I've said and written 'spicket' my entire life and only this morning discovered it was non-standard. Some dictionaries give a cursory redirect to 'spigot'; some don't even list the 'ck' variant. The apparent root of 'spigot' [Latin spica] would seem to obviate this discussion, but the change from /k/ to /g/ had taken place at least by 1590 (both forms co-existed for a while). When did 'spicket' become non-standard, and why has that /k/ persisted to the present day? [more inside]
Can anyone answer the question posed in this blog post? Namely, what is the etymology behind the choice of kanji for the word for Australia?
I have an idea for a project that would require the ability to search a dictionary of words and find the year of it's known introduction (as close as possible). I am aware of etymology-online (love that site), but since, as far as I'm aware, it's just a site, and the compilers don't have a publicly accessible database, I was wondering if anybody knows of any site that actually WOULD have a freely available database (either query via an API through the web, or downloadable to self-host)? [more inside]
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...."
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]
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]
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]
Why do people say "grill out" instead of "grill"? [more inside]
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!
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]
"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?
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?
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]
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]
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?"
Calling etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, and research librarians! Was there a time when 'television,' 'radio,' or 'newspaper' were always capitalized? [more inside]
What's the etymology of the phrase "once and for all"? What's the earliest known attestation?
When did the word "diss" pass into popular/mainstream usage (either in the US or Australia)? [more inside]
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]
What is the meaning and origin of "I didn't know from ___"? [more inside]
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]
What is the etymology of the phrase "Paris is Burning?" [more inside]
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]
Please explain the meme "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!" [more inside]
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.
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]
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]
What is the origin of the phrase "getting the hang" of something? What did it mean, originally, to "get the hang" of something?
What is the origin of the phrase "by the balls" as in: "He's really got you by the balls."? [more inside]
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]
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?
Can anyone provide me with the origin of the word "meh"? I mean, yeah, definition-wise, it almost undoubtedly comes from "ehh." [more inside]