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166 votes

Why "grand theft auto", not "grand auto theft"?

The term is "grand theft" and the category it goes into (based on what is being stolen) is "auto". Grand theft, also called grand larceny, designates theft that is large in magnitude or serious in ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 25.4k
84 votes

What do you call the things inside a fruit?

There are several terms used, depending on the size, number and where you live. If there are lots of small ones (grapes, apples, oranges): if you are American, you would call them seeds and, if you ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 59.9k
68 votes

What does "chrome" mean besides the metal?

The term "browser chrome" comes by analogy to "chrome" on vehicles — shiny surfaces that appeal to buyers/drivers. So browser chrome is the visible user interface, the menus and toolbars and ...
Nathan Tuggy's user avatar
  • 9,514
63 votes

"Transgender" versus the obsolete term "transgendered"

I am an actual transgender person, so perhaps I should speak to this issue. It is overwhelmingly preferred among my peers that the term transgender be used and that transgendered be avoided. I am a ...
Emily's user avatar
  • 719
47 votes

What is the meaning of the phrase "tack against"?

Tacking is a sailing technique that allows you to sail against the direction of the wind. The speaker is using a metaphor, regarding how they can progress despite the problem of misinformation.
OrangeDog's user avatar
  • 777
46 votes

What is the inner cover of the winter shoes called in English?

This is called a lining: material that lines or that is used to line especially the inner surface of something (as a garment)(MW) You would ask questions such as: What are those boots lined ...
John Feltz's user avatar
  • 5,136
41 votes

What does "chrome" mean besides the metal?

From Glen's answer on Quora, which also goes on to explain Chrome's name: In design terminology, 'chrome' refers to the non-webpage parts of the browser's interface - the toolbars, tabs and ...
Max's user avatar
  • 526
40 votes

Why "grand theft auto", not "grand auto theft"?

In English, we can move the head of noun phrase, which normally appears at the end, to the beginning. This helps with the naming systems used in technical jargons and other situation in which we want ...
Kaz's user avatar
  • 6,726
39 votes

In how many ways can something not be right?

There are a multitude of ways we can approach this. There are a lot of classifications and labels for things that can be reasonably marked as wrong in language. For instance, an error might happen in ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
  • 7,351
38 votes

"Transgender" versus the obsolete term "transgendered"

Language is at the core of political and social struggles for rights and equality. Word usages often have meanings that could affect political rhetoric. One of the key issues in gender and sexuality ...
Eddie Kal's user avatar
  • 18.9k
37 votes

What is the name for these keys on a computer keyboard?

Your indicated keys, plus the three above and to the right of your indicated keys and the shifted version of the top row all generate "punctuation" characters. Keyboard keys are generally referred to ...
T.J.L.'s user avatar
  • 1,152
36 votes

What does 'a hairline crack where the grip meets the graphite shaft on my 3-wood' mean in this English joke?

A "hairline crack" is a very thin crack that threatens the integrity of some object. The "grip" is where you hold the golf club. The "graphite shaft" is the long part of the club, which these days ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
34 votes

What is the soft part of the palm called in English?

The anatomical term for it is the thenar eminence: However, this is a scientific term, known mostly to medical students and doctors. It's not in general use. I had never even heard of it until I ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 27.6k
31 votes

The act of declaring and revoking a structure a church

A place can be consecrated as a church and later deconsecrated.
TimR's user avatar
  • 127k
28 votes

Why "grand theft auto", not "grand auto theft"?

The earliest reference to the phrase that Google has on hand is from the Los Angeles Police department's annual report in 1936. It makes a lot of sense that this could have been one of the first uses:...
Daniel McLaury's user avatar
27 votes

What do you call the "collars" of a bathrobe?

Most generically, they would be called lapels (the left lapel and the right lapel). And, to the best of my knowledge, it's absolutely irrelevant whether it's a coat or a bathrobe that you're talking ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
27 votes

What is the meaning of the phrase "tack against"?

Tack against prevailing winds is a nautical sailing term. Sailing against the wind is very difficult for a sailing ship – the force of the wind prevents the sails from moving the ship in that ...
DaveG's user avatar
  • 271
27 votes

"I am appeared to redly" - This sentence is making me very puzzled and confused

"I am appeared to [adverb]" is a very unusual phrase, only found in philosophy texts and certainly not in everyday English. A search in Google Ngrams reveals that it appears to be a fairly ...
Peter Jennings's user avatar
26 votes

What is the name of such a "lamp"?

As you noted, "chandelier" does normally refer to larger, more ornate pieces than this, despite its literal meaning of "candle holder". In general, a light that is fixed is called a "light fitting" ...
James K's user avatar
  • 223k
25 votes

What do you call a group set up to undermine a political argument?

This is a False Flag operation, almost exactly by definition.
Jeff Zeitlin's user avatar
  • 4,791
23 votes

How does a "parent" generate a "sister"?

It doesn't. You've made an error in your classification. ELU is not a parent site to ELL. ELU and ELL are each other's sister sites. They are on even levels of the SE architecture. The main parent ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 25.4k
23 votes

What do "high sea" and "carry" mean in this sentence?

There's a lot of specialist nautical terminology here. I'm not an expert on this, but I've done a bit of checking with people who know more, and I'm reasonably confident. For a sailing ship to be ...
SamBC's user avatar
  • 22.8k
22 votes

What is a non-prime number greater than 1 called in English?

From Wikipedia: Composite (number) A composite number is a positive integer that can be formed by multiplying together two smaller positive integers. Equivalently, it is a positive integer that ...
oftenconfused's user avatar
21 votes

Smart/casual dress is encouraged with longs/shoes a must : What is "longs"?

I've never heard of this either in the US. I was able to find it in the Collins Dictionary online. It appears to be BrE and what we in the US would call "pants". Maybe someone else can speak to how ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
21 votes

"I am appeared to redly" - This sentence is making me very puzzled and confused

Academic writing like this is often obscure and hard to understand. In this case, it does make logical sense when explained. The passive form of “appears to me” would be “I am appeared to,” except ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 8,474
20 votes

What is the English equivalent of the Russian word тормоз which is used for very slowly working software?

If software is тормоз because too many poorly implemented features have been added, then it is "bloated." This bloating might be the result of feature creep, as many 'small' features get added on one ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 8,220
19 votes

What's the name of the game of throwing stones to the surface of water?

Wikipedia calls it Stone skipping. There is also a list of translations, for English it mentions: 1. "skipping stones" or "skipping rocks" (North America), 2. "stone skimming" or "ducks and drakes" (...
knut's user avatar
  • 710
19 votes

What's the name of the game of throwing stones to the surface of water?

In English it is called Stone Skimming. The World Stone Skimming Championship is held annually on the Scottish Easdale Island every year. It will be held next week (25th September 2016). The ...
Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩's user avatar
18 votes

The act of declaring and revoking a structure a church

I can only speak for the Catholic Church. My next door neighbor is a Catholic priest and according to him: A church is commissioned/decommissioned. The same term as used for many other types of ...
Tonny's user avatar
  • 552
17 votes

Draw or tie in sports

There are so many sports, all have their own terminology, and I couldn't possibly comment on them all. From my point of view as a native British English speaker I believe the following to be ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 104k

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