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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
31
votes
11answers
32k views

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 ...
297
votes
6answers
84k views

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 ...
22
votes
4answers
11k views

Is “prepone” being used outside India?

Prepone is a great word - it's the opposite of postpone. When you prepone a meeting, you change its scheduled time so that it occurs sooner than originally planned. Has his usage spread beyond India? ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
9k views

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?) ...
34
votes
15answers
8k views

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 ...
31
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

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.
7
votes
6answers
7k views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a term for something that is tainted with another's saliva?

From The Encyclopedia Britannica: "Food left on plates after eating is defined as garbage (jutha) because it has been polluted by the eater’s saliva. It may be handled in the family. Is ...
4
votes
2answers
536 views

Word for a time discrepancy in a story

What is the word for the mistake of placing an event or object in the wrong age or decade, such as a film star in a movie about Roman times wearing a robe made of nylon?
14
votes
10answers
2k views

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 -> ...
28
votes
21answers
18k views

What is the word for the emotion I feel when I see someone being humiliated?

When I see someone else being embarrassed / humiliated, for example a singer forgetting their words in a concert, I would say something like "I feel embarrassed for them". But is there a better word ...
31
votes
5answers
5k 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"; ...
17
votes
16answers
16k views

A word that means 'most important'?

I tried to find a single word that means "most important", but I couldn't. I want it to be able to express what's missing below: If you get hurt, the _ thing to do is to stay calm. It would ...
22
votes
22answers
16k views

Is there a single word for “one who speaks/boasts a lot about everything”?

I'm looking for a single word to most aptly describe a person possessing the following "qualities": Appears to be superior in every technology/skill under the sun, which he deems worthy of knowing ...
23
votes
5answers
6k views

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?
15
votes
8answers
85k views

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 ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Hypernym for “import” and “export”?

What word could describe an operation of either importing or exporting? X is to import and export as migration is to immigration and emigration. Porting isn't the word I'm looking for, I don't ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

When should types of cheese be capitalized?

Does this recipe call for Cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese? Does pizza have mozzarella or Mozzarella on it? Heck, I'm not even sure if this sandwich contains Swiss cheese or swiss cheese. Is there a ...
15
votes
13answers
6k views

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
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
10
votes
15answers
5k views

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.
3
votes
5answers
645 views

Word for an Origin and Destination without regard for route

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. ...
29
votes
10answers
7k views

What do you call money earned through unethical sources?

Money/Assets/Property that is earned through unethical sources is called ? Money that is earned through bad sources like corrupted politics, corrupted business, ransom money, stolen or theft ...
11
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
7k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a proper term to describe 1/3 of a year (4 months)

I am looking for a proper single work term to describe one third of a calendar year. Trimester does not seem correct as it seems to refer to a period of three months (one third of a pregnancy or one ...
5
votes
6answers
839 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
465 views

Difference between lexicon, vocabulary and dictionary

What exactly is the difference? Around the Web, I'm finding contradictory information and sometimes circular references. Some say the lexicon is inherent to a language (objective) while a vocabulary ...
2
votes
9answers
2k views

Someone who just thinks they know what they're talking about

What is a word or phrase that means a speaker (or writer) is talking about something they know very little about, but they think they know more than they do? An example: If you read diet message ...
2
votes
3answers
865 views

Term for buzzing or hissing sound often created by vibration

Specifically, I am referring to the hissing, buzzing, S-like, or fuzzy sound that is created when electronic speakers play sounds or music near their volume or frequency limits. I recall having ...
1
vote
2answers
233 views

What is it called, when a situation is described in a complicated way instead of a simple one?

How to say in English, when one describes the matter in a more complicated manner than it is. For instance, one has two options, A and B; and either of them has to be accepted. One want to say the ...
0
votes
5answers
695 views

Opposite of caregiver

I want to write a book about the unfair expectations of a caregiver. A caregiver refers to somebody to looks after somebody else. What is the term for that 'somebody else'. 'Patient' doesn't seem ...
17
votes
11answers
4k views

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?
13
votes
7answers
9k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
26k views

Cell phone? Cell? Mobile phone? What's the “correct” term?

What's that type of phone called that you don't need a cable for and you can use everywhere in the world (provided there's coverage ;-))? And what differences are there between the regions? ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Is there a word to name being unable to think of “proper terminology” for something?

In regards to only being able to say something like "hand ankle" when meaning "wrist", but the person is absolutely unable to remember the word "wrist". (Or "unsweet doughnut", when someone can't ...
12
votes
5answers
1k 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, ...
9
votes
10answers
28k views

What is a word for a man who has a lot of sexual relationships?

What do you call a man who loves and tries to have many sexual relationships with girls and usually doesn't fall in love with any of them? To clear what I'm looking for, Suppose a guy at ...
8
votes
1answer
29k views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
476 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
votes
3answers
706 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Can sound be “blurry?”

Can sound be considered "blurry?" I have heard of visual things being "blurry." Examples of this include blurry photographs or blurred vision. Is the word "blurry" restricted only to vision? I ...
6
votes
6answers
17k views

What is the difference between “Class of 2004” and “Batch of 2004”?

What is the difference between "Class of 2004" and "Batch of 2004"? I have a feeling that one means the students who joined the university in 2004 and the other means those who graduated in 2004. Is ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Name of castle part

What do you call these? Please provide a reliable source with your answer.
11
votes
5answers
19k views

When would you say “woods”, and when would you say “forest”?

Is there any difference here at all?
6
votes
7answers
5k views

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 ...