16
votes
2answers
790 views

The U in “Glamour”

Why, in US English, does the word glamour retain its u while humour, neighbour, and others have shed it?
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Can all verbs ending in “-ise” be written with the suffix “ize”? [closed]

Are there any "-ise" (or "-yse") words which cannot be (or are never) written using "-ize"? I searched for prior questions, and came across: Correct use of "ise" vs "ize" at the ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

What is the origin of the word “What”?

Where does the word what come from? Why do we say wot when it's spelt the way it is?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Wer, wie, was, wieso, weshalb, warum, all start with W in German. In English they don't, why?

Wer, wie, was, wieso, weshalb, warum. Wer nicht fragt bleibt dumm. This is the theme song to the German Sesame Street, IIRC It roughly translates to: Who, how, what, why, why ,why. If you ...
1
vote
2answers
342 views

Why are there two different ways to spell “expediter”?

There seems to be two different ways to spell "expediter": expediter expeditor A quick Google search reveals a nearly equal split between the two spellings. Are the two spellings specific to a ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

“e” before “i” in the word “weird” [duplicate]

In elementary school, I was taught the rhyme: "i" before "e" except after "c", and in words like "neighbor" and "weigh" Obviously this means that "ei" is used in "deceive" (it comes after "c") ...
-1
votes
1answer
168 views

Why is “success” spelled with double -S?

What is the function of the double s at the end of the word, success?
1
vote
3answers
121 views

Was “nowadays” ever spelled with hyphens?

etymonline doesn't note that nowadays ever had a spelling with hyphen but I found a few random sites claiming that it once was hyphenated. Was it ever spelled as "now-a-days"?
-1
votes
1answer
132 views

Why don’t “snow” and “plow” — well, or “plough” — rhyme? [duplicate]

They (sometimes?) have the same ending when spelt but don’t rhyme when said. Why is that?
2
votes
1answer
213 views

Is “teen-ager” correct? Still used? Etymology?

I was reading an article in The New York Times published in 1990 and came across the spelling of teenager as 'teen-ager'; is this American spelling? Archaic? The young man, who often said he only ...
7
votes
6answers
425 views

Ways to Memorize “Discreet” and “Discrete” [closed]

I have a question about discreet and discrete. People tend to get these two words mixed up, and I would like to help them memorize these two words. Discrete: unconnected; separate Discreet: ...
1
vote
0answers
465 views

Why are Kansas and Arkansas pronounced differently? [closed]

Arkansas is typically pronounced like so: “ahr-kuhn-saw”   IPA: [ˈɑɹkənˌsɔː] However, Kansas is typically pronounced like this: “kan-zuhs”             IPA: [ˈkænzɨs] Why are these two ...
5
votes
6answers
7k views

“Bald Faced Lie” vs. “Bold Faced Lie”

Which of these is correct? What is the origin of this expression? I've searched here on the exchange and haven't found an answer.
2
votes
1answer
231 views

Alignment or alinement?

I was reading Wonders of World Aviation the other day, published in the late thirties, and have found a couple of articles where alinement is preferred to alignment. While this seems to make sense, it ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Where does 'doofus' (or perhaps 'dufus') come from?

Both Dufus and Doofus seem to be common on the web, so I'm not sure which is the correct spelling, if either. It's kind of a cool word. Do we have any idea where/how it originated?
1
vote
1answer
597 views

hallo or hello: etymology dilemma

Does anybody know the etymology of the main greeting in English: hallo? Besides that I wish to know the difference between the terms hallo and hello. I have to know!
-2
votes
0answers
50 views

'whom' vs 'who' [duplicate]

How does one use 'whom' in a sentence? Is this sentence correct? Ex: I am delighted for all my cousins who have found happiness.
3
votes
2answers
172 views

How did the spelling “demesne” come about? [closed]

The word demesne seems to just be an alternative spelling of the rather more logically-spelt domain. I'm wondering how this strange spelling came about? Even taking into account its given etymology ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Where does the phrase “fair do's/dues/doos/does” come from?

I was researching the phrase fair do's, attempting to determine which spelling was most appropriate, and where it had come from. Unfortunately most of the information I could find was very ...
5
votes
1answer
257 views

Why is the noun form of “permit” “permission”?

The noun form of permit is permission instead of permition. Why isn't it permition?
3
votes
2answers
540 views

Why is imperialism not spelled empirialism?

If the goal of imperialism is to create an empire, why is the word not spelled "empirialism"?
3
votes
2answers
420 views

Character vs Charm - Pronunciation

Is there a rule to understand how the group "Cha" has to be pronounced? "Character" sounds with a hard first syllable, while "Charm" sound softer, but I don't find how to tell which sound to use ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
47
votes
4answers
6k views

Why are there so few English words that begin with the letter X?

If one reads a lot of children's books, it is obvious that X is a real thorn in the side for those authors looking to have each letter of the alphabet represented in their books. Most of them either ...
4
votes
2answers
132 views

What did James V mean by “afferandly”?

In this letter from 1536, King James V of Scotland wrote in 1536: Veilbelouit frend, we grete yow. Forsamekill as we ar of pourpas to pas to Kelso, and to vesy owr Bordouris for ordoneng of ...
1
vote
1answer
350 views

Why is “delight” spelt and pronounced the way it is?

This as everything probably has something to do with the GVS, but how?
8
votes
2answers
676 views

Pedlar vs. peddler

The etymonline entry for peddler reads: late 14c. (c.1300 as a surname, Will. Le Pedelare), from peoddere, peddere (c.1200, mid-12c. as a surname), of unknown origin. It has the appearance of an ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Why is “proceed” spelt “-ceed” and not “-cede” like “precede”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origins of the “‑cede/‑seed/‑ceed” suffix The pronunciation of proceed is exactly like that of precede with the only difference being the o instead of the e. What rules ...
-2
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the origin of the “should of” instead of “should have” mistake? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How did the use of “could of” and “should of” originate, and is it considered correct? Recently, I tend to stumble a lot over the mistake that people write should of ...
1
vote
2answers
13k views

“Dilemma” vs. “dilemna” [closed]

I understand the correct spelling is 'dilemma' but many people I've spoken with, including myself, were convinced the spelling was 'dilemna'. A quick search on google shows this is not isolated to ...
1
vote
0answers
600 views

English Homonym Nouns [closed]

Recently I had a discussion with a friend about the "solidity" of the English language in respect to Chinese. (By "solidity" we meant the reduced possibility for interpretation errors and ...
1
vote
0answers
582 views

Are there any words that are spelled the same but have separate etymologies? [closed]

There are many words that are spelled the same but have different meanings due to development of polysemy over time from an original etymology. Are there any word pairs in English that have the same ...
7
votes
1answer
197 views

What are the correct spelling and regional distribution of “X, schmX” to indicate dismissiveness (e.g., “evidence, schmevidence”)?

There is a curious construct in American English in which a word is stated and then repeated with the prefix "schm-" or "shm-" in order to indicate the speaker's dismissive attitude toward a concern ...
-2
votes
1answer
265 views

Cheesy convestibles [closed]

Having been schooled in all things British largely by the Pythons, I've been using this word in my speech for years (it comes from the Cheese Shop sketch), but had never actually written it till ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is it 'speaking'/'speech' instead of 'speeking'/'speech' or 'speaking'/'speach'?

Why is it speaking/speech instead of speeking/speech or speaking/speach?
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Does the word “please” come from “plea”?

I thought that the word please came from the plural of plea. But then why is it please instead of just pleas? Why the e? Are "plea" and "please" really related to each other?
6
votes
2answers
924 views

Why is “hiccup” spelled with two c's?

Is there a historical or grammatical reason for spelling hiccup with two c's?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why the letter “g” discrepancy between *giant* and *gigantic*?

A little look through an etymology dictionary shows that the root is Latin gigas with adjective form gigant. So in its derivation to English, why did the second "g" get retained in gigantic but was ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Byron and 'Eureka' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The spelling of “eureka” Why should Byron write "Now we clap Our hands and cry 'Eureka!'", Childe Harold, iv. st. 81? Being a hellenophile he should know ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do we spell “eureka”, not “heureka”?

Why is the spelling "eureka" by far more preferable to "heureka" in English? Greek vocabularies give "heureka" for the perfect to "heurisko".
10
votes
1answer
8k views

“Philippines” vs. “Filipino”

Why is Filipino spelled with an F? Philippines is spelled with a Ph. Some have said that it's because in Filipino, Philippines starts with F; but if this is so, why did we only change the beginning of ...
4
votes
2answers
541 views

Where do the idiosyncrasies in the spellings of English words come from and why do they survive?

For example: GH in enough is pronounced "F" O in women is pronounced short "I" TI in nation is pronounced "SH" Why aren't the words spelled enouf, wimen, nashon, or why not spell fish "ghoti"? It ...
6
votes
3answers
17k views

“Dysfunctional” vs. “disfunctional” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is the proper spelling: “disfunction” or “dysfunction”? What's the rationale behind dysfunctional being spelled dys- and not dis-?
11
votes
1answer
1k 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, ...
6
votes
2answers
615 views

Why is “eye” pronounced so strangely?

This is either a spelling or a pronunciation anomaly; I'm not sure which. Why is "eye" pronounced as the letter "I"?
6
votes
2answers
421 views

Why are “indemnify” and “condemn” spelled differently?

Comparing the words indemnify and condemn: Both contain demn as a root Both are transitive verbs Why is one spelled differently from the other – why not indemn, or condemnify?
29
votes
1answer
333k views

“Dieing” vs “dying”

Which is the formally correct spelling, dieing or dying? Is there any history of the alternative spelling? I type dieing naturally, but my spellchecker marks it wrong. This is largely an etymology ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is “great” pronounced as “grate”, but spelled with “ea”?

Great is one of the few common English words in which "ea" is pronounced /eɪ/ (ay). Why is this pronunciation associated with this spelling? As an aside, I remember from researching for my answer to ...
1
vote
2answers
472 views

Etymology for “cacamayme”

I love using "cacamayme" in conversations when I really want to emphasize the "crazy" I am talking about. I also love the Urban Dictionary's slang definition: 100% grade A Bologna. Does anyone ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Where did the “ue” in “tongue” come from?

How I remember being told over and over how to spell tongue! I didn't understand it then; I don't understand it now. What evolution might put a silent "ue" at the end of a word?