Questions concerning the devising or choosing of names for things.

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66
votes
5answers
6k views

When does thousand turn into thousands?

My boyfriend and I are arguing whether thousands of miles means 1000+ or 2000+ miles. The first argument is that 1000+ is over 1000 and therefore 'thousands of miles' by rounding up. The other ...
19
votes
13answers
3k views

What do you call the time period between notification of an event and the event?

I'm in the situation where I have an event, and I want to notify some people 15 minutes before that event happens (but it could be 30 minutes, or 1 day, or any amount of time). What do you call that ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Tom, Jake and Jenny aren't looking forward to Thanksgiving. Why?

And "Hen" (their mother) isn't much looking forward to it either. Why? I can answer that question myself, it's because they're all turkeys. Tom is an adult male turkey (also often referred to as a '...
16
votes
15answers
3k views

What is a term to refer to two ideas in exact opposition (e.g. good & bad, positive & negative)? [closed]

So basically, I know the name for both sides of a coin, yet not the coin itself. In other words, when you refer to a coin, you don't want to say 'this object with one side heads, and the other tails',...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Where an ellipsis exists, is there a term for the missing text? [duplicate]

Suppose there is a long sentence like: This London hit show took America by storm, full of charm, humour and delightful songs that make it a perfect theatrical event for the entire family. And ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

Why did the word “Internet” change from a noncount to count noun?

I remember a time back in 1993 - 1994 for a couple months at our university the Internet was used as a noncount noun, so we would say: Do you have Internet at your university? In fact, the ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

“Semitic” and “anti-Semitic”

Why does Semitic refer to several groups of people, including Babylonians, Assyrians, Arabs and Jews, whereas anti-Semitic only refers to Jews?
11
votes
5answers
413 views

What's the term for introducing an error when you edit a sentence?

Several years ago, I recall learning an English term that described the following sort of error: I write (or begin writing) a sentence without error. I decide to change something in the sentence. I ...
9
votes
9answers
86k views

What do I call a person who is participating in a survey?

I am writing about a survey I wrote to evaluate the usability of a program. When describing the methodology of the survey, I refer to the person conducting the survey as the investigator. What should ...
9
votes
2answers
392 views

Name for phrase of words in increasing significance

I'm looking at the phrase "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY". The thing I'm trying to think of is the joke format where you list a bunch of things and then change the last word for humorous effect. I ...
9
votes
1answer
772 views

From Livorno to Leghorn and back again

Can anyone tell me why the Tuscan city of Livorno used to be called Leghorn in English? An increasing number of British writers, artists, philosophers, and travelers visited the area and ...
8
votes
9answers
7k views

What is “plaice” in the US? Would love a good fish and chips

When we went to the market, at the fisherman's counter we asked for plaice with which we would make fish and chips. Now here in the States when we ask for plaice, they don't understand what we mean. ...
8
votes
2answers
12k views

When did “World War 2” start being called “World War 2”?

When did World War 2 start being called a "world war" and when did it start being called World War 2? Thurber's The Last Flower (copyright 1939) makes reference to World War 12 so I'm curious as to ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Why do they call it a “movement” in music? Is this a metaphor?

I can't understand this. In symphony you hear the word "movement" to refer to independent sections. But it seems that it's not really that relevant. Movement almost everywhere has something to do with ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is it a “gene pool”?

Isn't it a bit odd to say that genes belong to or are a part of a "pool"? A pool is normally a body of water, e.g. a swimming pool Wikipedia explains The gene pool is the set of all genes, or ...
7
votes
1answer
806 views

What is the origin of “kiwifruit”?

What is the origin of kiwifruit? Is there any relation between the fruit and New Zealand?
7
votes
2answers
868 views

English Typography in the 17th Century

I was browsing through some very old English texts when I came across this page from The memoires of Sir James Melvil of Hal-hill, by George Scot (1683). The first thing that struck me was the anatomy ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are bacteria referred to using botanic terms (flora, blooming)?

I've seen a lot of information lately about intestinal flora or gut flora but I was under the impression that flora refers exclusively to plant life. So how did bacteria come to be called flora? I ...
6
votes
9answers
18k views

What is another word for “boss” for a company with a flatter hierarchy?

In today's more modern companies (especially IT startups etc.) that have a flatter hierarchy, the word "boss" seems to be outdated and doesn't describe the job role of someone who takes care of a team,...
6
votes
6answers
256 views

Is Father Christmas unwelcome in the United States?

Is the name Father Christmas used in the US or is it mainly Santa Claus (and Santa)? Does Father Christmas sound unusual or out of place if it was used in the US? Would it be laughed at? As an aside,...
6
votes
8answers
835 views

Is there a single word which means “a person, and all of his ancestors”, or “a person, and all of his descendants”?

There are a lot of words describing ancestral relationships between people, such as: parent grandparent great-grandparent any of the above can be described as an "ancestor". child grandchild great-...
5
votes
13answers
23k views

What is the word for a person who does different jobs?

I'm asking about someone who's employed by a company and does different jobs (both a qualified and unqualified person). Who knows; maybe in English those two are two different words? What are they ...
5
votes
5answers
12k views

What is a word called that has more than one syllable?

You can say e.g.: The word "on" is a monosyllable. but it seems that the word "multisyllable" has been outdated since 1913. What is the correct term for a word that has two or more syllables, e....
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are not all grains called “grains”?

In most languages, the word used for a single caryopsis seed is a good equivalent of grain — it is not only the translation for this kind of seeds, but also the translation for other meanings of the ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

What word describes text having a different meaning backwards and forwards?

Jonathan Reed's poem 'Lost Generation' is a pessimistic view of the future if read forwards. However, if you read it backwards linewise (not wordwise), it is still semantically meaningful, but the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the opposite of the perfect aspect?

Most tenses exist in a perfect and non-perfect form, e.g. present vs. present perfect and past continuous vs. past perfect continuous. What is the group of tenses that are not perfect called?
4
votes
5answers
7k views

What word best describes a small store that sells only glasses (spectacles)?

What word would or combination of words would best describe a small store, in which only glasses (spectacles) are sold? Here are some of my guesses, but I think they are all wrong: Eye ware Glass ...
4
votes
2answers
140 views

What do hotel or restaurant employees call the place at the back where tables and chairs are arranged..?

What do hotel or restaurant employees call the place at the back where tables and chairs are arranged..? It isn't a kitchen or a staff lounge but, it's a place for servers to prepare things needed ...
4
votes
1answer
299 views

Is there a word for a last name that is also a word? If so, what is it?

For example; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, John Doe, Sweet Brown (all these last names are also words).
4
votes
1answer
192 views

Does “numeric” abbreviation eg i18n have a name?

In the computer programming context, several long words are commonly abbreviated using the formula first letter, number of letters between, last letter. Eg internationalization --> i18n Is there a ...
4
votes
2answers
43 views

A term for a concept formed through abstraction and from categorization?

For e.g, lets say you take the number 1, 2, 3, 4... etc. From these list of numbers, you can abstract from these ideas the concept of a number. You can't do this if you only know of the number 1, if ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

What should you call a preface for a small document?

I think the word preface refers to books. I have a small document that is in the form of a hierarchical outline. Before my document, I want to put a small paragraph with instructions how to consume ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

Evoking more power than “Titan” [closed]

EVE Online is a multiplayer game that takes place across a fictional galaxy called New Eden. Players pilot spaceships and fight for territory in large collaborative corporations. Here is a simplified ...
3
votes
2answers
362 views

Is there a term for the device of titling named chapters in a work of fiction?

Does anyone know if there's a term that describes the device of titling chapters in a work of fiction? That is, chapters not simply called "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", etc., but chapters with unique ...
3
votes
2answers
311 views

“maple tree” or “maple”?

Is it correct to say maple tree, or would maple be both correct and enough to mean a tree (not just its fruit)?
3
votes
2answers
193 views

Is there a name for someone that accepts a risk and then complains when it occurs?

Example: Frank is going to buy a house The real estate developer, Jim, warns him, there's a 30% chance your house will drop a lot in value in the next year. Frank buys the house. The value of his ...
3
votes
2answers
510 views

“Flowers” card suit?

Is there some time or place where the clubs card suit is called "flowers" in English? This is their usual name in such languages as Italian ("fiori"), but has it ever been the case in English? I ...
3
votes
2answers
102 views

What is the name for a word that contains other words? [duplicate]

Is there a technical name for a word that contains other words? I'm thinking about the contained words having all the letters in the order they appear in the original word. For example, "spawn" ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

A diptych is a pair of paintings. What is a single painting called?

A diptych (from the Greek di "two" and ptychē "fold") is a pair of paitings. You can also say triptych for a group of three paintings belonging together, septych for a group of seven and so on. ...
3
votes
2answers
112 views

What is the technical term for up & down, back & forth, and left & right?

When I of speak of direction, I'm speaking about our perception relative to the earth. We all intuitively know about all three directions. For instance, if we throw a ball, it is moving constantly ...
3
votes
1answer
294 views

“…Batman is the personality-shelf where Bruce Wayne stores the crazy-plates…” - is this just a metaphor, or is it something else?

In this article on Cracked.com, I discovered this gem of a phrase: ...Batman is the personality-shelf where Bruce Wayne stores the crazy-plates... ...and I thought it was a fantastic phrase. ...
2
votes
2answers
840 views

A word to mention a set of products sold together with a bundle price?

Is there a word to refer to a set of products sold together, with a specific price? For example: Product A is sold 10 dollars Product B is sold 10 dollars Product A and B are sold together for 18 ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

When should I capitalise eucalyptus or other genuses?

I'm reasonably familiar with the capitalisation and italicisation rules that govern scientific names, but am a bit confused about capitalising, or not, the name of a genus, e.g. Eucalyptus when used ...
2
votes
1answer
439 views

Zucchini in Australia and courgette in New Zealand! Why?

I can probably understand why the plant is called zucchini in the US and courgette in the UK- could be traced to the proximity of the UK to France but how come it's got two different names in ...
2
votes
5answers
6k views

Meaning and etymology of the “ite” and “ine/ene” endings of mineral names

I’ve noticed that a very large proportion of the names of mineral species and mineral groups end in -ite and (less commonly,) -ine or -ene. Here are some examples off the top of my head: -ite: ...
2
votes
5answers
285 views

Is there one word that clearly describes the difference in kind for these four types?

I am stuck on a word choice problem. I have a large amount of response related data, which were previously stored such that each datum lay within one of the following realms: law enforcement ...
2
votes
4answers
471 views

I’ve an Italian degree in “engineering informatics”, so I am a what?

I studied Engineering Informatics in Italy, and I always have difficulty when trying to define my title (in several contexts, e.g. In my researchgate account, as well as in the subscription form to ...
2
votes
3answers
79 views

Becoming the marathon “leader”, is this a correct usage?

What do we call the athlete who is in first place , leading the marathon or running in front of the other runners in a race? Is leader an appropriate word to describe this runner?
2
votes
1answer
217 views

What do we call these people? [duplicate]

A person who says that everything in this life is not permanent / is a lie. A person who believes in things only after he has seen/experienced them.
2
votes
2answers
350 views

Opposite of “qualifier”

What is the appropriate term for a modifying clause that generalizes, rather than limits, the preceding statement? For example: "It is crucial to bring a canteen on the trip, even if the sky is cloudy....