Tag Info

New answers tagged

1

Sometimes a language has a specific name for each variety of a certain species, but usually it does not. And there is a good reason for that: it's easier and more practical. There are more than twenty varieties of apples in the Plant Kingdom and it would certainly be clumsy to have a different name for each one of them. When you go to a grocery store you ...


2

This this and this are all "bears". This is a European robin and this is an American one There is not a unique English word for every animal in the world. And (as with "robin") it was common for English-speaking Americans to assign existing animal names to new, unfamiliar animals that they encountered in the New World, rather than invent new ...


9

1) Why is there only one term in English for these two different species? Technically, there are more than two terms (see below). But lobster is probably not common enough a meal for the average person to warrant making any difference. For comparison, there are many breeds of ponies but I'd gather the typical person on a street will only have ever ...


2

A Google Books search for "professional bias" for the period 1700–1800 yields four legitimate matches—all of them connected to religion. From Richard Watson, An Apology for Christianity in a series of Letters, Addressed to Edward Gibbon, Esq (1777): I beg pardon for styling their [the Deists'] reasoning, prejudice ; I have no design to give offence by ...


0

As other people said it's a British phrase. I believe it can be used in relation to beach communities there as well (e.g., the song "Down to Margate" by Chas & Dave--you can find it on youtube).


2

The idio– prefix means, indeed, self. Idiot Ancient Greece was a deeply political society, one in which every citizen was expected to vote and engage in the political process. Exceptions were granted only for persons who were mentally incapable. These people were allowed to be, more or less, citizens only of their self (idios). That's how they have become ...


4

The negative "vice" has its roots here: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vitium fault, blemish, crime, vice while the prefix "vice-" has its roots in the Latin vice in place of [Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary]


1

They are cognates only in that they share the prefix idio- which is from the Greek idios meaning private or personal (another word to list among these is id.) An idiot listens only to himself. Originally this meant not a moron, just one who was oblivious to common conventions. An idiom is a way of saying something that originated with one person saying it, ...


2

Bumptious is used in the sense of conceited. There is a connection to the word bump in the expression "puffed up with conceit" where puffed up refers to bump. Puffed up (and puffy) -as an adjective- has a similar sense to bumptious as well. This connection is also mentioned in one of the earliest dictionaries I could find. (Glossary of Northamptonshire ...


0

I read somewhere that females need to absorb more vitamin D for calcium absorption during pregnancy and lactation so maybe they evolved with fairer skin than men of same geographical location to aid in that absorption. Vitamin D - absorbed more efficiently through lighter skin.


0

I thought to quote some claims that I found via Google: Answer from [user] aaindian [Caution: It was I who divided his 1 long para for readability] > (Medieval)In a painting of a building, each floor is a story. from Medieval Latin historia, picture, story (probably from painted windows or sculpture on the front of buildings). A century ago ...


16

Ball as in 'sphere' comes from Norse 'bǫllr' /bɔlːr/, while ball as in 'dance party' comes from Latin 'ballare', which in turn became 'bal' (French for 'a dance'). Totally different roots, it's just one of those quirks of English having absorbed bits of so many different languages. Edit as requested to provide a bit more detail: 'Ball' meaning 'sphere' ...


1

Earlier radio and electronics references often classified signals and/or variables as "continuous" or "discrete" as on page 981 of the Fourth Edition (1956) of "Reference Data for Radio Engineers," published by ITT.


2

The original electronic computers were "analog". The computations were done by adding/subtracting/integrating/differentiating electronic signals (voltages), so these signals were "analogs" of the real-life values being modeled. (There were also various types of electromechanical computers, of course, from Babbage's "Difference Engine" to Turing's ...


21

Analogue comes from computing. "A Chronology of Analogue Computing" article in The Rutherford Journal The word ‘analogue’ was first used as a technical term during the 1940s, and referred specifically to a class of computing technology. Today, the word enjoys much wider usage, typically conveying continuity. For example, engineers will discuss ...


7

I believe the usage of the word comes from analogue elctronics. Analogue electronics (or analog in American English) are electronic systems with a continuously variable signal, in contrast to digital electronics where signals usually take only two levels. The term "analogue" describes the proportional relationship between a signal and a voltage or ...


2

See "The Africa Queen", (filmed in 1951) set in WW1 (ie 1914-18, and I think the book/film was actually set in late 1914). Charlie Allnut (Bogart) belches at the table in front of the Rev. Samuel Sayer, and Miss Rose Sayer politely enquires "more tea Mr. Allnut?" It's an expression that has been around for years and years, and the "Vicar" part of it was ...


0

From Etymonline (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=engineer) engineer (n.) mid-14c., enginour, "constructor of military engines," from Old French engigneor "engineer, architect, maker of war-engines; schemer" (12c.), from Late Latin ingeniare (see engine); general sense of "inventor, designer" is recorded from early 15c.; civil sense, in ...


1

The word 'engineer' originated to describe a 'constructor of military engines' From etymonline: mid-14c., enginour, "constructor of military engines," from Old French engigneor "engineer, architect, maker of war-engines; schemer" (12c.), from Late Latin ingeniare (see engine); general sense of "inventor, designer" is recorded from early 15c.; ...


0

Michael Quinion, in World Wide Words {2009} covers the rise in the usage of adverbs as sentence modifiers (I'd call them pragmatic markers of various flavours): Q From Jerry Miller: ... The epidemic of importantly, with or without most or more, has bothered me for some time. It has been well over 70 years since I studied Discourse Markers – Sentence ...


0

In Hindu religion 'Pantheon' means we can say all the gods of a people or religion collectively (group of famous people)


-1

Well, "play with someone" can mean "put someone on" and put (someone) on the spot (not formal): to place (someone) in a dangerous, difficult or embarrassing position The distance from "embarrassing" to "ridiculous" is easy to cross :-)


0

purport: meaning conveyed, professed, or implied thus in some contexts purport = proposition and Propositions are the sharable objects of attitudes and the primary bearers of truth and falsity.[Wiki] Thus, the connection of "purport" to "falsity." Also: pur·port noun obsolete : disguise, covering


0

Perhaps enough said:-) Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary - Page 26 Rick Ayers - 2004 Deez-nuts (deez nutz) n., Literally, these testicles. Used to refer to oneself. "I'm not going to let anyone mess with deez-nuts." Also: Negative response to a question. "Hey, pass that joint." "Deez-nuts." [Origin : Hip Hop] A 1985 reference: The ...


2

The reason "hopefully" was appropriated for its use, as you noted, is because other adverbs were not satisfying the definition required. "Presumably" does not implicitly provide the speaker's opinion about the inevitability of the statement. If all things continue to proceed as according to expectations, the result will "presumably" happen. "Hopefully" ...


-1

"Presumably" is a sentence adverb. "Hopefully" is ambiguous -- it is (1) a sentence adverb (but frowned on by prescriptivist grammarians), or (2) a manner adverb. For instance, the manner adverb interpretation is found in "Waiting for his bus, Algernon looked up the street hopefully" if what is meant is that his manner of looking was hopeful, because he ...


0

Nil is used in other situations as well in the UK: "Nil By Mouth" springs to mind as an example. Nil is also a short easily spoken word and I guess it might be more easily heard on long- short- and medium wave radio than 'zero'; perhaps it was adopted by BBC producers for that reason - back in the day were almost all Oxbridge graduates!


0

Well, Heraclitus of Ephesus lived c. 535 – c. 475 BCE. I assume that he may have had followers before Christianity, thus if this is an accusation with regard to Roman Catholic dogma, it would not work for those before the period of Christ. There's this meaning: her·e·sy noun plural -es 1 b : a deliberate and obstinate denial of a revealed ...


3

According to Etymonline heresy does not originate from Heraclitus: "an opinion of private men different from that of the catholick and orthodox church" [Johnson], c. 1200, from Old French heresie (12c.), from Latin hæresis, "school of thought, philosophical sect," used by Christian writers for "unorthodox sect or doctrine," from Greek hairesis "a ...


0

It's from the word "tonkin" , the name of north Vietnam under the French colony, many of those people were migrated by French to their islands to be workers, at that time "tonkin" sometimes called "tonk", and people in the west thoughts they are part of China too.


2

From Wikipedia- Jordan Brady was also a professional stand-up comic in the 1980s. He was the originator of the line, "Bow Chicka Bow Wow!". ...his fresh and unique material ranged from impressions of G.I. Joe to re-enactments of entire porn film soundtracks.


0

The OED does not supply any pointers as regards etymology. But this is the entry which provides some interesting examples of its use. It seems to begin in the late 18th century. I am thinking that as pertaining to is a very similar expression. b. as regards, as regarded (now rare), †as regarding: with respect or reference to. 1797 Treat. ...


3

The noun classic means something that's very high quality, particularly if it has lasting value. (vocabulary.com) The pristine Model T Ford that you keep in your garage is a classic Classical is the customary word when reference is made to the arts and literature of ancient Greece and Rome (a classical scholar, classical Latin, classical ...


2

A classic is an outstanding example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality. … Classic is used to describe many major, long-standing sporting events. (src: WP, see link below). See also: The section on Sport in the Wikipedia article 'Classic:' Many sporting events take the name classic … ...


0

I know this may not be a reliable source, but my teacher of Latin explained to me that iacere over time assumed the meaning of its passive form. So the active meaning of throw moved towrds a passive meaning of "be thrown" - and more specifically, the result of being thrown, which is laying somewhere. Over time the reasonably aggressive connotation of the ...


0

The first example (in your first reference) for this usage is well known and should be clear: "It never rains but it pours". The other two show that "without its being the case that" isn't actually a good definition. There may not be any single English phrase that really works for all such uses of but, but the somewhat non-idiomatic phrase "other than" ...


3

Because the meaning of words expands over many generations, the thought process is not necessarily logical, but a little imagination helps us to understand how words progress from one meaning to the next. Adjacent appears to be related to jet through the Latin iacere: early 15c., from Latin adiacentem (nominative adiacens) "lying at," present ...


1

Since ancient times (don't know how ancient) existed the notion that the right hand and the right side were the "correct" ones, as can be seen in the meaning of sinister as "evil", from Latin sinister meaning "left". As the Online Etymology Dictionary says, Other derivations on a similar pattern to English right are French droit, from Latin directus ...


-1

The difficulty with the example is that The Hindu leaves some portions of its sentence implicit. The use of "pantheon" would be more clear (but less poetic and metaphoric) by this rewording: On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, on April 14, India still finds itself unable to induct him into the pantheon of all great Indian economists ...


3

The dominant usage of the phrase has negative connotations; you would have great difficulty convincing someone that it was a compliment. If you want "upright", you might be looking to integrate the straight and narrow.


5

Use focused for a positive touch, if that's what you mean.


2

I don't know the etymology, but it seems no-one else does. However, I have located the phrase Rains Dogs and Cats in 1678. It occurs in Maronides, or, Virgil travesty : being a new paraphrase in burlesque verse, upon the fifth and sixth book of Virgil's Æneids by John Phillips Under the branches, wot ye well, When it rains Dogs and Cats in Hell, The ...


1

In early America, pioneers were going west in covered wagons, but they had to build their own shelters when they first arrived in the West. At first, there were neither lumber mills to furnish building materials, nor (in many places) logs to build log cabins. So, shelters were build into the earth, as a one room "home" where all slept at night. The small ...


1

Usage break wind was certainly widely used in the 17th century, but I'm still working on finding an earlier source. In other works of the 17th century, break wind appears to refer to either belching or farting, and often break wind upward is used to signify the former. However, in A Briefe Discourse of a Disease Called the Suffocation of the Mother (aka ...


-1

Sell the sizzle not the steak means you don't only sell the product but sell the idea behind it.


4

With regard to the question about how cliches are first created, the first thing that popped into my head when I read this question was "Coin a phrase". This article even cites The Bard of Avon in several places. I fully expected someone else had already answered with it. This paragraph seems to capture the idea of newly created phrases or words nicely: ...


11

Archetype: 1.1 An original which has been imitated; a prototype: ODO Prototype: 1.1 The first, original, or typical form of something; an archetype: ODO Original!


1

The classic exemplar can become trite when familiarity breeds contempt: classic adjective 1 Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind: exemplar noun A person or thing serving as a typical example or appropriate model: ODO An ideal form captures an archetypical sentiment, but ...


5

In speech or writing, a future cliché begins as a turn of phrase, which Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) defines as a fashioning of language or arrangement of words : manner of expression


4

The best I can think of is first use or original use. After all, when an "expression, idea, or element of an artistic work" is first used, it cannot be a cliché. It only gains the description when it becomes so popular as to be overused.



Top 50 recent answers are included