This tag is for questions about choosing the best word FROM A GIVEN SELECTION for a particular context or meaning.

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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 ...
29
votes
26answers
9k views

A non-offensive term to call a lunatic?

How can a mad scientist's friend address him? For example, when engaged in a conversation with other people (who don't know the scientist), he mentions having such a friend? I suppose a loony sounds ...
29
votes
13answers
7k views

What is a verb for “illusion”?

What is a verb for illusion? I want to use it in a sentence like the following: The optical effect [illudes] my perception of its real shape. But illude does not exist. But I cannot find illude ...
29
votes
12answers
9k views

Do the words “jail” and “prison” refer to different things?

In everyday speech, the terms jail and prison are used interchangeably in many situations. However, my understanding is that, at least in the US, they actually refer to slightly different things. For ...
29
votes
8answers
44k views

“Toilet”, “lavatory” or “loo” for polite society

My friend is trying so hard to fit into polite society, and is raising her child to say loo rather than toilet. I know it should be lavatory (and I would not say lav) but we are in the 21st century ...
29
votes
7answers
8k views

Word a male can use to refer to a female that is not old or young (girl/lady/woman)

I'm a married male in my mid-thirties and meet a woman of a similar age and talk about business. I want to refer to this meeting later, and it feels weird to say "I met a girl today...," (feels like ...
29
votes
3answers
271k views

What is a good way to remind someone to reply to your email?

Sometimes some of the emails to people senior to you in the company are left unanswered. What are the ways to politely remind the person that he needs to reply to your email (which he might have ...
28
votes
13answers
6k views

What do you call a disgusting mixture you don't want to drink?

What do you call a drink (usually an alcoholic one, say a long drink or a cocktail) that you don't want to have, because you consider it a low quality, disgusting mixture, maybe even of suspicious, ...
28
votes
12answers
4k views

What's the word for paper “decaying”?

Imagine an old map, a map with a path to a treasure, like the ones you remember from cartoons. The map's partially destroyed, because it's so old, and it has been exposed to air, and heat, and water, ...
28
votes
11answers
164k views

“Washroom”, “restroom”, “bathroom”, “lavatory”, “toilet” or “toilet room”

I've always been confused by the terms washroom, restroom, bathroom, lavatory, toilet and toilet room. My impression is that Canadians would rather say washroom while Americans would probably say ...
28
votes
7answers
5k views

Is there a word for someone who you've not physically met but know well?

I have met many people online, but not physically. Like a boy who's like my brother. They're no less than my real-life buddies. So I have to create a group of contacts devoted to those people only. ...
28
votes
9answers
81k views

Is “errored” correct usage?

If "errored" is not a valid word, then how should I say: The program errored at line 44 I guess I could say: The program threw an error at line 44 But why is "errored" wrong? Is there a ...
28
votes
5answers
163k views

Use of 'as per' vs 'per'

I've read and have heard of both 'as per' and 'per' being used conversationally, both with the same connotation of either 'according to' or 'on authority of' Examples: "Tell Ron to start molding new ...
27
votes
14answers
38k views

What is a word/idiom for 'unable to decide'?

Let's say I have an important decision to make and I can't decide between two competing things (like break up with a girl or not break up with her). What would be a word/idiom to express that?
27
votes
6answers
5k views

To hear something makes it audible, to see is visible, so what are touch and smell?

As the title states, if sound is audible, light is visible, what is a smell? And what is an object when you touch it?
27
votes
7answers
42k views

Is “substract” (versus “subtract”) a proper word?

I read an article recently where the author used "substract" instead of "subtract". I'm more familiar with the latter word but after doing a bit of googling, it seems that both words are being used, ...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Alternative expression/term to trivial use of 'OCD'

After being reproved for doing so myself on SO yesterday. I realized that over the last couple of years the meaning of the expression OCD, seems to have deflated. Up to the point where people(read I) ...
27
votes
4answers
26k views

Why do we say “was supposed to” for “should have”?

I was supposed to do my homework, but I went out clubbing instead. On a literal interpretation, supposed to suggests that other people (or indeed, myself) might have supposed (thought, imagined, ...
27
votes
6answers
2k views

What do you call this segment of road between the lane and an exit?

Circled in red. Is there an official name for the portion of road between the road and an exit is called?
27
votes
9answers
27k views

Equivalent of “both” when referring to three or more items?

What would be the correct word to use when referring to three or more items, in the same manner as the word both? For example, using two words, with the word both: "There are several ...
27
votes
6answers
42k views

Difference between “invoice” and “bill”?

I am talking about something you should pay. "Invoice" here doesn't mean the proof of payment. Sometimes I am told to pay my "bill", and sometimes they may refer to the similar paper (physical or ...
27
votes
1answer
67k views

Which is correct: “feedback is welcome” or “feedback is welcomed”?

I am used to write feedback is welcome. Is that correct, or should I write feedback is welcomed? Why?
26
votes
5answers
2k views

Are 'accuracy' and 'precision' interchangeable nouns?

The dictionary for accuracy says: The quality or state of being correct or precise. The ability to perform a task with precision. And for precision: The quality, condition, or ...
26
votes
11answers
5k views

Person who fills out a form - single word

What single word would I use to describe a person who fills out a form? So if Abigail fills out a form she is a... whatever the term should be. The form is an application but the applicant does not ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Term for a bullet hitting a bystander in a gunfight

What is the term for a bullet hitting a bystander in a gunfight? When it misses the intended target and hits a bystander.
26
votes
8answers
107k views

What's the difference in meaning between “emigrate” and “immigrate”?

What's the difference between emigrate and immigrate? They seem to have the same definitions in the dictionary but they are antonyms...  
26
votes
15answers
34k views

A word for: someone who is easy to talk to

I want to convey the idea that such and such person is very easy to talk to. I know that: 'talk to-able' is not a word, obviously. I can always say, "He is very easy to talk to." But I am looking ...
26
votes
4answers
14k views

What do you call a man who knows well how to fix his household appliances?

Some men are really good at fixing things, especially the household appliances while they're not specialists or technician. Is there any words to explain these people?
26
votes
8answers
4k views

Is there a word to describe a person who's addicted to downloading stuff from Internet?

Well, that is exactly what I am :). I just can't stop myself from downloading stuff (usually electronic articles, say, PDFs). To be more precise, whenever I come across something that I think might ...
26
votes
6answers
21k views

“Extensible” vs. “extendible”

Where does the adjective form extensible come from and does it connote anything different than extendible? What's the difference, if any, between the two?
26
votes
2answers
5k views

Which is correct: “math” or “maths”?

Which one is considered correct? I say "math", however I believe I heard somewhere that "maths" is correct. Also, should it (and "mathematics") be capitalized or not?
26
votes
5answers
185k views

Difference between “I have got” and “I have gotten”

I see these two expressions are used almost identically in different contexts. Is there a difference between I have got and I have gotten?
26
votes
5answers
9k views

Is it acceptable to use “is become” instead of “has become”?

In the King James version of the Bible there is a verse like this: The Lord is my strength, and my fortress, and my song. And He is become my salvation. Is it still feasible to use "is become" ...
26
votes
3answers
144k views

“Inputted” or “input”

I have used the word inputted in an assignment and am being forced to change it to input. However, both the Oxford English Dictionary (I am in New Zealand so this is most relevant) and MS Word list ...
26
votes
4answers
12k views

Is two-thirds plural?

Is 2/3 always, sometimes or never plural? E.g. 1a) 2/3 of the pizza were eaten. 1b) 2/3 of the pizza was eaten. 2a) 2/3 of the visitors were men. 2b) 2/3 of the visitors was men. I ...
26
votes
11answers
17k views

“May” & “Might”: What's the right context?

I may not be coming in tomorrow... I might not be coming in tomorrow... When could I use "may" & "might"?
26
votes
6answers
13k views

Types of things vs. types of thing

When speaking precisely or technically, one would say that "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominid" rather than "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominids." The ...
25
votes
13answers
5k views

What's it called? A kind of impoliteness

A person (e.g. your brother-in-law) who enters your house without being invited, opens your fridge without asking, etc. Not just "impolite" of course, something more specific and informal
25
votes
6answers
14k views

What is the difference between “archetype” and “prototype”?

I'm very confused by the difference between "archetype" and "prototype", and even more baffled when to use which. Can someone clarify?
25
votes
5answers
19k views

Why is it “your Majesty”, but “my Lord”?

Why is it "your Majesty", but "my Lord"?
25
votes
4answers
5k views

“Bad with something” or “bad at something”?

In a question on Spanish.StackExchange, a question came up about expressing that you are bad at remembering or doing something. Is one "bad at something" or "bad with something" (nouns)? What about ...
25
votes
4answers
27k views

“Relation” versus “relationship”

What is the difference between relation and relationship? Some say that relationship often refers to social connections. For instance, She has a close relationship with her daughter. How ...
24
votes
17answers
6k views

Is there a word for someone who is very friendly but only on a very shallow level?

It's not being a sycophant, because he doesn't want any favors from you. It's just all small talk. I would like to know the best word to describe this behavior or this person?
24
votes
6answers
87k views

How should I ask for a bill in a restaurant politely?

I used to say check please, but my English teacher said that it's wrong, and the proper way is to say something like bill please. What's the truth?
24
votes
6answers
24k views

“Who wants ice-cream?” — Should I say “(not) I” or “(not) me”?

With the enthusiastic question of "Who wants ice-cream?", what is the more correct response? (Not) I. (Not) me. Neither response is a sentence. The first response of "(not) I" sounds ...
24
votes
3answers
83k views

“proficient <in/at/with>” What is the correct usage?

Which preposition is correct in the phrase "proficient in/at/with English"?
24
votes
6answers
152k views

“Call me through/at/on this number”

What is the difference between the following when referring to telephone calls? Please call me on this number. You can reach me on this number. Please call me at this number. You can reach ...
24
votes
8answers
16k views

Is it correct to say “on accident” instead of “by accident”?

There is a great chasm on these phrases in the US. The great divide seems to be currently centered at the age of 40. The younger generation has began shifting to "on accident" for unknown reasons. ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Why “Jesu” rather than “Jesus” in this carol?

Why does this bit of O Come, All Ye Faithful use Jesu rather than Jesus? Yea, Lord, we greet thee Born this happy morning Jesu, to thee be glory given Am I right in my thinking that Jesus is ...
24
votes
2answers
18k views

Using “that” and “this” interchangeably

Learning and using English I'm always confused about what word to use for referring to things that have been described by me a few sentences earlier: "that" or "this". Confusion comes from the fact ...