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15 posts tagged with etymology and english. (View popular tags)
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Who first "made it sing"?

What is the origin of "making it sing," as in to cause something to be at its best, be it an instrument, weapon, machine, or anything else? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jan 27, 2014 - 14 answers

Batman: Linguistic Origins

What are some examples of really easy/obvious etymological descents that most people aren't really aware of? I'm trying to prove to somebody that there are a lot of these in the english language but I've forgotten most of the interesting ones I used to know. [more inside]
posted by tehloki on Nov 22, 2013 - 27 answers

"historacle" just feels silly to me

Is there a term for a seer/diviner/oracle that is only able to see into the past? I'm willing to grab one from a non-English language if there is a word that means specifically "a seer who can only see the past", but English is prefered. Antiquated terms are OK. Bonus points for interesting etymological details (or links to interesting etymological details). [more inside]
posted by NoraReed on Jul 16, 2013 - 12 answers

List of simple word roots

I am looking for a text file of a list of words (roughly the 5000-10000 most common English words) and their root word and root word language. My Google Fu only turns up single words or pages that I can type in a word to get to another page to get the etymology. Wikipedia has some stuff, but it is sorted by language root, which is not what I am looking for. I would like to have a long list of words in a text file so that I can manipulate it programatically. Comma separated or whatever, any format would be great. Here is one use case: Yoke - [list of words that have yoke in the etymological history] (Many, many many English words come from the root work for Yoke.) All answers appreciated!
posted by Monkey0nCrack on May 16, 2013 - 6 answers

So "Rock"=Wild & "Party"=Crazy, or...

Has an evaluation been made of the dichotomy between what is implied by the term "wild" in the line "You drive us wild" and what is implied by the term "crazy" in the immediately following line "We'll drive you crazy" in KISS's "Rock And Roll All Night?"
posted by herbplarfegan on Aug 23, 2011 - 16 answers

The capital I.

Calling etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, and research librarians! Was there a time when 'television,' 'radio,' or 'newspaper' were always capitalized? [more inside]
posted by thebestsophist on Jun 20, 2011 - 12 answers

Saying sugar and yelling your full name: southern or not?

Two questions about vocabulary in the American South and elsewhere: did your parents call you sugar and did they, when you were in trouble, use both your first and middle names to summon you for the reckoning? [more inside]
posted by mygothlaundry on Jun 2, 2011 - 81 answers

Etymology of "once and for all"?

What's the etymology of the phrase "once and for all"? What's the earliest known attestation?
posted by topynate on Feb 11, 2011 - 5 answers

Seeking English words with meanings hidden in plain sight

Help me find English words that have meanings hidden in plain sight. For example, it only recently occurred to me that a "quart" is a quarter of a gallon. [more inside]
posted by alms on May 4, 2010 - 142 answers

What the heck is hanging?

What is the origin of the phrase "getting the hang" of something? What did it mean, originally, to "get the hang" of something?
posted by RedEmma on Oct 9, 2008 - 17 answers

The gig/jig is up

MajorDomesticDebateFilter : What is up? She says jig. I say gig. Google is undecided. [more inside]
posted by vizsla on Apr 25, 2008 - 37 answers

All your base are off of us

Did "based on" beget "based off of"? [more inside]
posted by Mr Stickfigure on May 16, 2006 - 28 answers

Venus words

In English, we have words like mercurial, martial, jovial, and saturnine... [more inside]
posted by wanderingmind on Apr 26, 2006 - 22 answers

Etymology of the phrase "hunt you down like a dog"

What's the origin of the phrase "hunt you down like a dog?" I can seem to find the origins of other phrases involving dogs pretty easily but not this one.
posted by DyRE on Feb 3, 2005 - 16 answers

Origin of "Go Piss Up a Rope" and the H. in "Jesus H. Christ"?

Excuse me, but can anyone tell me: What exactly is the origin of the phrase Go piss up a rope? I know it's present in the American South and Midwest, but did it originate elsewhere? Does the phrase occur in other countries? And how exactly does one piss up a rope? Does it mean Go climb a rope (similar to Piss off!), or literally Go urinate up a length of braided twine? And, while we're at it, what the hell does the H stand for in Jesus H Christ? I've always wondered. [...a little more inside] [more inside]
posted by Shane on Jan 19, 2004 - 12 answers

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