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1

Background on nonidiomatic ‘untrack’ and 'untracked' Although Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary series takes no notice of untrack prior to the 2003 Eleventh Collegiate, untracked as an adjective appears in Noah Webster, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (1806): Untracked, a. not tracked or marked out, untrod The larger American ...


2

The Greek root words in sycophant are sukon and phainein, the latter meaning "to show". Your words are indeed related by this root word, as are fantasy, phenomenon, diaphanous, emphasis, epiphany and others.


3

This word ultimately comes from Greek, as the "y" and "ph" in the spelling suggest. The phant part does indeed carry the meaning of "something/someone that shows", from the Ancient Greek verb φαίνω "phaino" meaning "to show".The "syco-" part is believed to have come from the word for "fig", but it is somewhat mysterious how the word developed from ...


1

As a first stab, I did a Google ngram on "derivative work". This phrase was virtually never used until about 1960. its usage shot up dramatically during the 1970's, and continued to increase since then (except in the mid '80s.) Typically, a new connotation begins with somebody mentioning it in print or voice, and others picking it up, until a momentum is ...


0

It seems very logical to me, as an expression of disgust. You are basically saying: "Could you do ANYTHING more guaranteed to make me barf?"


1

I was discussing this with my danish father, the danish word for table is Børd as in smorgasbørd, so we guessed it came from there. The danish word for lodgings is logi. We summised that a board game may have also been a derivative meaning table game.


1

From the article "Who You Callin Ratchet?" found on The Root: What arguably started as a Southern rap dance at the turn of the century and then expanded to describe a relatively positive expression of energy has now become a worthy rival to the word "ghetto." It is most typically used to describe outrageously uncivilized behaviors and music -- often with ...


-1

This expression may well have its origins in radio of the 1940s. Contestants rang a bell when they recognized a melody and could name the song. [?]


-1

"Summat" is not restricted to Northern England. It's common in Reading, Berks, and in Oxford and---I suspect---over a large area of England, though I don't know where the cut-off points lie.


14

The OED says it's "after German schwanen(ge)sang, schwanenlied". Being the OED, they're probably right. They give the meaning as: a song like that fabled to be sung by a dying swan; the last work of a poet or musician, composed shortly before his death; hence, any final performance, action, or effort. "swan, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, ...


3

Its origin is actually from the card game 'rubber bridge' where in a three-competition game one team wins once it scores 100 points or more. If that is done before completing the three competitions, the remaining one is said to be dead rubber. Dead rubber: is a term used in sporting parlance to describe a match in a series where the series result ...


2

My favourite pair is "canon" (=rule) and "cannon" (=weapon). Both from the same Greek word (kanna) meaning a reed, probably from a semitic root. I think that is an awesome stretch of meaning.


4

The "less" suffix there is not a comparative, but from the Old English suffix "-leas" meaning "to be without, lacking".


0

Eugene, as quoted, is misleading at best: the root is dispose, not dispose of. The noun from the latter is disposal; from the former we get (and still use) disposition, meaning 'arrangement', from which the legal meaning (as well as 'temperament' and the others your dictionary gives) derives by extension.


0

OED confirms Eugene is correct: Etymology: In Caxton < French dispositif, -ive (13th cent. in Hatzfeld & Darmesteter), < Latin type *dispositīvus , < dispositus , past participle of dispōnĕre to dispose v.: see -ive suffix. In later use probably immed. from Latin or on Latin analogies. Having the quality or function of directing, ...


0

It comes from the days of sailing ships. When headed out to open sea they would prepare by "fixing" their compasses by aligning up with objects that were in a true north/south line. To say that you're fixing to do something is to say that you're preparing to do something.


1

It's possible it's an idiom from the time. Remember that the phrase is over 400 years old. Looking in a dictionary today may not show the implied meaning as understood by people from that time. But there are lots of things like that in English, and we use them without thinking. Referring to something as being "cool" as an example. A really "cool" car. ...


2

references Etymonline dates broker late 14c; and adds: broc meant in addition to "that which breaks," "affliction, misery." Opinions seem to be divided on the exact meaning of broker. Some etymologists believe that the expression is derived from the Anglo Norman brokour meaning "small trader". However, others claim it is derived from the ...


2

The word "denigrate" is not racist. Furthermore, you are misusing the word "racist". The word "racist" means "someone who believes that one race is superior to another". The word "denigrate" simply means "to demean" with no implication as to who is being demeaned or why. People often mean "prejudiced" when they use the word "racist". Your question would ...


0

For starters the Origins of English language culture and borrowed words come from Europe. A place and culture of white people, of different shades. Therefore there would always be such words. Compare some analogous phrases like to go tot he dark side, its a dark day, or black Friday. All with connotations of something bad displeasing or terrible. So it ...


1

I think it would be helpful to ask: what is the primary referent of the word 'black'? That is, what is it that most people are referring to in most contexts when they say the word 'black'? Is it a particular group of people whom we have qualified with that term, or is it the very colour itself, such as the black colour of the night sky? I would suggest it ...


4

I hesitate to call this an expression when it only gets 22 hits on Google. Apparently it was said on an episode of Big Brother Canada 2, but it’s by no means a set phrase in the vernacular. It’s an ad-hoc formation that combines two elements: “pissy pants” – a somewhat redundant though nicely alliterative extension of “pissy” (AmE slang) meaning “foul ...


1

In my humble opinion, questions like this get complex. As others have pointed out, the historical origins of a word do not necessarily determine how the word is understood in modern English. Also, people routinely use words like "black" and "white" and "dark" and "light" without any intention to reference race. If I say, "I have a night light because I ...


0

The word 'ESK' almost certainly has origins much more ancient than Celtic tradition. I suspect the word derives from ancient biblical texts which references 'ESEK', a spring or well of water. ESEK first appears in Genesis 26 as the name given by Isaac to a well dug by his people. Local herdsmen, jealous of Isaacs growing wealth and influence, contested the ...


4

Explaining to a 5-year-old English spelling is quirky. English spelling tends to be more influenced by how people spelled words over a thousand years ago than by how we pronounce the word today. Yes, that means that word pronunciation has changed drastically over time, and our language today is not the same as the language that was spoken back then. One ...


0

I agree with Tim Lymington's appraisal, it was the first thing that came to mind -"motherf**king", which was softened to "motherloving". That's still offensive by its connotations if not the hard language in it. Therefore "everloving" is a further softening of the phrase. This is, of course, conjecture, but I'm happily convinced by it :)


13

All letters in English are silent. Letters are visual signs, and they don't make any noise. What you're all peeving about is the fact that Modern English spellings don't represent Modern English pronunciations. And it's true; they don't. That's because they represent Middle English pronunciations. Before Caxton set up his printshop in England in 1470 ...


11

Are we racist when we say Jesus was the light of the world? If so, the predominant religion of African-Americans is hopelessly racist. I think there is a real difference between the association of ambient light and darkness with positive and negative emotions found in people throughout the world and the fact that some people have different coloration. For ...


7

This is a list that I, a speaker of standard southern British English, compiled some time ago: b: debt, subtle, lamb, tomb c: science, rescind, muscle, indict, Leicester, Connecticut ch: yacht d: sandwich, Wednesday, grandson g: gnaw, gnome, sign, phlegm, reign h: heir, hour, dishonest, ghost, annihilate, vehicle, hurrah, rhyme, khaki, thyme ...


4

You need to revisit your list. It's erroneous. Silent letter is a letter that, in a particular word, does not correspond to any sound in the word's pronunciation. Please consider the various comments above and also these silent letters. F/J/Q/V/Y: There are no words (I could recall) that take a silent letter. R- Yes, there are no words in ...


3

The original question was asking about silent "z" and silent "m" Silent "z" occurs in recent French loans: "laissez-faire", "répondez s'il vous plait" and the already mentioned "rendezvous". Silent "m" occurs in initial Greek-derived mn-: "mnemonic", "Mnemosyne", but is pronounced after a prefix (amnesia).


2

Money burns a hole in my pocket. The Phrase Finder shows very old usages of the idiom, which clearly suggest a sense of urgency to get rid of something because it is supposedly too hot: "It was only a bit of change, but it was plainly burning a hole in his pocket." As though it were something hot, he wanted to pull the money out--and get rid of it ...


16

The word "denigrate" is no more racist than the words "niggling" or "niggardly", but there are many semi-literate people who will disagree. The use of the latter terms has led to astoundingly stupid accusations of racism and has caused at least one political aide to actually resign his position. See ...


-1

The correct answer comes from the great Casey Stangle when he charged home pate in a series game when he managed the Yankees Stangle with 2 out and his batter having a full count did not swing on pitch number 7 The umpire yelled strike. 3 Casey was furious as we're most of the Yankee fans. He charged the home plate umpire got in his face screaming as ...


0

I think most answers strayed far off topic. It was settlers who originally called the shamen "medicine man" since one of his functions was as healer. Since most of his functions were associated with spiritual magic the word medicine became associated with spirits and magic. I have most often among the Navajo heard the term "bad magic" associated with things ...


23

This is an example of the kind of silly fuss whose only practical consequence is the possibility that it will stir up ill feeling or resentment where none existed before. If nobody is complaining about the sometimes-derogatory use of 'whitewash', or avoiding its use on the grounds that it could be perceived as being a racial slur, then you should feel free ...


0

I have always thought that hoist on one's own petard was a corruption of the original Dutch phrase meaning much the same thing. I cannot remember where I read this explanation, but it stuck in my memory. All contemporary sources reference it back to Shakespeare's Hamlet, but could he have heard it somewhere else?


111

I don't see why this question has received such negative responses. I think it's a good question. "Blacken" indeed has a trans-historical meaning associated with vilification or corruption, but this has nothing to do with the inherent qualities of black people, animals, or the vast majority of black things. Would you consider the term "blacklist" racist? ...


44

That is certainly interesting reasoning, far more erudite than the mindless kerfuffle over niggardly. Do you consider any negative reference to blackness or darkness ("blacken my name", "darken my doorway", "darkest hour", "a black mark", "throw shade", etc.) as, ahem, denigrating negritude as a ethnicity? If you don't, there is your answer: denigrate is ...


30

No. It isn't. It makes no reference to race in any conceivable way. Main Entry: den.i.grate Pronunciation: dengrt, -n- sometimes dn-; also dng- or d**- sometimes -nig-; usu -*d.+V Function: transitive verb Inflected Form: -ed/-ing/-s Etymology: Latin denigratus, past participle of denigrare, from de- + nigrare to blacken, from nigr-, niger ...


1

In whisky making, the beginning of the distillation process produces undesirable volitiles that begin boiling off before the desired ethanol starts vaporizing. Because this essentially poisonous liqour is produced at the beginning of a distillation run it's referred to as the "foreshots". The "aftershot" consists of what boils off at the end of the ...


1

I ran a quick search of the Google Books archive to see if I could find a plausible candidate. There were some hits for the phrases: To be young and in love and To be young and to be in love in the nineteenth century, but none seemed particularly likely to be influential. There was a review of a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow novel, and a novel call ...


3

John Ayto, Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms, third edition (2009) includes a brief discussion of "happy as Larry" under a primary entry for "happy as a sandboy": happy as a sandboy extremely happy ; perfectly contented with your situation. An 1823 dictionary describes a sandboy as an urchin who sold sand in the streets, and according to the same ...


0

Another reference to Larry Foley claims that he won about $150,000 and got an article in a New Zealand newspaper titled "Happy as Larry" and that stayed.


3

Plough back earnings/profits ( or US spelling is plow back): to plough back profits into the company to invest the profits in the business (and not pay them out as dividends to the shareholders) by using them to buy new equipment or to create new products As noted the origin of the expression is mutated from the agriculture world, According ...


4

Plough A related phrase is to plough money into an investment. The OED has to plough into meaning "To embed or bury in soil, etc.; fig. to invest (money, esp. a large amount) into an enterprise or business", their first three uses are: 1854 H. D. Thoreau Walden 8 The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost. 1895 B. ...


0

There is NO suffix -tion or -sion. The -sion words are generally from the Latin past participle form of the base. There is only -ion. Please refer to LEX or Real Spelling or WordWorksKingston.


0

Notwithstanding what I said in my comment above it would appear from the OED long to predate Puritanism. And it predates the mathematical sense, the earliest reference to which is in the 17th century (around the time of Newton). There are several references from the 15th century, and Shakespeare uses it in A Winter's Tale (1623) If thou wilt confesse, ...


0

Both senses involve the application of personal efforts with some end or purpose in mind. In the first meaning, it's with the intention of attending to or taking care of something or someone. In the second meaning, it's with the intention of causing something to happen. Procure = to apply one's efforts towards something, where "towards" has the figurative ...


-1

No info regarding the first use, but maybe something about why it is no longer as common as it was. I recall talking about how nobody would use "bomb" in this way when I was working in a law office in New York City shortly after September 11. I was sorry to see "the bomb" go. Does anybody else recall "it's the bomb-digity?" The "bomb-digity" (sp?) was even ...



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