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107 votes

Meaning of "16.8 hours a week"

There are 168 hours in a week (7 x 24). Thus 16.8 hours is a tenth of a week. 16.8 hours is 16 and 8/10 hours which is exactly 16 hours and 48 minutes. As a night-shift worker myself, working in an ...
Nigel J's user avatar
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85 votes
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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 ...
RaceYouAnytime's user avatar
58 votes

A martini before and a cigarette after

The implication is that the martini is before sex and the cigarette after.
anon's user avatar
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47 votes

Meaning of "16.8 hours a week"

16.8 is 16 plus 8/10. As I come from England, my first instinct on seeing a "." is that it's a decimal separator. Being from Poland, I assume you would have had the same instinct had it been written "...
AndyT's user avatar
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40 votes
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Two English words to distinguish French words “numéro” and “nombre”

As a software developer, here are a few phrases that I would prefer: numéro of the current software process Version of the current software process. A version number is implicitly part of a ...
Flater's user avatar
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36 votes
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Can I say eight-gon, nine-gon and ten-gon instead of octa-, nona-, and deca-gon?

Mathematicians do use this form for bigger numbers. The Wikipedia article Heptadecagon currently contains the phrase "a regular 51-gon, 85-gon or 255-gon and any regular n-gon with 2h times as many ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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36 votes
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Why are two-digit numbers in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" (1726) written in "German style"?

Putting the ones place before the tens place was formerly the primary way to discuss two-digit numbers like twenty-two. The Oxford English Dictionary, under "twenty, adj. and n.," lists the Old ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
34 votes

“I am fourteen past”

Evidently it was a recognised usage in the 19th century. I searched Google Ngrams for thirteen/fourteen/fifteen/sixteen past and found a small number of similar expressions. From Report on the State ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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29 votes

What do you call a number which is the same written backwards?

Palindrome /…/ noun a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward This excerpt is from the Oxford Dictionary of English, third edition, which was edited by Angus ...
Andre Angelo's user avatar
29 votes
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When did "a buck" start being used to mean any unit of 100? (E.g. "a buck fifty" for 150 lbs.)

1971 - Non-Money Related Sorry, @Mary-LouA, but I've got one from a year before your 1972 citation, and it's not monetary. This also fits with the OP's 1974 recollections involving speed and its ...
bballdave025's user avatar
21 votes
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What's the word for converting a positive number to negative one and negative to positive?

Negation absolutely is the correct term to use here: it is a synonym of "additive inverse", as noted in the second sentence of its Wikipedia article. This is a well-defined mathematical ...
andyvn22's user avatar
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21 votes

Does the nth century contain the (100n)th year?

From the New Oxford Dictionary: Strictly speaking, centuries run from 01 to 100, meaning that the new century begins on the first day of the year 01 (i.e. 1 January 1901, 1 January 2001, etc.). In ...
Joffysloffy's user avatar
20 votes

Two English words to distinguish French words “numéro” and “nombre”

In software, index or id is used to denote any unique identifier. The second case is not as well defined, but you can certainly use count.
RShields's user avatar
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20 votes

“I am fourteen past”

I am fourteen past means I am past fourteen. From the OED: past preposition & adverb PREPOSITION 1.c. Beyond, older than (a specified age). Also (occasionally) placed after its object. Source: ...
Tinfoil Hat's user avatar
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19 votes

Roman numerals used for ordinals

I have never seen someone write "IIIrd" or "Vth". In addition to being (subjectively) ugly, it is basically unheard of. We write "the XXIII Olympiad" and pronounce it as "the 23rd Olympiad". We ...
loading...'s user avatar
  • 1,288
19 votes

Can I say eight-gon, nine-gon and ten-gon instead of octa-, nona-, and deca-gon?

Short answer: no. Longer answer: you will probably be understood, but people will think it's strange. Almost all words in English have roots in other languages. For these words, you have correctly ...
Ian MacDonald's user avatar
18 votes

When did "a buck" start being used to mean any unit of 100? (E.g. "a buck fifty" for 150 lbs.)

1973 one hundred dollars; a bet of one hundred dollars He'd go a buck and a half apiece for as many as I could get… The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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18 votes

How to write numbers and percentage?

In general, it is good practice that the symbol that a number is associated with agrees with the way the number is written (in numeric or text form). For example, $3 instead of 3 dollars. Note that ...
TheSimpliFire's user avatar
14 votes
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What is the name for the group of words that includes "once", "twice", and "thrice"?

One longtime term for this group of words is numeral adverb. William C. Fowler, English Grammar: The English Language in Its Elements and Forms (1850) uses this nomenclature: § 193. NUMERALS express ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
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14 votes
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How to speak the line number?

Assuming it's known I'm talking about code, I would simply say: On line seventeen. If not, let's say I'm discussing a piece of software, I would qualify the sentence: On line seventeen of the ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
13 votes
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"Hundred-thousands" or "Hundreds of thousands"?

Both can be heard and used, but if you're writing them, hundred-thousands doesn't have a hyphen. one/two/seven hundred thousand dollars Shows an exact amount; often used in the context of money ...
ArtOfCode's user avatar
  • 318
13 votes

Two English words to distinguish French words “numéro” and “nombre”

To take it out of a coding context, a house number identifies a house uniquely within the context of a street. That's an ID or index number. The number of houses in the street is a count. Just like ...
Chris H's user avatar
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13 votes

When did "a buck" start being used to mean any unit of 100? (E.g. "a buck fifty" for 150 lbs.)

Wiktionary cites two main non-monetary usages; speed and weight. Buck: (US, slang) One hundred. The police caught me driving a buck forty on the freeway. That skinny guy? C'mon, he can't weigh more ...
user 66974's user avatar
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12 votes
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Can you use "a" before "1/4" when there is no unit following?

Usually in formal writing, it's safest to actually write out the word you're using. Any of the following are correct. "a quarter of the people voted for..." "one fourth of the people voted for.....
InternetHobo's user avatar
12 votes
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How to pronounce "×" in "12 × 3 mm²"?

'by' as in 12 by 3 square millimeters
Underminer's user avatar
11 votes
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Word for Excel column numbering system

Apparently it's called the bijective base-26 system. It is a base-26 numeral system where the 26 letters of alphabet are used as the symbols for values 1-26 (there is no zero in this system). AFAICT, ...
michael.hor257k's user avatar
11 votes

When did "a buck" start being used to mean any unit of 100? (E.g. "a buck fifty" for 150 lbs.)

COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English) has four instances of "a buck eighty", and three of them refer to weight. However, they are from 2003 and 2013. COHA (Corpus of Historical American ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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11 votes
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Use of degree symbol for Latinate ordinal number shorthand

This is an ordinal indicator. In written languages, an ordinal indicator is a character, or group of characters, following a numeral denoting that it is an ordinal number, rather than a cardinal ...
Nigel J's user avatar
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