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8
votes
2answers
552 views

Why “buy things secondhand,“ not “buy secondhand things”?

I saw the word ‘secondhand’ come after ‘things’ in the lead copy of July 17 Time magazine’s article, titled “10 Things You Should Be Buying Used”, as follows. Buying things secondhand can save a ...
8
votes
2answers
19k views

Combined reference to multiple leave

Dictionaries(dictionary.com, OALD etc.) suggest that leave (absence from work) is a noun- uncountable, which means it has to be "leave" for plural. Also, searching SE to find Applying/...
8
votes
1answer
171k views

Keen on vs keen to

I would need to understand the difference between the following sentences: I am very keen to do that. I am very keen on doing that. I am keen that I can do that.
8
votes
3answers
26k views

"Irrelevant for" vs. "irrelevant to"

Reading some of the comments on StackExhange, I came across this is irrelevant for this question Shouldn't it be "irrelevant to this question"? Searching on Google I found both are used in ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

The problem is threefold?

The problems are threefold. The problem is threefold. Which is the right way to use the -fold suffix? Note - This question was previously asked by a user whose account has been suspended, so the ...
8
votes
2answers
15k views

What is the difference between disseminate and distribute

The original confusion arose when I read the following sentence. --> you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication, or any of its contents, is strictly ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

What's the difference between cunning, crafty and wily?

The definitions are quite similar, but what are the differences in meaning between them, exactly? cunning: having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion crafty: clever at ...
8
votes
4answers
11k views

"Infective" or "Infectious"

I checked the dictionary only to find these two words clubbed into a single entry. Have these words evolved into one, having started differently? His enthusiasm was infectious. Does "infective" ...
8
votes
7answers
30k views

Tired in an enjoyable way

I'm looking for a single word meaning "tired or fatigued in a good or enjoyable manner", as one would feel after a good day's work, or after some proper exercise. For example: After a strenuous gym ...
8
votes
2answers
18k views

"Inside" or "inside of"

I've been reading this text: When you define a type, you can define static data fields within it. The bytes that back these static data fields are allocated within the type objects themselves. ...
8
votes
1answer
16k views

Articles in a list

I saw a bear, a lion and a donkey. Is the usage of the article a necessary before each word in a list like this? Biggs set out Monday morning for one of his usual hiking and gold-panning trips ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the usage of "service" as a verb a recent phenomenon?

I am finding that people use the word "serviced" in place of other verbs such as served, repaired, helped, etc. Has the use of the word service always been acceptable as a verb? Or is that a more ...
8
votes
4answers
21k views

What was the idiom for multitasking before chewing gum was invented?

A colorful idiom for someone who can only do one thing at a time is he can't walk and chew gum at the same time Obviously, this only makes sense if you know what the heck chewing gum is. Was there ...
8
votes
1answer
30k views

"We're not" vs. "we aren't"

I'm just curious if there are any "official" rules (or opinions either way) about what form to use when three words can be contracted on either side.
8
votes
6answers
8k views

“all that” vs. “all what”

I’ve heard somebody say: All what is needed is … I thought the correct way to phrase it was: All that is needed is … However, thinking about it more, the former doesn’t sound too incorrect, ...
8
votes
6answers
812 views

Is there a term for pejorative parody names of people or places?

I recently saw someone refer to Michele Bachmann as Michele Botchman [emphasis added] and was wondering what the term for such a parody name would be? Obviously it was intended as pejorative, so I'm ...
8
votes
6answers
13k views

How to pronounce the "v" sound?

I live in Thailand and we pronounce "w" and "v" the same. When I spoke to American people they told me that the "v" sound was different from "w". They told me to move my lower lip to the upper teeth, ...
8
votes
8answers
23k views

Italicization of "aka"

I received a document where one collaborator italicized aka and another did not. Should aka be italicized?
8
votes
4answers
8k views

What is the proper adjective for the UK?

I've heard Ukonian used, and I must say I rather like it, but I don't think it's a fully accepted word yet. British leaves out Northern Ireland.
8
votes
3answers
12k views

"Rotate about" vs. "rotate around" [closed]

Is there a difference in meaning between This operation rotates the object about the axis defined by ... and This operation rotates the object around the axis defined by ... (e.g. in the ...
8
votes
4answers
16k views

Etymology of "mullet"?

I was pondering the names of haircuts the other day, and I could understand the origins of most of them: pudding basin, crew cut, duck's arse, and bog brush are all reasonably obvious, but I was ...
8
votes
4answers
52k views

Is there a word for the sound that is made after taking a sip of hot coffee/tea?

Sometimes, after people take a sip of hot coffee or tea and send it down their throat, they make this sound originating from the front of their mouth. Something like "Aaah" — exhaling a little steam. ...
8
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there an online dictionary listing words spelled in reverse?

A final "s" in a word is usually pronounced \z\, so it is an interesting that the final "z" in "quartz" is pronounced \s\. (I mention interesting quirks like this to my ESL students.) I was wondering ...
8
votes
3answers
26k views

Is "uncomplete" a word? [closed]

Or would I just use incomplete? Would there be any instance that one would uncomplete?
8
votes
2answers
10k views

Is there a name for "I don't mean to..., but" phrases?

"I don't mean to change the subject, but..." but you are changing the subject. "I don't mean to interrupt, but..." but you are interrupting. Is there a name for these type of "polite" phrases?
8
votes
7answers
603 views

What is the warning that you're almost done called?

Consider the following items: the warning track around a baseball outfield the red stripe near the end of the a roll of receipt paper the margin bell on a typewriter the rumble strips when a highway ...
8
votes
5answers
297k views

"Reschedule to" or "reschedule for"?

Would you like me to re-schedule to today instead? Would you like me to re-schedule for today instead?
8
votes
7answers
2k views

"Dark of the Moon"

Is it correct grammar to say "Dark of the Moon"? Should it not be either "Dark (insert word here) of the Moon" if there is some dark thing of the moon, or "Darkness of the Moon" if the moon itself ...
8
votes
7answers
11k views

What is the meaning of "run someone out of town"?

I know it's hard to understand a sentence without context, but what situation comes naturally to your mind when you hear the following sentence? She ran the mayor out of town.
8
votes
5answers
7k views

Why do we say, "keep a stiff upper lip"?

I've never understood the origin of the phrase, "keep a stiff upper lip". Presumably it's something to do with avoiding crying (as it means to remain stoical), but if anything it's the bottom lip ...
8
votes
2answers
20k views

Meaning of "I'm not your friend, buddy", besides the literal meaning [closed]

Does the expression "I'm not your friend, buddy" have a colloquial meaning? I've now seen it used twice. I am guessing it has more than just a literal meaning.
8
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the meaning of "Already wet, aren’t they? Little squirts!"?

“Peeves, get down here NOW!” barked Professor McGonagall, straightening her pointed hat and glaring upward through her square-rimmed spectacles. “Not doing nothing!” cackled Peeves, lobbing a water ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English ambassador, embassy?

If there were no such a word as embassy, I would consider ambassad as a root and -or as an agent derivational suffix here. But embassy makes me puzzled. If we accept that segmentation shold be done ...
8
votes
6answers
19k views

"I'm sure" vs. "I'm for sure": Who uses which, and when?

I hear both (and their negatives: "I'm not sure" and "I'm not for sure"). I want to classify the "for sure" variety as regional Southern, since that's the context I most ...
8
votes
3answers
12k views

How did "everloving" become a completely generic intensifier?

Most of the uses of the word everloving I can think of involve either vulgar or violent contexts, so you must excuse the following example: He'd finally crossed my last nerve, so yesterday, me and ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

British upper-class pronunciation of words like "what" and "when"

More from the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. I've noticed in these sort of movies, when some very upper-class speakers talk, like the lawyer in the series, Mr. Tulkinghorn, they have ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Meaning of "laughing on one side of the face"

These two children were talking, and one boy was assuring the girl that his big ball would fall faster than her ball, which was smaller. When I heard this, I was naturally amused, and laughed. The ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Status of verb in "winner-take-all"

In the expression a "winner-take-all society", I'm interested in the status of the verb: is it an infinitive or an imperative? As a related question, would it look odd to an anglophone if I wrote "a-...
8
votes
2answers
457 views

What is a 'Swivel Servant'?

English is not my first language. I googled and googled, but this was one thing I was not able to find. Can someone give me a definition of this?
8
votes
6answers
11k views

Are there any pairs of words like "beloved"/"belovèd", "learned"/"learnèd" that maintain a semantic difference to the present day?

When I first read Romeo and Juliet in high school, I remember being intrigued by pairs of words such as, beloved/belovèd and learned/learnèd where there's an accent grave on the 'e' of the ...
8
votes
2answers
628 views

Words that sound all-inclusive, but aren't necessarily all-inclusive

Words like "anywhere" and "everybody" usually have a predefined or implicit context during conversations: Everybody is going out to lunch. Would you like to come too? We are willing to go anywhere -...
8
votes
3answers
59k views

Difference between "solicitor" and "barrister"

What is the difference between solicitor and barrister?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

English term that groups notes and coins of a currency [closed]

I'm programming a web application and I need to name the "class of things" that are notes and coins. So far the best I could find was "currency piece". Is that the correct way of naming the notes ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Does the word "table" have anything to do with a table?

I am curious to know why a numerical chart can be called a table. What is the relation to the table at which people eat?
8
votes
4answers
8k views

Why use "his" in association with the word "mankind"?

The economist Keynes in a book wrote: The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind. I would have used "its" instead but since English is not my mother-...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

"drop the penny"

I was wondering what "drop the penny", "help get the penny to drop", or things similar mean? All I can understand is that it must be a metaphor. For example: simply trying to repeat things in ...
8
votes
1answer
70k views

What are the differences between "allegories", "fables" and "parables"?

My concept of the three is: Allegory: A story in which ideas are symbolized as people. Parable: A short story designed to teach a moral or religious lesson. Fable: A short story in which animals or ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

"omni"-prefixed word for "all-hearing"

Is there an adjective that begins with the prefix omni that means all-hearing? I thought that an aural counterpart to omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient must exist, but after a few minutes of ...
8
votes
10answers
8k views

Pronunciation of "especially"

In some podcasts (it seems the speaker was from California) I heard that the word "especially" was pronounced with "ks" sound like "ikspeshally". What was it likely to be, personal way of ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the English word of Chinese origin "Shih Tzu" used to refer to a dog breed not known in Chinese as "Shih Tzu"?

It is well known that it comes from a Wade-Giles transcription of the Mandarin Chinese word for "lion dog" (獅子狗 shih1-tzu0-kou3, from 獅子 "lion" + 狗 "dog"). This is part is indubitable. There's no ...

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