Questions tagged [epithets]

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Can "yellow September sunlight" be considered an Epithet?

The Laburnum top is silent, quite still In the afternoon yellow September sunlight A few leaves yellowing, all its seeds fallen. In this stanza from the poem 'The Laburnum Top' by Ted Hughes, can &...
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What is the difference between 'transferred epithet' and 'metaphor'?

In the poem 'My Mother at Sixty-six' by Kamala Das (which I have attached below), what is the poetic device in the line 'the merry children spilling out of their homes'? I feel like it should be ...
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Is Autistic the new "spaz" or "retard"?

Has autistic become an accepted cool pejorative through constant misuse? While I usually would not bother with Urban, the theme was taken up… Autism is typically said with a negative connotation. ...
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3 votes
3 answers
418 views

Capitalization of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

An epithetical question: Should ALL of Rudolph "the red-nosed reindeer" be capitalized? Why or why not, and where do we draw the line? This was inspired by some seasonal discussion on this ...
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3 answers
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Is there a name for the relationship between a movement and a follower of that movement?

Movements and philosophies often have a specific term that is used to describe followers of it. For example, Islam and Muslims, the Society of Jesus and Jesuits, Communism and Communists, even the ...
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Difference between 'treatise' and 'epistle'

I noticed that sometimes these two are used interchangeably, especially as designations of older, Medieval written documents. I know that 'epistle' is a letter, whereas 'treatise' is a written work ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
87 views

Why is it "Shaun the Sheep" but "Peter Rabbit"? Or Pepa Pig, but Dorothy the Dinosaur

Epithets. I can add some more examples, for example: Charles the Great, Charles the Rash, Edward the Confessor BUT The Brothers Grimm, the Emperor Jones What is the rule or difference in meaning ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Understanding "whistleblower"

The term, according to the Oxford Online Dictionary, means: whistle-blower A person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity. Also from ...
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Who are sales-wannabes?

I googled the word "wannabe" and found the following definitions "Someone who wants to be what they are not" and "someone who wants to be famous or successful". But how can it applied to sales? Here ...
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4 votes
2 answers
649 views

Meaning of “someone who can smell an expense account at forty paces”

What does "the ones who can smell an expense account at forty paces" mean? The sentence comes from this excerpt. ‘Nope. You would have been far too busy looking at the tall blonde girls with the ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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What does ‘be one’s “buddy”’ mean aside 'be one’s “friend”'?

What does ‘be one’s “buddy”’ mean aside be one’s “friend”? I was drawn to the phrase, “My short game’s always been my buddy” appearing in the following quote of Tiger Woods in the Time magazine’s (...
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Difference between eloquent and articulate

Is there an intended difference between the words "eloquent" and "articulate," or are they simply two synonymous adjectives? When I use the adjective "eloquent" I most often think of flowery, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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"eldest" vs. "firstborn"

A family genealogist discovered that his grandparent who was believed to have had six siblings actually had two more who had died very young; one died a few days after birth. The firstborn died at ...
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2 answers
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Does describing someone as 'sensitive' conflate two different ideas?

Quite often we use the word 'sensitive' in a pejorative sense, ie that the person being described lacks the emotional resilience to cope with an everyday situation. But 'sensitive' could also be a ...
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5 answers
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How toffee-nosed is "toffee-nosed"?

Not being a speaker of British English, I was much amused on discovering the new adjective toffee-nosed. The American Heritage dictionary doesn't list it at all, but I found a definition in Collins: ...
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17 votes
4 answers
556k views

What does "thot" mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...
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Why does "fishwife" mean "mean woman"?

I have looked at the meaning of fishwife at Collins Language (I can't link directly to the definition) and it tells me: fishwife n (pl -wives) a coarse or bad-tempered woman with a loud voice ...
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