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29 posts tagged with etymology and resolved. (View popular tags)
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Asking the Green, As One Does...

Is there a known origin point for the phrase "as one does" (or "like you do" or similar variations), when used to indicate that the speaker is aware of how ridiculous an action is? For instance, "I was at the supermarket at three in the morning, offering the cashier ten bucks for an early box of Count Chocula -- as one does -- and...."
posted by Etrigan on Jun 30, 2014 - 12 answers

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

Do you know the origin or history of the term splinter skills?

I had never heard this phrase before and came across it in an article about autism. Curious about it, I searched online, but was unable to find much. [more inside]
posted by abirdinthehand on Jul 15, 2013 - 5 answers

Is there a gender-inclusive replacement for the word "fraternity"?

I flashed the biker wave on my ride home tonight, and as I was thinking some warm fuzzy thoughts about the "motorcycling fraternity", I noticed that the other rider was a woman. Is there a word which represents this concept in a gender-inclusive way? If "fraternity" has to do with brothers and "sorority" has to do with sisters, what word has to do with "siblings"? [more inside]
posted by Mars Saxman on Jul 11, 2013 - 26 answers

Where does the term "grill out" come from?

Why do people say "grill out" instead of "grill"? [more inside]
posted by ramenopres on Jul 1, 2013 - 26 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

Herein looking like a wall-eyed uncle staring at ruraldictionary.com.

I have two phrases that I've come across in the past two days that I cannot get the internet to tell me what they mean: "yard cousin" and "bluefish wars". [more inside]
posted by Cold Lurkey on Apr 28, 2013 - 13 answers

What is the meaining of "Emydidae"?

"Emydidae" is the name of a family of turtles. What I want to know is what does the name *mean*. I have exhausted my google-fu and the best I've been able to find is this wiktionary link that gives a meaning for "-idae" as "appearance". Any reptile/turtle fans care to enlighten me?
posted by moss free on Mar 26, 2013 - 14 answers

Philately is to Stamps as ____ is to Rocks.

Stamp collecting is philately. Coin collecting falls under numismatics (perhaps as a subdivision). Rock collecting is not really geology in the same way as the above terms are used. Is there a similar term for rock collecting?
posted by Jahaza on Nov 3, 2012 - 7 answers

In-use terms with anachronistic referents

I'm looking for examples of terms that remain in common use, even though the technology that they originally described is obsolete or has changed. Also: does this phenomenon have a name? [more inside]
posted by condour75 on Jul 24, 2012 - 39 answers

Help me learn a very selective slice of Greek and Latin words.

Is there a resource where I can learn about the Greek and Latin words that commonly underlie words and names in English? I don't want to learn Greek or Latin, I'm talking about only the words which are commonly useful as 'clues'. [more inside]
posted by Kirn on Mar 13, 2012 - 14 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

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

Diss question

When did the word "diss" pass into popular/mainstream usage (either in the US or Australia)? [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Jan 7, 2011 - 18 answers

Help get this question out of my head!

How did the word "earworm" come to mean something you can't get out of your head (like a song, etc)? Looking for the German etymology, if there is one. [more inside]
posted by bitter-girl.com on Oct 1, 2010 - 5 answers

Whence "didn't know from" ?

What is the meaning and origin of "I didn't know from ___"? [more inside]
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl on Jun 6, 2010 - 6 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 is the etymology of the phrase "Paris is Burning?"

What is the etymology of the phrase "Paris is Burning?" [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight on Apr 25, 2010 - 9 answers

Word nerds seeks "meta-core"-ellary

I'm a word nerd who likes fun words and this word I came across is fun to say and, at least to me, kind of new: mumblecore. That got me thinking -- what makes a "-core?" I am interested in how generes of certain media are dubbed “-core.” Is there anything that makes a genre a “-core” genre and not it’s own suffix-free genre name? Why is “screamo” not “screamcore,” when we have “nerdcore,” “noisecore,” and “hardcore?” (more...) [more inside]
posted by cross_impact on Apr 1, 2010 - 22 answers

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!

Please explain the meme "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!" [more inside]
posted by the NATURAL on Jan 27, 2010 - 24 answers

What does the surname "Naftzger" mean?

Help me track down the meaning of a surname. The name is "Naftzger." It seems to be a Germanic (if not German) word for an occupation (e.g. "Metzger" means "butcher"). But what occupation? What does the "Naf" mean? Bonus points for information on region of origin.
posted by reverend cuttle on Oct 1, 2009 - 3 answers

What is the origin of the phrase "Mama needs a new pair of shoes"?

What is the origin of the phrase "Mama needs a new pair of shoes"? I've also seen "Mama needs new shoes". Where did it come from and why is it sometimes used specifically in relation to gambling? [more inside]
posted by =^^= on Mar 11, 2009 - 13 answers

Word histories and dirt lions

How does one arrive at a list of all the English words that can be traced back to a given root word? The word "chameleon" will be discussed. [more inside]
posted by sleevener on Jan 9, 2009 - 9 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

What is the origin of the phrase "by the balls"?

What is the origin of the phrase "by the balls" as in: "He's really got you by the balls."? [more inside]
posted by sciurus on Oct 2, 2008 - 14 answers

Grammar Wok Needed!

Weird grammar question that's been bugging me for a while with regards to reversing questioning clauses at the end of declarative sentences. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Sep 8, 2006 - 22 answers

When calling someone a "cocks**ker" are you calling them a "girl" or are you calling them a "homo"?

BadWordFilter - Does the word "buttf**ker" refer to a man who sodomizes a woman, and in turn is just a "dirty sex act" word, or does it refer to a homosexual who sodomizes a man and in turn is a homophobic word? Likewise for "cocks**ker"? When calling someone a "cocks**ker" are you calling them a "girl" or are you calling them a "homo"? Am I thinking too much about it, or should I avoid using these words around women / homosexuals so not to appear sexist / homophobic?
posted by pwb503 on Jul 14, 2005 - 41 answers

The Origin of "meh"?

Can anyone provide me with the origin of the word "meh"? I mean, yeah, definition-wise, it almost undoubtedly comes from "ehh." [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on May 17, 2005 - 29 answers

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