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May
20
comment What does 'Hitlerian' mean, extract from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita
1955 is 10 years after Adolf Hitler’s death, so it certainly can be a reference to him!
May
20
accepted Name for balls of dirt made by rubbing hands
May
20
comment Does “moot” only apply to points?
These people probably think of moot point as a stormy petrel. It is valid to use moot to describe other things, but few people do.
May
20
comment What is the English version of the Vietnamese idiom “như cá nằm trên thớt” - “like a fish on cutting board”
I have only heard the first as (like a) lamb to the slaughter. That seems to be the most common phrasing, but others are widely used—some with lambs instead of a lamb, some with led, some without the.
May
20
comment Where did the DO NOT come from?
The passage in question: “Did I open?” = “Nes i agor?” / “I did not open.” = “Nes i ddim agor.” / “I opened.” = “Nes i agor.” The last example is used non-emphatically as late as Elizabethan English: “I did open the door for thee.”
May
20
comment Where did the DO NOT come from?
@Mitch: Welsh is one of the few languages that uses do in this way, along with Cornish. As far as I know, do-support (as it’s called) wasn’t present in English until the 1100s at the earliest. It stands to reason that English picked it up from contact with those neighbouring languages. I first learned of this from Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter.
May
7
awarded  Nice Answer
May
6
answered An antonym for “shortcut”
May
6
comment Meaning and etymology of the word “latty”
@EdwinAshworth: We accept questions about dialects and slang all the time. Even if it’s a minority use, it’s still English.
May
1
awarded  Good Answer
Apr
26
comment “Wrote it I did” Is this grammatical?
I can find examples of structures like “(I was) right chuffed/pissed I was”, but this seems to be restricted to certain dialects, such as South London or the East End, so make of it what you will.
Apr
25
comment “Wrote it I did” Is this grammatical?
I misunderstood you. I agree with your correction of example #1, but while your correction for #2 is valid, it is not necessary.
Apr
25
comment 'Male'/'female' is to 'gender' as 'left-handed'/'right-handed 'is to…?
Handedness is the right word, and I think it doesn’t sound bad at all. It’s often used in a technical sense, as in the handedness of a coordinate system.
Apr
25
answered “I, (any name), am here to… ” is this correct?
Apr
25
comment “Wrote it I did” Is this grammatical?
The note that it’s technically incorrect is misleading, since you go on to say (rightly) that it’s correct in poetic register.
Apr
6
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
30
comment Name for balls of dirt made by rubbing hands
@ParthianShot: Mine too! I think it’s very likely that I’m misremembering or confabulating, but I want to make sure in case someone says to themselves “what an idiot, that’s obviously —!”.
Mar
30
comment Name for balls of dirt made by rubbing hands
@Mike: Yep. When your hands don’t have anything on them (other than dead skin of course) you can still do this for that very reason.
Mar
30
asked Name for balls of dirt made by rubbing hands
Mar
27
comment Single word for generic human “body parts”
“Organs” technically denotes all organs of the body, not just the internal organs. For example, the skin is an organ, as are the eyes. But the connotation is of the internal organs only.