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Questions tagged [etymology]

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5
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4answers
1k views

The word “attendance” and “at ten dance”?

When I was at college, my English teachers used to say that the word attendance was derived from at ten dance. In schools the children used to dance at Ten AM in the British Rule and slowly it ...
2
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4answers
51 views

Grammatical structure of stuck being told

I came across the phrase here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~wkneelan/thirdoption/essays/tmnt_music.htm The listener or viewer is therefore stuck being told what is just as easily observed I tried ...
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1answer
36 views

Definitions that are not included in modern dictionaries

I was translating some literature written in the 20th century, and I came across the following sentence We suppress these partitions and by Google translate, the "suppress" means “make obscure”. ...
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2answers
41 views

What's the origin of “price of fish”?

I heard an old song by Scooter where he sings "How much is the fish?", realizing that it sounds so irrelevant and stupid that it might be something idiomatic with it. Turns out it's an expression ...
2
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1answer
62 views

Why is 1000$ called a 'grand'?

Recently I have noticed that people (especially in the USA) call each 1000$ as a 'grand'. "It costs 48 grand" = "It costs 48 thousand USD" I have got two related questions about it: Why is it ...
0
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2answers
61 views

Why is the head master not The Head Master?

Head Master is the Head of an Institute.We usually write The Principal in upper case. Why is the word head master written in a lower case.
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0answers
17 views

To prise open the gap between price and prize

The words "price" and "prize" and "prise" are easily confused. They mean different things*. It is not a difference of writing between US and British English. Part of the confusion is that "price" ...
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0answers
40 views

Is “add two and two” an idiom?

"Somebody Stupefied a Death Eater on top of the Tower after Dumbledore died. There were also two broomsticks up there. The Ministry can add two and two, Harry." Harry Potter and the Half-Blood ...
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1answer
32 views

How can we be sure about etymology?

It's common to hear words protagonist and antagonist. And based on the way they sound, and their opposit meaning, I always thought that they should have the same etymon, with pro and an being prefixes ...
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5answers
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Are “confidant” and “confident” homophones?

Both sound like /-dənt/ to me. Etymology: confidant comes to English from the French word confident, and when the word first entered our language it was often spelled that way, rather than as ...
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1answer
22 views

Etymology of words used to start and ask questions

Could you please help me understand the etymology of words used to start questions? I am particularly interested by the words 'how' and 'why'. Thank you!
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2answers
58 views

Is “deload” a legitimate verb?

I was reading something about strength training and I came across that word. I am wondering if that's a legitimate verb? If so, what would be the difference between "deload" and "offload" or even "...
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1answer
50 views

How did “flavored” come to mean “distracted”?

There is a scene in the movie Beautiful Girls: Marty: Are you OK? Willie: Yeah. Yeah, I'm... Why? Marty: You seem a little flavored today. Willie: No! No, I'm cool. Marty: ...
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2answers
71 views

Why is 'left luggage' called 'left luggage'?

I came across this term at an English train station. My friend and I were looking for a place to store our luggage and it didn't occur to us that 'left luggage' was the place we needed to go as it ...
2
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3answers
41 views

Is “I did not breakfast today” correct?

Is the following sentence correct? I did not breakfast today Due to breakfast coming from ‘to break your fast’.
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1answer
38 views

Etymological relation between different meaning of “kid”

I looked up kid and got two different meanings. (of a goat) give birth deceive (someone) in a playful way; tease Both are known to me in meanings such as "I'm kidding you" and "it's not my kid". ...
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3answers
1k views

Why does “blue” mood, means “sad mood”?

Why does "blue mood" means "sad mood"? Why is the color blue associated with sadness? According to Cambridge dictionary "blue" means sad or unhappy.
0
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2answers
52 views

Why the word remnants not reminants?

I understand the word "remain", but I cannot understand why it's remina-nts, it looks like someone incorrectly write down the word re-main into re-mina, so hilarious.... Not to be offend because I ...
0
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1answer
30 views

The origins of xbow

"xbow", sometimes spelled "x-bow", "XBow" or even "x bow", is a common contraction in the gaming environment which means "crossbow". Having started gaming as a child, I've never paid too much ...
1
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1answer
2k views

Why the p in “receipt” is not pronounced?

Is there any known pronunciation rule that justifies the p in "receipt" not being pronounced, does it have to do with the origin of the word or something or how it is? Why the p in "receipt" is not ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Are brown and maroon different colors?

I make this question because in my language Spanish, brown is translated as marrón, and both marrón and maroon looks related in origins (same with the french marron I suppose). If they are all related ...
0
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1answer
36 views

A problem about the etymology of “expiate”

How to explain the etymology of the word “expiate”? I found that ex means “out, for” and piate means “pious”. But I dont see how they combine to mean “to atone for”
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2answers
381 views

Does the “ass” in “smart-ass”, “lard ass” etc. mean “smart donkey” or “smart butt”?

What's the literal meaning of ‘ass’ in expressions like ‘lard-ass’, ‘hard-ass’, ‘smart-ass’,… etc.? Does ass here in such expressions mean donkey or butt?
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1answer
54 views

Any reason for being called 'Chicken Fingers', given it's not made from fingers of chicken at all?

Originally, I thought Chicken Fingers is made from the fingers of chickens. But after I saw this Wiki article, it's actually made from "the pectoralis minor muscles of the animal". So, I'm curious ...
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6answers
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Why does the phrase “cross my fingers' mean just ”cross middle finger over index finger"?

Originally, I thought "cross my fingers' would mean something like this picture shows: But by a search for the phrase "cross my fingers images" on the web, I get most of pictures like this: So, I ...
3
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1answer
317 views

What is the meaning of “lug” in “lug nut”?

From Wikipedia: A lug nut or wheel nut is a fastener, specifically a nut, used to secure a wheel on a vehicle. Typically, lug nuts are found on automobiles, trucks (lorries), and other large ...
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2answers
43 views

A word describing a word of mixed-language etymology

I am looking for a word that denotes a word composed of at least two parts, at least one of which is from a different language than the other(s); a word with mixed etymology. An example is antimatter ...
1
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2answers
66 views

Why does “Hand Waving” have a meaning “omitting important details”?

From urban dictionary: Also written handwaving. In formal conversation / speech omitting important details about the subject matter either because 1) the audience is perceived to be ignorant 2) ...
0
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1answer
68 views

What is the historical background of “too chicken”?

In a comment I found the sentence: …are too chicken… I'm native Germany and quickly looked up the meaning. Still, I do not understand the "chicken" association. My question: Why is "chicken" ...
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1answer
696 views

Words derived from ‘veni’ and ‘vidi’ of Latin [closed]

Veni, vidi, vici (Classical Latin: [ˈweːniː ˈwiːdiː ˈwiːkiː]; "I came; I saw; I conquered") is a Latin phrase popularly attributed to Julius Caesar. Veni, vidi, vici - Wikipedia As for ‘vici’, there’...
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1answer
644 views

Questions about “Bad things come in twos/threes”?

In Chinese, we have a proverb: 祸不单行, meaning bad things seem always to happen in a pair. The phase has been translated as "bad things happen in twos". However, I also see a common phrase in English "...
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1answer
24 views

How to imagine 'pull oneself together' is relevant to calm oneself down

pull oneself together means calm oneself down and begin to think or act appropriately. I am wondering how they are relevant and how to understand it?
2
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2answers
46 views

Show me the difference between the following suffixes?

Could you please show the difference in meaning of the suffix “-hood” and “-ship”, especially when they met at the same line to imply “a state or condition” To me, they both sound the same. For ...
1
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1answer
39 views

Interpret demystify literally

I am getting under way to learn vocabulary in etymology. The word demystify in Online Etymology Dictionary de - "not, do the opposite of, undo" mystify - 1814, from French mystifier (1772), a ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Etymology of “dog slow”

When I think of dogs I have an image of them being fast animals, running and jumping, chasing a ball or another dog. So, I am surprised that dog slow means very slow. What is the etymology of this ...
4
votes
1answer
711 views

What is the origin of “brake” in “press brake”?

A press brake is a machine tool for bending sheet and plate material, most commonly sheet metal. But why is it called brake? Why not press sheet bender? How did it come to be called brake? I looked ...
0
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1answer
1k views

Where does “jump off the deep end” come from?

I know "jump off the deep end" means to abruptly step into something but I'd like to know what it means in terms of actual physical jumping - because you usually "jump off" something not deep. What ...
7
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5answers
799 views

What are the differences between “receptacle” and “container”?

Generally, both "receptacle" and "container" refer to an object that contains some other object(s). What are the differences between these two words? Do they differ in meaning, usage, or origin? I ...
1
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1answer
215 views

“rearing” without a mother fish?

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/pugetsound/species/salmon_cyc.html this is the source providing sufficient information about the life cycle of salmon. From the article we could see that the life ...
0
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1answer
35 views

Capsized ship or boat

When a boat or ship sinks after turning over its sides we say it capsized. How did this word originate? The meaning seems little to do either with a cap or its size or tailoring a cap to a size or ...
0
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1answer
279 views

The word “Wednesday”

Why does the word Wednesday read as Wenzday? Where do its roots grow? All the other days of the week read as they are written but not Wednesday. Why hasn't the spelling changed over the years?
0
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1answer
79 views

Pink and Blue phenomenon

Have the words Pink and Blue that mean sexual orientation come from the phenomenon that girls choose pink color and boys choose blue color? Which is all absolutely wrong in fact, considering that pink ...
4
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3answers
6k views

Using “like” at the end of the sentence. North-East like?

I've lived in the North-East of England for over 10 years now but I always wondered about this particular usage of the word "like". For years I have heard countless sentences or questions that sound ...
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3answers
332 views

Through and through

This word means the complete degree of penetration and you seem to double the "through" to make it sound stronger. I wonder, in Russian you say "along and across" to mean that you know something "...
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1answer
396 views

What is the verb for amenable? [closed]

amenable has a suffix -able. Does it mean that the verb for amenable is amend? Thanks.
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2answers
2k views

Why do identical words such as: “uttermost” and “utmost” coexist?

Let's take two words: uttermost utmost As I can see it that they are identical. They aren't two different words that have the exact same meaning, in fact "uttermost" is just another word for "utmost"...
8
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2answers
445 views

McCoy, decoy, and coy

A “McCoy” means something that is truly genuine. The idiomatic expression, “the real McCoy” is used when the speaker wants to emphasize the purity the authenticity of something. It is said to derive ...
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1answer
136 views

Origin of “run for it” idiom [closed]

According to dictionary.com: run for it, to hurry away or flee, especially to evade something: You had better run for it before anyone else arrives. Does this idiom have some reasonable origin? ...
0
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1answer
325 views

Why is “cat” alike to the corresponding word in other languages whereas “dog” is not? [closed]

I realized that cat sounds very alike to other indoeuropean languages (katze, katt, kot, gato) while dog is wildly different. I can't find any language where dog is spelled nor pronounced doggishly (...
2
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1answer
689 views

‘Andersen’ and 'Anderson' – related? [closed]

"Andersen" is the surname of the famous Danish fairy tale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. "Anderson" is a common surname in Anglophone countries. Do they have the same root?