4
votes
3answers
6k views

How did the phrase “much of a muchness” come to be?

This is a great way of saying that two things are so similar that there is no significant difference between them. I'm sure there are many more and thought this might make a great community wiki. ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you spell Muammar Qaddafi?

This name, which is spelled القذافي in Arabic, is spelled in so many different ways in the Latin alphabet: Gadafi, Gadaffi, Gaddafi, Gaddaffi, Gadhafi, Gadhaffi, Ghadafi, Ghadaffi, Ghaddafi, ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

“Restrict” versus “constrict”

What's the difference? The dictionary definitions sound awfully similar.
3
votes
2answers
316 views

What does ‘[Ronald Reagan’s] colossus with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in his fist' mean?

I have been seeing many articles on myths about Ronald Reagan recently in newspapers. I don’t know why Reagan is mentioned so often these days. I guess it is related with American people’s growing ...
11
votes
2answers
66k views

What does “wrt” mean? [closed]

What is the meaning of wrt in the following text? I think this is an excellent idea, but I'd like to see this explicitly reframed under the banner of providing Drupal.org data through ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't”

Okay, so recently I ended up saying this: Well, that is unfortunate... sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. Okay. You know, just saying "Sometimes it happens" already tells you that ...
3
votes
3answers
180 views

What is a “Patco moment”?

I'm an Australian so I don't understand what this means in the following quotation: Painting by numbers, Scott Walker, following Reagan's first stroke, took on labour. But Walker's Patco ...
8
votes
5answers
21k views

Is it “just as soon” or “just assume”?

If someone says a phrase that sounds like: I'd just as soon you don't get in an accident, so I'll call you later. Are they actually saying "just as soon" or "just assume" or something else?
3
votes
4answers
9k views

Using “run” as a noun

How do you say the verb run in a sentence as a noun?
2
votes
2answers
111 views

How to say something sponsors another

If book A is sponsored by entity B, how can I say: . . . in the upcoming B 's sponsored book A . . . or . . . in the upcoming B sponsored book A . . .
2
votes
3answers
114 views

IEEE X or IEEE's X

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has a Project Management Body of Knowledge. When referring to the PMBOK, should I use the possessive: IEEE 's Project Management Body ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “upcoming” too informal?

I'm writing a PhD thesis. Should I use "upcoming" in the following sentence, or is it too informal? . . . the modifications will be included in the upcoming fourth version of the manual . . . ...
6
votes
5answers
37k views

What is the difference between “assess” and “evaluate”? [closed]

What is the difference between assess and evaluate?
5
votes
10answers
3k views

Are there examples of terms named after a person that are no longer capitalized?

Are there any grammatically correct examples of terms named after someone that are no longer capitalized? I know certain brand names have become so ingrained in the lexicon that they are no longer ...
0
votes
1answer
782 views

Must the “b” in “Boolean variable” be capitalized? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should the word Boolean be capitalized? I notice that many online articles geared toward programmers refer to boolean variables, which are variables that have only two ...
1
vote
3answers
565 views

Why not concatenate two frequently used words into a new one?

I will probably get a lot of flak about this, but why not combine the often used together words "with the" into "withe" which is pronounced similarly, and it much shorter and easier to write? I am ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is the word “whatnot” a construction of “what” and “not”?

I've done some online etymological research on the word "whatnot", but I've been unable to figure out why it is a construction of "what" and "not". How does the combination of the words "what" and ...
7
votes
1answer
795 views

What is the origin of “kiwifruit”?

What is the origin of kiwifruit? Is there any relation between the fruit and New Zealand?
2
votes
2answers
107 views

Alternative word for playgoers' behavior

Is there a word for playgoers' behavior when hissing and booing the villain?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Should this word be in quotes or in italic?

Let's suppose there exists a standard that documents fruits. This standard has already accepted apple and peach. Banana has just been accepted as a standard. When I say: The proposal of banana has ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

More eloquent word or phrase [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is a less offensive synonym for “retarded”? Can anyone please furnish me with a word, or short phrase, that would eloquently describe a person who has ...
1
vote
2answers
228 views

How do we say “domestic apples” in normal English

If you are serving apple pie and you want to write the menu so that the customer understands that the apples in the pie are from THE VERY CITY that the restaurant is in, how can I rewrite this phrase: ...
1
vote
4answers
187 views

Present, present, and present?

Please present your next idea. Did you buy her a present? No vacancies at present. Do all the bold words have the same spelling, yet all of them have different meanings based on the ...
13
votes
4answers
20k views

What is the reasoning for the idiom “in and of itself” having the meaning it has?

"In and of itself" is a phrase I find myself using all the time. But in and of itself, the phrase "in and of itself" has no meaning. That is, the individual words don't seem to contribute to the whole ...
20
votes
6answers
93k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “The morning constitutional”?

What exactly is the meaning of the phrase “The morning constitutional”? Is it an early morning walk or the first visit to the bathroom during the day? What is the origin of this phrase? What is the ...
6
votes
2answers
133k views

“I have come to” vs. “I have came to”

I am not a native English speaker, and I learn from people. I often hear people say “I have come to a place where there is no end…”. I am wondering, isn't the right way to say it: “I have came” (I ...
16
votes
4answers
59k views

“As part of” versus “as a part of”

When should I use "as part of", and when "as a part of"?
12
votes
5answers
77k views

Which is correct: “of course” or “ofcourse”?

I have been using the term ofcourse ever since kindergarten. However, I recently stumbled upon a site that claims of course is how the term is correctly used and not ofcourse. I would like to seek ...
1
vote
3answers
669 views

Are there words meaning “helping somebody to think different/freely/more widely”? [closed]

This is what my uncle does to me. I want write him a letter in English.
2
votes
4answers
940 views

Is there a term similar to “hypochondriac” except more externally based?

By "external" I mean a person who has a fear or worry of things that could cause serious illness, rather than the fear of already having a serious illness itself. For example, say you worry about ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Can anyone tell me the word or phrase that means 'someone who things are done to'? [closed]

I am looking for a word or phrase for someone who has things done to them and someone who does things to people. I.e. someone with no power and someone who has all the power. Would be really ...
1
vote
3answers
698 views

Is there a term for French words adopted by the English language, such as “hors d'oeuvres” or “objet d'art”

I would call them "Frenchisms" or some such -ism, but I figured I'd at least ask first. So is there a name for such adopted foreign phrases? Also, how about those adopted from languages other than ...
6
votes
4answers
16k views

Origins of the word “mother”

Apologies in advance for this question being only indirectly related to the English language, but I find it fascinating. I note with interest that the English words "mother" and "mama" have similar ...
11
votes
5answers
914 views

Are there English sayings that correspond to the old Japanese saying, ‘There is no wild pig larger than the mountain from where he emerges’?

In connection with my question about the usage of ‘No detail is too small’ I posted today, I’m curious to know whether you have axioms to correspond to my favorite Japanese old saying, ‘There is no ...
3
votes
3answers
21k views

Is it OK when I say “I have a little request from you”? Is it commonly used?

Is it OK when I say "I have a little request from you"? Is it commonly used?
19
votes
5answers
49k views

“Have not” versus “do not have”

As a non-native English speaker, I have a little doubt about using, or not, the auxiliary verb "to do" with the verb "to have". Are there differences in meaning between "I have not" and "I do not ...
9
votes
9answers
33k views

Is “Saffer” an offensive term for a South African?

I've always believed that "Saffer" is a derogatory term for a South African. But a few minutes earlier, I saw this tweet by ESPN: So, isn't "Saffer" a derogatory term?
1
vote
4answers
213 views

“Apply a patch” vs. “Install a patch”

One of my peers insist that one should say "install a patch". I believe on the contrary that "apply a patch" is more natural and one can only "install a program" when it comes to piece of software. A ...
42
votes
19answers
7k views

How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)?

I want to make a question having an answer as follows: 5 is the third prime number. The bold part is the answer. How to phrase the question?
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the history of adding the a- prefix to form words?

I have always found the a- prefix to words (as in anew, ajar, aside, awake, afoot, a-hunting, etc.) fascinating. The NOAD says on this topic: a- 2. prefix •to; toward : aside | ashore. ...
20
votes
4answers
76k views

“How about” vs. “What about”

Is there a difference between starting a question with "How about" and "What about"? Can we use both expressions interchangeably?
5
votes
3answers
467 views

Do native speakers leave out articles in slides for space?

Sometimes a and the take too much space in a slide, and I delete all of them to save me extra lines. Is it a good practice?
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Space After Semicolons?

Should there be spaces after a semicolon in a sentence? For example: "...minimum/standard requirements for a base diploma;there has been..." or "...minimum/standard requirements for a base ...
1
vote
3answers
439 views

“Much feces” vs. “many feces”

I want to know which word I should use in the following sentence: How many/much feces does a human produce in one year? I found that both versions exist on the Internet. Any help would be ...
2
votes
3answers
9k views

What does the word 'dicta' ('dita'?) mean in the song 'Who's That Chick?'?

The song 'Who's That Chick?' by David Guetta featuring Rihanna features the following line in the chorus: She's been a crazy dicta, disco fever and you wonder... Lyrics websites disagree on the ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Capitalizing a lower case screen name at the beginning of a sentence

When starting a sentence with a lower case pseudonym, such as a screen name of a user account on a website, should it be capitalized? Or are there different cases where it would and would not be ...
8
votes
13answers
7k views

Better synonym for “actionable”?

In managementese, "actionable" means "able to be acted upon". Unfortunately, its primary meaning is "giving sufficient reason to take legal action" in legalese. I'm looking for a better alternative ...
1
vote
2answers
471 views

Meaning of “an identity of thought and being”

Hegel asserted that in order for the thinking subject (human reason or consciousness) to be able to know its object (the world) at all, there must be in some sense an identity of thought and being. ...
12
votes
5answers
18k views

Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this ...
4
votes
2answers
11k views

What's the meaning of the expression “Grab a hold”?

What does it mean to "grab a hold"? There is a song by Cyndi Lauper that says If you wanna grab a hold, let it go...

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