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14 posts tagged with etymology and linguistics. (View popular tags)
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What's up with this odd usage of the word "steal"?

In the early 1990s, the boys in my middle school used to threaten to "steal" each other, meaning hit/punch/sock/pop/smack. It was most commonly heard as, "I'mma steal you in your eye!" or "I'm gonna steal him upside the head!" I found it strange even then, and I haven't heard or seen reference to it since. Have you heard "steal" used like this before? Where could it have come from? Relevant details: This was in Nash County, North Carolina. I recall hearing it exclusively from white boys. The couple times I asked someone who was self-aware enough to discuss it, they were adamant that it was "steal" and not "steel."
posted by rhiannonstone on Feb 6, 2014 - 17 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

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

Take me to the river, Chaunse me in the water...

Looking for a vernacular American English word! Chaunse, shawnse, shaunse, etc... [more inside]
posted by darkstar on Jul 3, 2010 - 15 answers

Sha-boom Sha-boom, sha na na na na na na na na na na (repeat)

Where does Doo-Wop come from? [more inside]
posted by phylum sinter on Oct 1, 2008 - 8 answers

Books on Japanese etymology?

Are there any layman-accessible, English-language books or (less preferably) websites on Japanese etymology or the development of Japanese? [more inside]
posted by Citizen Premier on Aug 30, 2008 - 6 answers

canis lupus whatisthis?

What is the origin of the cross-linguistic "kutt"-like root for dog? [more inside]
posted by harhailla.harhaluuossa on Jul 12, 2008 - 8 answers

Oh he's got blue eyes, oh he's got green eyes, oh he's got gray eyes...

Have the meanings of words referring to colours changed? [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam on Sep 3, 2006 - 32 answers

Ukraine vs. The Ukraine

Ukraine vs. The Ukraine. Is the latter outdated now that Ukraine is an independent nation? Do Ukranians feel strongly about the difference? I hear people refer to it both ways.
posted by hal incandenza on Nov 26, 2004 - 6 answers

Cancer the Crab

Crawly linguistics: What is the association between crabs (the crustaceans) and cancer? We all know the zodiac sign of the crab is called "Cancer", Cancer is also the genus of some crabs, and I've just discovered that other crabs are of the genus Carcinus, which sounds very close to "carcinogen". What's the reasoning and history behind this?
posted by Jimbob on Oct 12, 2004 - 3 answers

Can genius be used as an adjective?

Can genius be used as adjective, as in this example from the BBC: "Send Dave your genius idea."? If so, why? [More Inside.] [more inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 2, 2004 - 29 answers

Bloggy?

Is there a single-word noun that means "things that relate to blogs/are in the manner of blogs?" If not, any ideas for a made-up one?
posted by Nikolai on Jun 15, 2004 - 28 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

Origin of a meme

What is the origin of the

1. Do one thing
2. Do another thing
3. ??????
4. Profit!

meme?
posted by jpoulos on Jan 13, 2004 - 6 answers

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