Questions tagged [terminology]

This tag is for questions seeking or discussing a term (or terms) belonging or peculiar to a science, art, or specialized subject (e.g. linguistics, mathematics, physics, biology, finance, theatre, music, philosophy, astronomy, medical, nautical etc.). Consider adding [single-word-requests] and [phrase-requests] tags also if relevant.

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233 votes
5 answers

"log in to" or "log into" or "login to"

When writing an instruction about connecting to a computer using ssh, telnet, etc., I'm not sure what spacing to use in this familiar spoken phrase: "Log in to" "Log into" "Login to ...
John Siracusa's user avatar
124 votes
13 answers

What is the word for things that work even when they aren't working (e.g. escalators)?

I'm looking for a word (or phrase) to describe mechanisms that are perfectly functional even when they aren't functioning as expected. Examples of these include: Escalators & Electric Walkways: ...
Eric Kigathi's user avatar
  • 1,273
93 votes
5 answers

What does 'TL;DR' mean and how is it used?

I do my best, at my advanced age, to come to grips with the apparent acceptability of such widely used words/expressions/abbreviations as lol/LOL, IMHO, AFAIK, etc. However, TLDR/tl;dr defeats me. ...
tunny's user avatar
  • 4,768
91 votes
3 answers

Is it "falsy" or "falsey"?

I have seen both spellings of this word, falsy and falsey. It can mean "something that is equivalent to false" in computer science, such as "The only two falsy values in the Ruby Language are false ...
nonopolarity's user avatar
  • 3,023
77 votes
3 answers

What is the origin of "daemon" with regards to computing?

Daemon has an interesting usage in computing. From my local dictionary: a background process that handles requests for services such as print spooling and file transfers, and is dormant when not ...
MrHen's user avatar
  • 35.6k
73 votes
14 answers

What is the correct word for "dependee"?

What is the correct word for "dependee"? In other words, what is the word for something that is depended upon? The relationship here is in the context of software engineering
Louis Rhys's user avatar
  • 3,428
72 votes
8 answers

“kinda”, “sorta”, “coulda”, “shoulda”, “lotta”, “oughta”, “betcha”, "tseasy", etc. What are these?

In linguistics, is there a term describing this phenomenon, i.e., when the syllables of two words are slurred together in the spoken language? They are not contractions. While contractions are ...
Centaurus's user avatar
  • 49.8k
71 votes
5 answers

How to pronounce the programmer's abbreviation "char"

In many programming languages, char is a type name for character values. The word character is pronounced with a [k] sound, but what about char? While trying to find the answer elsewhere, I learnt ...
Armen Ծիրունյան's user avatar
70 votes
5 answers

When does thousand turn into thousands?

My boyfriend and I are arguing whether thousands of miles means 1000+ or 2000+ miles. The first argument is that 1000+ is over 1000 and therefore 'thousands of miles' by rounding up. The other ...
Rachel's user avatar
  • 513
70 votes
10 answers

X, Y, Z — horizontal, vertical and ...?

When working in a 2D coordinate system you could say that X is the horizontal axis and Y is the vertical axis. Extending this to 3D, is there a similar word for the Z axis? (I'm aware of Width, ...
George Duckett's user avatar
68 votes
8 answers

Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy programming/technology: "geek" or "nerd"?

Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy and are involved with programming and technology, geek or nerd?
Moshe's user avatar
  • 2,145
65 votes
3 answers

What does the idiom "batteries not included" mean?

In a comment on a Stack Overflow answer to my question, somebody said that "it is a very 'batteries not included' approach": it doesn't look like there's any easy way to make a strict RFC 4627-...
ichbinblau's user avatar
64 votes
21 answers

What is the word for always YES (100%) or always NO (0%), never in-between

For example: 1) In statistics, this attribute will always either be 0% or 100%, never in-between. 2) The boundary is either safe or destroyed, because there is never a state where it is only '...
simon's user avatar
  • 753
64 votes
2 answers

What is the first part of a joke called?

How does one refer to the first part of a joke? The follow up is often referred to as a punchline but I'm unsure how to refer to the first part. Is it a 'joke' or does a 'joke' include the punchline?
benni_mac_b's user avatar
59 votes
10 answers

"Insecure" or "unsecure" when dealing with security?

Which is the appropriate word to be used in the sentence: The system we were testing was determined to be insecure/unsecure. The usage is in the context of security, specifically a lack thereof. ...
Luke's user avatar
  • 1,270
57 votes
10 answers

"Position" is to "space" as what word is to "time"?

Is there an English word that is the temporal equivalent to "position"? As position can be described as "where you are", I can think of "when you are" as the temporal meaning. Information on how ...
user181468's user avatar
57 votes
1 answer

What is "musset"?

I came across the word "musset" in Gregory Maguire's Wicked-- Her green traveling gown with its inset panels of ochre musset suggested wealth, while the black shawl draping just so about ...
soundandfury's user avatar
56 votes
9 answers

Is the term 'String' too jargony to use in a user interface?

Having worked as a software developer for a long time, I'm out of touch sometimes with whether a word would be considered jargon. I am adding something to a user interface where a name is given, and ...
Shawn D.'s user avatar
  • 1,173
56 votes
3 answers

Does OP mean “original poster” or “original post”?

In an online forum, OP means "original poster," but can it also mean "original post?" For example, instead of saying To answer the OP's original question... could one instead say To answer ...
Vyren's user avatar
  • 876
52 votes
8 answers

What exactly is an "adverb"?

From comments to “Weekdays” used as an adverb", I learn that The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says "open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.", shows the word weekdays is an adverb. It seems to me ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
50 votes
27 answers

A better word for "unanswered"

You might have heard that we are restructuring the navigation of all sites in the network. As part of this change there will be 3 tabs which are currently named as: New—it contains questions ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
  • 969
49 votes
5 answers

Are there rules to determine whether a musician's title will end with “-er” or “-ist”?

There are drummers, buglers, fifers, whistlers, and fiddlers. Folks who play all the other instruments use the -ist suffix — pianist, violinist, cellist, tympanist, guitarist, flautist, etc., etc., ad ...
Jim Farwell's user avatar
49 votes
8 answers

Is there an antonym for “capitalize” (as in letter-case)?

A word that starts with a lower-case (lowercase?) letter can be capitalized, but what is the converse action? Google has only one page in the top results that addresses this and the closest thing to ...
Synetech's user avatar
  • 2,315
49 votes
10 answers

How did nominal come to mean "within acceptable tolerances"?

The word "nominal" has a number of definitions. For example, the Free Dictionary gives seven: nom·i·nal (nm-nl) adj. a. Of, resembling, relating to, or consisting of a name or names. b. ...
Oddthinking's user avatar
  • 3,235
48 votes
6 answers

Etymology of a "pegged CPU"

There's a slightly obscure, slang meaning in tech circles of the word "pegged" as it relates to a computer's CPU. When it is fully utilised for a duration (at least several seconds), you can say that "...
aaaidan's user avatar
  • 621
47 votes
4 answers

What is the correct pronunciation of “regex”?

The term regular expression is often shortened to regex. What is the correct pronunciation of the g in regex? Is it like the g1 in gallium, or is it like the g2 in giraffe? I’ve heard it said both ...
Anirudh Ramanathan's user avatar
46 votes
3 answers

Difference between an acronym and abbreviation?

TLA is an acronym for "Three Letter Acronym". Is it also an abbreviation, since it abbreviates the original phrase?
Chris's user avatar
  • 12.4k
46 votes
4 answers

Is there a term for referring to an organization by its city rather than by its name?

This happens specifically often in the technology press: There's no point trying to ascribe motives to what Redmond [instead of "Microsoft"] does. We'll see shortly if Cupertino [instead of "...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 7,621
44 votes
6 answers

What do you call a child for whom you act as a guardian / custodian?

What is the term for this, if there is such a term? For example, if you're a parent, you refer to your offspring as a 'child' and the child refers to you as their 'parent'. I am asking because I ...
catandmouse's user avatar
44 votes
11 answers

What is the most professional name for "squiggly bracket"?

I am creating a software training video and need to refer to these brackets: { } I usually call them "squiggly brackets" or "curly brackets". Is there a more professional name?
Edward Tanguay's user avatar
44 votes
4 answers

English word for taking a derogatory term and owning it with pride

E.g. "geek" or "queer" were originally meant as an insulting term, but were taken by the recipients as titles of pride. Is there a term for this phenomenon?
Richard Haven's user avatar
44 votes
4 answers

What term can be used to describe Yoda's speech?

What is Yoda's speech called? Is there a particular name for it (such as "dangling...")?
Jon Onstott's user avatar
43 votes
10 answers

"Childlessness is hereditary in our family" What do you call a statement containing a contradiction such as the example?

This kind of sentence is usually absurd and may or may not be recognized as such by the person who utters it. She will regret it till the day she dies, if she lives that long! "Aren't you going to ...
Centaurus's user avatar
  • 49.8k
43 votes
8 answers

Is there a difference between "disc" and "disk" for naming digital storage media?

I thought that a disc was a disc, and it is sometimes spelled disk. I now have got an indication that those two are not the same thing. In this answer on Graphic Design, I wrote floppy disc in the ...
awe's user avatar
  • 2,008
43 votes
0 answers

List of expertise levels from beginner to expert [closed]

I would like to create a list of terms, from beginner to expert, using as many terms as possible which represent different levels of expertise. I have constructed by myself: Newbie Novice Rookie ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 539
42 votes
3 answers

Is there a name for text that reads the same upside-down? [duplicate]

This is similar to a palindrome but, instead of a word/sentence that reads the same forwards and backward, is there a word for words/sentences that read the same right side up and upside-down? See ...
Remi's user avatar
  • 544
41 votes
5 answers

A word for when you speak ill of something and it turns out the person you are speaking to likes that thing

Is there a word describing the phenomenon of when you insult or speak badly of something but it turns out the person you are speaking to likes or owns or is related to that thing? E.G. you say "The ...
Kagetsuki's user avatar
  • 513
41 votes
4 answers

Meaning of "reach out to somebody"

The dictionary explains this as: To show somebody that you are interested in them and/or want to help them The explanation indicates the subject of the sentence is the one that offers help, but I ...
ZZcat's user avatar
  • 1,717
41 votes
6 answers

What follows next in the sequence "unary, binary, ternary..."?

I looked on Oxford's online dictionary and was able to find the names identifying orders of a given degree: primary secondary tertiary quaternary quinary senary septenary octonary nonary denary -- no ...
Will's user avatar
  • 1,394
40 votes
20 answers

What is a word that means unforgettable but with a negative connotation?

When I look up unforgettable in a thesaurus, I get words like enduring, remarkable, or exceptional. These all are positive; I just cannot forget such a wondrous thing! I, however, want a word that ...
BigBoy1337's user avatar
38 votes
19 answers

Is there a word for a message that is intended to be intercepted by an adversary?

There is a kind of message in espionage that is meant to be intercepted by an adversary for the purpose of spreading false information: For instance, by sending a letter stating that troops are moving ...
RaceYouAnytime's user avatar
38 votes
8 answers

Can or should "ask" ever be used as a noun?

"The ask is that you provide me with..." I started hearing "ask" being used as a noun a few years ago. Is this a recent trend? Is it an East Coast thing, unique to North America, or just unique to ...
ukayer's user avatar
  • 2,372
37 votes
24 answers

What's a good term for source code that could theoretically still run, but is purposefully not?

I'm a software engineer. There are many times when I write a good chunk, or even the entirety of, a feature, but opt not to make it actually run in the program for some reason or another. This code is ...
Ky -'s user avatar
  • 1,024
37 votes
21 answers

What do you call a response which does not address the question?

When some one is asked a question, sometimes if they are trying to avoid answering the question, they respond with something unrelated. What is the word for that response? Eg. A: Why were you late? ...
Jacques's user avatar
  • 381
37 votes
11 answers

A word for really thin book pages

I have recently got a book which is almost 700 pages in A4 format. To save the costs, it was printed on very thin paper and with low-coverage ink. I am looking for a single word or an idiom for very, ...
eimyr's user avatar
  • 531
37 votes
3 answers

Is there a non-medical name for the curve where index finger and thumb meet?

I'm trying to write a short post about hand spinners, and one of the problems I have with a hand spinner is that it hits the curve between the index finger and thumb. I can't seem to find any good ...
Mar's user avatar
  • 937
36 votes
6 answers

Why is the term "depressed" often used to describe a button which is pressed?

In several books that mention GUI, keyboard, or mouse buttons (e.g. the book Programming Windows by Charles Petzold), the authors refer to the state of a pressed button as depressed. Why is this term ...
Andrej Mitrović's user avatar
35 votes
6 answers

Why use BCE/CE instead of BC/AD?

When I was a kid, I was always taught to refer to years using BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini / year of our Lord). However, I somewhat regularly hear people referring to years as in the CE (...
Jez's user avatar
  • 12.7k
35 votes
5 answers

Is there a pre-Internet term for "gamification"?

Gamification is a relatively new term which was coined and has been made highly popular in the Internet era. From the related Wikipedia article: Though the term "gamification" was coined in 2002 ...
BiscuitBoy's user avatar
  • 13.5k
34 votes
2 answers

Word for the distance from the waterline to the main deck of a boat

What is the word for the distance from the waterline to the main deck of a ship? In other words, the height of the main deck (or gunwale if that has a name) above the water when the ship is at sea. ...
Simd's user avatar
  • 2,475

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