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

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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 ...
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41 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

Where do “‑ess” and “‑ine” suffixes come from?

English has a lot of words that end in ‑ess or ‑esse, such as actress, hostess, huntress, finesse, duress, prowess, Lyonesse, and Westernesse. That looks like a suffix that is also used frequently ...
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17k 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?
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49 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 ...
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5answers
4k 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 ...
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2answers
261 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 ...
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4answers
14k 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 ...
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2answers
71 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. ...
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9answers
2k views

What is the plural of Prius?

Don’t hate me for asking, but What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
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1answer
131 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 ...
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386 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 ...
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3answers
64 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 ...
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6answers
260 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 ...
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2answers
95 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 ...
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1answer
70 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. ...
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40 views

Mashing parts together to form Philanthropomath [closed]

I've always been unskilled with prefixes, suffixes, roots, etc. I was wondering if I combined philanthrope(ic) and philomath to form Philanthropomath Does this turn into nonsense? Or through the ...
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1answer
454 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 ...
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2answers
113 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 ...
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5answers
513 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 ...
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3answers
87 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 ...
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1answer
634 views

What is the history of “nil” in British football /soccer?

In British football if neither team scores a goal, the score is said to be: nil-nil or nil-nil draw. Curiously, the winning team's results are always spoken first. So if Arsenal are playing home the ...
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7answers
54k 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?
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4answers
15k 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'?
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5answers
24k 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!
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4answers
4k 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 ...
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2answers
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“Oestrogen” and “oesophagus” — why are they spelled differently in British English?

Within Biology, there are some biological terms that differ in spelling between the British English and American English dictionaries. For example, oestrogen and oesophagus, as well as the word ...
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187 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 ...
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4answers
26k 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?
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2answers
7k views

How should an English speaker pronounce “vice versa”?

When using vice versa in spoken English, I tend to just completely Anglicise it and pronounce it vise VER-ser, with only one syllable in vice. The original would be something like VEE-cay VER-sa, but ...
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4answers
28k 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?
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2answers
12k views

How is the word “qua” used?

I play Scrabble. I'm learning words with the letter 'q'. What is the usage of the word 'qua'?
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3answers
6k views

Pronunciation of words ending with “‑ae”

For example, Styracaceae, Suidae, Sulidae, Sylviidae, Symplocaceae, etc. I don’t know how to pronounce them correctly.
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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 ...
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1answer
639 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 ...
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4answers
350 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 ...
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7answers
1k 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. ...
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8k views

“viruses” or “virii”?

Is the plural of virus "viruses" or "virii"?
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169 views

Why is “success” spelled with double -S?

What is the function of the double s at the end of the word, success?
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197 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 ...
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3answers
815 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 ...
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2answers
192 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 ...
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1answer
18k 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: ...
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2answers
833 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 ...
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2answers
143 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 ...
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1answer
575 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 ...
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335 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 ...
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2answers
560 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 ...
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1answer
181 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 ...
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1answer
63 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 ...