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.

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25
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2answers
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 (...
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1answer
36 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 ...
2
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1answer
31 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: &...
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1answer
53 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 ...
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1answer
310 views

Why does 'wilful' = 'willful' connote negativity?

Definition 1 is negative. I'm guessing so is Definition 2, because of 'stubborn' and 'regardless of the consequences'. 1. I'm flummoxed: Why? Doesn't the noun will connote positivity (its etymology: ...
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1answer
114 views

A problem about the etymology of “expiate” [closed]

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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1answer
36 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 ...
0
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1answer
48 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 ...
0
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1answer
49 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 "...
5
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1answer
326 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. ...
0
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1answer
23 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 ...
0
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3answers
295 views

Is "solicitor" a noun form derived from "solicit", or do they have totally different word origins?

I recently came across the word "solicit", but I didn't know its meaning although I know what "solicitor" is. Based on my existing knowledge about "solicitor", I guessed ...
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0answers
28 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 ...
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2answers
452 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?
3
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3answers
326 views

The silent "u": "forty" and "fourteen"

We all know that the cardinal and ordinal numbers 4 and 4th are spelled ‘four’ and “fourth” respectively. Then we have 14 and 14th which are spelled “fourteen” and “fourteenth”. Yet the numbers 40 and ...
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1answer
62 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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1answer
38 views

Why is the phrase parent-in-law and not parent-by-law?

Since it's due to the law that they are his/her parents by proxy, why isn't the phrase 'by-law' instead of 'in-law'?
0
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2answers
134 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 ...
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2answers
3k views

Why sister [nouns] and not brother [nouns]?

I have noticed this quite often that other (closely) related common nouns are called sister [common noun]. For example: This question is off-topic here, but is on-topic on our sister site. This issue ...
2
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1answer
220 views

Why are the pronunciations of IRON and IRONY different?

I got 2 excellent answers to my previous question Why is “iron” pronounced “EYE-URN” but not “EYE-RUN”?. Now I wonder about iron and irony (and ironic). The top voted answer by Void suggests that the ...
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2answers
110 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
2k views

Where does the phrase "I'm so shook/shocked/shaken" come from?

I have often seen people say this phrase using these different words to convey the same idea of being surprised about something. I have debated with people about the proper word to use in the phrase. ...
0
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0answers
99 views

why is the plural form of sheep is not sheeps?

The plural of goat is goats. Even uncountable nouns can have plural forms, e.g. waters (the meaning is slightly different). Some words have two plural forms, like cactuses or cacti. Again, some words ...
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3answers
438 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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2answers
268 views

Is "job done" etymologically related to "job well done"?

I've been listening to a podcast by a person who grew up in England, and he often uses the phrase "job done" to mean "that's that" or something similar. I, however, having grown up in the United ...
5
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2answers
475 views

What is the meaning of "roe" in "roe deer"?

According to Wikipedia, a roe deer is a small, nimble Eurasian deer with no visible tail, a white rump patch, and a reddish summer coat that turns grey in winter, the male having short three-pointed ...
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1answer
88 views

What the etymology of Netscape brand name? [closed]

Netscape is an old web browser. But can anyone explain the etymology of this word? Is it net+scape or nets+cape, and what is the point in both cases. I feel more logic in nets+cape (geo.), so browser ...
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2answers
363 views

What does the saying “Don’t feel pregnant” mean?

My dad sometimes says “Don’t feel pregnant” when I tell him how I’m feeling. For instance, I’ll tell him “I feel like all I do is work”, he’ll say “Don’t feel pregnant”. I think it may mean “ Don’t ...
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1answer
29 views

Is there any relationship between *bearing* and *bear*?

Why adding -ing after bear becomes totally another word bearing whose meaning seems had nothing to do with a bear? + -ing becomes . Was there any relationship between the two words?
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2answers
6k views

Is it: 'They and I?' Or: 'Them and I?' Or: 'Them and me?' Or something else?

This is purely for communication via online social media for the proper use of a phrase which I am unsure of its proper structure; which of the following is proper use: 1.) They and I, 2.) Them and I,...
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3answers
107 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 ...
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1answer
81 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 ...
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4answers
165 views

The history of the word "gay" [closed]

When did the word "gay" which initially had a meaning "merry" and "happy" gain another connotation which is now thought to be preliminary? As I understand, the word in the main old meaning was an ...
0
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1answer
38 views

Cocktail etymology

I was told that the word cocktail, when it was invented, was created from the union of two words, namely "cock" and "tail". I tried to check this claim using google, but was not able to come to any ...
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1answer
58 views

French letters in English

The English language has a great amount of borrowings from French. But why aren't such letters as "ç"(façade) and "é"(café, protégé) changed if they don't exist in the English alphabet and there are "...
0
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1answer
32 views

School and school of fish

Why is a group of fish called "school"? And is it anyhow etymologically connected with the word "school" denoting an educational establishment?
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4answers
144 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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4answers
2k 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 ...
1
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2answers
630 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 ...
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2answers
99 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.
2
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1answer
990 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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0answers
55 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
39 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
5k views

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
29 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
533 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 "...
2
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2answers
105 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
197 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
39 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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4answers
3k views

What's the relation between "categorical" and "category"?

categorical and category look quite similar. I also search the etymology on google as follows, which shows there is a connection between them. But categorical means "unambiguously explicit and direct",...