Terminology is a system of terms belonging or peculiar to a science, art, or specialized subject, nomenclature.

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What is the subjunctive mood?

I had always understood the subjunctive mood to mean a hypothetical present tense. However, I think it might also imply that the hypothetical event is outside the realm of possibility. Is that ...
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1answer
383 views

Looking for a technical term that goes hand in hand with the strategy used in the joke [closed]

Here's the joke: Tom's Dad:(in Bill Gates's office) My son Tom wants to marry your daughter. Are you interested? Bill: No, my daughter is still too young. Tom's Dad: What if my son is a VP at ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the origin and prevalence of the term “server” meaning “wait(er/ress)”?

In a comment on this question, the term "server" is used to refer to the guy working at the register in a pizza restaurant. I have never heard this usage before (in Australia), and was only able to ...
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2answers
5k views

Are 'dysfunction' and 'malfunction' complete synonyms?

Dictionaries give both dysunction and malfunction the meaning 'failure to function properly'. Are they complete synonyms?
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3answers
15k views

Antonym of “phobia”

If a phobia is to have an irrational fear of something, what is the word for having an irrational affinity for something? For example a numerologist may fear the number 13, but be attracted to (or ...
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3answers
560 views

Is there an English grammar equivalent of the Italian “complemento”

In Italian, translating from the Italian wikipedia as accurately as I can muster, a "complemento" is a part of a sentence (one or more words) that specify, clarify and enrich the meaning thereof. ...
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752 views

History of use of the term “organism”

I have found that the term "organism" does not originate from any writings of Aristotle or some other ancient Greek, though Aristotle freely uses the term "organon", spelled "organ" in English, to ...
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2answers
16k views

What is the person called whom you give a recommendation?

If person A gives person B a recommendation, can you call A recommender and B recommendee or are these words made up? I've seen both forms used in everyday language (e.g. magazines), but never in a ...
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2answers
373 views

What is the name of combination, in error, of similar or related words? (E.g.: segueway)

Is there a technical term for combination, in error, of similar or related words? This question is prompted by the following malapropism or solecism, from an article by Elizabeth Montalbano in ...
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6answers
2k views

Is there a better term for 'low-level?'

In computer programming, low-level means something used as a base upon which to build more complex mechanisms. To the untrained ear, I think the term might imply inferiority, which is simply not the ...
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5answers
12k views

Relation between “concept” and “conception”

concept: an abstract idea; a general notion conception: the way in which something is perceived or regarded These two words are troubling me because it seems that there is a way that concept ...
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3answers
2k views

A person you have a relationship for only business

In a piece of software, what would I call a person you have a relationship for only business in real life. He/she is not your friend and you are not working in same place. For instance, you are ...
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9answers
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What is the word for something that is punishable by law, but is not a crime?

What is the legal term in English for something that is punishable by law, but is not a crime (i.e. does not affect your criminal record)? I mean all the lesser (than crime) violations of the law, ...
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2answers
283 views

Omitting the definite article before “problem is”

I've noticed that the definite article is often omitted preceding the word "problem" in newspapers and magazines. Not in speech, but just in print. Here's an example: Many politicians feel that ...
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2answers
260 views

Is “underlying” the right word?

I am describing a mathematical model, where the probability density function of a variable is made up of two contributions, two distributions. Mathematically we would say that f(x) = g1(x) + g2(x). ...
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13answers
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How can I describe someone who feels little or no emotion?

I don't mean someone who lacks emotion because they "don't care", but because either they can't feel emotion or the emotional response is delayed because of a genetic disposition. Maybe there is an ...
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2answers
6k views

When someone says “that explanation was a lot of hand-waving” what does this mean?

I've been hearing term "hand-waving" thrown around a lot, especially when my peers describe their CS(computer science) classes. Does anyone know what that term means in this context? (also a little ...
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2answers
132 views

Term for emergent system with its own logical rules/laws?

Eigenlogik in German means that a subsystem has its own set of rules determining its phenomenological behavior. E.g. in sociology, a social group of humans shows a group behavior based on rules/laws ...
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2answers
306 views

Will my audience understand the phrase “lead time”?

...results in a relatively long lead time for our software products. Should I use this expression in an article for average software developers? (i.e. an international Java magazine) Would it ...
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4answers
1k views

What's the correct grammatical term for clauses expressing the goal or a target of an action expressed in the main clause?

What's the correct grammatical term for clauses expressing the goal or a target of an action expressed in the main clause? For example: Jack gave me his cell phone so that I could call my Mom. Dad ...
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3answers
1k views

What term is most appropriate when describing the infinite space of possibilities created through inductive reasoning?

In arguments contrasting the differences between deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning, it is often pointed out that deductive reasoning is, by definition, bounded by the terms described in the ...
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4answers
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Why does “air conditioning” always mean “cooling” and never “heating”?

For that matter, air conditioning could include humidifying or dehumidifying, but it doesn't: only cooling. Why weren't air conditioners called air coolers?
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1answer
239 views

What is the name for the class of computer programs that act as a front end for a database? [closed]

If you are writing a computer program that manages a large database of clients, like a rolodex, or a program that stores medical records for patients. What is that "class" of program called. The ...
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4answers
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What are the treads on the side of the highway called?

On the sides of most highways (in the U.S. at least), there are rough treads just outside the travel lanes to snap a driver to attention if the vehicle is drifting off the road. Is there a name for ...
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3answers
628 views

Is there a term for it when you use an obviously false statement to highlight the falsity or absurdity of another?

For example, person A states something. Person B says "And pigs fly" to imply person A was wrong. If there's no term for it, what could you call that that sounds smart?
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1answer
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An alternative to “stakeholder”

Here's a sentence taken from an executive memo, "Action item: get feedback from stakeholders on SuperDongle 9000". Is there something that can replace "stakeholder"? The word is not being used ...
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1answer
7k views

“Notepad” vs. “notebook” — what's the difference?

Can you please tell me the difference between a notepad and a notebook (as in paper, not electronic ones)? To me, they are the same but I guess there must be some difference.
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Is “Monday” a proper noun or a common noun?

I can understand why Monday is an abstract noun (it isn't something we can perceive with any of our 5 senses), But is Monday considered a proper noun or a common noun?
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2answers
23k views

Distinguish “naming” and “telling” part of simple sentence with compound predicate

Dad caught fish and cooked them for supper. This is a question from a test that my son missed; he is in the second grade. The instructions for the test are as follows: Put one line under the ...
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4answers
26k views

What do you call the “narrator” of lyric poem?

In a narrative poem, the entity telling the story is called the narrator. The narrator is different from the author, in that the author is the real person who wrote the poem, while the narrator is a ...
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1answer
180 views

addressee-new vs discourse-new

Regarding terminology used by CEGL as referenced in this question, can anyone explain the difference between addressee-new and discourse-new? My understanding of addressee-new is that this refers to ...
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5answers
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What is the name of this type of word: “Mr.”, “Ms.”, “Dr.”?

What is this type of word called: Mr., Ms., Dr.? In the document I am using, it is referred to as the "prefix", but I don't think that is correct.
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2answers
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How to write “calf's liver” on menu [closed]

Calf's liver as an item on a restaurant menu is certainly correct, but one also sees calves liver written down. What certainly is wrong is calves' liver, except if one assumes that many calves were ...
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2answers
279 views

Is there a more-accepted synonym to the term “Commonwealth English”?

I've mainly encountered the term "Commonwealth English" in The Jargon File. However, Wiktionary says the term is fairly rare. Are there more accepted terms? Ones that I'm aware of include: British ...
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4answers
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What do you call a pair of words which would be meaningless without one of them?

I am referring to a set of words that wouldn't make sense if one word or the other was omitted. Like barbershop quartet, or Cyber Security. What do you exactly call this set of words?
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1answer
455 views

How to derive a noun or adective or adverb from “nya”? [closed]

In Russian network jargon there is adjective "няшный" (originating from anime fandom's "nya"). It is somewhat related to "kawaii" (cute) or "nice", but not the same. However in English any attempts ...
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3answers
662 views

generic term for “A-hed”? (quirky article at the bottom of the front page of the Wall Street Journal) [closed]

The Wall Street Journal usually has a quirky article on the bottom of the front page, on anything from paper clips to tugboat racing to borscht manufacturers. Their name for it is an A-hed. Is there a ...
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4answers
8k views

“Let's burn that bridge when we come to it” – is this sort of idiom mixing considered a pun, and if so, does it have a specific name?

I couldn't come up with a short title, but the upside is that there is not much needed to be said in the body of the question! For @dmr (and others), it mixes “let's cross that bridge when we come ...
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2answers
2k views

Why is the current unrest in the Arab world called the “Arab Spring”?

Does spring in "Arab Spring" refer to the season - or something else?
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2answers
700 views

What's the grammatical term for this phenomenon? [closed]

There is obviously a big essential difference between "no towel" and "there isn't a towel". I mean, the former cannot probably serve as a complete sentence, while the latter can. The former can ...
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2answers
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Etymology of “binky” — three questions

Definition 2 of binky at wiktionary is "(rabbit behavior) A high hop that a rabbit may perform when happy." This definition is consistent with that at rabbitspeak, and not inconsistent with "A kind ...
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1answer
127 views

What is the term for an item/entry in a compendium?

A compendium is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. Source: Wikipedia What then would I call an entry or item of knowledge that is contained by a compendium? Is ...
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Is there a technical term for insideout-ness?

So the technical term for right or left handedness is chirality. The technical term for evenness or oddness is parity. Is there a similar term for inside-out-ness vs right-side-out-ness? EDIT: I ...
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2answers
150 views

What is one “content” item in a Wikipedia called?

I think that my question can best be explained by an example: In the following Wikipedia entry (I hope "entry" is the right term), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Herring, there are multiple ...
3
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5answers
312 views

What's the term to describe this kind of sentence?

What is the term to describe this kind of sentence: I don't know why people like to study things that they don't like to study. There's some kind of logic error with this statement, and it's ...
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3answers
2k views

“Bring 6 eggs. If there are potatoes, bring 9.”

This is with reference to this comic, called A Programmer's Life (translated from Portuguese): Programmer: My wife asked me to go to the market and said: “Bring six eggs. If there are potatoes, ...
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4answers
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What's the origin of “beta” to describe a “user-testing” phase of computer development?

It occurred to me that I use the term "beta" to describe a "release candidate" of a computer product that has passed all expectations of the development team, and is now being given limited exposure ...
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4k views

What differentiates an abstract noun with a concrete noun?

Is sunlight a concrete or abstract noun? What differentiates an abstract noun with a concrete noun?
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1answer
24k views

“Production” vs. “manufacturing”

What are the connotations of production and manufacturing? In what situation would you prefer one over the other?
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1k views

“Injunct” vs “Enjoin”

The injunctions (and super-injunctions) that occasionally make the headlines restrain a defendant from doing something. It is fairly clear (e.g. OED) that the word was formed as a noun from enjoin in ...