Nouns are words that refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept.

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Suffixing by “-rama”, “-orama” or “-arama” — how did this begin?

Suffixing by -rama, -orama or -arama — how did this begin? I mean words like futurama, foodarama, etc.
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What's the difference between “Kind” and “Type”

For example: This is some type of mushroom. This is some kind of mushroom. There are different types of books There are different kinds of books I think that there are all valid ...
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Cases where “mistake” and “error” are not interchangeable

Are there cases where error and mistake are not interchangeable?
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Is “man” the opposite of “woman”?

I heard someone today say that lad is the opposite of lass. And we picked up a debate on whether woman is actually the opposite of man, which led me to question whether nouns can have opposites at ...
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How do you form the 'north' and 'south' versions of 'occident' and 'orient'?

How does one correctly form the "north" and "south" forms for which occident and orient are "west" and "east"? I found boreal and austral, but those look like adjectives and I'm after the nouns. ...
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Is there a difference between “leading edge” and “bleeding edge”?

It seems to me that "leading edge" is the more established phrase, while "bleeding edge" is basically the same thing but the user has adapted the phrase for extra (rather meaningless) emphasis. Or is ...
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“flat” vs. “apartment”

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition Flat: noun. [ countable ] ( BrE ) a set of rooms for living in, including a kitchen, usually on one floor of a building. Apartment: noun. ( ...
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What's the difference between 'subway', 'metro' and 'tube'?

When I watched the "American Album" program, Susan and Henry talked about New York, and she used the word 'subway'. When I listened to BBC's '6 minutes English', I heard 'tube' used in the ...
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Difference between “theorem” and “theory”

What is the difference between a theorem and a theory? The two words seem to be used to describe very similar things, but yet do not seem to be interchangeable. For example, we have Pythagoras' ...
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What single word describes the ability to think analytically?

I am trying to complete the following sentence: This job requires both creativity and X Where X is a single word describing the ability to think analytically. What would the best word be?
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Is there a single term for the sports “surfing”, “skateboarding”, and “snowboarding”?

The three sports "surfing", "skateboarding", and "snowboarding" share a lot of similarities, historical roots, and sometimes appear together in topical magazines. Is there a single term to call these ...
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Difference between “pain” and “ache”

What's the difference between pain and ache? I often see the two words used (almost) interchangeably. At the same time the phrase "aches and pains" is pretty common, and seems to suggest that the two ...
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Which is the correct spelling: “fairy” or “faerie”?

Fairy vs. faerie — which is the correct spelling?
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In the context of cooking, what is the difference between “flipper” and “spatula”?

I'm genuinely confused about this because at first I thought a spatula was a cooking tool resembling a flat pallet attached at an angle to the handle that could be used for activities such as flipping ...
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Origin of the term “wizard” in computing

In computer user interfaces a "wizard" is a set of screens that guide the user through a process. Does anyone know the origin of this term? I personally associate wizards with magic more than a ...
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Difference between an acronym and abbreviation?

TLA is an acronym for "Three Letter Acronym". Is it also an abbreviation, since it abbreviates the original phrase?
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Why is the spelling of “pronounce” and “pronunciation” different?

Why is the spelling of pronounce and pronunciation different? If one originally did not know the spelling of pronunciation, one would when hearing it verbally deduce its spelling to be pronounciation, ...
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Why is the “L” silent when pronouncing “salmon”?

Why is the letter l silent when pronouncing salmon properly?
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Why is “dingbat” used to refer to characters like “☺”?

Why is dingbat used to refer to characters such as "☺"? (See for instance those at the Mozilla Web Developer FAQ.) Doesn't dingbat mean a stupid person or something?
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Why are there different ways of indicating gender for animals?

Why are there different ways of indicating gender for animals? For instance, by inflexion we get: lion (male) & lioness (female) where the female is distinguished from the male. Here the male is ...
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“Stack” vs. “pile” vs. “heap” of paper

What is the difference between stack, pile or heap of something, let it be for example paper? CS+IT people might tend to use the word heap, because there is a widely known datastructure by that name. ...
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Why is “sergeant” pronounced “sargent”?

I remember when I first came across this word, I thought it was pronounced /'sɜr-dʒint/ (SER-jeent). Now I am curious as to why the first syllable is pronounced /sar/ rather than /sɜr/. I looked at ...
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What is the word to mean to apply attributes of an entire race to a single individual?

Normally racism is used to mean generalizing about an entire race based on a few individual examples, but what is the word to mean to apply attributes of an entire race to a single individual? That is ...
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What's the difference between a “fen” and a “dale”?

What's the difference between a fen and a dale? Are these words used precisely at all? EDIT: My question comes from this Kipling poem, The Spirit of England; if you'll notice, each couplet, plain ...
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Is there any difference between “color” and “colour”?

What is the difference between color and colour?
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What do you call a slip of the tongue in writing?

Is there any phrase or word that can be used to describe a slip of the tongue that happens in writing? Calling it a slip of tongue directly feels awkward, especially when the written text is never ...
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Is “audience” singular or plural?

I want to use 'audience' in the following sentence. In what form should I use it? Is it a singular or plural noun? How the audience demotivate players in the NBA. How the audience demotivates ...
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Difference between “sorcerer” and “wizard”

What is the difference between sorcerer and wizard? I know that the nomenclature is unclear. However, the common usage seems to indicate: a wizard is born an ordinary mortal, learns magic and ...
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Bracket vs brace

I found the terms bracket and brace used interchangeably. Is there a difference, and what is it?
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Meaning of “magazine” from 1845

My wife and I were reading Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, translated into English in 1845 by Henry Beveridge, and we came across this phrase in the first book, chapter 5, section ...
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Difference between “movie”, “film” and “motion picture”

What is the difference between movie, film and motion picture? In school I learned that a movie is played in a cinema, but film is also used to describe this.
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970 views

Is the game, “go,” a proper noun? What about “checkers” or “chess”?

The game of Go is... or The game of go is... Apparently the International Go Federation capitalizes it. Its dictionary entry doesn't appear to be (from what I have seen). It seems to fit ...
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“Warranty” vs. “guarantee”

Is there any relation or difference between warranty and guarantee? What do they mean? In what situations do we use them? For example, I suppose we say When we buy something it has a warranty.
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Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate?

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate? For example, possessive nouns (both proper and common) are written with a apostrophe before the final s: ...
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Difference between “computation” and “calculation”

If the words computation and calculation are not perfect synonyms what is the difference between them? Which one describes more accurately what is done by a person computing or calculating something ...
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“Battery” and “Battery”, why are they called the same?

This post made an interesting point about what would be understood when the word battery is used. In the U.S. at least, the word battery is so rarely used outside the legal phrase assault and ...
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“For both our sake” or “for both our sakes”

Should sake be pluralized in this usage? For both our sake, I'm going to leave now. For both our sakes, I'm going to leave now.
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Etymology of “midsummer” — why is the first day of summer called “middle of summer”?

I always found it strange that the day which marks the beginning of the season of summer is called "mid-summer", which I understand would mean "middle of summer". While midsummer is on the summer ...
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Correct usage of “persons” (vs. “people”)

I had a little fight about persons vs. people. Could you advise if both of the following are correct, if possible with reference to a dictionary? A table for two people please. A table for ...
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A word for someone trying to make people underestimate him

If someone is trying to make people underestimate him for some purpose, what would be a word for this kind of person or action?
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“Legend” or “key”?

What is the difference between a legend or a key? Is it still called a legend if it is located at the top, rather than the bottom of results?
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When referring to a noun, when does the gender matter?

In most languages, gender plays a much more important role than in English. Nevertheless, it is possible to refer to a noun using its gender. The ship was launched on 4 October 1853. Tayleur left ...
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When and why did the N-word and “negro” go apart?

Both the terms nigger and negro come from the Spanish and Portuguese Negro which denotes "black". But today they have widely different connotations, the former is considered a horrible racial slur, ...
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What's the origin of the word “geezer”?

From Oxford Dictionaries: geezer noun 1. a man (British informal) he strikes me as a decent geezer 2. an old man (North American informal , derogatory) I think in British English ...
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Meaning of “candle” in “I now call to mind that there was a letter in the candle three days ago”

In the book The Trumpet Major, by Thomas Hardy, there is the following paragraph: That was Budmouth postmaster, and he says there's a letter for me. Ah, I now call to mind that there was a letter ...
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Why is a “field” on a form called a field?

A simple question, so to re-iterate the title: Why is a "field" on a form called a field? A quick search for the etymology results in: Old English feld "plain, open land" (as opposed to ...
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Difference between “canteen” and “cafeteria”

Are there any differences between canteen and cafeteria? In India, usually an eating place attached to an office, factory or school is called a canteen. Of course, in some new offices it is called ...
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Origin of the chess term “checkmate”

An attack on a king is called "check", why is an attack that guarantees the capture of a king called checkmate? What is the origin?
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Meaning of “Caucasian”

When I search the definition of Caucasian in the NOAD, I find the following definition (it's the first of three definitions): (often offensive) of or relating to one of the traditional ...
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Is there a single noun in English for “jerry-rigged”?

"Gambiarra" in Brazilian Portuguese means a device, solution, or means to an end made impromptu, usually in a sloppy way and lacking care. I was wondering if there was a single word in English for ...