Questions tagged [nouns]

This tag is for questions about nouns. Nouns are words that refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept. Add this tag to single-word-requests if you are looking for a noun. Add the tag word-usage if you are asking about the usage of the noun.

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47
votes
17answers
37k views

Suggested alternatives for “nice-to-have” as a noun

In the example below, I’m looking for a suitable synonym for nice-to-have. I’m specifically looking for an appropriate noun replacement; do we actually have such a thing in English? Maintenance ...
17
votes
6answers
28k views

What is the difference between “citizen” and “denizen”

Citizen: 1. A legally recognized subject ornational of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized. 2. An inhabitant of a particular town or city. Denizen: 1. An inhabitant or occupant of a ...
15
votes
6answers
94k views

What's the difference between “client” and “customer”?

I already asked a similar question (customer vs. client vs. user vs. consumer of on-line service) but, I believe, there may be some differences between technical and legal jargon and general usage of ...
11
votes
3answers
46k views

“Home page” or “homepage”? [closed]

Is there a convention for the spelling of the name of the main page of a website? Should it be home page, with a space between the two words; or homepage, all one word?
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Which is grammatically correct: “There is tea and juice” or “There are tea and juice”? [duplicate]

The bread and butter was tasty Bread and butter are sold in this shop. I have been taught when things are considered separately, we should use 'are' but when they are used collectively, we ...
41
votes
7answers
12k views

“Left” and “right” are to “side” as “front” and “rear” are to what?

Is there an equivalent word to "side" when speaking of the front or rear of something (e.g. a car)? So, a mechanic might say: You damaged your wing-mirror? Ok, which side? ... or... You ...
21
votes
4answers
19k views

What are: province, territory, protectorate, state…?

Often a country will have regions called "provinces" or "states". Other times they are called "territories" and "protectorates". Is there a generic term for these words? Is there a full list of ...
21
votes
4answers
32k views

Is there a difference between “leading edge” and “bleeding edge”?

It seems to me that "leading edge" is the more established phrase, while "bleeding edge" is basically the same thing but the user has adapted the phrase for extra (rather meaningless) emphasis. Or is ...
19
votes
8answers
5k views

Me and my ancestors - single word

I'd like to find a single noun that relates to me and which corresponds to the list of people including me and each of my ancestors. I've already rejected the following words: genealogy : means a ...
18
votes
2answers
7k views

When and why did the N-word and “negro” go apart?

Both the terms nigger and negro come from the Spanish and Portuguese Negro which denotes "black". But today they have widely different connotations, the former is considered a horrible racial slur, ...
17
votes
6answers
71k views

Which is the correct spelling: “fairy” or “faerie”?

Fairy vs. faerie — which is the correct spelling?
17
votes
2answers
70k views

“Referrer” versus “referral” versus “referer”

Which word is correct and what do they mean? I've seen $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] (PHP), but I have also seen referrer in can I forward “referrer” information to other address? and referral on the ...
17
votes
3answers
118k views

What's the difference between “imbalance” and “unbalance”?

Is there a difference in usage between imbalance and unbalance as nouns? Specifically, we are designing a product where we measure three (3) related quantities continuously. These three quantities ...
15
votes
1answer
28k views

Should north, south, east and west be capitalised?

Should cardinal points be capitalised? Please give a reason why they should or should not.
14
votes
1answer
14k views

Why is “blood” pronounced the way it is?

I mean, why isn't it pronounced "blue-d" rather than "blud". And this applies to "flood" too, but not "glood" or "clood" I imagine.
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is “rollback it” incorrect?

I recently wrote the following sentence: Please roll it back. But if I were to describe the action on its own I would say: This rollback was due to objections by the original author. If I want ...
12
votes
13answers
26k views

Plural of “advice”

The dictionary says that advice can only be used in the singular. But in a specific part of computer science (aspect-oriented programming) this word is used to reference some object that implements ...
9
votes
10answers
125k views

A more formal word for “tech-savvy”, relating to IT technologists in particular

Good morning. I'm struggling with formalizing this sentence: Online password managers are popular among tech-savvies. This is too casual--I would like a better word for tech-savvies, preferably ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a word for “umming”?

Is there a word for saying "um" or "uh", etc, during speaking? Or a word for "um" and "uh", etc?
7
votes
8answers
12k views

“Visualized” equivalent adjective for audio

Are there such words as "audiolized" or "audibilized"? EDIT: Merriam-Webster has the word Audibilized indexed with no definition! What I was trying to achieve was to say that something is an ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Etymology of “snob”

Some dictionaries mention an origin involving shoemakers... But I can't say the link is straightforward, really.
6
votes
3answers
150k views

Should the words “city”/“state”/“province” be capitalized (if not followed by the name of the city)?

When referring to an entity like a government body, should it be capitalized if referring to is by classification(?). E.g., if I write: The City of New York requires us to get a building permit. ...
6
votes
1answer
932 views

Correct Usage of Capital Letters

Suppose there is a Department of English (note: the name is not English Department) at Abc University. I want to know the correct use of capital letters in these sentences: The Department of ...
6
votes
6answers
15k views

What is the difference between “attribute” and “property”? [closed]

Could you please clear up the meaning of these two words for me? I don't understand this sentence: Attributes introduced by RDFA have names. For example, property is one such attribute.
6
votes
3answers
454k views

Difference Between “Sell” and “Sale”?

I'm a copy editor at a law firm and need to give a quick-and-dirty explanation of the difference between "sell" and "sale" to a native English speaker (a legal secretary) who is very self-conscious ...
6
votes
4answers
32k views

What's the difference between a proverb and an idiom? [closed]

I think I have a notion what is what but maybe you know a good definition what is what? For example "Hindsight is always 20:20" — is that a proverb or an idiom?
4
votes
1answer
540 views

Adjectival Usage of Racist

I have noticed a trend going back at least a decade of using the word racist (and for that matter sexist) as an adjective. This doesn't appear to fit the pattern of -ism words, which become -ist when ...
3
votes
1answer
436 views

Using adjectives as nouns

What is the term for using an adjective in the place of a noun? It seems to come up a lot in fantasy fiction, generally used as a proper noun to describe a group ("the Twisted", "the Hunted"), but it ...
2
votes
1answer
20k views

Compound noun or adjective + noun?

Substitute teacher is an adjective and a noun, where substitute is an adjective as defined in the dictionary. However, what about replacement teacher? Replacement is defined as a noun in the ...
19
votes
7answers
84k views

Why is a woman's purse called a “pocketbook”?

It's not a book, and it doesn't fit in anyone's pocket. Why does my brother-in-law insist on calling his wife's purse a pocketbook? I'm interested in the etymology, and in the chronological and ...
16
votes
8answers
4k views

What is a word for a person who has been initiated into secret knowledge (apprentice, ___, master)?

I'm looking for a noun that can fit well in a 3-level scale: apprentice, ____, master. The scale describes the progress of a person from a layman/uninitiated (apprentice), through being accomplished ...
14
votes
2answers
73k views

How can I distinguish between the singular and plural of “species”?

I've been reading a Wikipedia article that describes the symptoms of rabies in various species, and I want to add a clarification note about which species (or species) a specific paragraph refers to. ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are there different ways of indicating gender for animals?

Why are there different ways of indicating gender for animals? For instance, by inflexion we get: lion (male) & lioness (female) where the female is distinguished from the male. Here the male is ...
13
votes
19answers
14k views

Single word for a very small amount of time [closed]

In French, if I want to quantify a very small amount of time (but not fixed: it can be 5 ms or 0.1 ms) I can use a pouième. Is there an equivalent in English? I'm not looking for an expression but ...
13
votes
2answers
19k views

Pronunciation of “Celt”: /kɛlt/ vs. /sɛlt/

Both /kɛlt/ and /sɛlt/ are considered acceptable pronunciations of the noun Celt and similarly of the adjective Celtic. Is there a reason for the different pronunciations? Which is the more common? Is ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate?

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate? For example, possessive nouns (both proper and common) are written with a apostrophe before the final s: ...
11
votes
3answers
91k views

Is “homework” countable?

I was wondering if "homework" is countable? I remember it is an uncountable noun when I learned English in middle school. Suppose now I would like to ask my teacher to hand back my graded "homeworks"...
10
votes
11answers
21k views

Word for a person being used

I'm looking for a word to describe someone who is being used. I want a noun to describe this person, not a verb or or adjective. Maybe like a pushover.
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Does “upshot” denote something positive, negative, or neutral?

I’m a non-native speaker of English, and I’ve always felt that “upshot” was used to denote positive results. But I’ve come across a few cases recently where negative or neutral outcomes were ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are certain single word compound nouns pluralized in the middle

Hypothesis: compound nouns that are unhyphenated single words can be pluralized by adding an “s” to the noun root only when they consist of a noun + preposition. This is a follow-up to an earlier ...
7
votes
5answers
499 views

Dropping the '-ing' in noun adjuncts

I always remember many verbs ending in -ing. Swimming club/cap and shaving foam for example. I now see increased use of swim club and shave foam. Why has this happened, is it correct use of English ?...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

A code or some code?

When talking about the source code of a program, my Computer Science teacher sometimes refers to single pieces of code as 'a code'. For example: For today's task, you need to write a code which ...
6
votes
6answers
44k views

What do you call someone who lives for himself?

What do you call someone who lives for himself? If someone lives his life solely to achieve his own life goals and not want to associate his life with others', what would you call him? I know some of ...
4
votes
7answers
146k views

What is the expression to suggest a few dates and times to meet?

Let's say a friend of mine tells me the following: Nice! Let’s meet up for a drink this week. And I want to say, "Sure let's do it. I will propose a few ..., and you tell me if either of them ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When must a gerund be preceded by a possessive pronoun as opposed to an accusative one?

I was recently reading this very interesting post here: When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner? In this thread, it is argued persuasively that we could use ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Plural or singular in “between the negotiated and fixed rate(s)”

From http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/swapspread.asp Swap spread is the difference between the negotiated and fixed rate of a swap. Should "rate" be plural "rates"?
17
votes
8answers
47k views

Difference between “condo” and “apartment”

I have never really understood the connotation of someone calling their domicile a condo over the word apartment. I have a vague feeling the former is fancier and more up-scale, but are there any ...
15
votes
6answers
7k views

What's the most accurate term for phrases such as “storm in a teacup” and “making mountains out of molehills”?

Are phrases such as "storm in a teacup" and "making mountains out of molehills" best described by one of these terms: anecdote proverb saying expression metaphor If not, which term is the right term?...
14
votes
10answers
33k views

Is “architect” a verb and a noun?

I hear the word architect used as a verb in the technical field and now more often in other industries and groups, for example: We need to architect a better solution to the problem. I am ...
14
votes
5answers
16k views

What is the preferred plural form of “bus”?

The OED states that both "buses" and "busses" are acceptable plural forms of "bus". Is one generally preferred over the other?