Hot answers tagged

83 votes
Accepted

What is the binary equivalent to "decimal" and "decimal point"?

You can refer to this symbol as a radix point no matter what the base is. In computer science and mathematics, the word radix can mean the same thing as base or root. The contemporary meaning ...
user avatar
77 votes
Accepted

Why do Wh question words in English so consistently map to Q words in Latin?

Both sets of words come from a Proto-Indo-European root *kʷ(o)- that probably marked an interrogative pronoun. In the Germanic languages, Grimm's Law spirantized this *kʷ into /xw/ or /hw/, which ...
user avatar
76 votes

Help, the "onus" is on me! What do you call whatever it is I'm supposed to do with it?

The onus has been discharged. See, for example this extract from Equity and Trusts: Text, Cases and Materials by Paul S. Davies, which refers to a case called Re Harwood, and cites an extract from ...
user avatar
73 votes
Accepted

Should we refer to a female "senator" as a "senatrix"?

A number of answers have addressed the fact that in the United States, the use of gender-specific nouns is becoming less fashionable. However, that does not explain why a female equivalent of senator ...
user avatar
  • 838
68 votes
Accepted

Is the plural of 'prefix' really 'prefixes' rather than 'prefices'?

General principle: Latin plural forms go with Latin singular forms The plural of the Latin word matrix is matrices, and the plural of the Latin word index is indices. We took the singular forms of ...
user avatar
  • 73.7k
64 votes
Accepted

Has the verb "to import me" ever been commonly used in English the way "to concern me" is in the phrase "It does not concern me"?

Yes. The Oxford English Dictionary has this definition (and some other similar ones) for ɪᴍᴘᴏʀᴛ v. 6a in their section II of that verb: II. To be of importance or consequence. transitive. ...
user avatar
  • 57.4k
41 votes

Should we refer to a female "senator" as a "senatrix"?

The first woman elected to the US Senate was Hattie Caraway in 1932. They have always been called "senators". Regardless of what you may think is "correct", that horse left the barn a long time ago.
user avatar
  • 26.7k
37 votes
Accepted

Why "Jesu" rather than "Jesus" in this carol?

TL;DR: Yes. The hymn “O Come, All Ye Faithful” was originally in Latin, and even today is still often sung that way under the title “Adeste Fideles”. We are not certain who wrote its original tune ...
user avatar
  • 127k
35 votes

What is the plural form of "status"?

I see that I've very late to answer. I usually try to avoid the use of "status" as a plural, instead option to use the near-synonym "state". Take for example these three attempts at pluralizing "...
user avatar
  • 2,909
33 votes

Help, the "onus" is on me! What do you call whatever it is I'm supposed to do with it?

Let's look first at the definition of onus, from the Oxford English Dictionary: A burden; a responsibility or duty. Freq. with the orig. and chiefly Law. onus of proof n. the obligation to ...
user avatar
  • 26.2k
33 votes
Accepted

What is the literal meaning (and the origin) of "v"?

The etymology of "versus" is pretty simple. It came from Latin and it was originally used in English in the law sense (as it's still used today: Roe v. Wade). Later on it started to be used more ...
user avatar
  • 57.4k
30 votes

Where are all the Latin words?

These figures are almost always the numbers for the top N words in a corpus. The results can vary considerably depending on what corpus is used and what N is (as you can see in this paper). "The ...
user avatar
  • 57.4k
29 votes

Should we refer to a female "senator" as a "senatrix"?

English is not Latin. In English, senator is used regardless of gender. The OED defines senator as: A member of a senate. No mention is made of gender. The OED does have an entry for ...
user avatar
  • 65.7k
28 votes
Accepted

Meaning of the ending “‑exia”?

If a word ends in -exia, such as dyslexia, anorexia and pyrexia does this imply anything about the word itself? It doesn't necessarily imply something about the word. Josh61's answer (which you ...
user avatar
  • 73.7k
26 votes
Accepted

Has there ever been an antonym for "benefit" that includes the latin affix "neg-"?

No, bene- and neg- are not used to form antonyms in either English or Latin. Their root meanings of "good" and "deny" are roughly opposed, but not antonyms in English either. As others have ...
user avatar
24 votes
Accepted

Can we use "id est" in lieu of "i.e." in academic writing?

Id est is not commonly used in academic writing today. Two reasons come to mind. The usage is at best uncommon: A basic JSTOR search will churn up articles dealing with Latin sources, where id est ...
user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Why do some ---ify verbs have a different noun ending?

Crucify originally had a distinct etymology from the others Crucify comes from Latin crucifīgō with the present infinitive crucifīgere and the supine crucifixum. It means "to fix to a cross" not "to ...
user avatar
  • 73.7k
22 votes
Accepted

Is the etymology of "salary" a myth?

There may well be more to this, but to start , John Arbuthnot wrote: ... Tributum, properly speaking, was a Tax upon Individuals; one sort of it was called Capitatio, a Pole-tax (sic). ...
user avatar
  • 5,064
21 votes
Accepted

Where on Earth is "penguin" from?

There are three suggested origins of penguin: Welsh pen gywn 'white head'; a derivative of Latin pinguis 'fat'; and English pin wing. There is no evidence for the last one but there are explanations ...
user avatar
  • 51.6k
21 votes

Early usage of Martian meaning inhabitant of Mars

The earliest match that an Elephind newspaper database search finds for Martians in the sense of "inhabitants of Mars" is from a compilation of items headed "Inhabitants of the Sun,&...
user avatar
  • 151k
20 votes

Plural of Latin masculine nouns ending in -o; eg. "folio"

I would advise using the only plural form that you found listed in your dictionary (and in general, following the advice given by arnsholt in an answer to a related question: "Unless you are ...
user avatar
  • 73.7k
20 votes
Accepted

Why is "-ber" the suffix of the last four months of the year?

From Etymonline: The -ber in four Latin month names is probably from -bris, an adjectival suffix. Tucker thinks that the first five months were named for their positions in the agricultural cycle, ...
user avatar
19 votes

Who changed the way vacumn was spelled 40 years ago?

According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, vacuum entered English in the 1540s directly from Latin as the substantivized, neuter form of the adjective vacuus. The earliest use was as an abstract,...
user avatar
  • 27.5k
18 votes

What's the opposite of "pro bono"?

As Black's Law Dictionary (1968) points out, pro bono is short for "pro bono publico": PRO BONO PUBLICO. For the public good; for the welfare of the whole. The underlying notion is that the task ...
user avatar
  • 151k
16 votes

What is the literal meaning (and the origin) of "v"?

There is no truth in the "vel" bit. "Vel" isn't even the way to say "or" in that sense. The desired meaning is an exclusive "or", and that in Latin was "aut".
user avatar
  • 4,528
16 votes

Origin of the word "delete"

delete "destroy, eradicate," 1530s, from Latin deletus, past participle of delere "destroy, blot out, efface," from delevi, originally perfective tense of delinere "to daub, erase by smudging" (as of ...
user avatar
15 votes

Why do Wh question words in English so consistently map to Q words in Latin?

More specifically, you are seeing part of the sound change *kʷ > hw [xʷ] in Grimm's Law. Grimm's Law is a well known group of ancient sound shifts that affect all of the Germanic languages (not just ...
user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible