Hot answers tagged

47

The simple answer is that you’re asking the question the wrong way about. In language, the central and most important way to inflect words is always what might be termed the ‘regular’ ones. The patterns that occur most frequently and are most flexible and applicable to the most roots. In English, the regular pluralising pattern is adding /z/ (with some ...


9

house comes from Old English/Old Saxon hūs and mouse comes from Old English/Old Saxon mūs (pronounced like the animal moose), but only the latter experienced the phenomenon known as "i-mutation", where the /u/ sound shifts to an /i/ [then eventually becoming /aɪ/] sound when the noun becomes plural as a shortcut in pronouncing it faster. So mice used to be ...


4

It is an old usage that derives form the meaning of "under", that is "inferior in rank, position, degree" and "graduate": Graduate: early 15c., "one who holds a degree". Under: Productive as a prefix in Old English, as in German and Scandinavian (often forming words modeled on Latin ones in sub-). Notion of "inferior in rank, position, ...


4

I think the answer to this seemingly complicated question is in fact very simple: bury and vary are simply two very unique words and the fact that one is able to be conjugated to a noun form of iation is a mere coincidence that has little to do with its Latin roots. If we examine the number of verbs ending in -ary, only two come up: vary and the rarely ...


4

The -umble words generally share a common ending in the frequentive verb suffix -le. Aside from that, I haven't found any direct etymological connections. (Note that it is regular for -b- to be inserted between m and l in this context.) However, the similar sounds may have influenced the development of similar meanings, and for some words there were other ...


3

Oodles is a term which originated in the U.S. but its etymology remains unclear. The Word Detective offers a few interesting assumptions: A few early citations from Cassell's Dictionary of Slang: before 1867 “The brilein chickins an' coffee an' the OODILS ove flour.”—‘High Times’ by G. W. Harris, page 176> 1869 “A Texan never has a great quantity ...


3

I think there are a variety of reasons why *buriation seems wrong. Blocking by burial We already have the noun burial that basically refers to "an event of burying" or "the act of burying" or "the result of burying." This occupies a lot of the same semantic space that I expect would be filled by a noun *buriation. There's a general concept that it's ...


2

It seems that you could use Fair, Fade or Faint (there might be others) Fair and its other forms fair (adj.) Also (early) faȝer, faier, fei(e)r, vair, fare, fer(e, war, fæger, fægerra, fægrost According to the Middle English dictionary from Umich (a) Light, bright, or shining (as opposed to dark); (b) of persons: light of complexion or ...


2

From about 1300 is Lenten ys come with loue to toune (alternative source) The rose rayleth hire rode; The leues on the lyhte wode Waxen al with wille. which has been translated as: The rose begins to blush; The leaves in the light-green wood All unfurl gladly. Other translations exist such as that of Aniee Jeong An early modern English ...


2

A color commentator is usually a former player or coach who has insights and colorful anecdotes that complement the matter-of-fact style that a journalistically trained play-by-play announcer brings to the game. The play-by-play announcer gives the facts of what is going on in the game, and the color commentator adds interest ("color"), especially when ...


2

I am sticking to my hourglass. :) run (v.) the modern verb is a merger of two related Old English words, in both of which the first letters sometimes switched places. The first is intransitive rinnan, irnan "to run, flow, run together" (past tense ran, past participle runnen), cognate with Middle Dutch runnen, Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic ...


1

According to the OED, nickname is a variant of eke-name, with eke an Old English root meaning "a part added on". So nickname did not originally denote a shortened name, but any name in addition to your formal name. The usage "an abbreviated name" came later. Although nick is of unknown origin, no one suspects it is related to eke.


1

It appears that "lac" suggested an Indian word, making the trade name sound less related to "Japan" soon after WWII when tensions among states were still well alive: This ad is from 1951, when, (you would think) there was still a bit of a sore spot in England when it came to Japan. Although, maybe Americans had more of a problem with the Japanese, ...


1

It would take a linguist to give you a precisely accurate answer, and I am not one. However, I have what I'll call an educated guess. Ask yourself how often someone from the 19th century or before would have had occasion to talk about more than one house? Not very often, I'm guessing. Particularly when compared to mice and lice. :) Living languages are ...


1

Uses of the word color can relate to vividness of expression (Oxford English Dictionary). The word can also mean interest or excitement (MacMillan, definition 2). The adjective colorful can mean 'full of interest; lively and exciting' (Oxford). In sportscasting, a color man or color commentator livens up a broadcast by providing (ostensibly interesting ...


1

A "graduate" is someone who has completed a college degree, typically in four years, and who has "moved on". An "undergraduate" is someone who has not completed said college degree, but is only "aspiring" to. This person is "under" a graduate; hence the term, undergraduate. A "college student" is someone who is currently "in" college, as opposed to having "...


1

There are at least hundreds of words with multiple plural forms: staffs and staves, dice and dies, châteaus and châteaux, pike and pikes, cows and kine, millenniums and millenia, phalanxes and phalanges, mongooses and mongeese, and so on and so on. The reasons why multiple forms exist, and the cases in which one form is preferred to another, are widely ...


1

Two things are crucial to sorting this out, first the meaning of the expression and second, its idiomatic as opposed to everyday usage. The Oxford English dictionary give the following: bells and whistles n. [as on a fairground organ] colloq. attractive additional features or trimmings, esp. in Computing. 1977 Byte July 122/2 This simple ...


1

The term "swing state" comes into play only in relatively close elections like those that have taken place for most of the 21st century. It was not an issue in the 1952 election for instance (Eisenhower won by a large margin), but may have been an issue in the 1948 election (Truman won convincingly overall, but won California, Ohio and Illinois by less than ...


1

I would posit it has very little to do with pronunciation and quite a lot to do with trade mark and copy right laws. Putting an accent on the 'e' magically transforms it from a "word" into a "uniquely identifiable brand name" which Nintendo can legally stop any one else from using. Haagen Das, Nescafe and many well known brands use non standard punctuation ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible