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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
4answers
297 views

Adding an L when appending an -ium suffix to a word? (Metallium vs. Metalium)

I am Romanizing a business name from Hebrew, and am wondering what the most appealing or 'correct' spelling might be - 'Metallium' or 'Metalium'. The owners of the business went with the latter, but ...
3
votes
1answer
472 views

Latin (in wide use in English) for nonsensical response? [duplicate]

There is a Latin term or phrase (in wide use in English, esp academic discourse) that one uses in situations like the following: one makes a statement or asks a question one's interlocutor makes a ...
17
votes
7answers
21k views

Is “et al.” used as a singular or plural subject?

When referring to multiple authors by using the name of the first author and "et al.", is it correct to grammatically treat this as one person or multiple persons? Gamma et al. are saying in their ...
1
vote
3answers
181 views

(Latin) Abbrevation for 'apropos' / 'regarding' / 'with respect to'

I am looking for a convenient abbreviation for the construction of 'with respect to' or 'regarding' or 'apropos'. I used to write "A with respect to B" as "A cf. B" but this is not really correct. Is ...
-3
votes
1answer
43 views

i.e. versus e.g. in a sentence [duplicate]

I know what the use of i.e. and e.g. are, but in my sentence I can't seem to tell the difference. If you do land on them, you will get an amount of points depending on what you landed on i.e. if you ...
10
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
17 views

When offering a list of examples that is 3-4 items long in parenthesis, how is it formatted?

When offering a list of examples, I've seen it done 4 different ways: (e.g., x, y, and z) (e.g., x, y, z) (x, y, and z) (x, y, z) Which of these is correct? Are they all okay to use? Example ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
28 views

“cactusings” or “cactiing”

I am aware this is a nonsensical / silly question, but my last question got me thinking about this. Say you have a hypothetical verb ending in -us. Lets pretend this verb is the word "Cactus". Some ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

The prefix “post” can it mean before? [closed]

The posterior is the behind, the postero-dorsal is behind the antero-dorsal. But when we're talking about time, postmodern means "of, relating to, or being an era after a modern one". So are there ...
6
votes
1answer
133 views

“Remember thou shalt die”: Shall/will

A common translation of the Latin hortative memento mori is "Remember thou shalt die." I am not interested in a discussion of the Latin, nor of what the expression actually means in English. I am ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

What is a word for “having the form of a Brussels sprout”?

Inspired by Dictionary.com's Word of the Day, "botryoidal" (adj. -having the form of a bunch of grapes), and the ongoing naming process of a product at my work which has these features: What is a word ...
1
vote
2answers
56 views

Do “empirical” and “imperial” share a common etymology? [closed]

Nothing more to my question, really. I just wonder if the words share an etymological root. Thanks.
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Does “pro-” always precede “pre-” in a sequence? Why?

In biological vocabulary, sometimes both pre- and pro- are used as prefixes to indicate something earlier in a sequence. For example, pro-B cells develop into pre-B cells, which eventually develop ...
15
votes
4answers
2k 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 - ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Is There a Word for “Burning Fungus”?

I'm reading the etymology of the Latin word fomes, it's a fungus. Are there any words to accompany this one by meaning the "burning of a fungus"?
3
votes
1answer
526 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: cac-'tee-...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

People eighty years and up

Is there a word for people in the 80+ age group? I know octogenarian means 80-to-89-year-olds. Is there a word for people in their 80s, 90s, 100s, etc., inclusive? Supraoctogenarian?
1
vote
1answer
70 views

When does a plural end in 'es' instead of 'i'? [duplicate]

Take, for example, 'ignoramuses' instead of 'ignoramae', or 'cacti' over 'cactuses'? In which cases does the plural end in 'es' instead of 'ae'? Can it be either one for any given case? Why?
5
votes
1answer
269 views

What is the accurate English translation/meaning of the phrase “In nocte consilium”, the motto of Birkbeck College in London?

Not sure if this is the appropriate place to pose this question, but apparently we don't have a Latin Stackexchange... The motto of Birkbeck College in London is "In nocte consilium". However I have ...
1
vote
2answers
356 views

Latin equivalent for “case-by-case” phrase

I would appreciate a reminder of the Latin-phrase equivalent, or alternative suggestions, for "case-by-case," specifically for language to be included in a public-private case-study. Thank you.
87
votes
9answers
80k views
3
votes
2answers
154 views

When should 'viz.' be followed by a comma?

Some Latin abbreviations as 'i.e.' and 'e.g.' are always followed by a comma. For the Latin abbreviation 'viz.', sometimes it is followed by a comma, sometimes it is not. What is the rule for ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
231 views

What is the etymology of 'superstitious'?

Clearly superstitious is of Anglo-Norman origin, used in English since well before Chaucer's time to refer to 'unorthodox religious beliefs'.(OED) But the classical Latin is often written hyphenated ...
2
votes
3answers
139 views

Do “mens rea” and “actus reus” need an article?

In criminal cases, there exists two elements: a guilty mind (mens rea) and a guilty act (actus reus). Do these two Latin terms require a preceding article, and which would it be (definite/indefinite)? ...
10
votes
3answers
256 views

Why does “stigmata” [often] have penult stress?

I enjoy studying the pronunciation of Greek-derived words in English, and I've found an odd anomaly. There are (at least) two possible pronunciation patterns for words ending in the plural suffix -ata ...
9
votes
3answers
667 views

What do you call two consecutive months; a sixth of a year?

Half a year is a semester, i.e. (literally) 6 months. Since it’s often wrongly thought to derive from semi- ‘half’, there’re contradicting definitions of similar terms: Both a trimester and a (rare) ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

What semantic notions inverted the meaning of 'with' (from opposition to association)?

[Wiktionary :] From Middle English with, from Old English wiþ ‎(“against, opposite, toward”), a shortened form of wiþer, from Proto-Germanic *wiþr- ‎(“against”), from Proto-Indo-European *wi-tero- ‎(“...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

Use of “ante” to refer to previous pages in an English text

At work I have seen "ante" being used for referring to previous pages of notes written by staff. For instance, when one has to refer to something on previous note, he/she would write, "Refer ...
3
votes
4answers
6k 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
2answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
112 views

Etymology: predicament

Can anyone explain how predicament from the Latin word family dicere ‘to say’ and praedicare, can develop the meaning precarious situation? Etymonline can't. early 15c., "category, class; one of ...
2
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
354 views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
697 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
95 views

Are there other well-known examples of the type “Illigitimi non carborundum”?

Illegitimi non carborundum, mock-Latin for "don't let the bastards grind you down", dates to early WWII, and later in the war was adopted by Gen."Vinegar" Joe Stillwell as his motto. For more, ...
2
votes
2answers
240 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. ...
14
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the plural of 'prefix' really 'prefixes' rather than 'prefices'?

It looks like the plural of 'prefix' is 'prefixes' - while I would expect it to be 'prefix' => 'prefices' like 'matrix' => 'matrices' or 'index' => 'indices'. Is 'prefix' an exception to the rule? ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Has there ever been an antonym for “benefit” that includes the latin affix “neg-”?

I understand bene to roughly mean well, good, or rightly so from Latin, while neg- coming from Latin negare to roughly mean deny, negate, or against. The words benefit, beneficial, and benefactor all ...
2
votes
2answers
137 views

Difference between gerund and present participle [duplicate]

What is the difference between a gerund and present participle? When should we use a gerund and when should we use a present participle ?
29
votes
8answers
116k 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?
9
votes
3answers
62k 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
1answer
65 views

“Tonight let's go with the bottle of Cabernet *vs.* the Merlot.” [closed]

(Note that the home wine rack has 10 different kinds of wine in it.) I've been told now and again over the years that this kind of use of vs. (versus) is improper. Apparently it's supposed to only ...
2
votes
0answers
90 views

What did people really say when knighting someone? [closed]

A while ago, on a different PC than the one I am now using, I curiously looked up this question and found out that people did not say "I dub thee..." or "Arise..." to him who was being made a knight, ...
1
vote
3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

1000 Day “Anniversary”

"Anniversary" comes from Latin: "anni" [genitive of annus = year] + "vers(us)" [past participle of vertere = to turn]. I am interested in constructing a similar word which means "reoccurring every ...
9
votes
1answer
273 views

Latin words borrowed from Roman occupation?

English has a lot of words borrowed from Latin. The great majority were borrowed in the 14- and 1500's from Church/Medieval Latin, a huge influx via educated neologism. I'd like to know if there are ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is a calzone called calzone?

I was just researching its etymology and turns out that it comes from calceus the Latin for shoe! How did Latin for shoe end up as the Italian (and subsequently, English) for a snack? They seem so ...