12
votes
8answers
3k views

If I help “evacuate” a building, what am I doing to the people?

I remember reading somewhere that to evacuate a person is a medical procedure, and not something to be done during an earthquake. (I thought it was in Fowler, but I just looked and couldn't see it). ...
9
votes
4answers
55k views

“Fine with/by/to you/that”

Are there any differences when asking the following? Would that be fine with you? Would that be fine by you? Would that be fine to you? What if we switch you and that around? Do they still make ...
6
votes
5answers
407 views

What is a word for “known incorrectly”?

I'm trying to organise a series of items, depending on whether these are known, unknown or known incorrectly to the observer. I don't like the "know incorrectly" formulation. Is there a single word ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the etymology of the word “snooker”

I have heard that the word "snooker" originally meant "beginner" and was coined at the time when the game was first invented. Is there any truth in this theory?
0
votes
4answers
3k views

Antonym of “distributed” as in “distributed system”

If we consider context of computing, what is the opposite of distributed? Is it single or combined ? What is the opposite of "distributed system"?
32
votes
8answers
51k views

“Toilet”, “lavatory” or “loo” for polite society

My friend is trying so hard to fit into polite society, and is raising her child to say loo rather than toilet. I know it should be lavatory (and I would not say lav) but we are in the 21st century ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

'Have both' -not sure I'm using this correctly

Is this correct? Have both of today’s meetings been cancelled?
17
votes
6answers
45k views

Difference between “movie”, “film” and “motion picture”

What is the difference between movie, film and motion picture? In school I learned that a movie is played in a cinema, but film is also used to describe this.
0
votes
0answers
952 views

When using complete sentences in parenthetical e.g. or i.e. situations, should the first word be capitalized?

In a bulleted list of very technical sentences, where each bulleted item has one or two parenthetical examples or restatements which are complete sentences, should the first letter of each e.g. or i.e....
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Examples of Ancient Brythonic words in modern English?

So, from a cursory understanding of English history (and I am very happy to say that) I was able to, one might note that the cultural history of those who lived in England might proceed: ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

When using complete sentences in parenthetical e.g. or i.e. situations, should the first word be capitalized?

In a bulleted list of very technical sentences, where each bulleted item has one or two parenthetical examples or restatements which are complete sentences, should the first letter of each e.g. or i.e....
3
votes
1answer
192 views

If I change the part containing “conceivably”, does this sentence still have the same meaning?

I found a sentence in my programming book: Note that the delimiter does not have to be a bracket and could be conceivably any character. If I extracted the part: could be conceivably any ...
2
votes
2answers
933 views

Indenting Lettrines or Drop Caps [closed]

A lettrine or drop cap is a large initial letter (usually with some illustration) at the start of a chapter in a book. In the English language, which is preferable: "lettrine" or "drop cap"? ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Word meaning “two paragraphs previous”

Is there a word that can be used to mean two previous places? I want to reference something two paragraphs ago; former would work if it was only one before, and I cannot use penultimate because it may ...
1
vote
6answers
293 views

Don't understand the phrase: “each one”

When I tried to read an article, I got a below sentence: One problem many developers encounter while defining and analysing data requirements is the situation where a number of different ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How to express that you can understand the English that someone spoke?

"I can read English", "I can speak English", or "I can write English" are all correct uses of the word "English". But is "I can listen to English" correct English? Or should I say "I can hear English"...
14
votes
6answers
98k views

Origin of the idiom “falling off the wagon”

I often hear the idiom "falling off the wagon", as in "Has Robert Downey Jr. fallen off the wagon?" (i.e. Is he drinking alcohol again?). Where did the phrase originate? What wagon? And why is being "...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Does this act have a name?

I sometimes act silly like this that I pick up anything comprised of many smaller parts then leave my conclusion on how it is numbered or labeled. Piece1: Mark knows my language Piece2: Mark knows not ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “bad-ass wives” exactly mean? Why did “bad-ass” come to mean “tough and aggressive”?

Time magazine carries the list of ‘Top 10 Bad-ass wives’ (in the world, or in history) in its July 21 issue with the lead copy: When a comedian tried to throw a pie in her husband's face, Wendi ...
2
votes
2answers
275 views

Is there a fully defined way to pluralize/unpluralize words in English?

I'm wondering if there is a way, given an arbitrary word and without knowing the meaning, to switch it from plural to non-plural form and back? I know the common case is the trailing s, such as ...
4
votes
2answers
610 views

Are there any definitive sources for English word forms?

My interest in English grammar began because of learning about the rules of grammar while learning Latin. In inter-language dictionaries, it's common to mention the declension of nouns, conjugation of ...
3
votes
2answers
478 views

What does this sentence mean - “He was a capitalist who appropriated the rhetoric of the commune where he had lived”

This sentence comes from a book that describes Steve Jobs. Here is the context: (taken from Amazon.com) In the summer of 1985, when Steve Jobs was stripped of power at the company he cofounded, ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Reason for the strange meaning of “for any length of time”?

Consider the sentence [emphasis mine]: Foreign producers cannot sell all commodities at lower prices than domestic producers for any length of time because the depreciation (or pressures for ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

“Scholar” vs. “scientist”

I mainly associate scholar with scholarship. But what's its etymological origin? On scientific websites both scholar and scientist seem to be used with the same meaning; A graduate working actively on ...
6
votes
1answer
454 views

Use of definite article in “the more” and “the less”

Why is the definite article used in expressions like the more and the less? For example, The more you study, the more you know. The less you study, the less you know.
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference between “memoir” and “biography”

I am an avid reader, and noticed that books I checked out from the library lately seem to use "memoir" and "biography" interchangeably, although they are all shelved as "biographies". Is there an ...
1
vote
3answers
651 views

Meaning of “around”

In New York Times, Still, rooms were large by the city’s pint-size standards, service was sharp, and for the moment, they offer some of the best values around. What's your understanding of ...
1
vote
2answers
187 views

Meaning of “sharp”

Context (New York Times): Still, rooms were large by the city’s pint-size standards, service was sharp, and for the moment, they offer some of the best values around. Does sharp here mean ...
-3
votes
2answers
301 views

Understanding “that” as in this statement

If I only say something as below without further more explanation, will a native speaker understand me? He may be sexually dysfunctional, lately he can't do that his best. That's why I am here to ...
40
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the meaning of the phrase 'Here be dragons'?

What does here be dragons mean in the example below? WARNING Here be dragons. Relative source binding can not only encourage bad application practices, such as binding to things defined in ...
9
votes
7answers
28k views

What is the word/phrase for someone between expert and novice?

I come across various people within my field (software developer) and people who are related to my field (the marketing/business people). Many a time when I want to opine or express my question/answer,...
-1
votes
1answer
117 views

“Know” and “know not”

I don't recognise the name Herb Sutter. I don't know him. I know him not. What's the difference?
2
votes
3answers
323 views

What is the difference between “an essay on something” and “an essay in something”?

In most cases you write "an essay on something" but recently I came across some "essays in something" Is there a difference in meaning? Is the "in" more formal?
1
vote
4answers
497 views

A sensible mnemonic for “pseudo” [closed]

Whenever I go to use the pseudo- prefix, I always have to pause for a moment and decide what the correct e-u order is. Often times I get it wrong. Built in typo correction frequently helps, though ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

Root + “-ophone” construction to describe speakers of a language

I've long used the terms anglophone and francophone to describe English and French speakers respectively, but I recently found myself about halfway through a sentence where I needed a similar term for ...
4
votes
3answers
832 views

Is the term “antagonym” widely used to describe a word that is its own antonym?

There are several words which have contradictory meanings. They may have one meaning now, and have had a different meaning in the past. For example, the current definition of peruse is: to look ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “very approximate” mean?

An approximate answer is one which is close to the correct answer. Likewise, we can talk of an approximate model, or approximate methods in mathematics. The etymology is from the Latin ad, "to" and ...
1
vote
1answer
811 views

What is the meaning and structure of the following sentence?

RLIMIT_NOFILE Specifies one greater than the maximum number of file descriptors that a process may hold open.
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Definition of “scolt”

We found a gravestone in Ashby MA. with an old word on it we could not understand. "Lot, son of ... was scolt to death Decr. 8, 1806, aged 2 years and 10 months.". We are not sure what scolt ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “Hold rule near and dear” an established English idiom?

I found the phrase, ‘hold the rule near and dear” in the sentence of the article of New York Times (August 4) reporting the scheme of Nik Wallenda, the world record holder of farthest distance travel ...
7
votes
5answers
846 views

In a software meant to be used internationally, should I use “post code”, “postal code” or “zip code”?

In a software meant to be used internationally, should I use "post code", "postal code" or "zip code"? As most of countries have some sort of implementation of this code, I'm after the term that ...
3
votes
2answers
870 views

Is there a single word meaning “very funny book”?

Sometimes you read a book that has you convulsing with laughter from the moment you pick it up. For me, one of those books was Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. What do you call this? Perhaps there isn'...
11
votes
2answers
53k views

“unless stated otherwise” or “unless otherwise stated”?

Convention: R^n is always assumed to carry the Euclidean topology, unless stated otherwise. Convention: R^n is always assumed to carry the Euclidean topology, unless otherwise stated. Which sentence ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Which kind of problems are described as “That's no rocket science”?

In German Language and Usage we just had the question German analog for “That's no rocket science”. As a native German Speaker, I do not know which situations this phrase is used in. I understand it ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

“cold cash” vs. “hard cash”

Context (New York Times): Besides piling into Treasuries, institutional investors are also seeking out the safety of cold, hard cash, pouring billions into commercial bank accounts backed up ...
1
vote
4answers
871 views

Word for company that takes bets on illegal events or helps you bet

As I understand bookmaker in English is a person or company that takes bets on events. But I have two questions related to this word: Is there any special word for a person or company that takes ...
-3
votes
1answer
230 views

Confusion about meaning of sentences in Economist

I am confused about the parts in bold while reading Economist. And the feeble recovery is petering out. Their prescription for a weak economy is a large slug of austerity. Why do we use the ...
4
votes
3answers
794 views

Term for measuring in fractions of 1 [closed]

When you measure in fractions of 100, you call it a percentage. When you measure in fractions of 1000, you call it promille or per mil. There are even words for fractions of 10000 or 100000. But what ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning of “we leave at eight thirty for nine”

In the expression we leave at eight thirty for nine, what time is the departure going to be?
9
votes
1answer
970 views

What is the word for using one part of speech where another would be more grammatical?

There's a Greek word that means using the wrong part of speech somewhere in a sentence, as in: I don't know the who or the how or the when. Where "who", "how", and "when" are being used for ...

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