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389

Yes it did, and the formal version was (drumroll, please....) you. In Early Modern English, thou was the singular and you was the plural. Plural you came to be used as a polite form of address (similar to the French vous, which is also used for the plural), but over time this polite form became more and more common, eventually displacing the singular thou ...


90

Swill. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swill swill noun. food for animals (such as pigs) made from scraps of food and water food or drink that is very bad or unappealing eg. What is this swill?! I'm not drinking that!


79

If you're looking for a single word that will express thanks at the same time, I would avoid both satiated and sated; with apologies to @F'x, "sated" is not at all common in conversation, and when it is used it usually has more to do with sex than food. (Not always, but often enough that your hosts will look at you strangely for a moment before relaxing and ...


79

That is quite simply a whiteboard. Blackboard can be defined as: A smooth, hard, dark-colored panel for writing on with chalk. Whiteboard can be defined as: A panel covered with white, glossy plastic for writing on with erasable markers.


77

I had quite a few of these growing up. The one I think is most common is segue. Did you know it's pronounced "segway"? I didn't for a very very long time.


73

It is often called: dirty money: Profit from the sale of narcotics, prostitution, guns, or other illegal activities. Money that needs to be laundered. money obtained illegally. Source:http://www.thefreedictionary.com


71

Yes. As far as I know, you actually is the formal, originally plural version (ye/you/your) and thou was the informal version (thou/thee/thy/thine). Over time, thou became impolitely informal and is now no longer used, though interestingly enough nowadays it might even be perceived as more formal than you because it's archaic and survives almost exclusively ...


70

From dictionary.com... ill-gotten gains Benefits obtained in an evil manner or by dishonest means, as in They duped their senile uncle into leaving them a fortune and are now enjoying their ill-gotten gains . [Mid-1800s] I think one reasonably consistent distinction between this and @Josh61's suggestion is... dirty money was usually already ...


68

colonel /ˈkərnl/ This has to be the worst word for me - I know that is pronounced ker-nil, but EVERY time I read it the pronunication in my head is col-o-nel. How is colonel "ker-nil" anyway?! :)


65


64

I would say a spontaneous event.


52

Chemist, chemist's, chemist's shop or, sometimes, pharmacy. I've never heard "drugstore" in the UK, though one of the big chains is called Superdrug.


50

We would probably say springlike or vernal (more technical) to refer to spring. For autumn (fall) we would say autumnal or fall-like.


47

Uggh, as one of the over-literates you mentioned, I have a lot of these. However, I have no idea as to how common mine are or may have been. Facade should be pronounced "fuh-SAHD" (/fəˈsɑːd/). At first, I pronounced it "fack-AID."


47

I think you're looking for nomadic, which describes a group (or person) that has no permanent home. Nomadic tribes often follow herds of game animals, for instance, so they would have seasonal camps.


46

Polyglot: person having a speaking, reading, or writing knowledge of several languages. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/polyglot


44

I have a hard time avoiding pronouncing the word 'gaol' with a hard 'g', when it's really a homophone for 'jail'.


44

Awry /əˈraɪ/ Wrong: AWE-ree Right: uh-RY Omnipotent /ɒmˈnɪpət(ə)nt/ Wrong: Omni-Potent Right: omNIPPOtent (think "hippo")


44

The word nurse is gender-neutral in modern English.


42

Ennui /ɑ̃nɥi/, /ɒnˈwiː/ Imagine my surprise at learning that it's pronounced "on-wi" and not "eh-new-ee"!!


42

Circumlocution And by proxy: roundabout speech, circumduction, circumvolution, periphrasis, or ambage Roundabout speech refers to using many words (such as "a tool used for cutting things such as paper and hair") to describe something for which a concise (and commonly known) expression exists source: wikipedia


41

A couple is usually two (a married couple), or sometimes 'about two' if you are being vague (a couple of dozen, a couple of inches). A few is more than a couple, but not as many as several.


41

The verb to table, when applied to parliamentary procedure, has opposite meanings in the US and UK. From Wikipedia: In the United States, the motion to lay on the table (often simply "table")...is a proposal to suspend consideration of a pending motion. In the United Kingdom and the rest of the English-speaking world, a motion to place upon the ...


41

I believe gnaw is the word you're looking for. a : to bite or chew on with the teeth; especially : to wear away by persistent biting or nibbling b : to make by gnawing <rats gnawed a hole>


40

It seems Middle English developed the distinction between formal (you) and informal (thou) versions: this distinction did not exist in Old English. The formal pronoun you was originally a plural form of thou; it can be seen in many languages that a plural form is seen as more polite, which is probably related to the Majestic Plural ("we, King blah blah, ...



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