Steven Littman
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The meaning of leaving someone back [ in American English ]
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54 votes

Leave back or hold back means to make a child repeat a grade in school because of lack of academic progress, or very rarely, because of slow social and emotional development (usually in kindergarten ...

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Term for words like "Hanky-Panky"
35 votes

I believe the word you're looking for is reduplication. From Wikipedia: Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word (or part of it) or even the ...

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When is an event so old that the phrase "the other day" no longer applies?
35 votes

The Free Dictionary says "at a certain time past, not distant, but indefinite; not long ago; recently; rarely, the third day past." Collins simply says "a few days ago." So your girlfriend is closer ...

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Is there a name for the abbreviated syntax used in signs etc?
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22 votes

From Wikipedia-- Telegram style, telegraph style, telegraphic style or telegraphese describes a clipped way of writing that attempts to abbreviate words and pack as much information into the smallest ...

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What does the title "Man Friday" mean?
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16 votes

It comes from the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe: man Friday n. pl. men Friday or men Fridays An efficient, faithful male aide or employee. [After Friday, a character in Robinson Crusoe, ...

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How do "augment" and "increase" differ?
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15 votes

From Google's definition: aug·ment verb ôɡˈment/ 1. make (something) greater by adding to it; increase. "he augmented his summer income by painting houses" When you use augment, you mean that ...

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What is a British biscuit called in America? A cookie? A cracker?
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14 votes

The first two examples you show are cookies; the third are crackers. Cookies are made in all kinds of shapes and sizes and may be hard or chewy (I like the chewy ones, myself). Crackers are salty ...

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Synonym for tsunami
14 votes

It was, and sometimes still is, called a tidal wave, even though it has nothing to do with tides.

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Is there an equivalent to "agnate" for the maternal line?
13 votes

The word you're looking for is enate. From The Free Dictionary: e·nate (ĭ-nāt′, ē′nāt′) adj. 1. Growing outward. 2. also e·nat·ic (ĭ-năt′ĭk) Related on the mother's side. n. A relative on one's ...

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Term for "Ultimate Parent" or "Ultimate Ancestor"
9 votes

I'd say the word your looking for is primogenitor, or possibly progenitor, which are seen as synonyms by Oxford Dictionary: From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/primogenitor ...

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What do you call excessive snow?
8 votes

It is called an accumulation, which is usually followed by a measurement, such as "an accumulation of three inches."

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How to ask politely for the caller's name on a phone call
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7 votes

To whom am I speaking? With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking? Who's calling, please? If the call is for someone else: Who may I say is calling?

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What should be the opposite of "going out"
7 votes

The answer to your question depends on what "going out" means as a single entity. In its most common usage, it means "leaving the house, especially for an evening's entertainment." In that sense, ...

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Capitalisation of uncle and aunt in phrases like 'your U/uncle Bill'
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6 votes

The website http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2014/11/aunt-uncle.html says that the distinction is a matter of style, not grammar. In the article, it quotes the Chicago Manual of Style, which seems ...

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What do you call the area or place where employees clock in or out?
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6 votes

The device by which the women in the picture are standing is a time clock, despite the redundancy of the term: https://www.google.com/search?q=time+clock&client=opera&hs=N1D&tbm=isch&...

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"[ball]park" in AmEng vernacular
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6 votes

According to Wikipedia, the major league baseball venues are named as follows: 12 are "parks", such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh. 10 are "fields", such as Citi Field in New York. Only four are "...

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Why 'prefecture' for Japanese administration areas?
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6 votes

From Wikipedia-- The West's use of "prefecture" to label these Japanese regions stems from 16th-century Portuguese explorers' and traders' use of "prefeitura" to describe the fiefdoms they ...

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How do I express "clockwisality"?
6 votes

For clockwise and counter-clockwise motion, direction works fine. If you say, "In which direction does the wheel turn?" your meaning will be clear. However, in the swastika example, I'm not sure you ...

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Is this statement incorrect? "I'm a former English major"
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6 votes

It sounds as if you changed your major. If instead, you graduated, you'd be better served by saying "I majored in English." But why am I telling you? You were an English major!

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Future Tense of Modal Verbs
6 votes

The future of "can" is "can": Can you do it today? No, but I can do it next week. When you're 18, you can do whatever you want to. (Said to a small child who is complaining about what [s]he is ...

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Why is Puerto Rico typically pronounced like "Porda Rico" by many English speakers?
5 votes

Short answer: Because that's how it's pronounced. This is the mayor of San Juan speaking in English, pronouncing "Puerto Rico" at 3:48 of the video: https://youtu.be/N453aogbfaU?t=3m45s. I'm ...

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Seeking Generic Word: Place where opponents fight
5 votes

A venue simply is ven·ue ˈvenˌyo͞o/Submit noun the place where something happens, especially an organized event such as a concert, conference, or sports event. "the river could soon be the ...

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How can I pinpoint whether a sentence is a run-on?
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5 votes

There's nothing wrong with the original sentence, and it's not punctuated incorrectly. (And punctuation is not "cruft," as you call it. Properly used, punctuation exists to help a reader make sense ...

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I'm from New York(mumbai)
5 votes

The situation dictates the usage. The question "Where are you from?" in the early stages of getting to know someone usually refers to where they were born and/or raised, or where they consider their ...

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Usage of "deads" and "deaths"
4 votes

Never "10 deads." You can say "10 dead," which refers to the number of people killed in an incident: At the bus accident, there were ten dead and five wounded. You might say "10 deaths" to relate ...

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Do capitalization and punctuation fall under the category of grammar?
4 votes

Spelling, punctuation and capitalization are among the conventions of written English. According to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's site, Learn NC (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/...

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Is there any relation between the meanings of the word "cataract"?
4 votes

Actually, this was fairly easy to research. From Wikipedia: "Cataract" is derived from the Latin cataracta, meaning "waterfall", and from the Ancient Greek καταρράκτης (katarrhaktēs), "down-...

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Is it acceptable to say "fed up OF" - surely it should be "fed up WITH" or "bored WITH something" rather than "bored OF something"?
4 votes

Oxford Dictionary says: Do you ever get bored with eating out all the time? Delegates were bored by the lectures. He grew bored of his day job. The first two constructions, bored ...

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The meaning of 0% and 100% as opposed to other percentages?
4 votes

This is probably a legal, not a linguistic, reason. Should even one person get a bacterial infection after using the product in question, the manufacturer might be less likely to be accountable for ...

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Should've [came] vs [come]
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4 votes

You were right the second time. Should have is always followed by a past participle, one of the basic forms of verbs. From http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/should-have-past-participle ...

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