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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
2answers
11k views

“viruses” or “virii”?

Is the plural of virus "viruses" or "virii"?
2
votes
0answers
37 views

What are antonym-like prefixes to the Greek “crypto”?

What is a prefix that is similar to "public", or "accessible", or "ubiquitous" such that it is harmonious with the spirit of currency needing to be of public domain, widely adopted, accessible, etc. ...
5
votes
1answer
47 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?
0
votes
2answers
25 views

Is there a latin phrase (which can be used in english) for “as per convention”?

I want to say something in an academic setting to the effect of "as expected" or "as per convention", when dealing with repeated lists of things with expected formatting. Is there a Latin phrase that ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
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.
10
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Word meaning 'To be pulled'

I am looking for a word that means 'to be pulled' in that same sense of propelled or compelled means to be forced or urged forward. Ideally, it would use the same base pel. Searching Google and ...
7
votes
3answers
825 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
51 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
88 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Plural of “dibamus” [closed]

Dibamus is a genus of legless lizards in the family Dibamidae, of the infraorder Dibamia. Genera are usually given in singular, so what is the correct plural of Dibamus? Families and orders are ...
3
votes
0answers
103 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
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
69 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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
158 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
140 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

How is the word “Cactaceae” pronounced?

I was wondering how the word Cactaceae, which is the botanical taxon for the Cactus family, is pronounced. I searched for "Cactaceae pronunciation" and found the following pronunciations: ...
23
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
62 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
134 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
296 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
15k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
574 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
30k 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?
-1
votes
2answers
131 views

Phant Latin root and similar words

I ran into an unfamiliar word recently: sycophant. I am wondering now if phant means anything but simple google searches aren't leading me anywhere. Hierophant - someone who shows sacred things ...
25
votes
5answers
36k 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
101 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
79 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
57 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

How is “viz.” pronounced?

How does one read out “viz.”? “Namely”, “to wit”, or something else entirely?
10
votes
3answers
575 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
283 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
4answers
103 views

Correct term for a group of thirty-two things (or the general rule for anything over twenty) - duotrigectet?

I have found this source a little useful, but I am unsure what the correct term for a collection of thirty-two things is. Sextet, octet, dectet etc. are the terms for 6, 8, 10 etc. The "prefix form" ...
3
votes
2answers
578 views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [closed]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [duplicate]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
7
votes
2answers
10k views

“via” vs. “through”

Could you please explain what the difference in usage is between through and via, which sounds like a Latinism? Are they completely interchangeable?
8
votes
9answers
2k views

What is the plural of Prius?

What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
6
votes
3answers
24k views

“Emigrant” vs. “immigrant”

While studying one word substitution I came across these two words, what I understood till now is like this: Emigrant: One who leaves his own country to reside to another. Immigrant: A person who ...
2
votes
3answers
465 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
179 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
687 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
20k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
112 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
228 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
480 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 ...