Questions tagged [latin]

Questions about the use of Latin words and phrases in English.

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84
votes
11answers
13k views

Is “data” treated as singular or plural in formal contexts?

My non-native English speaking friend just asked me: "Data is..." or "Data are..."? I said both but that's because I've been desensitized from reading/writing both (especially from writing code and ...
29
votes
7answers
5k views

When a word has both English and 'Latin' plurals, which style should I use?

Many 'Latin' words in English have both Latin-style plurals and English-style plurals: referendum – referendums, referenda. minimum – minimums, minima. gymnasium – gymnasiums, gymnasia. ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the word “formulæ” valid English?

Is the word formulæ, written with an æ at the end, valid in English? I stumbled upon this apparently plural form of formula in the Wiktionary. I had no idea the letter æ could occur in English. Does ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Data is/are in a global context

I have been commissioned to script a series of brief videos on the importance of data accuracy and consistency. The videos are directed to employees of a company with offices around the world—...
38
votes
8answers
193k views

How did “sinister”, the Latin word for “left-handed”, get its current meaning?

Sinister is the Latin word for left-handed. What evolution of meaning turned left-handed into evil and threatening?
13
votes
4answers
28k views

Pronunciation of words ending with “‑ae”

For example, Styracaceae, Suidae, Sulidae, Sylviidae, Symplocaceae, etc. I don’t know how to pronounce them correctly.
245
votes
7answers
71k views

How are “i.e.” and “e.g.” pronounced?

How are i.e. and e.g. pronounced?
64
votes
5answers
514k views

Should I write “PhD” or “Ph.D.”?

Question pretty self-explanatory. Should the abbreviation of the Latin term philosophiae doctor be written as PhD (no periods) or Ph.D. (with periods)?
10
votes
2answers
32k views

“viruses” or “virii”?

Is the plural of virus "viruses" or "virii"?
13
votes
4answers
139k views

“Emigrant” vs. “immigrant”

While studying one word substitution I came across these two words, what I understood till now is like this: Emigrant: One who leaves his own country to reside to another. Immigrant: A person who ...
11
votes
4answers
23k views

Can I start a sentence with “i.e.”?

While writing a rhetorical question I ran into a case where it seemed natural to start a sentence with "I.e": How do we handle the case when the list is empty? I.e., if the filter matched no ...
9
votes
4answers
13k views

Is there a rule for “‑ance” vs. “‑ence”?

OK, so I’m ashamed to admit that as a native speaker I think I’ve missed something somewhere. I was typing up some documentation and spellchecker kept bugging me. So I looked up some words and found ...
6
votes
1answer
997 views

Why do we pronounce a long second vowel in “decide”, but a short second vowel in “decision”?

The "i" in decide is pronounced [aɪ], whereas the first "i" in decision is pronounced [ɪ], at least in American English. The same with pairs like collide/collision, divide/division, etc., despite the ...
6
votes
1answer
714 views

Why is “salient” pronounced with a “long a” sound?

The word salient is pronounced with a "long a" sound; Wiktionary gives the US pronunciation as /ˈseɪ.ljənt/, /ˈseɪ.li.ənt/. Is there any reason why the vowel letter here receives its "long" ...
25
votes
4answers
125k views

How does one use the Latin word “cum” in a sentence?

I'm talking about the Latin cum, which I've seen used conjunctively, as in A-cum-B. What does it mean, and how do you use it?
14
votes
4answers
868 views

Why does “stigmata” [often] have penult stress?

I have been studying the pronunciation of Greek-derived words in English, and I've found an odd anomaly. There are (at least) two possible pronunciation patterns for plural word-forms that end in -&#...
10
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the plural of Prius?

What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
191
votes
7answers
287k views

What is the plural form of “status”?

What is the plural form of "status"?
35
votes
1answer
11k views

Is the plural of 'prefix' really 'prefixes' rather than 'prefices'?

It looks like the plural of 'prefix' is 'prefixes' - while I would expect it to be 'prefix' => 'prefices' like 'matrix' => 'matrices' or 'index' => 'indices'. Is 'prefix' an exception to the rule? ...
19
votes
3answers
21k views

Et cetera vs Et al

One of the most used words around is et cetera. Some people substitute et al for etc. Google says that both of them have the same meaning: 'and the others'. Is there a particular context and usage for ...
22
votes
2answers
21k views

Why does the 'b' in absorb change to a 'p' in absorption?

The question pretty much says it all. Why is "absorbtion" an incorrect spelling?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a reason why “gn” in “reigning” is pronounced /n/ while in “regnant” it is pronounced [gn]?

Both reigning and regnant are related to the same Latin noun, regnum. Why is the ‹gn› spelling pronounced [n] in the first word but [gn] in the second?
5
votes
4answers
835 views

Adding an L when appending an -ium suffix to a word? (Metallium vs. Metalium)

I am Romanizing a business name from Hebrew, and am wondering what the most appealing or 'correct' spelling might be - 'Metallium' or 'Metalium'. The owners of the business went with the latter, but ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

English, Latin, or Malay pronunciation of betta fish

The genus name of the aquarium fish Betta splendens derives from the Malay word "ikan betah." The common name of the fish is also "betta," which in English we'd pronounce with a soft e. I often hear ...
8
votes
5answers
56k views

How is 'via' pronounced and where did these variations come from? [closed]

Over the years, I've heard people say 'v-ē-ə', 'v-ī-ə', and sometimes the 'uh' is an 'ah' sound. (edit- It has come to my attention that 'via' was once a 'wee-ah' from Latin, but I don't feel like ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

Quintology or Pentalogy?

Recently I was looking at the X-Men box set and saw that currently five have been released. I had it in my head that these would be called a quintology but I have seen them being called a pentalogy. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between gerund and present participle [duplicate]

What is the difference between a gerund and present participle? When should we use a gerund and when should we use a present participle ?
56
votes
4answers
33k views

Why is “pound” (of weight) abbreviated “lb”?

Answers to Correct usage of lbs. as in "pounds" of weight suggest that "lb" is for "libra" (Latin), but how has this apparent inconsistency between the specific unit of weight "pound" and ...
27
votes
7answers
51k views

Is “et al.” used as a singular or plural subject?

When referring to multiple authors by using the name of the first author and "et al.", is it correct to grammatically treat this as one person or multiple persons? Gamma et al. are saying in their ...
17
votes
4answers
59k views

What is the origin of the counting prefixes: uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quad-, etc.?

Many English words use the prefixes uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quad- and so on to mean one, two, three, and four. For example: A unicycle has one wheel, a bicycle two, and a tricycle three. I presume ...
15
votes
4answers
57k views

How is the word “qua” used?

I play Scrabble. I'm learning words with the letter 'q'. What is the usage of the word 'qua'?
18
votes
1answer
77k views

What is the proper plural of “a series”? [closed]

In math, we use the term series a lot, and there are many types of series. How should I craft my sentence when I have three different ones in mind to talk about? Should I settle down for a less ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Change of form of some (Latin) prefixes like ex-, ad- into ef-, a-: are there rules or conditions?

There are many cases of prefixes changing their forms. For example ex- can change to ef- in front of f, e.g. effusion. ad- becomes a- in front of b, e.g. abate. Are there some more general rules or ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Do “to pony up” and “to pungle” come from the same Latin root?

For to pony up, etymonline.com says 1824, in pony up "to pay," said to be from slang use of L. legem pone to mean "money" (first recorded 16c.), because this was the title of the Psalm for March 25,...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Latin words borrowed from Roman occupation?

English has a lot of words borrowed from Latin. The great majority were borrowed in the 14- and 1500's from Church/Medieval Latin, a huge influx via educated neologism. I'd like to know if there are ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham's name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Latin pronunciation [closed]

(You may well say this doesn't fit into an "English language" site, but the scientific Latin terms could be said to be part of English.) My young daughter loves snails; I would like her to learn the ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Pronunciation and usage of “bona fide”

As I am reading books and articles, I come across this bona fide. How do you pronounce this? How do you use it properly? I know the definition is in good faith, like if you are welcomed to someone's ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

Why A is pronounced differently in “opacity” and “opaque”

When I look at pronunciation guides for opacity and opaque I see the following: opaque: oh-peyk (a hard A) opacity: oh-pas-i-tee (a soft A) Since their root seems to be the Latin opācus, why ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Grammatical number of Latin nouns used attributively before other nouns

I read a paper today that kept using "multistrata" to describe an object with multiple layers. For example: I love multistrata cakes. This sounds wrong to my ear, I think "multistratum" sounds ...
4
votes
0answers
181 views

Can the stress pattern of “uroboros/ouroboros” be explained by any principle, or is it random? [duplicate]

The word "uroboros," coming ultimately from Greek, has a couple of spellings and also pronunciations (see How to pronounce Ouroboros?). As explained by Nohat in the linked page, the two ...
3
votes
2answers
11k views

Heterogeneous vs. inhomogeneous [closed]

I am puzzled about the word "inhomogeneous." Isn't "heterogeneous", strictly speaking, more correct? Do correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, "inhomogeneous" looks like the Latin prefix "in-" added to a ...
3
votes
2answers
393 views

What are the technical symbols used in the margin of a page called?

I research Latin texts which discuss a peculiar medieval practice: the addition of minute graphic symbols into the margins of the page, for example in order to indicate passages of interest, flaws in ...
114
votes
9answers
48k views

Plural of “index” – “indexes” or “indices”?

A table can have one index, or, it can have two or more [...]? Is it indexes or indices? I'm just asking since I've noticed they're both used quite often. Even Wikipedia seems to support both ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Old English instead of Latin in early Britain

For almost 400 years, Britain was a Roman province. During that period, naturally, Latin was an important language in the region. When the Germanic tribes invaded the British Isles (around the 5th ...
40
votes
2answers
6k views

Is the etymology of “salary” a myth?

Since, perhaps forever, I had always ‘known’ that the English word salary was derived from the Latin salarium, to the time when Roman soldiers were paid in salt for their service. Salt was a highly-...
40
votes
3answers
48k views

When a sentence starts with “e.g.”, should the e be capitalized?

When a sentence starts with e.g., should the e be capitalized? Neverminding that it might be better to start with "For example," ... Thinking of SE posts and comments, should the starting e be ...
23
votes
4answers
43k views

Correct spelling/italicization of e.g., i.e.?

Should e.g. and i.e. have periods, e.g. "e.g.", or no periods, eg "eg"? Should they be italicized, e.g. "i.e." or not, eg "i.e"?
13
votes
3answers
13k views

Is the Latin abbreviation “f” (folio) commonly used in page ranges?

When citing from an inclusive range of two consecutive pages such as pages 25 and 26, one can write 25–26 or 25f I know this is a question of style, but I am having little luck with Google on ...
15
votes
3answers
26k views

When do I use -i for expressing the plural of a word?

I've never been certain of the rules surrounding the use of the -i suffix for pluralizing a word. I had thought that it was used for any word whose singular ended in an 's', but that doesn't appear to ...