1
vote
2answers
168 views

Origin of the term 'under influence'

How did 'under influence', as in in driving under influence, get equated to 'intoxicated'?
2
votes
0answers
141 views

Once and for all: What's the plural form of “Octopus”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Octopuses”, “octopi”, or “octo”? I've heard octopi, octopuses, octopodes, octopoids, and every time someone uses any of those, all ...
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Wishing someone that something goes easily for them

I'm trying to phrase a sentence in which I'm wishing that something goes easily for someone, but can't get the wording to sound right, and not awkward. For example, someone may be studying for a test ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the correct spelling: “wrapable” or “wrappable”?

As it sounds: is "wrapable" correct, or is "wrappable" correct? Or are neither correct? Microsoft Word complains about both, but Google doesn't correct either one.
9
votes
4answers
632 views

How to ask for a name of some thing? [duplicate]

My question was titled: What is this function called? Originally (my) title was: How is this function called? I still think that my version was correct; I always state such questions this ...
5
votes
5answers
13k views

Use of “Might” and “Might not”

I know "Might" and "Might not" means the lack of certainty, but is there an implied probability in the use of these terms? In other words, does "I might be coming" imply that "It is extremely likely ...
1
vote
2answers
455 views

ZOMG — I get the OMG part, but Z? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of ZOMG? What ever does ZOMG mean? And where did it come from?
5
votes
2answers
734 views

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray: “I wonder will you understand me?”

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, I came across the following passage, spoken by Basil Hallward: There is nothing that art cannot express, and I know that the work I have done since I met Dorian Gray ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Etymology, ubiquity and synonyms of the phrase “Tribal Knowledge”

I am an engineer by trade, and this phrase is often used in a somewhat derogatory way to indicate knowledge which is passed around in an organization, but never documented or standardized. A ...
6
votes
5answers
40k views

“Complement” or “supplement”?

On a site similar to this one I answered a question and the OP made a comment which prompted me to complete my answer in an edit. I called it "an example" but I originally wanted to call it ...
1
vote
0answers
388 views

Do you use “A” or “An” before an acronym that starts with L? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? We are making a banner for our LGBT running club. Is it An LGBT Running Club or A LGBT Running Club?
11
votes
4answers
843 views

Origin of the word “spraunce”

I was recently talking to someone who said a restaurant was spraunce, meaning it was well-presented and high-quality (that being the sense I was familiar with). We briefly discussed the fact that he ...
2
votes
2answers
309 views

Opposites, when dealing with adjectives and objects together

If we have the sentence, "Bob had blinding love for Susan." would the opposite be: "Bob had blinding hatred for Susan" or: "Bob had clear hatred for Susan"?
7
votes
4answers
47k views

What's the difference in usage between “annoyed at”, “annoyed with”, and “annoyed by”?

When is it appropriate to use annoyed at? Can I say I'm annoyed at you or should it be annoyed with you? What about annoyed by? I've read somewhere that annoyed with is for people and annoyed at is ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “am” in “I am right” an auxiliary verb?

Consider these sentences: The ice was thick enough to walk on. They were in a hurry. There is enough salt in it. It is freezing. I am right. Are the italicized verbs ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

When is correct to capitalise these words?

At the beginning of sentence is a given. Here are some examples for each word. Should any be capitalised? If not, is there any situations where they should? The word "government" The government ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the opposite of “to stink” (v)? Is there one at all?

Specifically I'm looking for an antonym of the infinitive rather than the noun. For example, "fragrance" is an antonym of "stink" (the noun), but you can't say "Wow, that fragrants" or "Wow that ...
1
vote
1answer
670 views

What's a “consumer-tech weblog/website”, and why is it called that way?

When people say consumer-tech, what exactly do they mean? What's a "consumer-tech weblog" / "consumer-tech website" (and why is it called that way)?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “soundness of judgment” mean?

Could anyone explain what exactly does "soundness of judgment" mean? I understand this as when you can judge something and take in count all possible exceptions that are involved in the evaluation of ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the word “savvy” in this context?

I'm not a native speaker of English. I wish to know what the word savvy means in this context: network-savvy
120
votes
2answers
12k views

Why is “bicycle” pronounced differently from other obviously related words?

The word bicycle is pronounced /'baɪsɪkəl/ (bahy-si-kuhl), like sickle. However, the words unicycle and motorcycle both have the -cycle pronounced as /-'saɪkəl/ (sahy-kuhl). Is there some sort of ...
9
votes
3answers
578 views

Capitalization of “Internet” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should the words “internet” and “web” be capitalized? For the most part Internet is capitalized, less frequently it occurs uncapitalized. Is ...
5
votes
3answers
538 views

Which of these two should be preferred: “sinification” or “sinicization”?

Which of these two options would be considered most elegant / correct? Personally I think Sinicization (or Sinicisation) has a more natural ring to it, but I have seen Sinification used also. Also, ...
7
votes
3answers
18k views

Is there a difference in meaning between “from the beginning” and “since the beginning”?

He’s been with us from the beginning. Is there a difference between from and since in the context of the quoted sentence?
7
votes
3answers
5k views

To refer back to “one or more”, should I use “it” or “them”?

In one computer program, there is an option to specify one or more arguments (software packages in this case). I am writing the help documentation, so I'm wondering what phrase to use to explain that ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the meaning of the vernacular “beasted”?

Is anyone familiar with the vernacular term "beasted", used as a verb? e.g. I beasted my exam. My colleague's teenaged son used this exact phrase in a text-message. And she had no idea whether ...
3
votes
1answer
411 views

meaning of “grapes in my mouth” [closed]

Lyrics from The National's Ada: Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth waiting for Ada I've not come across the phrase before, nor can I find an attributed meaning. One of the ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

To use “test” as an adjectival noun, is the proper form “test” or “testing”?

When I write a document, I am confused when to use test or testing in my document. For example, which one makes a better statement below? A test engineer vs A testing engineer software test tool vs ...
6
votes
3answers
535 views

Structure of “As I passed by there looked out from it the face I showed you this afternoon”

While reading Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx without a secret, I came across the following passage: 'One evening,' he said, 'I was walking down Bond Street about five o'clock. There was a terrific crush ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“However, this book is anything but” meaning

What's the structure and meaning of this sentence in the following text: A friend lent this to me before I headed over to Italy and France this summer. I was a bit skeptical at first as he's ...
6
votes
3answers
31k views

“Being ran”, “being runned” or something else? [closed]

The past tense of run is ran. However, you couldn't say something was being "ran" poorly i.e. the business was ran poorly. However, saying "runned" would be wrong as well. What would be the word to ...
4
votes
1answer
218 views

We haven't been able to use the fan for a fortnight

In a John Clarke and Brian Dawe interview, the phrase,"we haven't been able to use the fan for nearly a fortnight." What metaphoric expression was this phrase actually referring to? I've googled for ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Single word for “mixed metaphor”

Mixed metaphors are usually speech mistakes by people, and are very amusing. Here are a few examples.Is there a single word for denoting mixed metaphors?
7
votes
3answers
109k views

What does “Ms.” stand for? [closed]

In letter writing, there are four different titles to address: Mr. Mrs. Miss. Ms. What does Ms. stand for? Apparently as Mrs. and Miss already stand for female titles, Ms. stood for ...
1
vote
3answers
9k views

Pronunciation of “err”

I use to pronounce this word so that it rhymes with 'her', but recently I've been told to pronounce it like "air". Which pronunciation was it originally, and which pronunciation was correct?
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“2 times”, “twice” and “2X”, when to use which and why?

I am not sure if 2X is even a valid word. What are the proper usages for each of the three?
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Can “snob” be used as a verb?

I commonly see "snob someone off", where the word they should correctly use is snub. Is using "snob" as a verb forever a no-no? Is it creeping towards accepted usage?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

How rude is “naff”?

"Naff" is a word I infrequently use as a mild version of "shit". If something is a little bit bad or dull, it is "naff". I have just come across (via The Slate Gabfest podcast) one of the alleged ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the origin for left being used to indicate socialist/liberals, and right is used for capitalists/conservatives on the political spectrum?

It seem like it's completely arbitrary, so I'm curious what the reason for having one direction to mean one thing over another.
5
votes
0answers
758 views

Omitting “that” when connecting clauses [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Use of “that” in a sentence How do you handle “that that”? The double “that” problem What exactly is the recommendation, when I'm ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Do you capitalize Bill as in “Senator, please support this Bill”

I was wondering if I need to capitalize it because my teacher highlighted it but without giving a reason.
11
votes
4answers
15k views

“Vision” is to “visually”, as “hearing” is to what? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Pertaining to the Senses Hello. If I want to say my project has great graphics, I say it is visually stunning. Now, what would I say, following a similar format to ...
29
votes
3answers
27k views

What does “P.U.” (in reference to stinkiness) stand for?

"What does {holding nose} P.U. mean?" my son asked me tonight. I told him I didn't know, and he laughed and said "It means stinky, Mommy!" Very funny and well said, but it left me wondering. A ...
2
votes
2answers
327 views

Is there a better / correct term for the de facto usage of ‘ironic’?

The word ‘ironic’ is known to be quite frequently misused, to the point that some dictionaries have actually started accepting the de facto usage as another definition, usually calling it situational ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Ambiguity when a sentence contains multiple possessive pronouns

I have a question related to another one that I have asked. In the following sentence, whose father is being referenced? Billy’s friend and his father were there. In the following re-structured ...
8
votes
1answer
298 views

Is this usage of 'curiously' correct?

I recently used a sentence similar to the following: Curiously, do you prefer black? Some people found it grammatically incorrect. That was a surprise, for I thought it was perfectly okay. ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Word for something that is modified

I am using the word modifier to descrive something that modifies something else. What word should I use to describe what is being modified? For example, in the sentence, Fat John ate slowly ...
4
votes
2answers
187 views

Does the expression ‘Someone, who took his while presumed innocent, will get bail any time soon’ sound natural?

I found the line, ‘Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who took his while presumed innocent will get bail,’ in the following paragraph of New York Times article (May 17), titled ‘Hotel Keycard of I.M.F. Chief May Tell ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “no-op” mean?

In the Remarks section of a Microsoft dbset.add page I read Remarks: Note that entities that are already in the context in some other state will have their state set to Added. Add is a no-op if ...
2
votes
5answers
663 views

“Sounds almost like” vs. “almost sounds like”

Which sentence structure is more accurate? ... that sounds almost like a command. ... that almost sounds like a command.

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