Is there some kind of discernible justification for the allowance of the word "em" (meaning, the letter "m") in Scrabble, and not, say for example, the "word" "ee" (meaning, the letter "e")? I mean, who the heck decided "em" was a word, and if it is, why aren't all letters "words"?! [more inside]
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]
I want a plain text file listing the English words for number 1-100 (ideally, one per line any delimiter will be fine, I can fix that). One, Two, ..., One Hundred. It's got to be somewhere on this great internet. Can AskMe find it fast?
What are some animals that have the same name plural as singular? Examples I can think of: Elk, Deer, Caribou. Are there any others? What is this called? Why does this phenomenon exist? Is it just for North American species?
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.
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]
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]
There is a game called Dungeon Scroll for Android and Apple devices. You get some times and spell a bunch of words and the score of the words kill various creatures. It's pretty low-tech. I absolutely LOVE this game and have had it for years. I'm trying to find something similar that's maybe a little more sophisticated...saves my game progress as I go, leveling up means something, idk. [more inside]
If you were working with a digital tool that was responsible for placing or verifying digital signatures, what would you expect that tool to be called? Not a product name, but rather name of the class of tool (like a codec for encoding/decoding or a compiler for translating code in one language to another)?
I'm looking for good Japanese songs or artists that will teach me new, useful words or phrases so that I can improve. I read articles in Japanese too, but words seem to 'stick' better when I am listening to a song and going over the kanji and hiragana at the same time. Details inside. [more inside]
What would you say and how would you say it? [more inside]
Please help my husband and me find words or phrases (any language!) that describe the sensation of knowing how far you are from home. Not really alienation or nostalgia or being homesick-- just the understanding/realization of the distance. [more inside]
I'm not looking for obscure words that are just baroque synonyms for common English words, or highly specialised David Foster Wallacesque curiosities, but rather words that are actually quite functional for day-to-day use but for whatever reason are not widely known.
What is the origin of the phrase, "the great outdoors?"
I thought it would be easier to find this! I am looking for pictures of words. I want to avoid pictures of words created with "fonts" and want to find things that people found in the wild - signs, graffiti, that sort of thing. [more inside]
I am looking for a clever descriptive term for the idea of training with a "hardship" that when omitted later, makes you feel super-strong. Like when baseball players put that donut thing on their bats while taking practice swings. (Donuting?) Or when you ride a really heavy bike, then switch to a lighter one. Or practice at high altitudes, and compete at low altitudes. Is there already a term that describes this? If not, I am open to any ideas.
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]
I'm curious. What's the normal meaning? What's your meaning? Do you have expectations associated with saying it/what expectations? My details inside. [more inside]
In the course of a dramatic reading of "Fanny Hill" last night I ran across the phrase "turtle-billing," but I cannot find a precise definition of the act. Can you? [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."
Here is the concept I am trying to put a single word to: a sense of ultimate "completion" achieved through the joining of many disparate parts. The word I'm searching for must capture the sense of these disparate parts integrating to fulfill a higher destiny, of being not only greater together but, through this harmonious integration, achieving ultimate purpose or the greatest possible manifestation of each parts' potential. I.e., "Coming together to form the greatest possible, or most complete, reality." [more inside]
I'm having trouble with pithy ways to describe (in popular style) the concept of "silo-ing". In other words: a certain kind of data is siloed into disparate program and department offices, and because of the lack of collaboration the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Suggestions?
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]
Sometimes, some documents I read are so convoluted that I don't understand what they are telling me. I've found this to be true in for legal documents including terms of agreements and constitutions among others. Is there any kind of program that looks at the syntax of sections of text and converts them into block diagrams showing the relationships between subjects and objects with the verb, adverbs, adjectives, etc. showing how they are connected? For instance, if it was highlighting the sentence, "See Spot run", there would be two boxes, one labeled Spot and one labeled You with an arrow connecting the latter to the former. I'm thinking of something similar to sentence diagramming but graphically represented and not nearly as complicated. It seems to me that if something could lay out all of the relationships within a document, that would make it much easier for someone to understand what it means. Or is that magical thinking on my part?
Does anyone else experience or have an explanation or name for this issue? There are certain words that I always seem to really need concentrate to recall. Example: "symmetrical" -- I will almost always need to scan through my vocabulary very carefully to come up with this word when I want it. Also, I will often produce "ambidextrous" as a potential response. Clearly there is a relationship between symmetry and ambidextrous, I see that it's not an outlandish mistake, but I still often have to work my way through the process, even though I KNOW this is a word pair I often have confused in the past. Similarly, "manipulative" and "exploitive". I almost have a sense of anxiety as I search the brain for one of these words because I know I will often come up with the wrong one. Again here, manipulation and exploitation have a similar quality in that they are both ways of treating others as objects, but they are clearly not synonymous. Maybe there are 3 or 4 other pairs that frustrate me as well. Anyone?
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 words or short phrases describe someone who is a fair bit more knowledgeable about some field than the general public, but is well short of being an expert or full professional? Ideally I'm looking for words that fit the idea that such people are often better communicators, teachers and helpers to laypeople in common situations than many true experts would be.
An artist friend makes charming decorative lettered signs with uplifting, inspiring words on them. 'Growth.' 'Love.' 'Inspire.' 'Dream.' I asked her if she had 'Vengeance' - regrettably, it was not in stock. [more inside]
Is there a single, non-compound English word for this kind of university lecture hall desk (those bolted-down seats with the arm-rests masquerading as desktops)? [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]
As I read, I take note of words that I like/don't know/otherwise want to remember on my iPhone. I would like to do something more interesting with these words than keep them in a text file. Any recommendations? [more inside]
What is the origin of ending a sentence with a trailing "so..." ? Who is on record first using it? How did it spread? I am talking about the annoying unfinished sentence word: "We would have gone cycling, but I couldn't find my bike, so..." I am not talking about the legitimate adverb: "I love biking so!"
I can't remember a word. It denotes the emotion of recognizing that another person shares the same form of subjective experience as you. When I read it, it implied, to me, a poetic opposite of solipsism. I believe it was single, simple word, English-sounding, and not merely a string of Latin or Greek roots. Seems like I read the definition on Mefi. Can you help me recall this word?
I'm a bisexual man looking to date bisexual and gay men. In the "what I'm looking for" section of my dating profile, I'm trying to describe the sort of man I'm attracted to, and I need some help. [more inside]
My younger sister is graduating from University (UK), with a degree in Press Photography. I'm looking for a quote to frame and give to my sister as a graduation gift. I have found many examples of typical 'graduation' quotes, but I'm looking for something a bit more specific, which will ideally fit a number of the criteria below. [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]
Freelance editing—does it exist? How can I break in? What are my prospects? [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?
So I finally want to get a name / logo / site for my little side business(es). I do (German-English) translation, localisation and copywriting on the one hand, and I sew colourful accessories on the other. Unfortunately I can't even get past the "what do I call this thing?" hurdle. Can I even have just one name? [more inside]
From Wikipedia, "Kintsukuroi is a Japanese technique of repairing broken ceramics with metal lacquer, usually gold or silver. The word in Japanese means to “to repair with gold”.The concept also includes the understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken." However, I've not been able to find much more on the word beyond Pinterest and blogs. What other words (from any language) are similar, in that they are not just a specific term but can also have a philosophical meaning applied to them?
Help me find excellent writing about visual arts. [more inside]
I need new swear words. The old ones aren't doing it for me any more. The more offensive, violent, bizarre, and onomatopoetical, the better. [more inside]
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)?
PlaguingMeForYearsBecause IUsedToKnowItButForgotFilter: What's the word (I think it's Greek in origin) for the atavistic phenomenon like the motor of a car being in the front of the vehicle simply because the horse was in the front of the cart...?
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]