etymology's questions - English 1answer

4.906 etymology questions.

In America growing up in the Midwest, I've always heard people pronounce the word "bury" as if it were pronounced sounding the same as the word "berry". Ever since I've noticed this many years back ...

To sport something to have or wear something in a proud way: to sport a beard, she was sporting a T-shirt with the company's logo on it. (OLD) The etymology of sport as a verb don’t appear ...

The phrase "it was all downhill from there" seems to have two, contradictory meanings. The first indicates that things have since gotten a lot worse. For example (from http://bleacherreport.com/...

What is the first known use of the term "cone of shame"? This refers to the plastic cone affixed around dog's necks when they have had a procedure or medical condition. Wikipedia fails to shed any ...

I recently came across the word "sequelitis". As the word does not seem have entered into any of the standard dictionaries yet, the best definition I was able to find is from Wiktionary, which defines ...

I've been using the word 'intuition' to characterise such questions, of which I've asked many, so I'd like to learn or be enlightened about the general methodology. Is there a formal term? ...

Someone used the expression “un-hot question” to describe a post that was in the HNQ (Hot Network Questions) despite not being “hot”. And my thoughts immediately turned to alternatives such as, ‘tepid’...

It is common in legal writing to aver, meaning to allege, assert, or affirm a fact. (Latin root is adver.) But I can't find any evidence that the obvious noun form of the word, aversion, has ever ...

A 'couple' is two of something, typically two people or a matching set of things. But it seems like there is ambiguity over what 'a couple of' means. Dictionaries often claim that, 'a couple of' ...

How has the expression 'well to do' developped the connotation of being 'rich'? Does anyone know the origin of this expression, which accoring to Merrian Webster, dates back to 1794, while ...

According Etymonline , the term sexy underwent a semantic change in the early 1920s when it was used to for the first time with the connotation of “sexually attractive” in reference to Rudolph ...

As the title suggests, I am curious where the term came from. A twenty-minute Google search did not yield any useful results. More specifically, I am wondering why the word "cheap" was used. ...

My wife's family uses the word "washel"or "washle". They are from eastern Ohio, in and about Mineral Ridge, Ohio. They use it in place of crumple, as in "washel a piece of paper". Not sure of ...

What is the history of "X is dead. Long live X"? For example, Location is dead. Long live Location. JavaScript is dead. Long live JavaScript. I feel like I'm missing out on a joke.

All the games of the Fallout franchise start their intro with the phrase War. War never changes... I was wondering if this was an original phrase or was it from literature or some speech?

What is the origin of the phrase "you've got another thing coming"? And — perhaps more importantly — is it more correct than the alternative "you've got another think coming"?

I first heard the use of guns to mean biceps in high school. I thought it was just a local slang. It turns out to be universally known. I later saw it in magazines and fitness books. I also heard of ...

As a native Midwesterner, I was very puzzled to hear my wife (who is from northern New Jersey) use that idiom. I understand what it means, and as far as I can remember I understood what it meant from ...

It seems, perhaps obviously, that "construe" and "construct" have nearly identical etymologies. Since that is true, is there a reason--as for "use" instead of "utilize"--that one should use the more ...

I have recently discovered the words of José María Pemán from 1941 regarding the origin of the English word lunch. My translation (sorry): Wellington's Englishmen arrive in Spain, they fall in love ...

I've seen dozens of arguments for the correctness and/or precedence of one version over the other, but have not come across compelling sources or well-documented explanations for either. Does anyone ...

I've seen a lot of information lately about intestinal flora or gut flora but I was under the impression that flora refers exclusively to plant life. So how did bacteria come to be called flora? I ...

Limerence is basically a word coined in 1979 by American psychologist Dorothy Tennov. It's a very obscure term, even among psychologists. In fact Tennov's followers in 2010 remarked how few ...

And “Hen” (their moth­er) isn’t much look­ing for­ward to it ei­ther. Why? I can an­swer that ques­tion my­self: it’s be­cause they are all tur­keys. Tom is an adult male tur­key (al­so of­ten re­...

The be- prefix in behead doesn't seem to match similar words like become, besmirch, or befuddle. Of course, the same prefix could serve different roles depending on the word. What role is be- serving ...

Where does the term, "on the nose" (to mean accuracy) come from? Dictionaries such as Oxford Dictionaries list the expression both under "nose" and on its own page, but the only etymology they list ...

The first time I heard "gross" being used to mean "disgusting" was probably around the late 1980s, and at the time I felt it was some sort of a corruption of "grotesque"... I'm wondering if there is ...

Stories vary online about the origins of this. It comes up in French in the early 20th century, and apparently American newspapers in 1931. What are the earliest known examples in the English ...

We had a recent question on the Workplace which resulted in this answer: 5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable! Someone asked for a citation and I attempted to locate ...

American 'Diner Lingo' seems to consist largely of humorous crossword-style references (Noah's boy = Slice of Ham, Mother and child reunion = chicken and egg sandwich, Dog soup = water, etc). Most ...

Cubic is the adjective form of the noun cube. Where did the adjective ballistic originate? Is ballistic the adjective form of ball? The word ballista means a catapult. Is this because the launched ...

I just discovered the verb relic, meaning “to make something look worn” and used as far as I can tell only about guitars. (Examples: 1 2 3 …) I was surprised to see that its participles are pretty ...

I've been doing research on LGBTQ+ terminology recently and I've come across pretty much the same sentence about the origin of the English derogatory/reclaimed term "dyke": a source from 1896 lists ...

How did the word basic come to be used as slang for "the majority" or "the conformed." Where was it's first usage as such a word? Is it a new internet frenzy or has this word been used as slang before?...

The OED says noogie means a "hard poke or grind with the knuckles, esp. on a person's head" with a first quotation from 1968. They say it was popularised by Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s but ...

Where did the phrase "to come in handy" originate, and what exactly does it mean? My understanding is that it essentially means to be useful. Is this correct? As far as origins, I have no idea. ...

This question is purely theoretical (i.e. I don't foresee actually trying to use the word), but using arguments based on etymology, as well as euphony and (least importantly) comprehensibility, what ...

The verbs be and go have the nice peculiarity that their various forms (be/was and go/went) come from originally distinct verbs. Are there other such verbs?

Oxford Living Dictionaries' dictionary of North American English defines broomstick as : 1 The long handle of a broom. 1.1 A brush with twigs at one end and a long handle, on which, in children'...

How has the word "pigs" come to be used as slang for feet? As in the phrase: My pigs are killing me! It seems to me that "pigs" and "feet" have very little in common. I'm not sure how common ...

To walk or crawl "on all fours" means to get about on hands and knees like a four-legged animal, or the process of locomotion by such an animal itself. The word four can be used as a determiner to ...

I understand the word "import" meaning "to bring or carry in" from the Latin. I have also read sources which say that the word "important" comes from "importare" meaning "being of consequence" But ...

Beef began its life as an intransitive verb in 1888 and soon took on the noun meaning in 1899 appearing in such expressions as "What's your beef? and "I had a beef with him" (not a steak). Beef ...

Background: I, an Australian, once had a co-worker in North Carolina who would often use Southern-US idioms that confused me. I spent an evening panicked about how to handle "This dog will hunt" as ...

Though it is by no means common, I've heard this expression multiple times recently, and I'm wondering why it isn't "eighteen" to the dozen, or "thirteen", or "twenty". Where did "nineteen" come from?...

I noticed Robin Michael, who is on this site, stated she learned to spell vacumn as did I in school around 40 years ago. I always scored the highest in my English class and won spelling bees back then....

I understand what 'used to' means What is the origin of the 'used to" as in "I used to go to Brighton". I understand what it means but why 'used to'

A recent New York Times Magazine piece focused on the expression "you do you" (and its variant "do you"), meaning something like a strong affirmation to "be yourself." The article associates the ...

I am wondering if there is any etymological connection between Aries, (the zodiac sign which is said to be ruled by the planet Mars, named for the Roman god of war) and Ares (the Greek god of war)?

Why are gym rats so called? someone who spends a lot of time exercising in the gym, and who cares very much about the shape and condition of their body Is it an analogy between a rat living in a ...

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