Repetitive words or phrases irritate me way beyond all rational explanation. Can you help me understand why? [more inside]
I'm looking for a single English word that means "go mad" or "be mad", or anything similar: act weird, be eccentric, become demented. There are lots of phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions for this, and lots of synonyms for "mad", but I can't find any verbs. Closest I've found is "to trip". Any ideas, especially archaic or defunct words?
20ish years ago there was a one-page essay in the (maybe? Last page?) New Yorker that featured many uses of words that had no such root or form. I can't think of any specific words in the essay, but even what the words or practice are called and a list would be nice. Things like "rambunction" for rambunctious, or "consternating" for consternation. Is this mere coinage, or is there a wider practice at work? [more inside]
Isn't there a particular word for the deterrent method of putting thieves' heads on pikes outside a village perimeter to discourage further attacks on the villagers? [more inside]
I see on AskMe all the time, whenever someone refers to an adult of the female gender as a "girl," several people will immediately pop up to sternly correct them. I've come to accept this as part of the site culture here, and keep it in mind for my own questions and comments, but it quite honestly seems bizarre based on my own life experience. I'm curious how common this view actually is, and whether people actually stick to it in real life. [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of colloquial weather terms like the "dog days" of summer, Indian summer, or blackberry winter. These are just examples, the terms don't have to be about weather like those. I'm just interested in learning more local/regional expressions like these, especially non-English ones if people know them. Thanks!
I want to write a program to generate new, realistic-sounding and -looking words. I want to programmatically create strings like 'bik', 'clible', 'aunstic', and 'cranoak', (if these words don't already exist), and avoid strings like 'bblejkm', 'aunstrbl', and other things that don't look pronounceable. Looking for a database of word parts to feed into this program, possibly with a set of accompanying rules. English or any other language (ideally with phonetic representations). [more inside]
What are some terms for transgender in other languages, especially Spanish? What words do they use to identify themselves? [more inside]
In the “Steve Jobs” script by Aaron Sorkin, there is a little exchange between Jobs and Sculley in which the former says that the name “Apple” came from a “list of friendly-sounding words”. Regardless of why Apple is named Apple, do such lists exist? Is there any research on what makes a word sound friendly to people (phonetically, semantically, aurally, visually, ...)?
Toward a better definition of "bogan;" gender differences in everday speech; an American tourist speaking without giving offense? [more inside]
Is there a word in the English language that means a person who owns nothing? [more inside]
My husband works very hard and does amazing things. When he has an accomplishment, I have a hard time thinking of something to say other than "I'm proud of you" but I think that sounds so patronizing, fake, and parental. [more inside]
With the recent news that nature words are being removed from children's dictionaries, I'm looking for many more nature words and their definitions to add to my lexicon. Books, blog posts, whatever, I'll take them all. The more obscure and localised the better. (Title taken from here).
Can you help me come up with a name for a group of very talented cinematographers based in New York? Naturally the first place I went to was the dictionary (word by word), jotting down everything that had to do with the craft. The technical terms are not interesting to them because they prefer a nice name that focuses on the artistic/storytelling aspect of it. Help? [more inside]
English does not have words for certain kinds of specific relationships, but other languages do. I am interested in learning examples of some of these words. [more inside]
In other words, I'm looking for a list of adjectives that could complete the sentence "I am feeling __." This is actually a fairly extensive group of adjectives, and I'm wondering whether this type of adjective is identified formally as a certain type of adjective (which would make it easier to find the set) or whether anyone has assembled such a list.
My kids have asked me how to say a few things in English, but I realize the only terms I know were the racist terms used back when I was a kid. What are the current, non-offensive terms for these activities? [more inside]
I have a T-shirt with text in some kind of Arabic language, and I have no idea what it says (or even what language it says it in!) There's also a small triangular logo with an antelope and the word 'Zama'. Does anyone know A) what language it is, B) what it says and C) what the context is? [more inside]
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]