Questions tagged [commonweath-english]

Questions about English as spoken in the Commonwealth of Nations, an association primarily of former members of the British Empire.

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Stop being a pu@$y ... divergence from original meaning and current usage? [closed]

The Latin word pusillanimous was too long, so it was shortened to "pussy" while holding its original meaning "cowardly" [feel free to edit the question and bring a longer ...
EarlGrey's user avatar
  • 117
7 votes
2 answers

Was it common to use the noun mem-sahib outside India?

I have recently seen the noun mem-sahib, used to refer a white foreign woman living in India, in two different books. The books are Indian Passion and Nowhere in Africa. I have not found any ...
M_1's user avatar
  • 71
2 votes
1 answer

Origins of UK/US difference in pronunciation "herb"

I travel a bit, and have noticed that people from the US pronounce "herb" without the aspirated "h" at the beginning, while seemingly everyone else pronounces the "h". ...
Tom Hale's user avatar
  • 121
10 votes
3 answers

Is there an "Oxford semicolon"?

I must admit that I don't use semicolon lists very often. (In some instances, I probably should have.) I will also admit that I'm neither-here-nor-there with the use of an Oxford comma. Sometimes I ...
Dog Lover's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer

Where does the word “spliff” come from?

Neither the OED and Etymonline has any answer to the etymology of the word. The latter does suggest it may have an origin in the Caribbean, but offers nothing better. The first citation is from 1936 ...
tchrist's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers

Where does the word “wankers” come from?

The term wanker is derived from the verb wank in the sense of to masturbate. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline can trace it further back than that: both claim it is of “obscure origin”, which ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 134k
12 votes
4 answers

Where does the word “snogging” come from?

Where does the word snogging come from, in the sense of canoodling? I’m looking for it etymology, not for its connotation or phonoaesthetic properties, as the answer of the other question provides. ...
tchrist's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer

Differences between servant, maid, page, and attendant [closed]

In an airplane, the lady attending you is known as the attendant, besides sometimes being called a stewardess or air hostess. What does she do? Just serve you. Then what is that my maid does? ...
Wonder's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers

"travelling" vs. "traveling" [closed]

Is the correct spelling travelling or traveling? I’ve seen both in common usage, but I can't find an authoritative source that says one way or another. Is this a difference between British spelling ...
Brian Willis's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers

Swearing: “bollixed”

The House Ethics Committee has now hired an outside counsel to investigate its own bollixed investigation into the conduct of Representative Maxine Waters. (“The House’s Farcical Self-Investigation”, ...
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10 votes
2 answers

Dropping L in compound adjectives. Is it "skillful" or "skilful"?

We have been taught at school that when a word ending in "LL" helps form a compound word, "LL" becomes "L" (e.g. skill -> skilful). I have also come across the usage of this adjective as skillful (...
Mehper C. Palavuzlar's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers

Which flavor of English (British vs. American) first had standard modern spellings?

Which flavor, British English or American English, first standardised its modern spellings? I'm mostly interested in the direction of alteration; for example, was the u dropped from colour or was the ...
Polynomial's user avatar
  • 1,024
34 votes
7 answers

"Spelt" vs. "spelled"

In the following sentence, should I say spelled or spelt: You spelt/spelled "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" wrong.
Mateen Ulhaq's user avatar
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68 votes
7 answers

Which is the correct spelling: "grey" or "gray"?

What is the difference? Or is there any? Which would be more British English?
Wok's user avatar
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