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Jul
1
comment Is there a word for someone who tends to find faults in others?
According to the character King Gama in Gilbert & Sullivan's Princess Ida, the word you are looking for is philanthropist.
Jun
26
comment Good words for 'well-cared-for'?
@talrnu - Groomed is the past tense of a verb; it's not a "hard adjective" (for want of a better term). That's the thing with English; being very lightly inflected, the parts of speech are kind of slippery. And no, it's not at all unusual to assume an outside influence, since the most common usage of the term is the phrase you used. To describe appearance, well-groomed and poorly-groomed fit common usage. Groomed by itself has no positive implication.
Jun
25
comment Good words for 'well-cared-for'?
@talrnu - well-groomed indicates results independent of the process; groomed, by itself, suggests to me that that someone else was doing the grooming.
Jun
24
comment Why is white noise called 'static'?
Just to be overly (and ridiculously) pedantic, Hughes demonstrated a spark gap transmitter and receiver he'd accidentally invented the previous year to the Royal Society years before Hertz. Unfortunately, it was also in 1880, the year before Heaviside's simplification of and the general acceptance of the implications of Maxwell's work, so it was dismissed as simple induction at the time. (And let's face it, Tesla claimed he invented everything in later life, including the Geissler tubes that were created about the time of his first birthday.)
Jun
4
comment How was the letter -u- written in Old English?
Note that Old English (after the futhork runes) was written in an uncial-style alphabet with a few non-Latin letters (wynn, thorn and eth); the ambiguity didn't arrive until the Middle English period and the 12th-century blackletter/textura script style.
May
25
comment Valedictions: “My thoughts go your way,”
My thoughts go with you is also common, and at least comradely. If my thoughts are merely going your way, it suggests convenience at best (fare splitting, the ability to order a cheaper and more varied dinner for two at old-style Chinese restaurants, that sort of thing), remaining free to leave the Fellowship when it passes close to Gondor.
May
23
comment Can i know what is the meaning of “Nothing Like That”?
In my experience, when the phrase nothing like that constitutes a complete "sentence", the meaning is usually more along the lines of no, you've misunderstood (such as when a question arises when an idiomatic phrase or a term of art is interpreted according to the everyday meaning of the constituent words). That meaning is still irrelevant to this question, but I thought it worth mentioning in the context of this answer.
May
16
comment What is the English version of the Vietnamese idiom “như cá nằm trên thớt” - “like a fish on cutting board”
In every telling I've run across, between a rock an a hard place is freely interchangeable with between Scylla (a rock) and Charybdis (which, to a mariner, would be a hard place).
May
11
comment Is it ever grammatical to leave out the verb 'to be' between subject and predicate?
It's a topic/comment construction with weird punctuation.
May
11
comment When is an event so old that the phrase “the other day” no longer applies?
There's a slight age-based relativity to this as well. I've caught myself the other daying events that I almost immediately realised weren't even in the current century. Tempus fugit. (Feel free to pronounce fugit in whatever manner seems appropriate for the occasion.)
May
10
comment What's the masculine form of boudoir?
The usual English equivalent to the fumoir would be drawing room, but that does imply that guests are welcome; it's not a private apartment.
May
8
comment Does the word “and” always mean a logical (boolean) operation?
English is neither Boolean algebra nor a propositional calculus. The ordinary understanding of your I've seen all movies starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt example (capitalization removed since the word is a word, not an operator) would be that you've seen all movies starring Tom Cruise and all movies starring Brad Pitt (and would likely to be taken as a bit of an exaggeration). If you went all pedantic in a roomful of people who weren't programmers, you'd find yourself standing alone and unloved.
Apr
25
comment Are “ball” (formal event) and “ball” (sphere for playing with) etymologically related?
I wouldn't read too much into the apparent "sudden simplification out of nowhere" during the Middle English period. All we have is written evidence, and it is quite likely that late pre-Conquest Old English writing was to language on the ground as written Latin was to early (or proto-) Romance. Apart from a little vocabulary, the biggest influence that the Normans had on English was to force a hiatus in the literature such that when it resumed it actually resembled the language being spoken.
Apr
20
awarded  Nice Answer
Mar
31
comment Diacriticals and non-English letters in anglicized loan words: keep 'em, dump 'em, italicize the words, or what?
@sjy ...and the rules of English spelling (such as they are) would lead the reader to pronounce a c followed by either an e or an i as if it were an s. Before the letters a, o and u, it's normally pronounced as a k. The cedilla informs the reader that the letter c is to be pronounced as an s when the rules would otherwise indicate that it should be pronounced as a k. Facade is a bit of a special case in that it is relatively common (and a term of art in several disciplines); it is one of the very few instances where the cedilla could go missing without being missed.
Mar
27
comment What does it mean to call someone a 'drink of water'?
One may often see tall phrased as "a long drink of water" as well. This lends the name to Spider Robinson's character Longdrink McGonnigal.
Feb
16
awarded  Yearling
Jan
6
comment Is there a word similar to “reddening” for the color blue?
It's also a well-established process in laundry and hair-rinsing.
Dec
29
comment a nonrestrictive appositive with a restrictive clause
"Olympic athlete" is not restrictive? You have Jim's cousin did X; you may also have An Olympic athlete who lives in Boston did X, so why not Jim's cousin, an Olympic athlete who lives in Boston, did X?
Dec
28
comment Why does “raptor” not contain an apostrophe?
The namegiver was oviraptor (egg thief), which was initially thought to be associated with the eggs of various ceratopsians due to dietary proclivities. It turned out, on closer examination (and with the aid of x-rays) that the eggs were their own. It's not features in common with birds of prey, but with a poorly-named therapod, that gives raptors their name.