This tag is for questions about correctly using a word.

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5
votes
8answers
2k views

Can the word “special” have a negative connotation?

I am involved with a group that works with children aged about 7, who've been through some difficult things. One of the sessions focuses on how "every one of you is special". Recently, somebody's ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Is 'verbiage' still considered to be insulting?

All the references I'm finding says that 'verbiage' is used when trying to insult a work or person for being too wordy. My experience with the word (by my own usage and the usage of others around me) ...
1
vote
2answers
932 views

What is the connotation of the word 'O'? [closed]

What is the author trying to convey with the word 'O' in the following: He has told you, O man, what is good;
1
vote
1answer
260 views

“Illiberal” is not “not liberal”

In a text I was reading about philosophy, there was the word illiberal. I guessed its meaning to be something like not liberal or against liberalism. But after checking the dictionary, I found out ...
6
votes
2answers
863 views

“Scampi” in American English?

Is scampi the common name used for the kind of shrimp in the picture in American English? Or is there an alternative common name for it? I ask because some Americans don't really know the word when I ...
4
votes
5answers
965 views

Why and when did “crack” come to mean “tell”?

Cracking jokes is to me the most familiar contextual usage of this term. Why would anyone say they were cracking jokes, not just telling jokes?
4
votes
3answers
791 views

Is 'set phrase' a set phrase?

Some words or phrases have 'special' meaning beyond the combination of constituent parts. For example: 'White House' is the white house where the US president lives. 'black board' is where you ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Badger someone” [closed]

I've heard the expression "to badger someone" in British English usage, and not being able to find out about its origins, I wonder if it is also commonly used elsewhere, for example, in American ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Use of “respectively”

He has two sisters who live in southern and northern California, respectively. I saw this on IMDB and I was wondering if the respectively was grammatically correct. Since nothing is being listed ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Can 'repeat' be an adjective?

I was sure the word 'repeat' could be an adjective; for example, the phrase "repeat performance" describes a performance that is repeated. To my surprise, however, the Random House dictionary and ...
2
votes
1answer
221 views

“Styles” for Mr/Dr/Hon

Apparently the word "styles" can be used for the list of honors someone has during one's life. For example: Styles: Mr. John Smith (1950-1960) Dr. John Smith (1961-1970) Dr. John Smith MP ...
1
vote
1answer
413 views

Are the expressions “career day“ and ”career-high five runs" particular to sports?

I found the word ‘a career day’ and ‘a career-high five runs’ in the New York Times article (July 16) reporting Scott Hairston’s dramatic play against Philadelphia Phillies under the headline, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct use of “mooted”

Is the use of mooted correct here? I keep thinking the author wanted bruited. Yesterday I heard an economist in the UK use it in the same way. Coffee mooted as a breast cancer preventer.
2
votes
1answer
258 views

Usage of 'content'

Can I answer the question 'How are you?' with 'I am content and happy. Thanks'. What is the use of the word 'content'. On the book 'You Can Win', Shiv Khera tells a story about a person like "He was ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

Does the term “Asian” have different meanings among various English-speaking countries?

I have always had the view that the term "Asian", when pertaining to cultures, primarily refers to the cultures of the Far East. Recently I have been told that it also includes Indian and other ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

'Depend upon' or 'depend on' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which phrase is correct: “dependent on” or “dependent upon” Is there a difference between the usage of 'depend upon' and 'depend on' or is one ...
6
votes
3answers
811 views

Is “girls” a suitable complementary term to go along with “guys”?

Trying to keep the discussion about language and meaning, and hopefully not getting socio-political, is "girls" a valid counterpart for "guys", as in "guys and girls"? The intention is to describe a ...
3
votes
2answers
72 views

Expression “counterprogramming” also for social events?

Would it be adequate to use the term "counterprogramming" also for non-TV events like counterprogramming a party at the same time of another one? For example: I am sorry I didn't check the date ...
3
votes
5answers
397 views

What's the origin of the term “call” in card games?

What is the origin of the term "to call" in card games like poker? I can understand that one can "raise" the bet, but why does one want to say "call" to match a bet or match a raise? How would that ...
13
votes
4answers
8k views

What determines whether a sporting event is a game, match, contest, or something else?

There are many sports and other events that are contested, but why are some contests called matches, like tennis match, golf match, and soccer match, and some contests called a game, like baseball ...
9
votes
5answers
760 views

Has “dilemma” ever been restricted to two options?

I was surprised to discover my dictionary had this entry for dilemma: a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, esp. equally undesirable ones The ...
3
votes
2answers
165 views

Is it possible to abstain from blame?

Blame is a verb which is applied to a person without that person's choice, so can they use a verb like 'abstain' in terms of blame if abstain implies they are choosing a relationship to that blame? I ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

What is the agent of a trial called?

It is simple enough to refer to the object of a trial (in the general sense, e.g. test driving a car) as the tried, but what is the best term to use for the agent of the trial? "Trier", although ...
0
votes
1answer
766 views

The usage of “being” in passive voice

I was reading the following sentence on the Internet and did not understand the usage of "being" in it: They might have been being thrown away. "They" refers to spoons here. I guess it is the ...
1
vote
2answers
294 views

Expression for “cold headhunting”

Is there an expression for the case when someone receives an email from a recruiter with whom he had no previous contact? I am looking for a term other than headhunting, like salesman knocking on cold ...
14
votes
3answers
21k views

Recur vs. Reoccur

Is there any difference between the verbs reoccur and recur? Several sources suggest that they are synonymous, but some fine-tuners suggest that there is a nuanced difference, such as Grammarist, ...
1
vote
5answers
9k views

Mow the lawn, cut the grass, mow the yard, cut the yard …what is correct?

This weekend I mowed the yard. My neighbor says he cut the grass. Did I cut the grass, or maybe I mowed the lawn, or did I cut the yard? When does one mow, and when does one cut? Is it grass, or ...
3
votes
5answers
291 views

How could I express the idea that one person is learning the habits of other person?

I want to express the idea that one person is becoming like another person. I was thinking to use color, as in "Mr. X is getting colored in Mr. Y." Is this a common usage?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Correct placing and usage of “yet”

Sometimes I see the sentence Have you done something, yet? Is it correct to write it that way? If not, what would be correct? If it is correct, why is it?
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Where/when did the *idea* of bad words come from in English?

Bad Words: f*ck sh*t *ss d*mn b*tch ... Ok, so there's no point in listing them all. The thing I'm interested in is this: Why is it that in English we have a strong sense of a group of words ...
3
votes
7answers
5k views

What is the difference between a marque and a brand?

What is the difference between a marque and a brand? For example, why would one use the expression "car marques" instead of "car brands"?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “the way” synonym of “how”?

In constructions like the following ones, could the way be replaced with how? Is there any difference between them? I like the way she eats peaches. The way he looked at her... Can anybody ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What Exactly is the Meaning of “Fatal”?

My understanding is that in its normal usage, it means "deadly." But the root word of "fatal" appears to be "fate," rather than anything that has to do with "death." In this regard, "fatal" resembles ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

Et cetera vs Et al

Probably one of the most used word around is et cetera. I also come across people substituting et al for etc. Google says me that both of them more or less give away the same meaning 'and the others'. ...
4
votes
3answers
817 views

“Never mind” in AmE and BrE

Reading some forum pages about the meaning of this phrase, I realized that there's a difference in usage of it, between American and British English. What's the difference in meaning of "never mind" ...
6
votes
1answer
496 views

“Is key” or “is the key”?

I wrote this: This means that, as with any distributed application, concurrency is key: we have at least one flow of execution per node running concurrently with all others, and [...] I was told ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the meaning of “large hug” in definition of “bearhug”?

Context: I have an uncle who is huge and any time he hugs anyone in the family, it's so tight that they are almost choked. We call this the bearhug among the family. Researching ...
4
votes
2answers
614 views

“Figment” other than in “figment of the imagination”?

Are there any recurring uses of the word "figment" other than in the expression "figment of the imagination"?
3
votes
3answers
7k views

What does “default” mean in financial sense?

I've heard word "default" used in a financial sense. My intuition tells me that the defaulting party is asking for protection against its creditors, but I don't see how that is different from say ...
3
votes
4answers
229 views

Should I say I “post a post” on a forum?

If I want to say I wanted to create new post (topic, question) but I forgot to do so. should I say I wanted to post a post but I forgot to do so. or should I say I wanted to post but ...
1
vote
3answers
455 views

Word usage 'when you go'

Is there any thing wrong in the following sentence: Could you please inform me when you go. Can I use 'when you go' like this?
3
votes
4answers
10k views

When did “kid” start to mean “child”?

When I read period authors, i.e., Dickens, or Verne, or Hugo, etc., I always see things like: My dear child/Child, come here/He is but a child! But I don't see kid. In fact, I didn't see kid ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Sleep in” versus “Sleep out”

Over the years, I have often debated whether the phrase is "In the morning, I'm going to sleep in." or "In the morning, I'm going to sleep out." My best guess is that it is a regional difference of ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

“Melted” vs “molten”

Is there any difference (e.g. regionality) between the two forms of the past participle of melt (melted and molten)?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Which is more affirmative: “I think” or “I guess”?

In South Asia, we tend to use "I think" when we are almost sure about something; or sometimes use it ironically like in example "I think you should have done this yesterday". "I guess", on the other ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is “fastly” not a word?

As well as being an adjective, fast is an adverb. We use it all the time as such: He ran fast. However, though slow is definitely an adjective, it sounds wrong when used as an adverb, because ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What usage and meaning of “else” is this

What is the usage and meaning of "else" in this example? The key difference between a program and a project is the finite nature of a project - a project must always have a specific end date, else ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Correct usage for “bad” v. “poor” adjectives

The way I was taught many years ago was that something like quality can be poor, but not bad. The reasoning was that "bad" is a value/moral whereas poor applies to non-value qualities. In this case, ...
12
votes
2answers
448 views

Can the term “etymology” be applied to a phrase or only individual words?

I have always heard the term used in referring to a single word. When browsing questions on this site, I've seen it used applied to entire phrases, and have suppressed the compulsion to edit them and ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Do we compile the source or the binaries?

When programming, we usually write text files in some programming language. These source files are fed into a compiler that compiles them into binary files. My question is whether to say: we ...