Does the phrase "Please, not in the face!" (in reference to a metaphorical imminent beating) have a definitive, particular origin from a famous film or some other piece of pop culture? Or has it just sort of established itself from actual beatings?
posted by so_necessary
on Jun 15, 2007 -
I need to find the word meaning "a word with mixed Latin and Greek roots." It's not just "hybrid word
," but a word that specifically indicated Greek and Latin origins. I've had several people remark that they know
it but can't think of it, and my search skills have failed thusfar.
posted by luftmensch
on May 6, 2007 -
What is the origin of the phrase, "last, best hope" as used in pretty much every self-consciously significant but ultimately cliched film, book or TV episode I've indulged myself with over the last ten years?
posted by barbelith
on Apr 8, 2007 -
In England it's common for football (soccer) fans to declare their team allegiance by saying "I'm X" rather than "I'm an X supporter". For example today I overheard this snippet of conversation:
Football supporter 1: "Are you Liverpool?"
Football supporter 2: "No, I'm Arsenal."
It's as if the team defines an entire person. Where and how did this turn of phrase evolve, and is it common with any other sports in other places?
posted by roofus
on Apr 1, 2007 -
I am looking for the etymology for the term "gentleman's 'c'" and my google-fu is just pulling up Bush-bashing. Any advice from the hive?
posted by B-squared
on Mar 21, 2007 -
"Adanac" is "Canada" spelled backwards, and it's an exceedingly common name for businesses, streets and so forth in Canada. Is this common in any other country? [more inside]
posted by solid-one-love
on Feb 17, 2007 -
When did people start saying "best ___ evar" or "worst ___ evar"? Was there a single notable case that sparked the trend, or did it start happening more slowly without a specific origin? Standard etymology searches have turned up nothing.
posted by scottreynen
on Jan 18, 2007 -
How did people describe "electric" experiences before electricity? I got to wondering when someone described the feeling of being pressed up against someone as "electric"...surely people had that experience (for example) before it meant "like invisible power" or "tingly all over"? [more inside]
posted by paul_smatatoes
on Dec 20, 2006 -
TissueCultureFilter: Does anyone know the etymology behind calling cell scrapers 'policemen'? [more inside]
posted by porpoise
on Nov 21, 2006 -
Where did the phrase "the shit hit the fan" originate from? My googling has revealed one claim that it is from 1930's jazz lingo, although no explanantion is given as to what it meant at the time, and another site gives a story that describes the origin that doesn't seem believable. (the last paragraph here: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shit
Does anyone know where the phrase came from?
posted by andoatnp
on Sep 26, 2006 -
Linguistic/Etymology academics: I wrote a 2,000 word paper / article which friends say is of publishable quality and interesting, but not sure what venue to try. [more inside]
posted by lpctstr;
on Sep 21, 2006 -
OK, so I'm sitting here with one of my buddies, talking about his research, and we realized that we know the word for "of or relating to mice" (murine), and the word for "of and related to cow" (bovine), but have no clue what the word for "of or related to rat" is. And after what we thought of as a pretty comprehensive web search (including this very good Google Answer
), we're no closer to an answer. Anyone know what the word we're looking for is?
posted by delfuego
on Sep 16, 2006 -
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 -
When was the phrase "pull the plug" first used in the sense of allowing someone to die? (such as stopping artificial respiration, etc...)
posted by scottr
on Aug 19, 2006 -
What's the origin/etymology of the phrase "Tall Drink of Water", usually in reference to an attractive southern woman?
posted by SpecialK
on Aug 14, 2006 -
Origins of the phrase "Big Sky"? Was it first used to describe Montana? Might it have Native American origins?
posted by nixerman
on Jul 27, 2006 -
Does anyone have any idea what the phrase "common or garden" actually means? I mean I know it means "ordinary" but what is the garden bit about? or is it common as in Greenham Common, perhaps?
posted by criticalbill
on May 24, 2006 -
What's the original source of the phrase, "fly your freak flag high?"
posted by Chrysostom
on May 3, 2006 -
What is the origin of the phrase "to shoot the shit?"
posted by jrb223
on Apr 28, 2006 -
On Unix systems, what is the origin of the directory name "/etc"? That is, why is it called that versus "config", "conf", or anything else that might make sense? Thanks!
posted by arrhn
on Apr 10, 2006 -
What is the origin of the phrase/quote/saying "Dying is easy, comedy is hard?"
posted by YoungAmerican
on Mar 7, 2006 -
Several, couple, a few: occasionally, these words are used to indicate specific quantities of items (3, 2, and 4-5, respectively). Tell me about the etymology of these uses, and help me come up with more words (in English or other languages) that have this interesting specific/nonspecific duality.
posted by breath
on Jan 1, 2006 -
The personal aide to a President, other politician, and certain other muckety-mucks is sometimes known as a "body man". (This usage was popularized, but not invented, by Charlie's role in The West Wing.) Why "body man"? Does anybody know the origin/etymology of the term?
posted by willbaude
on Dec 24, 2005 -
On behalf of a friend, though it actually sounds like an interesting question and I think I'd like to know too:
Could you put up something asking about whether there's a real-world source/derivation for the words "hron" and "hronir" used in Borges' "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"?
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me
on Nov 5, 2005 -
Can anyone point me to a brief online etymology about this over-punctuated style of expression yourself: Worst. Whatever. Ever. Is it a slashdot thing? Mefi thing? Geek thing? Are there any articles about this online?
posted by arielmeadow
on Sep 27, 2005 -
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 -
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 -
How is the term is determined for a native, thing or resident of a place? For example, an American
from America or Italian
from Italy seems simple enough, but Glaswegian
from Glasgow? Shouldn't it be Moswegian and not Muscovite? [more inside]
posted by geckoinpdx
on Apr 13, 2005 -
What is the Etymological origin of the phrase "And How!" used as an exclamation. [more inside]
posted by Megafly
on Mar 23, 2005 -
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 -