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
686 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
45k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
469 views

What's the proper interpretation of: “I was kissed by a girl twice”?

The other day I experienced two distinct but similar events. I wanted to convey this to a friend and this is what came to mind: "I was kissed by a girl twice." My question is, does this sentence say, "...
3
votes
3answers
31k views

What is the difference between “getting mad” and “getting upset”? [closed]

Does getting mad mean the same thing as getting upset? Is there any difference at all?
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Why is “doing” used here instead of “to do”?

I have read this question: “I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something” and I get (although the answer could not be applied to my example) that using "to do" means in general I ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

“I finally was able” or “I was finally able”?

Is one form wrong or more correct than the other? Or do they have different meanings? I'm a non-native speaker trying to figure it out.
6
votes
1answer
280 views

Etymology of charlâtanerie

Can anyone provide me with the etymology and details of usage of the word charlâtanerie ? I came across this word while reading The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe.The following passage ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the rule for writing sentences with parallel clauses?

I've sometimes seen very nicely written sentences that have 2 clauses: the first is a full sentence, while the second, which is supposed to have a similar structure, was shorten into a special ...
12
votes
8answers
23k views

If you can be “discombobulated”, is it possible to be “combobulated”?

I've often heard the word "discombobulated" used. But I've never heard of something being "combobulated", and it's not in any dictionary I've looked at. If "combobulated" is not word, where did "...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How can the word 'priori' be used?

I am only familiar with 'a priori', such as 'a priori conditions'. Now a friend uses the word as follows: "the supremacy of nature and the priori and inevitability of death and of history." I do ...
17
votes
4answers
142k views

Where did the phrase “batsh*t crazy” come from?

I am curious how this term came to be. I've found this question on various forums, but none of them seem to agree where the term came from. The most popular explanation seems to come from "bat in the ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

Plural of “abacus”

A colleague and I were having a discussion as to the proper plural form of abacus. I believe the plural would be abacuses and he feels that the proper form would be abaci. I believe that abacuses is ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

“Goes good with” or “goes well with”

Let's say that A and B are two different kinds of foods. Which is grammatically correct? A goes good with B. A goes well with B. If they're both correct, then which is better?
3
votes
4answers
404 views

What's the most common word to refer to a soccer team's shield (or coat of arms)?

I am trying to find the most common way to refer to a soccer team's shield (or coat of arms).
5
votes
1answer
191 views

Castleford dialect

I have recently heard the following from young children originating from Castleford, West Yorkshire: Yourn, meaning yours, hern, meaning hers, arn, meanig ours Could this be related to the ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it correct for someone to say that they've “fixed the apparent problems” with something?

Either there were no problems and therefore nothing to fix. Or there were some problems are therefore something to fix. But how can apparent problems be fixed? Unless "apparent" in this context means "...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Are the allies always good guys?

I spotted that when a war is described in English, the side described as "allies" is nearly always reserved to the side to which the speaker has sympathy. Although technically the word means somebody ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

“tailored towards” or “tailored to”?

Which one would you prefer, in particular in combination with "the needs"? Google finds a lot more for "tailored to" (30 millions) than for "tailored towards" (only 600 thousands).
4
votes
3answers
24k views

Can I change how to accomplish something once someone says “or something to that effect”?

I periodically get a broad description of how to perhaps solve a problem at work but then at the end of the email the phrase "or something to that effect" is included. Does that mean - 'just get me ...
3
votes
2answers
985 views

Origin of once again

I'm sure that most of you will be familiar with the phrase "once again." Once again, I take that back. However, I don't get the words. Once means "one time." However, again means that you did it ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Plural Possessive of a Singular Noun

While browsing this SE site, I stopped to look at the "What kind of questions can I ask here?" section of the FAQ, where the following is written: Questions on the following topics are welcomed ...
-3
votes
3answers
435 views

Idiom about a chicken or not?

I faced this phrase when the author of the blog post titled The Future Of Lisp wanted to show that nothing is clear: "What, when, why and where did my chicken go?" What does this phrase mean? Is it ...
15
votes
2answers
15k views

Why is “zero” plural?

I could have: Zero books One book Two books Why is zero in plural form? Edit Per Merriam-Webster: Plural (adj): of, relating to, or constituting a class of grammatical forms usually used to ...
1
vote
6answers
5k views

Common antonyms to “happy ending”?

I know you may specify to something like tragic, open end to describe actually what the end is like. But do English critics/reviewer in movie magazines use a common term for movies with bad/evil ...

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