Reputation
9,432
Top tag
Next privilege 10,000 Rep.
Access moderator tools
Badges
26 39
Newest
 Nice Answer
Impact
~834k people reached

  • 0 posts edited
  • 1 helpful flag
  • 254 votes cast
Aug
19
comment Is there a word which means whatever you want it to mean? Or has no meaning?
Well, there's glory for you.
Aug
19
comment Correct Usage of Quotation Marks
Typographically, the introduction of a new term is traditionally marked by italicizing, not quotation. This is reflected in the default behaviour of the HTML <dfn> tag.
Aug
19
comment Can “a person” be used as plural?
@bobie - Not at all. At least singular they goes back to Middle English; replacing thou, thee (and ye, for that matter) with you is, relatively speaking, newfangled sloppiness that should be eradicated.
Aug
13
comment Meaning of “clot” in the following sentence
No need to assume a typo; in the 16th century orthography wasn't quite as fixed as it is today. "Clot" is certainly no further than the "clout" in Ne're cast a clout till May be out.
Aug
1
comment What is the meaning of not in “as often as not” and “as likely as not”?
It also carries a sort of implied at least in most cases, shading in just beneath more than likely on a scale of probabilities, especially in its like as not vernacular form. Often used in the sense of "sure, those hoofbeats could be unicorns, but have you considered horses?".
Aug
1
comment What does “ 'Nation ” stand for in this context?
I'm not convinced the capital N is a typo; sacre-type profanities were often capitalized in times gone by (a lot of things were; reading older English texts often feels a lot like reading German) and contracting out the first syllable would not change the convention, I don't think. 150 years is a longer time than we often imagine it to be, and things have changed quite a bit.
Jul
25
comment What's this word?
@tchrist - Actually, enough context was given to provide a meaning, as well as a rough idea of what the word sounds like (which beats the heck out of the usual "it starts with a U or an M or something"). It's every bit as valid a question as any of the other "single word please" questions that have ever been posted here.
Jul
17
comment Shalln't vs. Shan't in British English
"Shall" and "shall not" (in any form) are pretty much restricted to explicit speech and formal writing in North American English now (the "will" future marker has almost completely displaced it in common usage). In explicit use, the not is stressed, so it's rarely heard as a contraction except as an affectation.
Jul
16
comment Two types of sound for letter L?
If you record someone saying "oil" and play it backwards, it sounds almost exactly the same. The terminal ell is essentially a vowel; it only assumes "ellness" when it's immediately followed by another vowel, which initiates the release.
Jul
15
comment When to use the abverbial form of maximal: maximally?
I agree, @tchrist, but there is a fine distinction in this case. Maximal would not work, even though it can be argued that it is somehow "legal" as a modifier of value. It really feels as if the word needed is playing the part of a noun in this sentence, and I can't articulate why. (That's why systematic descriptions of the grammars of natural languages are hard. There is very likely a way to tree this sentence that makes maximum obviously necessary if you invoke enough rules and corollaries.)
Jul
14
comment Laid—Had Laid … Which is correct?
@joeblow That's just a little bit weird in literature. We almost never write in the present tense; even if the action is "right now", it's almost always in the immediate past except in dialogue (and then we'll put the dialogue into the past with something like he said).
Jul
13
comment How did nominal come to mean “within acceptable tolerances”?
(Please forgive and in place of an in my original comment. My typing-related parts will get a stern talking-to later.)
Jul
13
comment How did nominal come to mean “within acceptable tolerances”?
The question here is: "How and when did definition #4 arise?"
Jul
13
comment How did nominal come to mean “within acceptable tolerances”?
@Frank - Exactly, and I'm saying that that use of nominal was probably extended by familiar usage within the engineering community, which is why it now means "within specs".
Jul
13
comment How did nominal come to mean “within acceptable tolerances”?
It is very likely (but not certainly, thus this being a comment rather than an an answer) and extension of its use in describing parts and so forth. A nominal "6 volt" battery will only provide exactly 6V under certain specific load, temperature and age conditions, a nominal "2 by 4" is 1½ by 3½ inches (more or less) and may never have been 2 by 4 even before dressing, and so on.
Jul
11
comment 'as of' in ‘Excusal as of right’
Just as a general comment here: many of the terms and turns of phrase you are asking about here have very narrow, specific and technical meanings established of hundreds of years of legal use; they don't necessarily correspond with ordinary usage in any way (and you may even find "false friends" in common use). They often give trouble to native speakers of English who have never delved into legal language. Use legal references/dictionaries, not common English language references.
Jul
11
comment What is the origin of “dox” and “doxing”?
Old newsgroup/BBS stuff lost in the mists of time, usually to do with software (and, more than occasionally, the cracks thereof) followed by the less-sociable practice of exposing personal/confidential information on 4chan and similar fora. As a noun, it's "documents"; as a verb, it's "dropping (posting) documents".
Jul
10
comment Why is there “Black English” but not “White English”?
Those dialects don't differ significantly in terms of grammar; the grammar of North Preston is almost indistinguishable from the grammar of black Georgia. The vocabularies differ significantly, but not the grammar.
Jul
9
comment English Translation of “Umay”
Languages all have their quirks; no doubt there are many things you can say in one word of English that would take several words in Tagalog, Ilocano, or what have you, and words in each of those languages that take half a paragraph of English to express.
Jul
9
comment Why do we say “Hear! Hear!”?
"Hear him" or "hear ye [this]"? Oyez! Oyez! goes back an awful long way.