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Questions tagged [word-formation]

For questions about how new words are created.

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dogfight vs. dog fighting

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a dogfight means: 1 : a fight between dogs broadly : a fiercely disputed contest 2 : a fight between two or more fighter planes usually at ...
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0answers
79 views

What's the correct word to refer to a believer of scientism? [duplicate]

Scientism is, roughly speaking, the belief that the only legitimate knowledge is scientific knowledge and all other sources of knowledge - like religion - should be rejected. If it is still unlcear, ...
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0answers
37 views

What is the function of 'a-' in the phrase 'cocks a-crow' [duplicate]

This is a beginning of W.B.Yeats's poem Under Ben Bulben: Swear by what the Sages spoke Round the Mareotic Lake That the Witch of Atlas knew, Spoke and set the cocks a-crow. What is the ...
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3answers
109 views

What are the higher variations of 'couple'? [closed]

If a couple is a pair or a group of two, what does one call a group of three, four, etc.?
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53 views

models of creating nonce-words

Is the word "absexolutely" (Mr.Big's word from "Sex and the City") a blend or a compound? I teach "English Lexicology" course and think this is a blend, though not a classical one. But what are real ...
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1answer
426 views

Word Formation: Noun Suffixes and their Spelling and Stress Shift Rules

I've been having a real hard time trying to gather information about word formation in English, more specifically about the rules involving suffixes that turn verbs and adjectives into nouns. But not ...
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1answer
105 views

Open-ended concepts in Chinese usually be alluded by listing specific examples. Would native English speakers find it hard to grasp the connotation?

In Chinese and Vietnamese sometimes a word is made up by listing its examples. For example, "table-chair" means furniture, "month-year" means time, "land-water" means country, "spring-summer-fall-...
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1answer
61 views

Words that can be decomposed entirely into parts which are anagrams of each other [closed]

I recently noticed that teammate is composed of two anagrams, and was wondering if anyone had any other examples of this, or even better, a name for this phenomenon?
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1answer
110 views

How is “burial” incorrectly formed?

OED says that: Middle English buryel, biriel, incorrectly formed as a singular of byriels, buriels n., q.v.; in later times associated with nouns in -al from French, such as espousal-s. Etymonline....
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1answer
40k views

Email - We will discuss about this during/in our meeting scheduled on Monday? [closed]

I am responding to an email where i want inform the person who asked some question saying we will discuss about this during Mondays meeting. I am not sure which is the correct way of framing this ...
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0answers
255 views

Capital or small letter after double colon?

If I have a sentence like: .. major improvements as follows: First, .. ... the following things changed: the building.. Is it ok to capitalize the first letter after double colon in some cases (when ...
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1answer
475 views

Word form of “lie” in this sentence? [closed]

I have this sentence The _____ strength of this novel is the author's life experience And it needs a word form of lie to fill in the gap. At first, I think it's lying but it sounds weird to me.
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2answers
14k views

Which word is correct in this sentence? (signing/signature)

Consider the following: The financial industry got its (22) ________ (office) start on Wall Street on May 17, 1792. On that day, New York's first stock exchange was established by the (23) ________ ...
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1answer
202 views

Do you usually divide words into elements?

English sounds sound complex for me as a non-native speaker, because of vowel reduction. English vowels in words can take a wide range of form in natural speech due to vowel reduction and whether you ...
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1answer
401 views

Why does English have so few “obscene” roots, compared to Russian? [closed]

Russian has 4 obscene roots ('-еб-', '-хуй-', '-пизд-', '-бляд-') and a huge variety of options in order to create new words: 'ебать', 'ёбаный', 'уебать', 'заебать', 'подъебать', 'ебантяй', 'уёбок'...
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4answers
590 views

One word for an ability that is self-destructive

I am looking for one word to describe an ability that does more harm than good to the one having the ability. For example, an artist who has so much to express that it drives him mad. Or a scientist ...
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2answers
105 views

Why 'nervOUS', but 'mentAL'? [closed]

Why not to use one suffix for both stems? Like 'nervAL'/'mentAL' or 'nervOUS'/'mentOUS'. Thanks for your answer
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1answer
602 views

Are there rules for forming adjectives from names? [duplicate]

I may not be using the right terms for what I'm asking, but for example, "Cartesian" is an adjective derived from Descartes' name, and "Dickensian" is an adjective derived from Charles Dickens' name, ...
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1answer
3k views

Is “Five dollars is all I have” correct?

I want to emphasize that I only have 5 dollars, so can I use the sentence: Five dollars is all I have. Or must it be: Five dollars are all I have. Please give the explanation as well.
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1answer
91 views

Can I split the word “being” with a “-” (hyphen)?

In the following sentence I want to use the word "being". I was told that my use of the word "being" is confusing or unclear. Can I write "being" as "be-ing"? Is that even an acceptable way to write ...
3
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1answer
196 views

What English words have unique prevocalic forms?

The indefinite article a becomes an when it precedes a word beginning with a vowel sound. Similar conventions can be found in thy → thine and the now-archaic my → mine. Aside from these three ...
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1answer
3k views

“Lip-sync” or “Lip-synch”?

What is the correct spelling of the expression "lip sync[h]," which refers to miming singing over a recording--usually in a public performance and with the intention to mislead? Google has ...
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2answers
629 views

Question that is a no-brainer

I need a phrase which has a meaning of a question that is very easy to answer and requires very little thought. I think it might have something to do with word no-brainer. I don't know if a no-...
39
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1answer
6k views

Etymology of Butterfly

Does the word butterfly derive from transposition of word order, i.e., "flutter by"? Several dictionaries that I looked this up in so long ago that I've forgotten which ones, said either "origin ...
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1answer
492 views

What do you call people who live 6 months in city(urban area ), then travel to the village(rural area) and live 6 months. And they do this constantly

I have found the words 'commuter' and 'Itinerant' but they don't really describe what I mean. I made up the word 'biland','bilanded' means people who have two land to live on. What do you say? Is it ...
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2answers
673 views

Word for something being a misnomer - “misnomerous”? “misnomatic”? [closed]

What is the word used to describe something as being a misnomer?
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0answers
267 views

Words ending in -cial/tial [duplicate]

Can anyone please highlight the process behind the formation of words ending in -cial/-tial? For instance, finance is the root for financial but, different is the root for differential ...
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1answer
418 views

Usage of the phrase “in itself” in this specific context?

"The watching in itself of this video put my brain in a bit of a knot." If I want to use the term "in itself", is this the correct way to format a sentence, if I want to put emphasis on the "...
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2answers
607 views

Squeegee with a squeegee

Squeegee is: a scraping implement, usually consisting of a straight-edged blade of india-rubber, gutta-percha, or the like, attached to the end of a long handle, for removing water, mud, etc. [OED] ...
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1answer
5k views

Diminutive forms in English.

In many languages, formation of diminutives by adding suffixes is a productive part of the language. Many languages apply a grammatical diminutive to nouns, a few—including Dutch, Italian and Russian ...
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2answers
522 views

Word-formation process - which one?

I would like to ask if anyone knows what word-formation process takes place when we join two separate words (for instance 360 + flip) and create a word '360 flip' written separately, but used as a ...
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2answers
686 views

Usage of the “non” word when describing something which does not belong to a project (or any organizational group)

The dictionary contains many words which start with "non", e.g. non-acceptance or nonacceptance (with a hyphen and without it). I tried to find out if I can build a new word by using the word "non" ...
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2answers
295 views

Is “testes” an inflectional reduplication?

I was supposed to ask this question 1 year ago and it is based on a discussion in this question that I answered: What is a word called that consists of a repetition of one word? I gave testes as an ...
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2answers
356 views

Morphological analysis of the formation of unhappier

I am an English student from Austria and have a question concerning morphology. In the reading I did for one of my introductory courses on linguistics there was a chapter on the analysis of word-...
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1answer
2k views

What's the noun based on the adverb 'deliberately'?

If I do something with a great sense of purpose, if I do it extremely... intentionally and deliberately. I do it with... deliberalcy? Deliberacy? My searches have returned nothing.
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1answer
539 views

Creating new words [closed]

A student told me a speaker came to his company and was very interesting. This came up in the context of his preparation for a presentation about his company. In looking at the material the speaker ...
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1answer
177 views

Why doesn’t autocorrect software like “unauthorises”? [closed]

I was writing some documentation and trying to write a sentence that ran like this: It then unauthorises the transaction. I soon realised this wasn't a word, and it kept correcting this to ...
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3answers
196 views

Person, People, Peoples, and other linguistically similar words

Now, person is singular, and can decline to the plural persons or people, depending on region, level of formality, and nuance. Let's ignore persons for the moment and just focus on people. People, ...
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3answers
338 views

“monobjective” vs “monoobjective”: should it be “mon” or “mono-” before a vowel?

I do not know which of the following words is right in English: monobjective vs monoobjective. The context is scientific/formal. Example: "monoobjective optimization". Is there any general rule in ...
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1answer
2k views

What does “lay to heart” mean?

I am studying a few words in Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary that have connected definitions or meanings: hearken, heed, observe, attend, and regard. One definition of 'regard' is: "To consider ...
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1answer
123 views

Formatting of defined terms [duplicate]

In my report, I am defining/describing some terms. What is a proper way to start and format a sentences like: The term crawling denotes the practice of ... Should I put the word/term crawling in ...
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1answer
3k views

Why is “coon” a word?

The word formation process that yielded the word coon is called (fore-)clipping: raccoon > coon Other examples of fore-clipping include: bot (robot), chute (parachute), roach (cockroach), coon (...
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3answers
497 views

bemustached versus mustached

I’ve just read an article in The Huffington Post in which the phrase “bemustached 26-year-old” was used: Sex and sword swallowing beg some pretty obvious comparisons, but the similarities aren’t ...
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1answer
297 views

Adverbial Form of “Supplementary” [closed]

Does the word "supplementary" have an adverbial form? My first instinct is the word "supplementarily," but as far as I can tell that isn't a word.
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1answer
565 views

What is the opposite of -genic?

English uses the suffix -genic to mean "generating / generated by / producing": anxiogenic (anxiety-producing) iatrogenic (caused by the healer / doctor) neurogenic (produced by the nervous system) ...
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2answers
5k views

Sugarcane or Sugar cane? [duplicate]

Is there a difference between "sugar cane" and sugarcane? Is sugarcane wrong? What is the gramatical rule for joining two names like that? I have found 13.500 entries on google for sugarcane, but 16....
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1answer
665 views

Why are some “-ist” suffixed words used as the adjective form over the more common “-istic”?

Generally speaking, for any kind of "-ism", the suffix "-ist" produces the noun form and "-istic" produces the adjective form. But there are some "-ist" suffixes that are acceptable or even more ...
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2answers
6k views

Noun form of “scared” for “feeling of [blank] ”

Which form of the word scare would complete the phrase feeling of .. It might be something like afraidness. I don't think scariness works here.
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1answer
271 views

Why does English have 'interception'/'intercept' instead of 'interception'/'interceive'?

A recent EL&U question about the word inception led me to look into discussions of the (theoretical but not actual) verb inceive, which turned up a discussion in Harry Bochner, Simplicity in ...
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1answer
212 views

Is there a noun form for “fine-grained”?

For example I want to say: ...the level of (fine-grained in noun) that is needed... I wonder if the word "grainery" will work.