5
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of “break over”

I read this in Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, The fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave trade are each as well enforced, ...
10
votes
6answers
9k views

Antonym of “nonsensical”

I'm interested in finding out two things: Why is sensical not a valid antonym for nonsensical? Is there an antonym of nonsensical that can be used instead? I haven't found any in dictionary ...
-2
votes
2answers
186 views

What's your understanding of “suit” here? [closed]

Context (Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural Address), I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such ...
5
votes
5answers
12k views

Is “take care” always a friendly utterance or can it sometimes be considered threatening?

A little while ago someone wrote to me, in a not-too-friendly internet exchange, "take care, man". I interpreted that as a threat, but now I realize that Americans often use this expression "take care"...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

Name for relation between a man’s two wives?

What is the relation between the two wives of a man called?
3
votes
3answers
299 views

What is the practice of pricing goods at numbers such as 3.95, 69.90, 198 called? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the term for pricing items just below a significant value (e.g. $19,995) It is common on price tags to use $3.95 instead of $4.00 to make items appear cheaper. Is ...
8
votes
1answer
30k views

How can I optionally pluralize the word “diagnosis” in writing?

I'm building a web form and am looking to label a check box list used to select one or more diagnoses. I want to label this list in a way that indicates to the user that they may select one or more ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

Generic term for something you say

Is there a generic term/noun for something one says. I'm specifically looking for something you say in a conversation, but maybe there is even a more generic term. I'm looking for a word like '...
2
votes
3answers
20k views

To pleasure someone, to bring pleasure to someone, to make someone happy

Is there any difference in meaning or nuance between "to pleasure someone" and "to bring pleasure to someone?" What about between "to pleasure someone" and "to make someone happy?"
6
votes
4answers
375 views

Is there any countable noun which is a synonym of 'rating'?

What noun can be used to describe how many times something has been rated? For voting, you can say "one vote" or "two votes". For liking (Facebook), you can say "one like" or "two likes". For ...
2
votes
3answers
926 views

Using “a” vs “an” with 'very'

I've just read from a comment somewhere that 'a very emotional' is grammatically wrong, and it should be 'an very emotional'. Why is 'very' ignored in this case? If it should be ignored, are there any ...
2
votes
2answers
12k views

Does “break your head” really mean literally breaking one's head?

I was reading Tom Brown's School Days, and I came across the part where they were describing a sport called backswording, in which the competitors will have their left hand tied to their leg/back, and ...
9
votes
6answers
58k views

Formal way to tell someone they accidentally sent you someone else’s email?

I have received an email from someone at work. He’s quite senior and probably would get quite angry to get an “accusing” message like: I wasn’t supposed to get this email. It looks like you sent ...
2
votes
1answer
643 views

What does “chow-wow” mean here?

I came across a new word while reading Newspaper - chow-wow. This context is a Cooking Fiesta workshop happening in the city. Excerpt from the Newspaper: . . . . . "Well, you'll just have to ...
42
votes
1answer
609k views

“Dieing” vs “dying”

Which is the formally correct spelling, dieing or dying? Is there any history of the alternative spelling? I type dieing naturally, but my spellchecker marks it wrong. This is largely an etymology ...
5
votes
1answer
494 views

Can we regard “lecture” as a monomorphemic word in Modern English?

Judging by the derivative chain lecture appears to be the root itself (comp. lecture, lectur-er, lecture-ship, un-lectur-ed etc.). But I'm not sure if it can be divided by analogy with failure (to ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Word with three consecutive L's [closed]

In a fun discussion, someone used the sentence That guy is ballless. I can see a slang definition on urbandictionary but this led to a question. Are there words with 3 consecutive l's in them (...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “Be weird about something” mean?

According to the article of Washington post (August 18) titled “O’Donnell Walked off CNN interview,” the former Senate candidate from Delaware and tea party favorite walked out during interview by ...
7
votes
5answers
8k views

How has the phrase the “Mecca of some activity” originated and not the “Rome” or “Athens”

This is not a question about religion at all. My point is Rome and Athens are examples of older civilizations and there is the saying "All roads lead to Rome" indicating it's supremacy in the Ancient ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

A concise term for staking territorial claims

I'm looking for a word or phrase specifically used to refer to the act of placing a flag to claim new territory. I'm specifically referring to claiming land in the name of some sovereign, though a ...
18
votes
3answers
13k views

Why father is called “dada” and not “fafa”

Read the words below : Mother - mama - mammy Father - dada - daddy Why is father not called fafa or faddy?
8
votes
3answers
920 views

What do you call a government when the rulers are gods?

I'm familiar with most -ocracies. And I don't mean a Theocracy (rule by religious officials). This would probably make more sense in a Fantasy setting (say D&D) where deities actually come down ...
5
votes
2answers
362 views

What does “Jus’ folks is jus’ dumb” mean?

I found the article titled “5 myths about Rick Perry” in today’s New York Times literally dealing with the mystery of Texas Governor who is running for 2012 GOP Presidential nominations entertaining. ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

“Carved from the living rock” — since when was rock ever alive?

According to Etymonline, living dates to the 14th century, and refers to "the fact of dwelling in some place," from O.E. lifiende, prp. of lifan But we hear the phrase "the living rock" used all ...
9
votes
5answers
685 views

How is the pronunciation of r before th? Specific case: “north”

Some consonants such as n,d,t are usually alveolar in English, except that they are replaced by dentals when they are before dental fricatives (th): tenth, said this, in the…. What about "r" before ...
6
votes
5answers
16k views

Meaning and origin of “get a grip”

What does get a grip mean and where does it come from? I think it is usually addressed to someone who doesn't understand the obvious, like in the third paragraph of this book review: I am amazed ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Does the phrase “will ever be” include the past?

A colleague of mine told me that "Right now you are the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be." I don't believe this is the case. In my mind, the idea that he is trying to ...
9
votes
5answers
44k views

Difference between “close” and “near”

What is the difference between the adjectives close and near? Are they totally synonymous? Is there some nuance that I'm missing? As a native speaker of Spanish, I can't see any difference, since ...
5
votes
3answers
22k views

Short word that means “someone who takes notes”

I have stenographer, secretary and recorder already (but they don't seem to be precise enough) and I'm hoping to find a shorter word if possible please. Some context, I'm a software engineer and the ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Etymology of “Frenchified”

What is the etymology of the term Frenchified? In The Gangs of New York (2002) Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting says Careful, Tweedy. The Mort's Frenchified to William 'Boss' Tweed who has just ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

What does ‘Red meat rhetoric’ exactly mean?

I see quite often the expression 'Red meat rhetoric’ these days in journals, for example Obama’s red meat rhetoric –CNN Conservative Media July 7. Mitt Romney delivers red meat rhetoric to ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Exactly what language do I (we) speak?

As an American, and a particularly myopic one, I am a bit confused to the language that I speak. I understand that we were once a colony of England, where English was/is spoken, but do we in the ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How to use “know” and “realize” correctly

Are they just actually the same? Especially as in the following examples: I realize then whom I love. I know then whom I love.
3
votes
1answer
7k views

What can a user do with a checkbox?

When user is presented with a checkbox on a webpage. What can he/she do with it in order to place a little birdy inside it? check (Please, check the checkbox...) tick (Please, tick the checkbox...) ...
2
votes
3answers
499 views

Word to encompass object's location or size

What is a word to encompass an object's x location, y location, width or height? Basically the word (if it exists) could mean either its location or size. It would probably have to be rather vague.
6
votes
3answers
14k views

What's the difference between “persuade” and “convince”?

When should "persuade" be preferred over "convince", and vice versa?
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Term for turning “Florida” into “Flo Rida”

What would be the name for dissecting a word to create a phrase — the opposite of a portmanteau? Like the rapper Flo Rida made his name out of Florida. Is there a term for that?
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Is “Please advise” a real sentence?

Is Please advise really a sentence? If so, is it because there is an implied subject (I am not sure if that even exists)?
2
votes
0answers
118 views

How to pluralise an acronym? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? How would you make the plural form of an acronym? For example, if you have two of Nintendo's game console, the DS. Would ...
4
votes
2answers
635 views

Use of “mugging up” for hobby

I have heard of the expression mugging up to mean study intensively as before an exam, but would like to know if it can also be used to investigate a hobby. For example, could I use something like: ...
0
votes
1answer
687 views

Is it less than $100 or under $100? Is it more than $100 or is it over $100?

I am building a web site and need to clarify something for a non-U.S. customer. It's whether to use "less than/more than" or "under/over". items less than $100.00 items from $100.00 to $500.00 ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Old English instead of Latin in early Britain

For almost 400 years, Britain was a Roman province. During that period, naturally, Latin was an important language in the region. When the Germanic tribes invaded the British Isles (around the 5th ...
3
votes
1answer
8k views

Verb form of “inception” [closed]

Just out of curiosity, what is the verb form of inception? My (uneducated) guesses are incept and inceive.
4
votes
1answer
5k views

Are there any general rules or guidelines for creating abbreviations for words?

Are there any general rules or guidelines for how to create abbreviations of a word when there isn't any established abbreviations of it already? Context: I'm writing an article in which I have to ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Expression for advantages of solution being disadvantages of alternatives

Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?
18
votes
3answers
23k views

Why is putting some spin on a ball described in some circles as giving it some “English”?

Why is putting some spin on a ball often called "putting some English" on it? Does it have anything to do with the history of billiards, the sport I most often see this phrase used? What's special ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Does the phrase “begging the question” make any sense?

I know what "begging the question" originally means, but I just can't make any sense of the idiom. The phrase really seems to have nothing to do with its own meaning. The original Latin phrase, ...
6
votes
2answers
9k views

Why do people use “mayday” and not “help”? [closed]

I’m not native English speaker, so I wonder why forces like policemen and firemen and such use Mayday instead of the simpler Help. What is origin of this habit?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Connotation of “intestinal fortitude”

I have heard the expression intestinal fortitude to mean courage or endurance to achieve something. Is there a connotation for stubbornness in this expression?
4
votes
2answers
248 views

Meaning of “plumb” as verb

I found in the free dictionary the various meanings of plumb as a verb and mainly it seems to have the meaning of explore/study/delve into. However, within the title of an article of the ...

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