Asking for a friend. Said friend is: A) Tired of writing "synonyms and antonyms" over and over B) Trying to shorten the paper she's writing that contains this phrase. [more inside]
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."
I was talking to my mom last night and at one point in the conversation, she wanted to call something bullshit, but she is extremely opposed to swearing, so she used a euphemism instead. It was so funny that my partner and I both burst out laughing when she said it, but neither of us can remember it now. Help me identify it! [more inside]
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]
What is the word (if any, apparently) for the misuse of a nonprofit's funds for personal uses? [more inside]
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]
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!
What is the average working vocabulary (and outliers) of various languages? Is the working vocabulary of English English different from American English or Australian English? and how does this compare with other languages?
Which languages, if any, have the same word for "beak" and "mouth"? Or: which languages lack a specific word for referring only to a "beak" (aka the hard, pointy, front end of a bird)?
What is this greeting?/ Was dieser Gruß? [more inside]
As a reader, how do you feel about invented language versus familiar words in imaginary worlds? [more inside]
I want to create a spreadsheet from the hyperlinks and words in a word list on Wiktionary. Please take me through the steps. Thanks! [more inside]
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?
What are some non-religious words or phrases for expressing good wishes/thoughts for the future, besides "hopefully?" [more inside]
Is there a term for, or linguistic function fulfilled by, the phrases "no yeah" and/or "yeah no" when used for the purpose of agreeing?
Business idioms that are actually useful? [more inside]
What are some English words that contain a prefix, but the root is either not a word or is substantially unrelated to the prefixed word? [more inside]
A cinephile is someone who loves movies, but a cineaste is someone who uses her love of movies to inform and inspire her own filmmaking. Do other disciplines have a similar term? [more inside]
Can someone identify the words spoken at the beginning of Ground Zero's “Revolutionary Pekinese Opera” (“Opening ~ Flying Across The J.P.Yen”)? You can here the phrase spoken on youtube here. I'm reasonably sure the voice is speaking Chinese.
What does the word "abstract" mean? [more inside]
What words have you made up that you use regularly? [more inside]
How can I work on a more "natural" delivery (emphasis, pitch, etc.) when reading books aloud? [more inside]
Is there a way to find out if 'petrol' or 'gas' is the most recognized word for vehicle fuel by country? [more inside]
I like ClicheFinder and use it often to help me brainstorm clever titles for events and programs. What are some other sites that aggregate common word associations and turns of phrase? Or more general creative wordplay? [more inside]
I'm trying to find a word that conveys both strength (foundation, well built framework, difficult to break, potential for growth) and efficiency (basic, best use of resources, no embellishments). [more inside]
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]
What does "down to earth" mean? Context: On-line dating. [more inside]
A guy in Tallinn pointed at me and said something that sounded like "satavaziru!" (emphasis on the "zi" syllable). What might that mean? [more inside]
Can I compute how frequently a word occurs in general English text? I have a list of about 2000 words, and I want to sort it with the most common words first. [more inside]
What's the largest possible solid block of words you can make in scrabble? I've gotten 3x3's in Words with Friends a bunch of times, but never a 4x4. Is it possible? Are larger ones possible?
Which language has the most homophonic words (one sound, multiple spellings. In English, e.g., BEAR and BARE)? It's hard to do precise comparisons across languages because they differ in what counts as a word, in how complicated their inflectional system is, etc. But even approximate data would be useful. I saw one paper on automatic speech recognition which showed that the system made more errors on French than Italian German etc. and that most of them were due to homophones. But, where are some real facts about degree of homophony across languages?
[Word Filter] Is there a term to describe the disappointment you feel at losing something that you never actually had and didn't really want or plan for? It can be in English or another language. Examples inside. [more inside]
I work the front desk at my parent's hotel and we are having a dispute regarding the language and wording of a sign that we have recently put up. Is there a better way to word the following sign: "Busy Helping Another Guest, Back in a Minute. Thanks." ? [more inside]
Is there a word similar to anachronism for when a writer uses a dialect or jargon in the wrong person, ethnic group or similar? [more inside]
I need some African name suggestions. [more inside]
There are certain obscure English words that are rarely used alone, but show up in more commonly used word pairs - the best example I can think of is "miasmic fug". I am trying to write about this phenomenon, so if anyone can suggest other word pairs like this I would be very grateful!
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]
We've asked about "untranslatable words" that "do not exist in the English language" or at least lack a "close English equivalent." But what are the words in English that defy easy translation? [more inside]
Is there a word for a piece of media (book, song, movie, etc.) that simultaneously sends up/parodies its genre and fits comfortably within it? What are some good examples? [more inside]
What are your favorite non-english words or expressions that do not have a close English equivalent? I am looking for different ways to look at the world.....from around the world.
Scots/Gaelic shout help needed [more inside]
Please help me learn more about these Dutch words I heard while growing up. [more inside]
What is the name of the phenomenon where words lose their original meaning once they take on an off-color meaning? For instance isn't it queer that nobody describes themselves as "gay" anymore unless they are homosexual or are deliberately being provocative? [more inside]
Is there a word for a person who has been subpoenaed? If two people are subpoenaed, they are called co-...? They're not co-defendants. Is there an equivalent?
I bookmarked a site years ago that was all about people listing their favorite words - sort of like "delicious" but for word nerds. Does anyone have a clue what this is? thanks
I'm looking for a somewhat poetic word or phrase (in any language) that describes "a good thing that's happening too soon" or "a good thing that happened before I was ready for it" or something like that. [more inside]
Grammarians: Is it OK to take liberties with the word "win" when publicizing a contest or draw? [more inside]
Does a comprehensive etymological dictionary exist that crosses languages? [more inside]
How do I become a better Scrabble player? [more inside]
"Pea green pink Irish Catholic" - what, if anything, does this phrase mean and/or refer to? [more inside]