Linked Questions

18
votes
2answers
3k views

Term for words like “Hanky-Panky” [duplicate]

Is there a name for these kind of doubled words? For example: hanky-panky flim-flam hoity-toity boo-hoo zig-zag Note that some rhyme and others do not.
4
votes
1answer
466 views

Is “helter skelter” a word or two words or two non-words? What do we call it? [duplicate]

The phrase "helter skelter" is strange because you don't see the word "helter" or "skelter" used anywhere, and when I searched Merriam-Webster dictionary for either word it links me to the definition ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a word for words formed of repeating sounds? [duplicate]

Is there a word for words formed of repeating sounds? Mama, Papa, ... Any other such words...
2
votes
0answers
129 views

Is there a name for this kind of phrases? [duplicate]

I often times heard phrases like itty-bitty, nitty-gritty etc, the latter word followed part of the previous word's syllable(mostly ends with -y), I want to know the names for this kinds of phrases.
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Specific vocabulary request for a family of words [duplicate]

This is my first question on this website, so I hope I don't embarrass myself. While I was helping my friend study for the GRE exam, I noticed that a lot of the vocabulary lists contained two word ...
47
votes
7answers
14k views

Why the phrase “thunder and lightning”, and not “lightning and thunder”?

So there was just a thunderstorm, and my sister came with a question I couldn't answer: Why is it "thunder and lightning", because the lightning comes before the thunder? Shouldn't it be "lightning ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there an English word to describe a group of refrain words composed of two syllables e.g. pera-pera, meaning fluently, iki-iki meaning vividly?

The Japanese language has a special group of words which repeat mostly two syllable word like pera pera, para para, don don, suku suku, that are used adverbially for examples; Pera pera eigowo hanasu–...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Why does left come before right?

For example in the idioms "left and right", "left, right and centre", and in many contexts where both left and right are mentioned, it seems that the left usually comes before the right. Why is this ...
-1
votes
5answers
7k views

Pairs in common idioms/phrases

There are phrases which pair things up. For example, "checks and balances", "bells and whistles", What is the rational behind this construct? Any more examples?
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Why “a” bow and arrow?

Anyone who's watched CW's Arrow would recognize this line immediately: They've got guns. You've got a bow and arrow. They never say a bow and arrows. They never say a bow and an arrow. They say a ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Source of “-bie” in “freebie”

Freebie means free things. Why is there a post-fix -bie? Does it have meaning itself?
14
votes
2answers
3k views

“legal beagle” vs. “legal eagle”

Both legal beagle and legal eagle are informal terms for a smart, eagle-eyed attorney or lawyer. Someone who is a stickler for the rules, and who thrives on the minutiae of the law. Oxford ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Gentle scratching

My wife uses her nails to “gently scratch” our 3-year-old son’s back for ~15 mins right before falling sleep. He likes it a lot. There’s a word škrabkať  in my native language (Slovak), and I was ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “north to south” a more common set phrase than “south to north”?

Would you describe Japan as a long country "from south to north", or "from north to south"? I suspect that "from north to south" is more common, and Google ngram agrees, but is this is the case?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is a rhyming word beginning with “h” put before another word to create a new term?

I recently learned a new phrase: "herby-kerby," which is regionalism from the Kalamazoo, MI area for a wheeled trash bin placed at the curb for trash collection. I've found several uses of the phrase: ...

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