigrant” vs. “immigrant”

While studying one word substitution I came across these two words, what I understood till now is like this: Emigrant: One who leaves his own country to reside to another. Immigrant: A person who ...
2
votes
3answers
573 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
522 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
2answers
416 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
21k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
861 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
26k 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
150 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
358 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
566 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
566 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
210 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
313 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
415 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 ...
8
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
267 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
89k 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
36k 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!
52
votes
4answers
8k 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
758 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
48k 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?
5
votes
1answer
144 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
1k 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
1k 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
353 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
338 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
694 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
84k 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
1k 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
271 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
525 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
74 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
414 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 ...