English Language & Usage Weekly Newsletter
English Language & Usage Weekly Newsletter

Top new questions this week:

Is "a whole nother" grammatical?

Often one will hear the phrase that's a whole nother kettle of fish, but is "nother" actually grammatical? If not, what would the correct way of saying it be?

asked by Dog Lover 19 votes
answered by CupawnTae 3 votes

A correct word for 'learnful'

I’m looking for a word that would fit in the sentence it was a very learnful experience: i.e., I learned a lot during that experience. Learnful feels correct to me, but the dictionary disagrees. It’s ...

asked by Thomas Bosman 15 votes
answered by Josh61 28 votes

Hypernym for "bark", "meow", "roar"

Is there a hypernym for animal noises like "bark", "meow", "roar", et cetera?

*single-word-requests *hypernyms  
asked by zencv 15 votes
answered by Tushar Raj 18 votes

Another word for "manufactured" with regards to argumentative statements

which on the surface look genuine and possibly discovered but are in fact architected in some way to support a pre-existing position. there is the element of deception, intentional or otherwise I'm ...

asked by gregsan 14 votes
answered by Chenmunka 28 votes

What word means "explicitly forbidden by the most fundamental laws"?

I am working with engineering equations in a vacuum system and want to emphasize that a certain set of parameters will not work. Usually, this is due to real world effects (friction, pump efficiency ...

*single-word-requests *phrase-requests *vocabulary  
asked by user1717828 13 votes
answered by WhatRoughBeast 25 votes

What is a word for what gladiators do?

I was writing a story about gladiators and wanted a word to describe what gladiators do (besides fighting), as in the phrase "X isn't just...". Arena fighting sounds too long and gladiation, which was ...

*word-choice *single-word-requests  
asked by Alpha3031 13 votes
answered by ermanen 21 votes

Meaning and origin of "bite the bullet"

I just learnt about the expression "to bite the bullet", meaning Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude (as seen in its article in phrases.org). I have ...

*idioms *history *idiom-meaning *historical-change  
asked by fedorqui 11 votes
answered by ermanen 14 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

In sex talk, how many bases are there and what do they all mean?

I always hear people say "I hit the third base" or "I hit the second base" (sex related). I am not 100% sure what they all mean. Additionally, in one of the House MD episodes, there was a dialogue: ...

*meaning *idioms  
asked by RiMMER 34 votes
answered by Kit Z. Fox 27 votes

What does “fleek” mean and when was it first used?

The word fleek is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the third most hated word over the ...

*meaning *etymology *slang  
asked by Hugo 9 votes
answered by Sven Yargs 4 votes

Can you answer these?

To laugh over vs. about

Most of the time when I need to reference something using the word "laugh", my go-to preposition is "about". However, at times, "over" sounds much more adequate in day-to-day use. The big question, ...

*verbs *prepositions *usage  
asked by zeek 1 vote

Why do we say "archenemy" differently from "archangel" and "architecture"?

Like other words that start with "arch-", archenemy is partly derived from arkhi or arkhos from the Greek (Wikipedia), meaning chief. But why is it said differently, using a "ch" sound, from ...

asked by MondoMigs 3 votes

How common it is to emphasize a sentence by adding periods between words?

I am thinking about this style of writing: We. Do. Not. Negotiate! First of all, how would you call that? I have difficulties finding references about it, even though it seems to me that this is ...

*punctuation *style *emphasis  
asked by coredump 1 vote
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