4
votes
4answers
23k views

Literal meaning of “to give a run for someone's money”

According to the Free Dictionary, the figurative meaning of to give a run for someone's money is "to be as good as someone." But what's the literal meaning of the sentence?
6
votes
4answers
5k views

“Cleats” vs. “soccer shoes”

I used to say cleats but found it uncommon for some people, though I had no trouble with soccer shoes. I have always lived in a Spanish-speaking country (Nicaragua) so I find it hard to know why that ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a word for side-by-side translations?

A lot of translations are done side-by-side, such as the following example: In principio creavit Deus In the beginning, God created caelum et terram the heaven and the Earth Is ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“Grudge” vs. “begrudge”

In Faulkner's The sound and the fury two sentences arrive close to one another which have made me wonder about the usage of grudge and begrudge. I know you grudge what I give him. And shortly ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “high” add to the meaning of this sentence of Tagore's poem?

Do not seat your love upon a precipice because it is high. What is the meaning of the word high in this sentence?
6
votes
6answers
653 views

Alternative to “lossily compressed”

Is there a better way to say "lossily compressed"? The adverb lossily can not be found in Merriam-Webster, but the adjective lossy can. It also feels a bit unnatural.
6
votes
7answers
36k views

What is the meaning of “Many a mickle makes a muckle”?

I've heard this phrase, and don't know what a "mickle" or a "muckle" is. Hence I have no idea at all what the phrase itself is supposed to mean.
17
votes
8answers
24k views

Difference between “condo” and “apartment”

I have never really understood the connotation of someone calling their domicile a condo over the word apartment. I have a vague feeling the former is fancier and more up-scale, but are there any ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

A technical problem here

The term 'technical problem' can possibly be shortened to "technicality" and refer to the same thing. However,I would like to know what happens in this case. We have a word i.e. technology and we ...
8
votes
2answers
285 views

“How to..”, “How do you..” or “How do I..” when asking a practical question

As the title says, I'm asking because you can split the StackOverflow questions to three groups according to their openings, for example: "How do I serialize an object...", "How do you serialize ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

“Today I've darkened 59 appropriate circles”?

Is this a proper past tense? Today I've darkened 59 appropriate circles.
3
votes
1answer
26k views

“'n'” as an abbreviation for “and” as in “rock 'n' roll”

I wonder if there are other cases where and is abbreviated in writing as in rock 'n' roll.
21
votes
1answer
47k views

Suffixes for verbification: -ify, -icise, -ificate

The suffixes -ise/-ize -ify -ificate are all used for verbifying nouns and adjectives. What are the differences in meaning/connotation/usage between them? (This is generalising from the ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

English word for a contest where participants collect items

Well, I'm hoping that the title is self-explanatory. I'm looking for a word (or a Wikipedia article) that describes the type of competition where participants are encouraged to buy more products, and ...
103
votes
10answers
8k views

Is there a word for a person with only one head?

Reading this article by the fantastic Douglas Adams I came across this interesting quote: ‘[I]nteractivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Meaning of the counting rhyme “Eenie Meenie Miney Moe”

Counting rhymes are as we know, used for determining who is it.So last week, we were playing chili-chili-water, and my friend told me that the counting rhynme "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe" actually had a ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Should “vice versa” be treated as an independent clause?

I know "vice versa" more or less means "conversely," but when it is used by itself, should it be punctuated as if it were an independent clause? Dogs don't like cats, and vice versa. or Dogs ...
1
vote
0answers
3k views

Older than me (or I)? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: I can run faster than _. (1) him (2) he? Is it correct to say, "She's older than me" or "She's older than I?" I almost always hear people say the former (me). If I ...
2
votes
2answers
186 views

Etymology of wasteweir?

I would guess that this word is derived from waste (english) + weir (german)? Can anyone provide a more definitive derivation explanation? (couldn't find anything via etymonline.com) Will keep ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

Anyone: (“they” or “he/she”) why is it sometimes plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”? Plural versus singular: Anyone can learn to dance if they want to. Anyone can ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

What is considered a dystopia?

In the film The Book of Eli, the world is in state of disarray, with no government, weak or non-existent town and family structures, and widespread hunger, poverty, and regressed technologies. Is this ...
8
votes
4answers
617 views

Is this quote grammatically correct?

Beauty and sadness always go together. Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth upon the earth without a meet alloy. (George MacDonald) The last part of the quote doesn't seem to make ...
15
votes
5answers
36k views

Why is 'forty' spelled without a 'u' in Canadian/British English?

I was writing in Word today (with the Canadian English dictionary enabled) and it kept putting a redline under "fourty" which I couldn't understand. A bit of searching says that, even in British and ...
4
votes
4answers
24k views

“Opportunity of purchasing” vs “Opportunity to purchase”

I am translating a phrase from Spanish and I would appreciate the input from a native English speaker: I translated a phrase as "to give the opportunity of purchasing", but I am in doubt whether it ...
14
votes
3answers
10k views

Who, what, where, when, why, how. Why so many “Wh”s?

Journalists are taught to ask who, what, where, when, why, and how. If you answer all of these chances are you have the bones of a story. Why do all these words, with the exception of "how" start with ...
2
votes
4answers
822 views

“Innocent” vs. “immature”

I'm trying to decide how to describe someone. He is not very wise, but that is also due to his ignorance. Should I use "innocence" or "immature" and can someone please explain the difference between ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

“Just deserts” or “just desserts”

Which is correct when referring to the punishment gotten by an evil-doer: just deserts or just desserts? Are both acceptable due to common usage (see buck naked / butt naked and strait-laced / ...
4
votes
4answers
391 views

What can I call the two possible directions on a line (as a category)?

In English, a vector is said to have two properties: a length and a direction. The possible directions correspond to half-lines out of the origin (so that, eg, up and down are different directions). ...
4
votes
5answers
589 views

Is there a word that means “Refinement of knowledge over time”?

I am looking for a simple way to describe the occurrence when someone comes up with an idea based on observations (the world is flat and the middle of the universe), and then refines it over time and ...
2
votes
1answer
568 views

Why I remember a wrong sense of the word “moron”? [closed]

I thought that the word "moron" means a very smart person (a genius), but my English teacher has said it means the opposite (an idiot) and it was confirmed by lexicons. Where did I get this incorrect ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the term “delicate genius” refer to?

Do a Google search for delicate genius and you will get many results, none seem to be a definition though. I was referred to as a delicate genius today after making a mistake at work. I am not a ...
12
votes
4answers
751 views

Are English language books translated to contemporary English? [closed]

Were Shakespeare books translated to contemporary English? Which version is more common? Is there a rule to choose which books will have its language updated? Are poems updated too? From which year I ...
15
votes
7answers
24k views

What's the difference between a vicar and a pastor?

What's the difference between a vicar, preferably of the Church of England, and a pastor? I browsed Wikipedia, but most of the gist of the article is that vicar is an ecclesiastical office, and ...
5
votes
4answers
273 views

use of => symbol

For years I have used '=>' as a sign meaning 'should be changed to' and I have long since forgotten whether this is a personal idiosyncrasy or an actual existing usage. e.g. "in the sentence above ...
15
votes
2answers
27k views

Pronunciation of “Azure” in “Windows Azure”

This is not a techie query. I am just unclear on how to pronounce the word "Azure" which is brand name for Microsoft's cloud service offerings.
5
votes
4answers
886 views

Is “observant” exclusive to vision?

The word "observant" means "watchful" or "perceptive": A particularly observant child, he noticed even the slightest changes in the classroom. is the example given by M-W. Specifically ...
21
votes
9answers
40k views

What are the similarities and differences between “irony” and “sarcasm”?

This seems to be one the long-standing arguments between people on the internet. When is something "irony" and when is it "sarcasm"? And can a quip be both at the same time? Dictionary definitions ...
62
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the purpose of using the word “automagically” when we already have “automatically”?

Is there a difference between the two? I see it used regularly in the tech community to mean automatically. Has the word been adopted into any recognised dictionary? For example: That was the ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

“Describe with” vs. “describe by”

I'm not entirely certain about when it is most appropriate to use with and by, respectively. An example should clarify my problem: We describe the input with an exponential function. or We ...
5
votes
3answers
28k views

Grandma and Nan, origins and differences?

What are the origins and differences between these two? Same for Granddad/Grandpa? Why was there the need for the two different names?
1
vote
0answers
83 views

There is no ticket or there are no tickets? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: There are no comments / There is no comment. Can someone please tell me which one is better and correct. There is no ticket. or There are no tickets. If both are ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Why we say the earth is beautiful not handsome?

Why we say the world is beautiful? Can't we say the world is handsome?
0
votes
4answers
109 views

Should I use 'to'?

I have two verbs in a sentence. I know I have to use 'to' before each verb. But in this case it sounds a little bit strange to me. Should I use to there? Test that this method returns right data ...
3
votes
3answers
213 views

Is there a way to transform “found” to stand for “things which have been found”?

I can think of use discoveries as the things which have been found. Is there a way to do that by transforming the word found? Like we can say "things which belong to you" as "your belongings".
9
votes
6answers
704 views

Is there a straightforward word for “The thing in between first and second”?

Sometimes when writing I find myself looking for a word to describe something in the “³⁄₂th” place — exactly between first and second. I would like to ask, does there exist an easy expression for ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the origin of the phrase “caught red-handed”?

I'm just wondering: why "red"?
6
votes
5answers
481 views

Is “i.e.” in this situation incorrect?

I.e. is used when we would like to use a situation as a kind of clarification. Suppose I was to write something like this: Nano-boxes are used in medical science i.e. cancer treatment, where ...
3
votes
4answers
268 views

Phrase: “This area is being supervised by video”. Can “video” really supervise?

In the city of Potsdam I have seen the following label on the main station building: "This area is being supervised by video". The meaning of the phrase is pretty clear, but can "video" be really ...
3
votes
5answers
440 views

Can you actually “stand to the right” on escalator?

In Copenhagen Metro on every escalator you can see 2 labels: "Stand to the right" "Walk to the left" I had an impression that prepostion "to" is used when you describe a direction of the moving ...
19
votes
7answers
98k views

Pronunciation of “cache”

I have been pronouncing the word "cache" as kaysh. I know a few people who pronounce it more like cash, cashay or even catch. After consulting a few dictionaries, it turns out that the correct ...

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