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

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8
votes
5answers
839 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
5k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
20k 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 ...
12
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
9k 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?
10
votes
2answers
834 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
266 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
114 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
3k 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 ...
67
votes
7answers
52k views
2
votes
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
223 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
129 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
788 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
5k 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
900 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
589 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
3k 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
690 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
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", ...
6
votes
1answer
787 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 ...
14
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
865 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 ...