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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

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
54k 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
325 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Why “Jesu” rather than “Jesus” in this carol?

Why does this bit of O Come, All Ye Faithful use Jesu rather than Jesus? Yea, Lord, we greet thee Born this happy morning Jesu, to thee be glory given Am I right in my thinking that Jesus is ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Why are i.e. and e.g. abbreviated with periods between each word and etc. not?

Why are i.e. (id est) and e.g. (exempli gratia) abbreviated with periods between each word and etc. (et cetera) not abbreviated as et.c.?
13
votes
1answer
752 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
984 views

How did “Matron” and “Patron” come to mean different things?

Matron: (1) a married woman, especially one who is mature and staid or dignified and has an established social position; (2) a woman who has charge of the domestic affairs of a hospital, prison, or ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

What are the plural forms of the words “octopus” and “platypus”? [duplicate]

I've seen "octopuses" and "platypuses", respectively, but I've also seen "octopi" and"platypi". Which is correct, and why?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

is “modus operandi” singular or plural?

Is the phrase (as used in English) "modus operandi" singular or plural? And if the former, what is its plural form [or vice versa]? (To my untutored eye, "modus" seems to be a singular form, while ...
5
votes
2answers
334 views

Why and when did 'hendiadys' change from its original 'hendiadyoin' spelling?

The expression 'hen dia dyoin' was not used by Greek grammarians, but it is frequent among Latin writers. Why did it come into English usage in this corrupted form? Can it be traced through English ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

What is the difference between an anthology and a florilegium?

Both words have origins meaning a gathering of flowers — one from Greek and one from Latin. Both appear to have the same definition. When should I use one rather than the other?
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Do “to pony up” and “to pungle” come from the same Latin root?

For to pony up, etymonline.com says 1824, in pony up "to pay," said to be from slang use of L. legem pone to mean "money" (first recorded 16c.), because this was the title of the Psalm for March ...
7
votes
2answers
622 views

Can your use of Latin-derived words indicate your social class?

It is certainly true that educational level and social position usually walk together in most societies. Not considering that, however, and based only on how often one uses Graeco-Latin versus ...
4
votes
3answers
557 views

Did “didactic” go through Latin before arriving in English or did it come directly from Greek?

Did the word didactic go through Latin before arriving in English? How could it not have? Yet Websters says it came to English directly from Greek! I think they are wrong. There is a Latin word, ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

How did 'subsume' evolve from the Latin for 'take + under'?

What's an intuitive derivation behind ODO's definition that helps to remember its meaning? subsume = [with object] Include or absorb (something) in something else: Etymonline: 1530s, from ...
-1
votes
1answer
351 views

Position of stress in English words derived from New Latin

In another thread on this site a question was asked about the pronunciation of the word Caribbean; that discussion focused on the position of the accent. Cognate forms of the word Caribbean have ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

What is the plural of “corpus callosum”?

The Latin "corpus callosum" is also the common English name for a bundle of nerve fibers that connect the hemispheres of the cerebrum. Should the plural be the odd-sounding "corpa callosa" or the ...
-1
votes
2answers
160 views

Latin phrase to English? [closed]

I am looking to create a family motto in Latin for a character in a book. Using Google Translate, I've been able to translate "More money today than yesterday" into "Plus hodie quam heri". That then ...
-1
votes
2answers
85 views

How did 'wan' evolve from 'lacking lustre' to 'pale' ?

I wish to delve into the definition, which I already understand and so ask NOT about. I heed the Etymological Fallacy. What are some right ways of interpreting the noun 'lustre', so that the etymology ...
5
votes
2answers
582 views

What comes after the ducentiquinquagintasexions?

Hypercomplex numbers that use the Cayley-Dickson construction seem to follow a Latin naming convention related to the size of the algebra (which is always a power of two). As an English.SE question, ...
2
votes
1answer
272 views

Is there a distinction between “ceteris paribus” and “other things held constant”?

Wikipedia defines Ceteris paribus as: a Latin phrase meaning "with other things the same" or "other things being equal or held constant". It has always struck me as strange that we (primarily ...
1
vote
3answers
399 views

What's the word for Self Reflection?

There's a Greek (maybe Latin) word for when you reflect on your work. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? For instance, this would be used to describe a essay that you write to look back and ...
8
votes
2answers
762 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
447 views

How come the Latin word “Vulgaris” acquired such negative meaning in English?

Today, while reading Dan Brown's latest novel Inferno, I came to know that vulgar is actually derived from the Latin word vulgaris, literally meaning "of/pertaining to common people". I really don't ...
3
votes
2answers
422 views

Is there an English expression from Latin for “in writing”, “written”, etc?

Is there a Latin expression that is now used in English for "written"? For example, "Here is my request in written form." - to replace "in written form"? Or, "We took written notes.", you get the ...
5
votes
1answer
113 views

Latin-derived terms for directions

If dextrad, sinistrad, and mediad mean towards the right, left, and middle respectively, what would the related terms be for up and down/top and bottom?
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Old English instead of Latin in early Britain

For almost 400 years, Britain was a Roman province. During that period, naturally, Latin was an important language in the region. When the Germanic tribes invaded the British Isles (around the 5th ...
8
votes
4answers
12k views

Pronunciation of words ending with “‑ae”

For example, Styracaceae, Suidae, Sulidae, Sylviidae, Symplocaceae, etc. I don’t know how to pronounce them correctly.
14
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the word “formulæ” valid English?

Is the word formulæ, written with an æ at the end, valid in English? I stumbled upon this apparently plural form of formula in the Wiktionary. I had no idea the letter æ could occur in English. Does ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Is there a better way to write multiple Nota Bene? i.e “n.b., n.b.b.” e.t.c

What is the preferred way to write: n.b. Thing. n.b. Related thing #2. Can you use an approach similar to P.S.?: p.s (post-scriptum) p.p.s (postquam-post-scriptum) Or, should it be ...
2
votes
4answers
190 views

Not true in general, but possibly true in some cases

Is there an abbreviation, an English or a Latin expression for "not true in general, but possibly although not necessarily true in some cases"? I suppose such a phrase may be used frequently in law ...
3
votes
0answers
393 views

What does “datum (sed) non concessum” mean? [closed]

I've encountered the phrase datum (sed) non concessum in various English-language books and articles such as: The Beauty of God's House, quoted in Theologically Speaking, What Intelligent Design Is ...
10
votes
5answers
7k views

“Unicorn”: what other words have this “cornus” etymology?

"Unicorn" comes from the French and late Latin, with the "cornus" part meaning "horn". I am wondering what other English words share this root. I could think of "rhinoceros". Can you think of ...
0
votes
2answers
204 views

“omni” - prefixed word for “ prepared to take up any challenge”

Word for someone that will take any challenge thrown at him, prepared to take up any challenge. Preferably with "omni" as prefix. Doesn't have to be word that is commonly used. I have been trying to ...
-4
votes
2answers
2k views

Since the Latin for 'manus' is 'hand' - does that make 'mankind' a non-sexist expression? [closed]

I heard the following view expressed today: Mankind is not a sexist expression, because it comes from the latin manus, which means hand, as in [genderless] means of action. Is this a false ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Which is the correct plural of Atlas? [closed]

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
vote
1answer
470 views

How did the “erogation” word end up on displays of coffee machines?

According to many dictionaries, erogation comes from the Latin for "the art of giving out or bestowing", but currently seems to be heavily linked to the coffee business. I'd like to know how this ...
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Etymology of orchard

Etymology of orchard As a German I would assume that orchard is related to German Obstgarten (a garden with fruit trees), and as Obstgarten has a consonant group of four consonants bst+g the bst was ...
0
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
25k views

How is 'via' pronounced and where did these variations come from? [closed]

Over the years, I've heard people say 'v-ē-ə', 'v-ī-ə', and sometimes the 'uh' is an 'ah' sound. (edit- It has come to my attention that 'via' was once a 'wee-ah' from Latin, but I don't feel like ...
23
votes
2answers
71k views

What's the difference between “e.g.” and “ex.”?

I know they both roughly mean "example", but which one should I use, and when?
33
votes
5answers
74k 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
243 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
136 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
139 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
659 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
530 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 ...