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

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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
votes
1answer
29k 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
426 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 ...
4
votes
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
-2
votes
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
votes
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?"
7
votes
4answers
5k 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
388 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
votes
3answers
555 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?
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
550 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
votes
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
243 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 ...
9
votes
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
740 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

Pronunciation of words ending with “‑ae”

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

Why A is pronounced differently in “opacity” and “opaque”

When I look at pronunciation guides for opacity and opaque I see the following: opaque: oh-peyk (a hard A) opacity: oh-pas-i-tee (a soft A) Since their root seems to be the Latin opācus, ...
8
votes
5answers
758 views

Plurals of “infimum” and “supremum”

The words infimum and supremum are technical terms in mathematics. Should their plurals be infima and suprema or infimums and supremums?
23
votes
7answers
65k 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?
20
votes
3answers
1k 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
2answers
4k views

Plural of “abacus”

A colleague and I were having a discussion as to the proper plural form of abacus. I believe the plural would be abacuses and he feels that the proper form would be abaci. I believe that abacuses is ...
3
votes
1answer
898 views

“Mutexes” or “mutices”? [closed]

When we create new words ending in -ex (mutex being short for mutual exclusion), should we (may we?) use the Latin plural form because the suffix is similar to the latin suffix -ex? (Personally I've ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Curriculum Vitae” vs “Curriculum Vitæ”

I was just seeing the CV of Dr. Donald Knuth, which he calls as his Curriculum Vitæ. So is Curriculum Vitæ more appropriate than the commonly used Curriculum Vitae?
6
votes
1answer
626 views

Etymology of “duck”

Etymonline and wiktionary don't seem to agree on that one. Many European languages have cognates (Ente, anatra, eend), but duck seems isolated. Where does English take duck from? Edit As Henry ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

Can I start a sentence with “i.e.”?

While writing a rhetorical question I ran into a case where it seemed natural to start a sentence with "I.e": How do we handle the case when the list is empty? I.e., if the filter matched no ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Latin (or Greek) -x becomes -ght?

I have attested two words in English that come from two Latin words. These are "night" and "light". They derive from the words "nox" and "lux" respectively; both Latin — in the case of the word "nox", ...
1
vote
4answers
17k views

What is the correct plural of “stadium”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which style of Latin plurals should I use? If my memory of Latin lessons serves me correctly, it should really be stadia However, I think most people would ...
25
votes
3answers
14k views

When a sentence starts with “e.g.”, should the e be capitalized?

When a sentence starts with e.g., should the e be capitalized? Neverminding that it might be better to start with "For example," ... Thinking of SE posts and comments, should the starting e be ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

nebula and nebulous - a question of origin

While looking up nebulous, I noticed the origin of the word is dating back to 14th century. Surprised since the nebulae wasn't discovered at that time, I checked nebula to find that its origin dates ...
11
votes
4answers
122k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
34k 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?
14
votes
5answers
28k 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!
29
votes
5answers
148k views

Should I write “PhD” or “Ph.D.”?

Question pretty self-explanatory. Should the abbreviation of the Latin term philosophiae doctor be written as PhD (no periods) or Ph.D. (with periods)?
12
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
248 views

What is the origin of the pluralization “virii”?

However wrong it may be, lots of people have pluralized virus as virii. I'd understand viri, but what misconception could lead one to write virii?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Pronunciation of trailing “i” in Latin-derived words

Some pronounce the trailing "i" in Latin-derived words (e.g., "Gemini") as a long "e" and others pronounce it as a long "i." I was taught the long "e," but is this mere preference or is there a firm ...
2
votes
4answers
969 views

How is “e.g.” pluralized?

How is "e.g." pluralized? Usually I just see "e.g." used regardless of the number of examples given, but I don't know if that's correct or merely a product of widespread ignorance. More rarely, I've ...
9
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Derivation of “anus” from “annulus”?

I have always thought the word annulus to be exceptionally awkward. I'd like to know the relation between annulus and anus. Geometrically, an annulus is a disk with a hole in it. The anal muscle ...
13
votes
2answers
25k 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?
5
votes
2answers
720 views

Has there been an Anglo-Saxon movement in English?

We know there has been an influence (or attempt at influence) of Latin grammar on English, especially in the 19th century. And of course, many new words coined today in (say) the sciences draw upon ...
5
votes
3answers
189 views

Using “allium” as an adjective

I’d like to use the Latin word for garlic, allium, as an adjective, but can’t find any examples of this being done. Is there a rule for doing this with nouns ending in ‑um? Alliumnal sounds good, but ...
5
votes
3answers
775 views

Rules for forming adjectives from Latin nouns

I read a paper today that kept using "multistrata" to describe an object with multiple layers. For example: I love multistrata cakes. This sounds wrong to my ear, I think "multistratum" sounds ...
6
votes
3answers
620 views

Did “et cetera” gain its popularity from “The King and I”?

Is it possible that et cetera gained its popularity thanks to the 1956 movie The King and I? Since I wasn't around before 1956, I'm not sure how common "et cetera" was in day to day speech. Or was it ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

“In toto” versus “in total”

Are the phrases "in total" and "in toto" interchangeable, or is "in total" a corruption of "in toto"?
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Two octopi? What's the proper plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Octopuses, octopi, or octo? What is the "proper" plural of "octopus"? A web search turns up three candidates, but is there a "right" answer?
4
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Can “pro rata” be used as a verb? And what should the past tense be?

We are offering prices on some subscriptions which are normally priced for a full year, but allow users to buy only a few months worth. We're calling these pro rata prices and talking about the ...