162 votes

What is the word for things that work even when they aren't working (e.g. escalators)?

If it avoids catastrophic failure, it exhibits: graceful degradation - Graceful degradation is the ability of a computer, machine, electronic system or network to maintain limited functionality ...
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  • 6,373
124 votes

What do you call a person who keeps talking about art; studies art, criticizes art, and thinks he'd be amazing with it. But he doesn't practice it

How about armchair artist or armchair expert? From dictionary.com: theorizing without the benefit of practical experience: an armchair football coach. participating or experiencing ...
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  • 1,123
123 votes
Accepted

Word for a software bug that occurs again after having fixed it?

You're looking for "regression".
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  • 28.5k
122 votes

Seeking Generic Word: Place where opponents fight

You appear to be looking for an arena. a place or scene of activity, debate, or conflict. Merriam Webster
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111 votes
Accepted

Why is there no "autumntime" or "falltime"?

The Anglo-Saxon calendar only had two seasons, winter and summer, each six months long. They had words for other periods of the year, but they weren't considered seasons. At some point near the ...
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108 votes
Accepted

Word for software which has been killed or is no longer supported

It depends on your precise meaning, and the intended audience. It could mean ending: Feature updates Non-security bug fixes Security fixes Customer support / troubleshooting Service, in the case of ...
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  • 1,403
104 votes
Accepted

Why would "an mule" be used instead of "a mule"?

The original printing had "an ass" instead of "an mule". That error was not lost on the chemistry community. See, for instance, Krenos's 2004 review of the text in the Journal of Chemical Education: ...
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102 votes
Accepted

How come people say “Would of”?

Correction: what annoys you is people writing “would of” when they are saying /ˈwʊdəv/, which is the standard pronunciation of the contraction would’ve. The vowel of the preposition “of” is almost ...
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  • 27.5k
100 votes

What's a word to describe an apartment when its owners are on vacation?

I'd use vacant. having no occupant; unoccupied: no vacant seats on this train. not in use: a vacant room.
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99 votes
Accepted

When talking to American clients, should I say "smoothie" or "milkshake"?

A milkshake usually contains only milk and ice cream. However, sometimes strawberries or bananas can be added. If the beverage is mostly fruit and ice, then I would call it a smoothie. If you add ...
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96 votes

A word for a "non-logged in" user

A better term would be an anonymous user, as you do not know the identity of the user.
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  • 994
96 votes
Accepted

What do you call these "rolls" on old clothes?

Those are commonly known as pills, or bobbles in the UK, though other terms may be in use depending on location. From Wikipedia: A pill, colloquially known as a bobble, fuzzball, or lint ball is a ...
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  • 22.4k
94 votes
Accepted

What's the generic word for weekly/monthly etc. service?

There are several possible words that could be used here: regular, as @Lawrence suggests periodic (Oxford, definition 1, "Appearing or occurring at intervals.") recurring or recurrent, which you used ...
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  • 6,634
93 votes
Accepted

What is the opposite of Optimal?

Taking the classical approach, optimal derives from optimus, the Latin superlative to bonus, meaning good. Looking at the Latin for bad, that is malus. bonus -> melior -> optimus malus -> peior -...
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  • 35.9k
93 votes

What do you call a disgusting mixture you don't want to drink?

Swill. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swill swill noun. food for animals (such as pigs) made from scraps of food and water food or drink that is very bad or unappealing eg. ...
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  • 10.9k
90 votes

Appropriate word for internet name of a person

There are various terms for this. Once upon a time, “screen name” would likely have been the most common. However, it seems to me that this convention has been driven by the most pervasive websites. ...
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  • 1,075
90 votes
Accepted

Is it rude to refer to janitors as 'floor people'?

This may be subtle and comes down to inflection and intention. I suspect that your manager was not being rude but trying to refer succinctly to a particular trade. If you were talking about a ...
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  • 1,131
89 votes
Accepted

Opposite of "sexy clothes"

OED Modest (of a woman) dressing or behaving so as to avoid impropriety or indecency, especially to avoid attracting sexual attention. ‘the modest women wear long-sleeved dresses and ...
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  • 1,478
89 votes

Why would "an mule" be used instead of "a mule"?

It's just a typo, and it probably originally said "an ass". That would have been changed because it's incorrect (an ass is a donkey, not a horse–donkey cross) and, even if it were correct, the ...
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88 votes

A word for a "non-logged in" user

Such users are usually called guest users. Update: To conclude this long discussion, I think we should take a closer look at what others (specifically, key players) call such users. This helps us to ...
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  • 5,268
86 votes
Accepted

Single word for delaying an unpleasant task

The verb procrastinate / noun procrastination is an almost exact fit: procrastinate verb [ I ] to keep delaying something that must be done, often because it is unpleasant or boring [...
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83 votes

Looking for a word to describe the sound of the morning as hundreds of birds begin singing before sunrise?

It's usually called the... dawn chorus the singing of birds together just before dawn - Cambridge Dictionary I have the impression this usage is more common in BrE than AmE - I don't know of any ...
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82 votes
Accepted

What's a less offensive substitute for "rep-whores"?

If you want to put a positive spin on it without straying too far from the sound, try rep-hound. From hound n 1.1 [with modifier] A person who avidly pursues something: 'he has a reputation ...
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  • 147k
82 votes
Accepted

A word like ethereal that also means quickly vanishing

You are probably looking for the word ephemeral. ephemeral: Lasting for a very short time.
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80 votes

Why do we say "under the grill", not "above" or "on" the grill?

There is a usage difference between British and American English. Although a grill is everywhere a frame of metal bars used for cooking on a flame, Americans draw a distinction between grilling (...
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  • 42.8k
77 votes
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Why is it "behead" and not "dehead"?

We didn’t use de-head be­cause we al­ready had a verb be­head by the time we start­ed us­ing de- to cre­ate verbs: be­head was a verb in Old English, be­héaf­di­an. So be­head was al­ready used long ...
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  • 128k
76 votes
Accepted

What's a negative word for "subtle"?

Insidious is probably your best bet, adjective proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with very harmful effects. (Google) but you might also consider treacherous, which has the same ...
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76 votes
Accepted

Why is it correct to say "fewer calories" when calories are continuous?

Divisibility does not mean something is not countable or that it isn't a discrete unit, requiring use of 'fewer'. A calorie is not 'energy' it is a 'unit of energy', and therefore, countable and ...
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  • 1,557
75 votes
Accepted

When to use "If I was" vs. "If I were"?

SYNOPSIS: Sometimes it must be “if I was”, but at other times it can be “if I were” — and for some speakers in those cases, perhaps even must be “if I were” in their idiolect. Sentences with the ...
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  • 128k
75 votes
Accepted

Why is it "came back from the dead" and not "came back from the death"?

For one thing, you cannot say “came back from the death”: death takes no article here. Death works as an abstract condition not a particular instance of one, much like life or hope or joy or sadness ...
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