Questions concerning the devising or choosing of names for things.

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61
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5answers
4k 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
2k 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
1k 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 ...
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
878 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
3k 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?
9
votes
2answers
280 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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
9answers
41k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
616 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
4answers
297 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 ...
6
votes
9answers
10k 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 ...
6
votes
9answers
3k 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
5
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 ...
5
votes
8answers
547 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
700 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
2answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
474 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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
11answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
8k 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, ...
3
votes
5answers
555 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
2k 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
4answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
251 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
171 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
1answer
163 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
81 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
106 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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
2answers
508 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
250 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
273 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
207 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
64 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
80 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
257 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
390 views

big to small, and small to big approach names

In a book, I read: Engineering is all about breaking down big problems into smaller ones and putting the solutions for those problems back together. My generalized interpretation of this text ...
1
vote
2answers
149 views

Is single usage of “personality” in “Multiple Personality” jargon or correct English?

Should not the "personality" have been pluralized in "Multiple Personality Disorder"? Is the single usage of "personality" with prepending "multiple" a professional jargon or it is the correct ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Specific word or psychological term?

What is the word or psychological term used for - "Start liking someone whom you hate as time passes, due to being forced to stay with them for long duration of time (say about 10 to 15 days)" - [Some ...
1
vote
3answers
47 views

Correct name of an agreement used as a template for individual ones

I can't decide on the most preferred taxonomy regarding agreements. A chain can sign an agreement that each of its franchises can suborder and sign their own individual deal. When I looked it up, I ...
1
vote
2answers
353 views

“Institution”, “body” or “organ”

I'm a non-native speaker active in a labor union that does not use English internally. The union has a representative assembly (made up of representatives of branches), whose existence is mandated by ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

Is there any difference between an ursine and an ursid?

I'm a volunteer at the Zoo. I conduct excursions for the disadvantaged/terminally ill kids. My excursions are like interactive lectures where among other things I get the kids acquainted with proper ...
1
vote
4answers
3k 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: ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

Term for words which change meaning when a space is added [duplicate]

Taking this example, Everyday is an adjective that means commonplace, ordinary, or normal. Every day means "each day." or numerous other similar words which have a different meaning when ...
1
vote
3answers
124 views

Word for light after it has passed through a window / glass

The most evocative image I can think of for this is when the headlights of a car pass through your bedroom. I need this word because I have a computer graphics application that requires me to name a ...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

Megafauna is to animals as what is to insects?

I'm aware of several species of "giant" insects, such as the Meganeura (giant dragonfly) and the Arthropleura (giant centipede) — but I was wondering if anyone knew of a loose term similar to ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

What does one call terms like “astroturfing”?

Astroturfing is a word used to describe a fake or counterfeit grassroots campaign. The clever term is derived from the notion that one kind of fake grass is astroturf. Another more niche example is ...