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

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10
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4answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
26k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
222 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
357 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.
0
votes
2answers
909 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?
15
votes
4answers
1k 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 - ...
7
votes
1answer
32k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
4k 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, ...
5
votes
4answers
427 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
914 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
640 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
777 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
525 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 ...
28
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
643 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
176 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
votes
1answer
403 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)?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “persona non grata” mean? [closed]

In Gossip Girl, there’s a line like this: Spotted, Lonely Boy going from Teacher’s Pet to persona non grata in the pitter-patter of a heartbeat. What’s persona non grata?
5
votes
2answers
167 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
404 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
807 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?
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Is “ad hominem” gender-neutral?

My immediate thought is that the term is generic, and yet I read recently a verbal brickbat described as ad feminam. Was that just a po-mo back-formation, or is there some merit to the distinction? ...
1
vote
4answers
18k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Adjectives with Latin etymology when noun has non-Latin etymology

As a non-native English speaker, I always wondered why, for example, you say moon, but then you say lunar (same goes for side and lateral, hand and manual and so forth): in some cases, the noun is not ...
4
votes
4answers
8k 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?
9
votes
2answers
656 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
258 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?
2
votes
3answers
113 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. ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

“omni”-prefixed word for “all-hearing”

Is there an adjective that begins with the prefix omni that means all-hearing? I thought that an aural counterpart to omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient must exist, but after a few minutes of ...
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
60
votes
7answers
43k views
2
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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?
5
votes
3answers
208 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
116 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
719 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
-1
votes
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
votes
1answer
797 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 ...
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votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
580 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 ...
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?"
1
vote
2answers
636 views

What is the demonym for Norfolk, Virginia?

According to this Fritinancy entry, the demonym for Norfolk, England is "North Anglian," rather than "Norfolker" or "Norfolkite," for historical reasons. What about Norfolk, Virginia, in the United ...