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516
bio website d7.pipemaze.com
location Vancouver, Canada
age 34
visits member for 4 years, 1 month
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Canadian, native English speaker, background in academic linguistics, lifelong reader, and language enthusiast.

In the prescriptive versus descriptive grammar debate, I'm mostly descriptivist but with an appreciation for the prescriptivist idea that something being "popular" usage doesn't mean it's correct.


Nov
19
comment How can I describe a low temperature that doesn't actually feel cold?
The OP is specifically asking for something that has currency and isn't resting on poetic license.
Nov
19
comment How can I describe a low temperature that doesn't actually feel cold?
@AE It means the same 'round here, but both meanings have currency here.
Nov
19
revised Is “Me neither” incorrect?
update formatting convention
Nov
19
suggested suggested edit on Is “Me neither” incorrect?
Nov
19
comment Oil is slippery; rubber is _____?
Describing sensations via words for unseen molecular events that contradict the sensations will never happen. Germ theory is incomparable because it replaced another unseen—miasma theory—and didn't have to compete with direct experiential description words. (Aside, neither oil nor rubber are man-made.)
Nov
18
comment Oil is slippery; rubber is _____?
We have words to describe opposite subjective sensations for many things; these words need not have any, let alone a 1:1, relationship to the words that describe the underlying physical processes. Compare "hot" and "cold": the words that describe what's really going on in the underlying physics have zero relevance to the subjective sensations we use "hot" and "cold" to describe. Ditto with oil and slipperiness: the language describes "lay" experience, which predates and has zero concern for the "real" situation at the molecular level.
Nov
5
comment What is someone called who makes and sells sandwiches?
I don't think this demonstrates how generic the term is. This usage appears to be merely prosaic use of two words to form a description ("sandwich seller" = "seller of sandwiches"), not a properly unified term or English compound word (which are sometimes compounded with a separating space, which confuses this issue to no end...).
Oct
29
comment Word for an animal that has been ridden too much?
The phrase "a broken-down donkey" might be more productive in ngram than "worn-out". It's fading now, but was a cliche for a long time; possibly because the alliteration works so nicely.
Oct
29
comment Word for an animal that has been ridden too much?
@tchrist This is the wrong meaning of worn out. While hackneyed does equal that meaning of worn out, meaning "overused", that's not the meaning sought in the question: a tired animal has not suffered from repeated use too often (which would fit hackneyed), rather it has suffered from too much use all at once (which hackneyed does not mean). So the semantic meanings just don't line up.
Oct
29
comment Word for an animal that has been ridden too much?
@Rudi Why is that specific connotation inappropriate? That is what happens to a horse that is ridden too hard, as the question is asking. Horses are delicate, and hard riding kills them at worst, and at best lames them—at which point they're knackered, literally sent to the knacker's yard, because a lame horse is useless.
Oct
22
comment Secular phrase for “Heaven only knows” or “God only knows”?
Does that really work? "God only knows where I left my keys", for one example, doesn't really work: "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future… where I left my keys."
Oct
22
comment Secular phrase for “Heaven only knows” or “God only knows”?
@AE Doesn't a question asking for a secular version of "God only knows" literally (not even figuratively "literally", but literally) mean they have asked for a minced version of "God only knows"?
Oct
22
comment Secular phrase for “Heaven only knows” or “God only knows”?
The trouble with this, apart from failing to communicate its intended meaning and therefore failing as communication, is that it's mere "rebel" atheism—still all about (reacting to) religion. It doesn't help the secular members of society who are happily pursuing a non-religious existence without… y'know… constantly making everything about religion.
Oct
22
comment Secular phrase for “Heaven only knows” or “God only knows”?
@JoeBlow And that's appropriate, as the question is literally asking for the minced version of "God only knows."
Oct
18
comment Word meaning “to walk clumsily among many obstacles”?
Occam's Razor says they're just being poetic. If that is an important point that your answer relies on though, you might consider asking the asker to clarify the ambiguity.
Oct
17
comment Word meaning “to walk clumsily among many obstacles”?
@tommj Deoxygenated blood… Well that took an odd turn. But a point of physics: if deoxygenated blood is denser, that would make it have less volume for the same mass; i.e., less bulky.
Oct
17
comment Word meaning “to walk clumsily among many obstacles”?
@tommj The answer quotes a thesaurus with an incomplete definition; it's clearer if you check that thesaurus' associated dictionary entry: "lumber²: to move clumsily or heavily, especially from great or ponderous bulk" (emphasis mine). I suppose external obstacles could count, if they were carried and bulky, yes, but not external impeding terrain.
Oct
17
comment Word meaning “to walk clumsily among many obstacles”?
Lumbering means moving in a way caused by one's mass or a problem with one's gait. It's a word for when internal obstacles cause clumsy walking. It's not fitting when the obstacles are external.
Oct
15
revised What is the word for the emotion I feel when I see someone being humiliated?
rearrange clauses to fix the confusion evident in the comment
Oct
15
comment Etymology of a “pegged CPU”
It's the current top answer.