Unanswered Questions

10
votes
1answer
149 views

What word did Middle English have in place of “light" as in: “light blue”, “light green” etc.?

In English, we often use the adjective light before another colour to express a whiter shade of hue. For example, light blue, light green, light brown, etc. The term pale is used in a similar way, e....
10
votes
0answers
127 views

How does the pronunciation of 'the' vary in British English?

In the months leading up to the UK Referendum, I've heard the phrase "the E.U." thousands of times, and I've noticed that nearly all media-speakers pronounce it as /ðəʔiːjuː/. My memory, and my old ...
9
votes
2answers
421 views

Preservation of the en- prefix form of Latin negative prefix in-, in enemy & enmity

The en- in enemy is a prefix meaning "not": the origin is Latin inimicus, from in- + amicus — a "not friend" or an "unfriend" (Online Etymology Dictionary—enemy). The Latin in- changed to en- when ...
8
votes
1answer
47 views

Term for words which can have the same or opposite meanings in different contexts?

For example, usually up and down refer to opposite directions. However, in American English, we could say we are "down" to do something or we are "up" to do it and mean the same thing -- that we want ...
8
votes
3answers
407 views

Are stative verbs always inchoative when used with an imperative?

Wikipedia says that stative verbs are always inchoative when used as imperatives. However, negative imperatives are used to exhibit prohibition in "including the giving of prohibition," and saying "...
7
votes
0answers
242 views

British Mass Nouns versus American Count Nouns

British English often employs mass nouns where American English would only employ count nouns. Count nouns are nouns which take pluralization and numerical quantifiers like 'many'. Mass nouns can't be ...
7
votes
1answer
105 views

When did it become okay to drop “years old” when speaking about a living thing?

It's perfectly normal and common to say that a person "is 20," or "is 47," or any other age, and it's implicitly understood that we're talking about age. This works with animals, too. But you can't ...
6
votes
0answers
110 views

Neologism meaning “Having-an-opinion-despite-having-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about”

I remember encountering a word (it was a neologism, not a popularly accepted word) that meant something like "having-a-strong-but-completely-uninformed-opinion". It might have been the related idea of ...
6
votes
0answers
96 views

Historical frequency of parenthetical plural(s)

Seems to me that parenthetical plurals have been increasing in recent years. Is there any way to accurately measure this? Google Ngram Viewer seems like a method, but the use of parentheses, first ...
6
votes
4answers
638 views

Conflicting Advice: “Not Only,” “But Also” Constructions — Comma, No Comma, Parallel Structure?

I've searched for the answer on this site and other websites, and found conflicting advice and sample sentences that look wrong to me. I'm posting this question hoping for clarification. My ...
5
votes
0answers
41 views

Name for letter U in words like 'suede' and 'penguin'

What is the letter U called when it says the /w/ sound in words like suede and penguin? I've read that y and w are semivowels but the U in suede and penguin doesn't really conform to the definition of ...
5
votes
0answers
22 views

Etymology of 'rime' and 'unrime', meaning 'to put on/takeoff outdoor clothing'

These terms were in use when I was a boy in South London back in the 1930s/1940s. My grandmother would tell me to "Rime up well." or "Get well rimed up." when I was going to go outdoors on a cold day ...
5
votes
0answers
92 views

What's the first known use of 'Crabs in a Barrel'

I'm looking for the first known use of the phrase to describe human behavior, i.e. Pulling successful people back down to crowd level.
4
votes
0answers
33 views

Is there a word meaning hitting your mouth with something?

Like getting punched in the mouth. Or getting hit by the broom's handle when that one guy in front of you, who's carrying a broom, suddenly stopped.
4
votes
0answers
176 views

A question about “but not” as coordinating conjunction

So I was reading an article or something, and there was a sentence that quite intrigued me. a. You can turn everybody against you, but never your boss. "But never" is used as a coordinating ...

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