Skip to main content

Questions tagged [etymology]

This tag is for questions about the historical origin of a word. Please consider asking this question on English Language & Usage (http://english.stackexchange.com/) instead.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
-1 votes
3 answers
232 views

Q1 2024 but 1H 2024. Why?

To my knowledge: one typically writes Q1 2024 and not 1Q 2024 to designate the first quarter of 2024 (example). one typically writes 1H 2024 and not H1 2024 to designate the first half of 2024 (...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
-3 votes
0 answers
40 views

Was adept originated from and related to right hand? [closed]

https://www.merriam-webster.com/wordplay/sinister-left-dexter-right-history traces some words meaning skillful and clumsy back to right and left hands. I was wondering if adept was originated from ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
2 votes
1 answer
45 views

Why does "craft" typically designate a small boat if it designates a boat but not a small aircraft/spacecraft if it designates an aircraft/spacecraft?

I read on https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/craft: (plural usually) a: a boat especially of small size b :aircraft c :spacecraft Why does "craft" typically designate a small boat ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
48 views

Why are whales’ click sequences called codas?

I read: Variations in tempo, rhythm and length of the whales’ click sequences, called codas, weave a rich acoustic tapestry. Why are whales’ click sequences called codas? It doesn't seem to be ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
51 views

How does "head over heels" mean upside down?

How does "head over heels" mean upside down? I can't find its etymology in https://www.etymonline.com/word/head%20over%20heels. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heels%20over%20head ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

What are roots and affixes, and how do they differ from etymology?

In English, what are "roots" and what are "affixes"? If a word in English is a compound word, or is derived from a compound in Latin, Greek, Old English or some other language, ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
0 votes
1 answer
47 views

What numbers do macro- and oligo- correspond to?

In modern SI system, micro- (Greek: micros) means 10^{-6}, and mega- (Greek: megas) 10^6. What number does macro- (Greek: macros) mean in SI or outside? Does oligo- (Greek: oligos) also mean a number?
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
4 votes
2 answers
242 views

The sick vs. The injured

I'm not a native English speaker so I don't quite understand the nuance of these two words. When talking about various injuries of an individual or a group of people, which is the right word to use? ...
user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
76 views

How was the sense of "brazen insolence" of "cheek" derived? [closed]

etymonline says cheek (n.) "either of the two fleshy sides of the face below the eyes," Old English ceace, cece "jaw, jawbone," in late Old English also "the fleshy wall of ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
1 vote
1 answer
18 views

"Have those off you" in context of an item/sale - does it imply free or purchased?

I was having a discussion with my wife, and I mentioned "X has already stated he will have X off us", in context of a batch purchase/subscription purchase. I have grown up used to that ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
104 views

Where does the practice of saying "the same" instead of "it/that/etc." come from in Indian English?

One often uses "the same" instead of "it/that/etc." in Indian English. Example: Meanwhile, Microsoft's chief technology officer Kevin Scott was informed by OpenAI's chief ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
156 views

Where does the double-v come from in "savvy" ? are there other cases in English?

Etymology webpages explain the origins, but I found none commenting the presence of the double-v in english. ( it seems pretty unique in English ? appart for the parent words like savvier, etc. Could ...
Fabrice NEYRET's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why "point Percy at the porcelain" relevant to "urinate"?

I'd like to know how the phrase "point Percy at the porcelain" is relevant to 'urinate'. Any background story behind it?
dan's user avatar
  • 13k
1 vote
1 answer
99 views

What does ecclesiastes mean?

I try to understand the word "ecclesiastes". What does it mean, besides being the name a book in the Bible? What are its root(s), prefix, or suffix? What is its etymology? Thanks and sorry ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
0 votes
1 answer
127 views

Importance / usefulness of learning Latin word roots [closed]

Since taking English exams known to be difficult to native speakers, like the GRE, I have become more aware of Latin word roots contained in various dictionaries. (I scored a full 6 out of 6 on the ...
economics's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
37 views

Incline[d] bench?

While reading about weight lifting, it's common to bump into mentions of incline benches. There's the "incline bench press" exercise, for example, which is a bench press variation used on an ...
Apollo's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
3 answers
155 views

Why does inhabit and inhabitable have opposite meaning?

Consider the following two sentences: These undocumented locations are inhabited by mysterious creatures. Climate change is rendering many places around the world inhabitable. In the first example, ...
yst03811's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
105 views

Do ante- and anti- come from the same word in Latin? [closed]

Do ante- and anti- come from the same word in Latin?
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
4 votes
3 answers
618 views

What is the difference in meaning between the "baptizand/baptisand", "baptized/baptised", and "baptizee"?

Actual, recent usage I encountered a new term recently, referring to a person to be (or has been) baptized: the "baptizand". The context is this 2022 video Rebutting Gavin Ortlund on ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
80 views

What is the etymology of “angiokeratoma”?

What is the etymology of angiokeratoma? An angiokeratoma is a benign capillary ectasia in the superficial dermis that presents as an asymptomatic blue-red hyperkeratotic papule anywhere on the skin. ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
1 vote
1 answer
69 views

How was a form of a Latin word chosen for deriving an English word? [closed]

Sometimes I was wondering why a word in English was derived from a form of a Latin word, and how the form was chosen. For example, from etymology online, I learned that ignite (v., "kindle or set ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
-1 votes
1 answer
108 views

What is the etymology of britannica? [closed]

What is the etymology of britannica, the name of a website? Was it formed by britan + -nica? What does -nica mean?
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
1 vote
1 answer
185 views

How do you find a word that derives or is derived from a given word with a different part of speech?

How do you find a word that derives or is derived from a given word with a different part of speech? Any book or website? For example, penitent is the adjective of noun penitence with the derivative ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
-2 votes
1 answer
74 views

What actually killed the curious cat? [closed]

"Curiosity killed the cat". We've all heard the saying before. But what was the cat curious about that got it killed?
Jack Pan's user avatar
  • 135
0 votes
1 answer
102 views

Why is the plural of "root locus" (in robotics) "root loci", when, in Latin, the plural of "locus" (place) is "loca"?

I've been reading about robotics in English recently, and I've seen quite a few times that the plural of "root locus" is "root loci". Why is that? In Latin, the plural of "...
FlatAssembler's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
64 views

Which part of French's influence on English vocabulary is larger, the one that came from Latin, or the one that didn't?

https://ell.stackexchange.com/a/335999/499 says A computerised survey of about 80,000 words in the OED estimated the origin of English words to be as follows: French: 28.30% Latin: 28.24% Since ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
3 votes
6 answers
348 views

Does understanding Greek as well as Latin help for improving English vocabulary?

Is it correct that half percentage of English vocabulary is derived from Latin vocabulary and the other half from Greek? I am reading Marriam Webster Vocabulary Builder, and Word Power Made Easy, and ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
0 votes
1 answer
20 views

where can I look up the antonyms of a word root?

I was wondering where I could look up the antonyms of a word root? for example, I would like to find that out for endo- and epi-. I didn't find it on etymology.com. thanks.
Tim's user avatar
  • 4,049
0 votes
1 answer
858 views

The etymology of "catfishing" to mean to lure someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona

Wikipedia states that "the modern term (catfishing) originated from the 2010 American documentary Catfish. The documentary follows Nev Schulman, the executive producer, as a victim of catfishing. ...
Maurice's user avatar
  • 1,519
1 vote
1 answer
276 views

Why "barrel" means "to move quickly"?

I just learned that the word "barrel" can be used as a verb. But I don't associate the container with something "moving quickly". Is it because the barrel rolling down fast at a ...
ironsand's user avatar
  • 927
0 votes
1 answer
64 views

When we refer to a 'Room key', is the room being used as an adjective here? can't I say 'Room's key' instead?

What I am trying to find out here is the etymology of the phrase "Room key". Surely, it must have been "room's key" first. When and how did it become "Room key"? and Can ...
Frank's user avatar
  • 17
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

How "up" came to mean "state of being complete"?

as an example of my question there is "time is up". I wonder what is the path to a preposition that means "to a higher position" to mean: "state of being complete" is ...
thony albuquerque's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
47 views

"be across a problem"

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary labels the following sense of "across" British: (British English) knowing a lot about something; covering or in control of something We need ...
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 5,986
2 votes
1 answer
37 views

(Comic) Foo-works

I know quite a lot of "-works" works in comic ("Wetworks", to name just one). Is this meme (or how you want to call it) comic-specific? And who brought it up? The most simple ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
24 views

Murder, she emailed [closed]

You might know the phrase template from the crime comedy series "Murder, She Wrote" with Angela Lansbury, but before that there was the "Miss Marple" film "Murder, She Said&...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
3k views

The history of the "morning after" pill doesn't explain its name

The phrase "morning after" interested me while reading this page: Example 1.8 RU-486 is claimed to be an effective “morning after” contraceptive pill, but is it really effective? I got to ...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
  • 3,581
4 votes
2 answers
802 views

What's the etymology of "rack focus"?

Rack focus is a: filmmaking technique of changing the focus of the lens during a continuous shot. When a shot “racks,” it moves the focal plane from one object in the frame to another. I don't see ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can these words imply the opposite of their meanings?

The definition of "stay" in a legal dictionary suggests: "A stay is a suspension of a case or a suspension of a particular proceeding within a case.", but the word stay is known to ...
henryke araudjo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
170 views

How rude is the "cockblock"? [closed]

The word, not the act. Also, obviously not the Harry Dresden "Skin Game" version working with a trigger cock - since the cock we are talking about most definitely isn't a rooster (or is the ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
76 views

Perr/pɛr/ means peer/pɪə/, pair/peə/, or something else?

What do you mean by 'perr'/pɛr/? 'Peer'/pɪə/, pair/peə/ or something else? You know where that comes from? Is it a throaty pronunciation of the ‘r’ sound, characteristic of the Glaswegian accent of ...
cocteau's user avatar
  • 115
2 votes
2 answers
202 views

"But the point is probably moot." Is it arguable or irrelevant?

(Not really answered here.) See also here - I think I found a self-antonym. I took up some research after hearing "Jessie's Girl", and I think the following etymology developments hold: &...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
704 views

Why is the abbreviation pp used to mean pages?

I read on https://english.stackexchange.com/a/117978/17712 pp stands for pages Why is the abbreviation pp used to mean pages? I tried to search for the answer, but couldn't find the answer yet. I ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
535 views

Why is the discount rate called the discount rate?

Why is the discount rate called the discount rate? It doesn't discount anything. On the contrary, it's about how much the central bank charges other banks to use its financial resources. Why isn't it ...
Sergey Zolotarev's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
65 views

Why are data scientists scientists?

Data scientists are professionals in data science, and I was once hired as a senior data scientist in a company, but I thought the title of that job might be misnamed. What is the etymology of "...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
  • 3,581
1 vote
1 answer
45 views

Is the prefix of heterarchy right?

I read an article on the opposite of herarchy: Is heterarchy the answer to the crisis of hierarchy?, but the prefix of heterarchy seems suspect to me. I don't find a prefix as heter then I thought ...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
  • 3,581
2 votes
1 answer
164 views

Using the word "out" after the word "thaw"

What is the etymology of using the word "out" after "thaw"? For instance, "I put the food on the counter to thaw out." Are there any other such words that are customarily ...
rundavidrun's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
190 views

Where does the phrase "that tracks" come from? [duplicate]

I'm wondering where "that tracks" comes from, i.e. meaning "that makes sense". I've done a bit of Googling and all I could find was a Reddit post with a bunch of different guesses ...
Rasmus Beck's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why is there a 'p' in "assumption" but not in "assume"?

I know a little bit about the suffix -tion. It is usually added to verbs. Examples: -domination (from dominate), -admiration (admire), -deviation (deviate), -ejection (eject). "Exemption (...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
610 views

Why does "is" have /z/ sound and "this" have /s/ sound?

The standard pronunciation of "is" is /ɪz/. I looked up its etymology and saw that its pronunciation in Middle English was /iːs/, with /s/. In Old English, it was also /iːs/ On the other ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Pronunciation rules for "CH" and "arch-"

Yesterday I was watching Pokémon where I encountered this word "archenemy". It is definitely not the first time I am hearing it, though it is the first time I am putting thought into it. ...
Dhanishtha Ghosh's user avatar