1
vote
1answer
31 views

The word “chemist” and its origins?

I know chemist means someone who sells medicines or drugs. However, we use physicist for someone who studies/researches physics, and so will anyone naturally understand. But it has always confused ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

Origin of the word kowtow? [on hold]

l think it has its origin from the Akan people of Ghana because the Akans have a similar word which means to bow or lay prostrate for a higher person or an authority.
0
votes
2answers
41 views

Spendthrift vs Thrifty - origins

I have always been curious to understand the origin of these two seemingly similar words. Looking at them for the first time, I thought they were synonyms, but ever since I learnt their meanings, ...
-5
votes
1answer
57 views

Did I get wrong what she said with ' If you could be my everything.. '? [closed]

After I asked my girlfriend that why she doubts to start again to this relationship, she answered: "Because if you could be my everything, i would not let him come close to me, in the first place". ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

meaning of Republic [closed]

I've been thinking what might be the real meaning of the word Republic? As far as I know the prefix re- gives the base word the meaning of again; as in renew, replace, reclaim. I am wondering what ...
4
votes
2answers
98 views

Which is longer: snooze, nap, kip, 40 winks or siesta?

How long is a snooze? My boyfriend will invariable take an afternoon snooze which might last anything up to two hours. A nap on the other hand, can be short, quick or even long, and sometimes they are ...
1
vote
3answers
101 views

Bike Race question - Loser gets to be the girl [closed]

I don't remember which movie it was in, but there were two men (filled with testosterone), and they had this bet that the loser would be the girl. It was never specified what ''gets to be the girl'' ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

Does “eff” mean to describe in words?

If one dissects the word "ineffable", there are three main roots in - not able - able to be done eff The meaning of the root able implies that some part of the word before it must refer to an ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

Where does the word “button-down” come from?

I was wondering where the term 'button-down' comes from. I tried to do some research but I was not very successful... How was the word button-down formed? Is it a compound ? Does it originate from ...
6
votes
1answer
328 views

Why is something fried on a griddle called grilled?

To my understanding, to grill is cooking with a heat source located beneath an open slatted grate (or ribbed closed pan). (For example, using a barbecue grill on one's patio.) The word grill is ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

“Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost”? [closed]

Until today I believed that both terms are basically the same. But our English teacher told us that the correct term is Holy Spirit. Is there any difference between Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost? I ...
1
vote
3answers
131 views

Does milk toast, milk-toast, or milktoast mean the same as milquetoast?

So of late I've been hearing a lot of people call other people (or their actions) milk toast. I thought it was weird because those two words should conjure up breakfast food and not "spineless". So I ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

What is Poetry? What does not count as Poetry? Help me get a grasp of it [closed]

Background: Yesterday afternoon I overheard two people chatting, I think one was reading or reciting a poem. It was quite emotional, and actually quite lovely. Later I saw several poems on TEDTalks ...
13
votes
5answers
827 views

Why place a hand on the Bible instead of the Judge's genitals when taking an oath?

Etymonline gives the etymology of testify as ...from testis "a witness".. + root of facere "to make"... Biblical sense of "openly profess one's faith and devotion" is attested from 1520s. Related: ...
1
vote
3answers
69 views

Has “freak” always carried a negative connotation?

Many words (such as imbecile and idiot) used to be technical terms or proper names, however, eventually came to be used mainly for insults, and are today considered negative. Has the word "freak" ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Origin and Impact of “Blown” Meaning “Bloom”

According to MW, full-blown means having all of the qualities that are associated with a particular thing or type of person : fully developed Having used it in this sense recently and noting its ...
3
votes
2answers
251 views

“Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” meaning and etymology

In my experience, referring to someone in an organization as "chief cook and bottle washer" has multiple possible meanings: person has a wide variety of duties in the organization person is very, ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Time before now vs. time before us

We all know that before normally means "earlier in time", but I've been thinking about the opposite meanings of those expressions: The days before now (the past) The days before us (the future) ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Streamer/Ribbon Difference Question

Just a different question but it's bugging me, I need an answer. I used to come from France to the USA when i was a boy to visit my family, and to my great annoyance (they thought it would suit my ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the oldest trick in the book?

Is there one trick that is the oldest? I understand the Oxford definition of the idiom but when was it first used and what did it refer to?
0
votes
1answer
333 views

What does “sex sells” mean? (and its origin)

The meaning might look obvious but I'm asking in a broader sense. Is it only pertaining to sex in advertising and is it only related to selling products? What is the origin of this phrase? When did ...
0
votes
3answers
96 views

What is the meaning of the expression?

What does "Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the can." mean? It seems that Google can't help me with this one. Could you also explain its origin and how it is related to the meaning?
1
vote
0answers
110 views

How meanings of “dis” and “play” construct the meaning of word “display” [closed]

In what way do meanings of "dis" and "play" construct the meaning of word "display"? As I understand it, the prefix "dis" negates what follows e.g., disability, and disadvantage. But I can't quite ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

What are the historic definitions of the word dragon?

Today, the term dragon is universally used for mythical, non-existent creatures that resemble dinosaurs in some ways. I thought I heard once from someone quoting a dictionary from 1600 something that ...
5
votes
3answers
817 views

“Rome was not built in a day” [closed]

I always heard this phrase from school, but never understood the actual meaning of it or how this phrase originated. What does this actually mean, and why was it Rome and not any other city? ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Was making 'dyslexia' hard to spell, a sadistic act? [closed]

Dyslexic (n.) is first recorded 1961; dyslectic (adj.) from 1964. My point is this - the Latin "legere" was already sufficient, "lexis" was contrived (I jest) out of the 'confusion' (see image) of ...
1
vote
3answers
122 views

Modern use of “bourgeoisie”

How can I use bourgeoisie properly in this day and age? I understand that at one time it meant part of the wealthy "middle class". Back then the middle class owned the means to production (merchants ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

“Brunette” vs. “brown” and “blonde” vs. “yellow”

Why is that we never use these terms interchangeably? I.e. one wouldn't say "I've painted my walls a deep brunette". Why is it that "brunette" and "blonde" are used exclusively in reference to hair ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

What does Obama mean when he says “crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln”?

I was looking at Obama's 2004 democratic convention speech. He said "crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deepest gratitude..." I think "land of Lincoln" is referring to ...
2
votes
0answers
28 views

Origin/Usage of “[word] is a [number] dollar word” [duplicate]

I've often been wondering where the phrase in the title comes from - I always picture it as coming from an early television era game show, but more likely it has to do with pricing of telegrams or ...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

Does Clink Street take its name from the prison or vice-versa?

In Southwark, between the Cathedral and the Globe Theatre runs Clink Street. It is in that dark and dingy alley that such that remains of the notorious prison, which is now rebuilt as a museum, is ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Etymology of “-by” suffix in proper nouns

I am curious to find out about the etymology of the suffix -by in proper nouns such as the following: Hornby, Gatsby, Bartleby, Barlby, Selby, Osgodby, Keisby, and Hanby
6
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
189 views

Does the second (2nd) have anything to do with a second (1/60 minute)? [closed]

In my native language, second in the meaning of the 2nd is different from second in the meaning of 1/60 minute (one sixtieth). Also in Arabic, a language I kinda know of, they are different as well. ...
4
votes
2answers
685 views

What does “rachet” mean and when was it first used?

The word ratchet is all over Twitter. Some real examples from just now: "All these ghetto ass ratchet ass girls at mchi are wearing these Santa hats, and they all claim to be Santa..." "I was ...
6
votes
3answers
89k views

What does “thot” mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...
0
votes
1answer
146 views

Is “grammered” a word?

Can I get any details about the word grammered? Is there any relation between it and "grammatically corrected" or "grilled and hammered"?
2
votes
2answers
92 views

difference between apt and fit

Question I'm particularly interested in the meaning of apt, but while I was searching through some dictionaries and examples it struck me how close the words apt and fit seem to be. Thus: what ...
1
vote
4answers
721 views

“Iterate” vs. “Reiterate”

Definition of iterate: to say or do again or again and again Definition of reiterate: to state or do over again or repeatedly sometimes with wearying effect The distinction seems to be ...
0
votes
1answer
239 views

To whom does “British” refer?

I've seen from sources claim that the word "British" can be used to refer to different things. Some say Great Britian, some the UK, and some even the UK including her overseas territories. Which of ...
1
vote
2answers
572 views

Origins of round in “round of applause”

A round of applause is a short period or burst of applause. What are the origins of the meaning of round in this phrase, and indeed the phrase itself? Are there any other phrases that use round in ...
1
vote
3answers
272 views

difference between act and deed

I've been searching the internet, but have not quite found a satisfactory explanation between an act and a deed. Both seem to have kind of a meaning of something done, though through my google and ...
4
votes
2answers
236 views

What is a “mock euphemism?”

I have to make flashcards for my AP Lang class, but I can't find what a "mock euphemism" is anywhere. Can anyone help?
1
vote
2answers
120 views

Is automobiles only a “car”

If we go by the word it should be anything which can move(mobile) on its own. The etymology section under wikipedia suggest so. But dictionary, wikipedia etc. says that its meaning is car. My ...
-1
votes
2answers
599 views

Meaning and origin of phrase “wear heart on sleeve” [closed]

What does the phrase "wear (one's) heart on (one's) sleeve" mean? I would appreciate if you could also tell me the origin of the same.
2
votes
4answers
228 views

Etymology of the phrase “Twenty-three Skidoo” as used in “Hey Arnold!”

The phrase “Twenty-Three Skidoo” has a very interesting and mysterious history described very thoroughly by the wikipedia article on the phrase. However, this article seems to indicate it’s usually ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What does this sentence about 'ὑπό' mean?

Wiktionary has the description of meaning for the ancient Greek word 'ὑπό': under, that is, (with the genitive) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How did “pumpkin” come to be a term of endearment?

The logic of some terms of endearment is fairly clear. Sweetie, honey, cupcake all refer to food treats. However, the use of the term pumpkin as a tenderness seems somewhat counterintuitive. While ...
1
vote
3answers
369 views

Did the CIA really introduce 'conspiracy theory' into popular usage after JFK?

I heard that after the JFK assassination the CIA, through assets in mass media, introduced the term 'conspiracy theory', with it connotations of something clearly ridiculous, and only believed by ...
1
vote
1answer
261 views

Meaning and etymology of “Crabbit” [closed]

What does this phrase mean? Being a crabbit is not gonna make it any easier for you.