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Etymology is the history of the origin of words and phrases.

20
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Equivocal does not mean the opposite of unanimous, nor has it reversed its meaning. For a person to equivocate is to use ambiguous language, and be non-committal: to "hedge" between two positions wit …
answered Dec 27 '10 by ShreevatsaR
5
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many examples. Note that the Online Etymology Dictionary you linked to says that sense of "hired thug" first recorded 1938 (in ref. to union "beef squads" used to cow strikers in the Pacific …
answered Sep 24 '10 by ShreevatsaR
8
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Etymology Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary.) zero: circa 1600, (either from Middle Latin zephirum, or French zéro or its source Italian zero, for *zefiro) in any case from Arabic sifr "cipher …
answered Jun 21 '11 by ShreevatsaR
9
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This is a good question, and the general references (Online Etymology Dictionary, etc.) are not helpful in getting a definite answer. That is, they give the general etymology of check (it arose from …
answered Oct 25 '11 by ShreevatsaR
5
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? Etymologically, the Online Etymology Dictionary says carat mid-15c., from M.Fr. carat "measure of the fineness of gold" (14c.), from It. carato, from Arabic qirat "pod, husk, weight of 4 grains … , Middle French, in that order). The Wikipedia sections Carat (purity)#Derivation and Carat (mass)#Etymology agree: once upon a time, carob seeds, because of their reputation for uniform weight, were …
answered Feb 26 '11 by ShreevatsaR
5
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Although it's still not clear what it means to ask for the etymology of the phrase, I can give some early examples of its usage. (Found through looking on Google Books for the 1600s. If you try this …
answered Sep 1 '10 by ShreevatsaR
14
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8answers
intended to express approval and encouragement to a team or an individual. My question is: does this phrase have an etymology? The sense of "go" as used in this template does not seem to be used …
asked Feb 3 '11 by ShreevatsaR
59
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. Edit: On further research, even though it's undisputed that eleven and twelve come from 1+10 and 2+10, the actual meaning of the lif part seems uncertain. The Online Etymology Dictionary confidently … one theory: Etymology: Common Teutonic: Old English ęndleofon corresponds to Old Frisian andlova, elleva, Old Saxon elleban (Middle Dutch elleven, Dutch elf), Old High German einlif (Middle High …
answered Dec 22 '10 by ShreevatsaR
26
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2answers
indeed, the AHD gives etymology with in-1 for impregnable, and in-2 for impregnate.) Is this right? Some dictionaries also list a meaning for impregnable that come from impregnate and seem the opposite …
asked Jan 29 '11 by ShreevatsaR
11
votes
Actually, the "reduce by 10%" meaning is not the classical sense, and is in fact a modern invention! So if at all decimate has been used in this sense, it's only in the modern period, not in any class …
answered Feb 20 '11 by ShreevatsaR
28
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I'll repeat what I said in the comments. Firstly, the meaning of "She's 6 feet tall if she's an inch" is not "She is 6 feet tall, which is very tall", but "She's definitely 6 feet tall" or "I'm very …
answered Feb 26 '11 by ShreevatsaR
36
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(Just to be contrarian.) The word infamous is the opposite of famous! Just as the opposite of reputed is disreputed rather than obscure, and the opposite of hot is cold rather than not hot, the oppo …
answered Dec 15 '10 by ShreevatsaR
33
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In some cases, an adjective has both -ic and -ical forms, with no difference in meaning. In some cases, there are two different words for two different meanings. In some cases, only one word exists. A …
answered Dec 10 '10 by ShreevatsaR
32
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Rather than getting confused, let me post an answer: In both British and American English, the word "ass" is used for "donkey". For "buttocks", British English uses "arse", while American English us …
answered Oct 27 '10 by ShreevatsaR