A vocabulary is the body of words used in a particular language.

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What are the criteria to adopt new words into English?

Long time no see is a typical example for Chinglish, though it is said that long time no see has been accepted by the mainstream English speakers. Recently, there is a neologism movement in the ...
93
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123answers
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What words are commonly mispronounced by literate people who read them before they heard them?

Quite a few words are mispronounced by under-educated people, or people learning English as a second language. Some words are often mispronounced by quite educated people who read, and began reading ...
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6answers
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Did English ever have a formal version of “you”?

From the top of my head, Danish "De" (practically never used), German "Sie", Chinese "您", French "vous", Spanish "usted" are a formal way of addressing someone, especially if one isn't familiar with ...
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11answers
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What does “a couple” mean to you, and what does “a few” mean to you?

What does “a couple” mean to you, and what does “a few” mean to you? Is there a proper way to use it? It was striking to hear that “a couple” meant two (2) to someone. My reaction was, “how/why do ...
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15answers
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Words with opposite meanings in different regions

I can't recall it, but there is a word in American English which now means the opposite of itself in British English. What words are there that have opposite (not just different) meanings in different ...
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4answers
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Is “prepone” being used outside India?

"Prepone" is a great word - it's the opposite of "postpone". I was wondering if it was beginning to spread around the world at all.
16
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1answer
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Words pertaining to the senses and the corresponding disabilities

I need help on finding words relating to the senses/perception. I mean this in a neuronic/biological or philosophy-of-mind kind of way. A word for... pertaining to the senses (Is it sensory?) ...
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3answers
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Terms for collections of animals

As I watched the murder of crows sitting on the line above my house this evening, I got wondering where all of the collective nouns for animals (pod of whales, gaggle of geese, pride of lions) came ...
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5answers
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Term for catchy tune that stays in your head

Is there a term for a catchy tune that stays in your head after you hear it? The Germans call it an earworm.
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2answers
848 views

Are there any rules governing what we call people from different countries?

people from China = Chinese people from Japan = Japanese people from Australia = Australian people from Lebanon = Lebanese people from Sweden = Swedish Are there any rules that ...
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5answers
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Is it supposed to be a HTML or an HTML [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “A” vs. “An” in writing vs. pronunciation Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? I've often seen people calling a ...
13
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10answers
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Why do words like “expectorate” sound more posh than words like “spit”?

I think English is unique in having a set of "bad words" each which has its "more refined" equivalent, e.g.: spit -> expectorate piss -> urinate shit -> defecate f*ck -> ...
13
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8answers
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What's the difference between a jumper, a pullover, and a sweater?

Following on from a recent question, in Australia we have the word jumper for a knitted long-sleeved garment, typically woollen and long-sleeved. When cosuming foreign media I always assumed the ...
13
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12answers
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Should I use 10 cent words or $2 words?

In school, I learned to use 10 cent words, so instead of saying: (updated: from a paper that says a scientist doing experiment with fish would make it complicated to say:) All biota exhibited 100% ...
13
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6answers
4k views

“peak” vs “summit”

According to the dictionary: peak — the pointed top of a mountain; a mountain with a pointed top summit — the highest point of something, especially the top of a mountain In the picture of the ...
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15answers
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Simple word related to “a group of intellectuals” or “a group of smart learners”

What could be a good word for "a group of intellectuals" or "a group of smart learners"? Any suggestions of related terms also invited.
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6answers
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What are common word sets for describing ranks in a profession? [closed]

What are some sets of words used to describe rank in different professions (music, engineering, science)? I'm thinking about words similar to novice, amateur, and professional. In the European guild ...
5
votes
6answers
588 views

What are some products that are now words? [closed]

All of the ones I can think of are specific products that have come to represent their kind. This is usually either because it is the first of its kind, as in a Xerox machine (the first office ...
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11answers
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Adjective used to mean “smellable”

An object that can be seen is visible. Something that can be heard is audible. What's a similar word to indicate that something is smellable?
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5answers
3k views

Winter — wintry; summer — summery; spring — ?; autumn — ?

wintry: characteristic of winter, esp. in feeling or looking very cold and bleak: "a wintry landscape". summery: belonging to or characteristic of or occurring in summer; "summery weather"; ...
13
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7answers
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Words for meat differ from the words for the corresponding animal

In English we have: "beef" for "cow", "cattle" "veal" for "calf" "pork" for "pig" "mutton" for "sheep" I'm not aware of this separation for "fish", "goat" or "chicken" (Spanish has "pollo" and ...
9
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3answers
920 views

How to speak mathematics [closed]

I've been asked to give lectures on electromagnetism in English, but I encounter many problems trying to express mathematical formulas since they are written and I do not know how to read them. Are ...
11
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5answers
823 views

Arcane/obscure word that represents a person's timeline or daily record

I'm looking for an arcane or obscure word to describe a person's daily record. Words like: account, agenda, appointment book, chronicle, diary, daily record, daybook, engagement book, ...
7
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2answers
397 views

An expression that adds little information

There is a family of expressions called oxymorons which contain contradicting meanings. What about expressions that add little meaning like "fatally injured"? What are these expressions called?
6
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3answers
538 views

Words based on the names of gods [closed]

While the word christen means "to baptise" or "to make Christian", in another sense, it has shed its religious connotations to simply mean "to name" or even "use for the first time". Is there any ...
20
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3answers
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Attorney at law, is there any other kind?

I have wondered from time to time about the phrase "attorney at law." Are there other kinds of attorneys? Attorneys at arms? If not, why do we specify?
11
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4answers
897 views

Is “alien” offensive?

I understand that alien is used as a synonym of foreigner, as well as a synonym of extraterrestrial. I suspect that people from other planets wouldn't mind being called aliens. But is it wrong ...
10
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5answers
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When would you say “woods”, and when would you say “forest”?

Is there any difference here at all?
5
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1answer
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Is there any difference in meaning between 'efficacy' and 'efficiency'? [closed]

I feel that there is a subtle difference in meaning between 'efficacy' and 'efficiency', but I couldn't find any authoritative sources that could help me confirm or refute this. Is there any ...
2
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4answers
412 views

Aren't adverbs related to the closest word? What about other modifiers?

Aren't adverbs related to the closest word? Does nightly in nightly business report refer to business? Update: I am still confused. Is relation of non-adverb modifiers different from that of ...
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vote
2answers
191 views

Word for an Origin and Destination without regard for route [closed]

I'm looking for a word that describes an origin and destination, regardless of the route taken. The words I've come up with so far, route, trip, travel, etc. all imply a specific set of directions. ...
10
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5answers
1k views

Variations of the word “Schadenfreude”

Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Is there a word which means to take pleasure in the misfortune of another when previously that misfortune was inflicted on you by that ...
7
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2answers
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Is there a word that means “the wife of one's brother”?

In some of the non-Latin-based languages that I know there is a special word for your brother's wife. Is there such a word in English? Usage would be something like: She is my __ (My brother's ...
5
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2answers
153 views

What does “Can it!” mean, as used by Alex Chadwick?

On livejournal.com there is a transcript which seems unclear. (fish) me! remember the fish came home in a baggy loved me for 2 weeks and then nothing (girl) the fish is talking! (cat) well sure ...
5
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2answers
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What's a reception room / parlor / parlour / drawing room?

What's a reception room/parlor/parlour/ drawing room? I'm thinking, is it just another word for the living room of my house?
5
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6answers
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“tag question” vs. “question tag”

I've just read this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_question So regarding this passage: The term "question tag" is generally preferred by British grammarians, while their American ...
5
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4answers
3k views

Word with meaning of “taking advantage of somebody”

I need one word with the meaning of "take advantage of somebody for personal benefit", is there any one?
4
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2answers
2k views

Smaller vs. less vs. lesser

I am confused as to some of the vocabulary that can be used to compare numbers and quantities, and would very much appreciate some clarification. I suppose it is safe to say that 1 is smaller than ...
4
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6answers
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Is [Its'] a word? (Note the apostrophe at the end.)

I just had a strange flashback to a conversation I had when I was in high school, with a man who was regarded by many members of a particular online community as having an impressive degree of ...
4
votes
6answers
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What terms and expressions can be used in English to show one's love to his/her girlfriend/boyfriend? [closed]

I know in every language there are a lot of ways and cute names to address your girlfriend or your boyfriend to show you love her/him. The names can be creative for any couple. As Andy mentions these ...
3
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2answers
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What is the meaning of `non-normative`?

What is the meaning of non-normative? Does it mean casual? If I write a document, what requirements must it have before I can say "it's a normative document" / "it's a non-normative document"?
2
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2answers
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Differences between “vulgar” and “coarse”, “crass”, “crude”, “rough”, “rude”, “unrefined” as applied to language

This question specifically covers how these terms are used to describe language, it is a followup to What's the difference between "informal", "colloquial", "slang", ...
2
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3answers
5k views

What's the difference between “successive” and “consecutive”?

What's the difference between "successive" and "consecutive"?
0
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4answers
368 views

The difference between “focus on” and “concentrate on?” [closed]

This is one question in my book: Our company don’t ____ on profits only. A. Concentrate B. Focus The key gives B but I don't think there is a difference between them in this context. What do you ...
0
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4answers
818 views

What are the antonyms of “append” and “prepend”?

I need the antonyms for "append" (that is, I need a word that means "to remove at the end", since "append" means "to add at the end") and "prepend" (that is, I need a word that means "to remove at the ...
0
votes
1answer
768 views

Can't understand the meaning of “facile” in these example [closed]

I found the meaning of facile is easy, getting something without effort. http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/facile I have read those sentences. But can't understand it clearly. I'm trying to ...
0
votes
2answers
861 views

What does it mean when someone calls himself “non sequitur”?

Coming from my answer to question Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?” What does it mean when someone calls himself "non sequitur"? Examples: "I AM NON ...
55
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13answers
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Is there a polite alternative to “No thanks, I'm full”?

English is not my native language, but when I was studying in the US, I was always trying to find an alternative to I'm full! I felt that it was a very improper way to express that I have eaten ...
12
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3answers
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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 ...
9
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3answers
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“Consist in” vs. “consist of”

I would like to have this clear once and for all: What is the correct use of consist in / consist of? "Meditation consists in/of attentive watchfulness." "The body consists in/of cells." ...