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seen May 1 at 20:57

Jun
24
awarded  Yearling
Feb
18
comment Is there a word/term for a question where the asker knows he'll criticise any answer?
I'd say a trick question is one which may indeed have a correct answer, but it is not one of the choices given. (In the ex-con case, "yes" or "no" would be the obvious choices, but the correct answer would be neither of the above, but would rather more depend on job and the crime in question.) It does not necessarily imply that there is no correct answer, just that it's not obvious.
Feb
5
comment A non-offensive term to call a lunatic?
Has this term ever been used outside of the context of the show though? I know it was the first thing I thought of (without even seeing this post - I saw it quoted in another post first).
Jan
27
comment Single word for a very small amount of time
@dotsamuelswan Says who? Nobody has used that definition of "moment" for centuries. Most dictionaries list it as a "historical" or "medieval" usage, not current. By current usage, it just means a very short period of time, possibly synonymous with "instant".
Jan
12
comment Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?
@Mitch Looking at that same list, of the 93 multi-syllable girls' names, 17 (possibly 18 - I've seen "Andrea" go both ways) are stressed on the 2nd syllable. So it's not exactly 50/50 like my initial claim, but still far more common. Don't have hard stats for other languages, but from my knowledge of French at least, I know that most names of either gender seem to be second-syllable stressed.
Jan
12
comment Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?
@PeterShor I know there are differences between UK English and US English in this respect - e.g. UK "GARage" vs. US "garAGE". But I agree that I think those examples are wrong either way. It looks like a case of someone trying to enforce hard-and-fast rules on the language where in reality every such rule seems to have many exceptions in English.
Jan
11
comment Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?
There may be something to unstressed first syllables sounding more "poetic". For example, most of Shakespeare (and contemporaries) is written in iambic meter, which stresses the 2nd syllable.
Jan
11
comment Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?
Jose I wouldn't count because it's really a Spanish name that's borrowed in English. I'd suspect that most people with that name are Hispanic. Actually, the same applies to "Barack" - it's not really an English name, though I've met one other person with that name, but with a very different ethnic background from Obama's. (Ethnically Jewish, though several generations American).
Jan
11
asked Why do English men's names almost always stress the first syllable?
Jan
11
comment Why does “orange” rhyme with (almost) nothing in English?
To find a rhyme for silver/When silver needs a rhyme/requires certain skill, ver-/-bosity and time. (Not mine, but I always liked this one.)
Jan
2
comment Idiom or word for a very crowded place
@ElliottFrisch Indeed, the phrase is often in the form "swing a dead cat", which makes it unambiguous. (Also rules out a cat-o-nine tails since you wouldn't need to specify that it's dead as it was never alive.)
Dec
30
comment Idiom or word for a very crowded place
One thing these have that most of the other entries lack is the implication of motion. A place that's packed to the gills or crowded like sardines implies everyone is so crowded there's no room to move. But a throng or a place teeming or swarming with people implies they're busily moving around despite being crowded together.
Dec
16
comment Is “guy” gender-neutral?
Another usage you've missed is formations like "A couple of guys" or "A bunch of guys". In cases like this, it's plural, but generally assumed to refer to groups of males only, regardless of who's saying it, so it works much like the singular case.
Dec
16
comment Why is it “masterpiece” and not “a piece of art”?
I think it's a question of degree. Even really bad art can be called a "piece of art", but you wouldn't call it a "work of art" unless it was of fine quality, and "masterpiece" would be reserved for the cream of the crop.
Dec
15
comment Why does the Sudan have a “the” in the name?
"The Bahamas" also has the unusual distinction of being plural, since it is a group of islands. Presumably, any one of those islands taken individually would be "a Bahama", but I don't think this usage is generally seen.
Nov
19
comment Is there a word for made up verbs that end in “ing”?
"Googling" isn't exactly a noun. What about the sentence: "I am Googling the definition"? You couldn't call it a noun in that context.
Nov
12
comment Is “plastic glass” as a container a valid expression?
@ste On the other hand, you very often hear people refer to stainless steel utensils as "silverware", even though they're not made of silver. In fact, you often hear people refer to plastic utensils as "silverware" also, and they're not even silver in color like steel is.
Nov
10
accepted Australis, Austrinus, Australe - in constellations
Nov
10
comment Australis, Austrinus, Australe - in constellations
@AndrewLeach The words come from Latin, but the names are used in English as well, which I believe is the whole point of the "Latin" tag.
Nov
10
comment Word meaning crying, but not crying?
Unfortunately, thanks to Mike Myers and Saturday Night Live, this word now has mostly humorous connotations. (At least to American readers.) Its original definition has been somewhat subsumed by this, and it might break the tone if you're writing something serious and not comedic.