qroqqa has adopted no words, looked up 0 words, created 29 lists, listed 2600 words, written 1591 comments, added 0 tags, and loved 0 words.

Comments by qroqqa

  • A form of radiography that uses muons to image the interior of large bodies such as icebergs, volcanoes, or the Great Pyramid.

    November 6, 2017

  • New name for element 118, with symbol Og, formerly temporarily known as ununoctium. It is named for the pioneering physicist Yuri Oganessian. Note that it ends in -on, not -ium, to match the elements above it such as neon.

    June 8, 2016

  • New name for element 117, with symbol Ts, formerly temporarily known as ununseptium. It is named for Tennessee, the state where the Oak Ridge laboratory, part of the grouping that discovered it, is located. Note that it ends in -ine, not -ium, to match the elements above it such as fluorine.
    Announced by the IUPAC on 8 June 2016 and confirmed on 28 November.

    June 8, 2016

  • New name for element 115, with symbol Mc, formerly temporarily known as ununpentium. It is named for Moscow, the region where the Dubna laboratory, part of the grouping that discovered it, is located.

    June 8, 2016

  • New name for element 113, with symbol Nh, formerly temporarily known as ununtrium. It is named for Nihon "Japan", where the element was discovered.

    Announced by the IUPAC on 8 June 2016 and confirmed on 28 November.

    June 8, 2016

  • Once more I am full of twittering lexeme giddiness at the felicitous prose-poetry of this stuff. Such vivid images as the spectacularly liveried glass, the pathos of the heartrending reed pedlar (reprising the motif of tramps victimising), and the shock ending when grunt confesses hearsay orphanages. Some might scoff at its apparent randomness, thinking it's inanely rearranged except lightweight botanically, but no, refusing simper reverently dismantles such a naive illusion. This is carefully crafted stuff. The programmers, after their ritual warm-up of kimono hacker pogo, get down to fine-tuning the n-grams and collocations (standardise helpers experimental settling), injecting just enough unexpected choice to keep it gripping, or as they put it themselves: thermostatically quartic repulsions clamouring.

    June 1, 2016

  • *bing* And here I am.

    Swahili uses neither zh nor any accents. It is not the remotest bit like a Swahili word. It does however remind me of the Albanian word for 'fairy', zanë.

    *bing* <- has disappeared

    May 26, 2016

  • About 30 light years. Close enough to show up as a geological layer of dead bodies rather than just isotopes. Sirius is the one to look out for, in the distant future.

    Proof that ancient supernovae zapped earth from phys.org.

    April 7, 2016

  • Did you know that 'gulible' is not in the dictionary?

    April 1, 2016

  • Meg seeks cwm becks. 'Cwm' is possibly the only English word made solely of prime-numbered letters (bcegkmqsw) that doesn't contain an E. Seriously, does no-one have a list of prime-lettered words . . . or a word for them? (Primogram?)

    March 31, 2016

  • Soweto

    March 31, 2016

  • The property of being envatted, i.e. in a vat, normally said of brains, as in the philosophical discussions of the late Hilary Putnam.

    March 15, 2016

  • 'She sort of has an un-pig-latin-able first name, doesn't she.'

    —Marten in Questionable Content no. 304, after drunken Dora calls Faye Aye-fay to stop her overhearing.

    March 11, 2016

  • BBC reports new case in Vietnam of heteropaternal superfecundation.

    *sings* Even though the cause of it is something quite atrocious . . .

    March 9, 2016

  • Also frack sand. An exceptionally pure kind of sand used to prop up the fissures created by fracking.

    March 8, 2016

  • In Norwegian maritime folklore, a sea captain who behaved so lewdly with his men that they mutinied and threw him overboard, was believed to lurk deep underwater, and return once in a hundred years in the form of the Klitter, a vast, multi-tentacled disrespecter of persons, refining his technique as he slumbers.

    Tennyson knew all about him, of course:

    There hath he lain for ages and will lie

    Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,

    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

    Then once by man and angels to be seen,

    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

    Naturally nudists are terrified of his rising and of his noodly appendages.

    February 16, 2016

  • Not only is it called a stellarator, the one they are about to inject hydrogen into* has the supremely unbelievable name of the Wendelstein X-7 stellarator.

    * Jack Lemmon: 'Inject the hydrogen, Max! Mwah-ha-ha!'

    February 3, 2016

  • The Bougainville Revolutionary Army later declared an interim government for the island, which they called the Bougainville Interim Government. So that made them the BIG/BRA.

    January 12, 2016

  • The IUPAC has finally (finally!) agreed that ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium, and ununoctium have been discovered, and have invited the discovery teams to submit names, so we can hope that Ghiorsi gets his glory. However, the naming rules for the last two columns have recently been changed, so that ununseptium will get a name ending in -ine like astatine above it, and ununoctium will (I hope) become ghiorson, like radon above it.

    January 4, 2016

  • It is also important to avoid metafailures; for example a simple syntax error in the stop script can ultimately result in what appears to be a failure, causing a STONITH for entirely the wrong reason.

    STONITH Deathmatch Explained

    The same article by Ourobengr also explains 'best worst case failover time', and mentions the start(failure)/stop(failure)/fatal-gunshot-wound-to-the-head cycle, which is now my favourite kind of cycle.

    December 1, 2015

  • Some showshoers use tunneled connections from their back-end spam cannon to the spam egress IP.

    Spamhaus glossary s.v. snowshoe spamming

    December 1, 2015

  • Megaohm is the official spelling. Megohm is just a popular variant. The BIPM's SI Brochure</a> uses the example of the gigaohm.

    November 26, 2015

  • My favourite is the Burmese tiger (Surprisibus! surprisibus!). You know, when the coyote uses a Burmese tiger trap.

    November 24, 2015

  • A male Mary Sue is called a Gary Stu.

    November 6, 2015

  • Bok globule

    November 5, 2015

  • An action taken by a standby node (server) that was been unexpectedly promoted to primary node in a failover, because the heartbeat between them has gone wrong. As it is unknown when or if the original primary node will recover and start behaving as a primary node, it may be necessary to stop it doing so: Shoot The Other Node In The Head (STONITH). Gee I love that kind of talk.

    November 5, 2015

  • In the case of the lower spectrum of the high redshift quasar, a 'forest' of absorption features is seen at wavelengths blueward of the Lyα emission feature. This absorption is due to clouds of neutral hydrogen gas between us and the quasar.

    Oxford Companion to Cosmology, s.v. Lyman alpha forest

    November 4, 2015

  • Not in the OED and not here either, until now. A windmiller, one who maintains a windmill, particularly a technician on modern wind turbines.

    November 2, 2015

  • The sense of monitored information has spread from intelligence to astronomy: in this phys.org article 'Milky Way's back hole shows signs of increased chatter', the chatter is X-ray flares becoming more frequent as the object G2 moves close to the galactic black hole Sgr A*.

    September 24, 2015

  • And here the last few sentences explicitly refer to lorem ipsum, but again the final sentence is a perfect summation of this spam spawn:

    Spawns a piece which restrains an exclusive variety by the side of every noise, incrementing by simply at all quantity anyone write down.

    September 1, 2015

  • I'm not saying I'm reading any of this, but I can't help noticing that the final sentence is an almost spookily accurate self-reference:

    Currently, software that will produce hit and miss although tremendous haunting ownerships meant for editorials which stay muddled to produce nations just click, am present obtainable.

    September 1, 2015

  • Not spam, surely. I recognize several of those words.

    August 24, 2015

  • Different products. It's traditionally an overly-sweet drink for children, but recently an alcoholic ginger-flavoured beer was brought out by Crabbie's. It's very good, not too sweet, and it's not mild either, it's a respectable strength. It's not the first beer with ginger flavouring: Badger's Blandford Flyer is also very good, but somehow I wouldn't call that <i>ginger beer</i>.

    July 23, 2015

  • There's no problem with calling Pluto a planet. The problem is with the pedants who insist that there are nine planets, for no good reason except that this was what was true when they were growing up. No doubt many people who grew up between 1846 and 1930 felt the same about the absurd claim that there was a ninth planet: that titchy thing? Give me a break.

    Let Pluto be a planet. You're then committed (both linguistically and scientifically) to saying Quaoar, Sedna, Orcus, Eris, Varuna, Haumea, and Makemake are planets, to name just the more prominent named ones. When I was growing up there were 103 elements and I learnt them all. I have resisted the urge to tell scientists they're not allowed to discover any more.

    If they're not allowed to demote anything because pedants don't like it, then they weren't allowed to demote the planet Ceres, or the planets such as Juno and Vesta discovered in quick succession after it.

    July 17, 2015

  • Mr Ralph Strauch appears to be a Feldenkrais practitioner, whatever that may be, and lives in Pacific Palisades in California, which sounds as if it has a good view of the sea, so he's probably the guy you'd go to for the low-down on the morphosyntax of Wakashan languages and general linguistic theory, if you didn't know any linguists.

    Nuuchahnulth (formerly known as Nootka, which means "circling about" and isn't a native ethnonym) has verbs, nouns, subjects, and objects, together with markers of tense, person, topic, and a whole lot of other things. It is unusual in that any verb can be used as a noun and vice versa, in almost identical circumstances, so it is unclear whether they are separate classes. It is unclear whether it has a distinct syntactic role of subject, or whether the relations between elements in the sentence should rather be analysed as topic and focus or some such.

    It also has incorporation, where objects of verbs are attached as prefixes to the verb; a lot of North American and Siberian languages have this. It also has a rich affixal system where meanings like "in a canoe" are expressed on other words rather than by a separate phrase. Again, it's not alone in this among the local languages. It may have a passive, or this may be analysable in terms of direct and inverse marking, as in some other North American languages.

    As an example of the interchangeability of nouns and verbs, take these sentences, which differ in focus rather than outright meaning:

    (1) mamukma quʔasʔi
    (2) quʔasma mamukʔi
    "the man is working"

    mamuk "work", quʔas "man", -ma present tense, -ʔi definite. (1) expresses it as a subject/topic quʔasʔi "the man" preceded by the predicate "is working". Version (2) is more like "the one who is working is a man": topic mamukʔi "the working one" and predicate quʔasma "is a man". There doesn't seem to be anything transient, flowing, or even strikingly 'verby' about a predicate consisting of a noun with a verbal attachment. Turkish does it too: adamdır "is a man".

    As an example of verbs with subjects, objects, and optional object incorporation, consider these:

    (3) ʔuʔaamitʔiš maħt'ii čakup
    (4) maħt'aʔamitʔiš čakup
    "a man bought a house"

    maħt'ii "house", čakup "man" (no I don't know the difference; the only Nuuchahnulth dictionary is not previewed on Google Books), ʔaap "buy" interacting with -mit</i> past tense, -ʔiš 3rd person indicative. The initial element ʔu- in (3) is a dummy marker for the verb to be attached to when the object hasn't been incorporated onto it, as it is in (4).

    Examples (1) and (2) from James Hurford, Grammar: A Student's Guide, Cambridge, 1994, p. 143, from material collected by Swadesh, I think.
    Examples (3) and (4) from Rachel Wojdak, The Linearization of Affixes: Evidence from Nuu-chah-nulth, Springer, 2008, p. 29.
    Yes, I do feel better after this, thank you.

    July 14, 2015

  • Winner of this year's Diageo Award for Rotten Rebranding. Energy company GDF SUEZ is now ENGIE.

    July 10, 2015

  • A white dwarf that keeps exploding as a nova as its companion feeds material to it. M31N 2008-12a has exploded roughly every year since it was discovered, so astronomers suspect it is now at the wafer-thin mint stage.

    See phys.org for more.

    July 9, 2015

  • <a href="http://phys.org/news/2015-07-star-doubly-eclipsing.html">Rare system of five stars discovered</a>; one of them is a contact binary.

    July 8, 2015

  • 'Hunless adj. colloq. (derogatory and offensive) rare devoid of Germans.
    —first line of entry from OED, worth quoting for its pile-up of qualifications

    July 7, 2015

  • The etymology given above from Wiktionary contains a misunderstanding. Linnaeus didn't name it after anything; he just used the ordinary Latin word papaver "poppy". It is debatable what this papaver came from. The Wiktionary etymology is apparently imagining a connexion (deep in time) with "pap".

    July 1, 2015

  • canary, etymologically.

    June 24, 2015

  • In two kingdoms (of life): referring to a taxon that was traditionally classified partly by the animal people and partly by the plant people, because some of them photosynthesized and others didn't*, from the bad old days when people classified all microorganisms as either protozoa or algae. An example is the euglenids, now recognized as a monophyletic clade of excavates. For more see TOLWEB on Euglenida. 

    * that's some of the organisms classified, not some of the people

    June 18, 2015

  • A feeding habit of certain microorganisms, when they take a molecular tin-opener to some other microorganism's cell membrane and suck the contents out.

    June 18, 2015

  • The eating of bacteria. The eater is a bacterivore and is therefore bacterivorous, all good words. Some euglenids live by bacterivory. For more see TOLWEB on Euglenida.

    June 18, 2015

  • The eating of eukaryotes, usually microeukaryotes. The eater is a eukaryovore and is therefore eukaryovorous, all good words. Some euglenids live by eukaryovory. For more see TOLWEB on Euglenida.

    June 18, 2015

  • Formation of beaded, string-like structures by the expulsion of molecules from a cell during apoptosis. Also 'beaded apoptopodia', or in full 'apoptotic long-beaded apoptopodia'. Discovered recently at La Trobe.

    June 16, 2015

  • One of the dictionaries cited here defines 'hypogene' as 'netherformed', a word with no entry at all, not even from that dictionary. I wonder if the other 24 people who looked it up before me were led to it by the same curiosity.

    June 16, 2015

  • Thus was the abyssal benthos discovered, the community of organisms living on or close to the ocean floor. In the 1960s a major advance was made by the introduction of the epibenthic sled, which rakes the top layer of the floor with fine mesh nets and traps the residue with a closing door to prevent the winnowing and loss of smaller organisms.

    —Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life

    June 15, 2015

  • The Victoria cichlids fall in the special category of adaptive radiation called species flocks: they comprise relatively numerous species of immediate common ancestry and are limited to a single well-isolated area such as a lake, river basin, island, or mountain range. The chief theoretical puzzle created by species flocks is the process by which they grow. How can populations split repeatedly into species within a closed habitat that has no geographical barriers?
    —Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life

    June 15, 2015

  • Ballooning spiders are members of what ecologists, with the accidental felicity that sometimes pops out of Greek and Latin sources, have delightfully called the aeolian plankton. . . . The creatures composing the aeolian plankton are devoted almost entirely to long-distance dispersal.
    —Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life

    June 15, 2015

  • No one has learned how to invent with any consistent success the equations and phrases of science, no one has captured the metaformula of scientific research.
    —Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life

    June 15, 2015

  • Comparable morphoclines—series of species arrayed from the most generalized to the most specialized—occur among the cichlid algal feeders and predators on other fish.

    —Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life

    June 15, 2015

  • I like an ambitious list.

    May 1, 2015

  • They're not kelvin, they're kelvins, if there are thousands of them.

    April 28, 2015

  • The closest approach to a black hole. From Greek bothros "hole". Coined by Sterl Phinney of Caltech.

    March 26, 2015

  • Okay, stupid (and rhetorical) question, it's been a while, how do I list a word I just looked up? I want a list button or a list of lists, and I can't see either. (I have a List button that takes me to a list of lists containing it, but as none contain it yet, this is an exercise in frustration and circularity.)

    (Later. Boy, was that difficult. And the next question is, how come it's been listed once, commented on once, and favourited once, when I'm the only person who knows about it so far, and I didn't favourite it? Or are there other mysterious buttons lurking in the undergrowth? Grrr . . . goes to look . . .)

    January 26, 2015

  • Early attempts at atomic bombs faced the problem that the uranium was so heavy it dropped out; this problem was called fallot. The remaining bomb would trigger, but exploded like a firework into a few fitful stars, leaving fa**ot.

    December 4, 2014

  • An emaciated sea-elephant.

    I like two facts about this: (i) English has a word for an emaciated sea-elephant; and (ii) the people who thought it was a good product name didn't consult the OED.

    November 4, 2014

  • Also related of course are finance (from the infixed present stem), flense ("taking your cut"), fleece (taking someone else's cut), please (what you say when you do: Grimm's Law applies), police (who they get when you do: epenthesis commonly trails in the wake of Grimm), pulse (which goes up when they chase you: compensatory loss of segment), purse (how could you miss this one?), and pence (in the purse – and here we are back at Grimm's Law, or Crim's Law as it's now known).

    October 2, 2014

  • Don't write off to the OED with a 1909 antedating, though: it's 1923. The Google Books top date is wrong. If you scan for various years in it you find current events of 1922 and January 1923, and a scheduled event in September 1923 is a long way off.

    September 23, 2014

  • This just screams folk etymology. A search on Google and Google Books for "my petuti" and "horse's petuti" show the spelling 'petuti' only goes back to about 2002. "Horse's patootie" can be found in Don Ryan's 1930 novel A Roman Holiday (a considerable antedating to the OED's 1959 in this sense).

    It is not clear how we get from the slightly earlier "hot patootie" and "sweet patootie" to a buttockial* patootie, but petunias don't seem to be involved.

    * there must be a better word than that. Natal?

    September 22, 2014

  • If looking at the moon you're me,

    Inspired to rhyme, soon you see

    There's a need for defending

    The long vowels ending

    Borrowed words like 'lunulae'.

    August 28, 2014

  • Loopin held up the camera triumelephantly.

    My Immortal

    July 25, 2014

  • When I coin a word,

    However absurd,

    The letters are sequential,

    And that is referential:

    No typo occurred.

    July 9, 2014

  • hotrus? A good word, a perfectly cormulent word in fact, but not the Latin for garden.

    July 8, 2014

  • A silicate perovskite that is the most abundant mineral in the lower mantle, and therefore apparently in the Earth: newly named in honour of physicist Percy Bridgman.

    Our planet's most abundant mineral now has a name on phys.org, 18 June 2014

    June 19, 2014

  • Of courfe they faid it. The examples in the right-hand column include a ftirring fermon by the late Reverend (and Pious) Samuel Davies, who afsures us:

    But there are two words, which by a fynecdoche are often ufed in fcripture to fignify all his futferings of every kind, from firfl to laft; viz. liis blood and his crofs.

    Now clearly 'liis' was an aberration; perhaps the Devil had pofsefsed him at that moment and he was unable to think clearly. I don't think we fhould take 'liis' ferioufly here. But his firfl futfering: what a fynecdoche!

    June 3, 2014

  • Not olko- but oiko-, "home".

    June 25, 2013

  • It is aided in this deception by being a master of disguise. The crow appears as a small, nondescript bird who passes unnoticed as it cases other birds' nests, selects a suitable one, and goes into labour, spurning epidurals and the machine that goes ping! in favour of a low-key delivery of its eggs, which typically come in clutches of six to eight. The gentes or tribes of crow are classified by the pattern of their egg: paisley, batik, or piñata.

    One crow in San Diego Zoo passed the last twelve years of its life as a peacock, and the deception was only discovered on autopsy.

    June 6, 2013

  • Put not youre handes in youre hosen youre codware for to clawe.

    —wise advice; source given by the OED as:

    a1475 J. Russell Bk. Nurture (Harl. 4011) in Babees Bk. (2002) i. 135

    May 20, 2013

  • Of unknown etymology. The second element might be related to the Irish for "fire", or it might not. The OED of 1887 finished up its etymology with this pungent and Rabelaisian criticism, words I fear will not make it through when it's revised for the third edition:

    The rubbish about Baal, Bel, Belus, imported into the word from the Old Testament and classical antiquity, is outside the scope of scientific etymology.

    May 14, 2013

  • To break out of the circle of the Innenwelt into the Umwelt generates the inexhaustible quadrature of the ego's verifications.—Lacan

    May 13, 2013

  • Possibly unrelated to the real word floruit, indicating when someone flourished, and used when their birth and death dates are not known.

    May 7, 2013

  • The vagaries of attestation. The 2nd edition OED has a line from Love's Labour's Lost, dated 1588, as its first use: 'Once more Ile read the Ode that I haue writ'. Then follows a 1589 quotation from Puttenham.

    The 3rd edition has corrected the L.L.L. date to 1598, thus making Puttenham an antedate. (And it notes the 1598 spelling was Odo, changed to Ode in the First Folio.) It now also has a 1579 quotation from Spenser, plus a 1538 dictionary entry—which shouldn't really count, as it's not a use.

    And why are my italic tags not coming out, eh?

    April 26, 2013

  • I bet I find it more arousing than you do.

    March 20, 2013

  • unfortunatly . . .

    March 8, 2013

  • The rest of us are all curious, nay agog, about when you use this supposed word.

    March 6, 2013

  • Cepheid variable, gravastar, MACHO

    March 5, 2013

  • Informally dubbed by researchers the 'Genesis Death Sandwich', this pattern offers the first clear example of this common rhetorical structure being used in the text describing the creation of the universe.

    New analysis of Genesis reveals 'death sandwich' literary theme, Phys.Org, 20 Feb. 2013

    February 20, 2013

  • What on earth did you think they put in them? Prime cuts of delicious free-range, organic, rare breed, heritage beef, grass-fed, Eton-educated, humanely slaughtered, dry-aged and hand-ground by fairies with a pinch of pink Murray River salt and a twist of black pepper?

    —Giles Coren in The Times, on the discovery of horsemeat, or indeed any meat, in Tesco Everyday Value Burgers

    February 19, 2013

  • frillery?

    February 13, 2013

  • Czech for "he became silly". Alternative form zblbnul. Masculine past participle of zblbnout "become silly", from blb "fool". Thus also zblbla "she became silly", zblbl jsem "I (m.) became silly" etc.

    February 13, 2013

  • I should say, sometimes there’s a distinction made between languist and linguist. A languist is somebody who can speak a lot of languages. A linguist is somebody who is interested in the nature of language.—from an interview with Chomsky. And a word I'd never heard of till now.

    February 11, 2013

  • (1) Also the actual Hobbitish word rendered in English by mathom.

    (2) Wordnik thinks this is an error for last and is supplying misinformation accordingly.

    February 8, 2013

  • A Corsican ewe's milk cheese covered with rosemary, juniper berries, and chillis. *slurp*

    February 8, 2013

  • True dat. A lesser-known but equally interesting fact is that ancient Macrobia was named for its diet. The royal family having been particularly impressed by the fare at a macrobiotic restaurant they had patronized, they granted it a royal warrant, ordered that all their subjects should eat macrobiotic, and changed the kingdom's name to Macrobia. The country lasted until it was swallowed up by a coalition of neighbouring kingdoms Vegetaria, Atkinsia, and Eggandbeansia.

    February 8, 2013

  • According to Investopedia, unitranche debt is: A type of debt that combines senior and subordinated debt into one debt instrument; it is usually used to facilitate a leveraged buyout. Whatever that means. And it's all over the Interthingummy, so why hasn't it appeared here before?

    February 8, 2013

  • According to Google, "Dart can be compiled to JavaScript, so you can use it for web apps in all modern desktop and mobile browsers. Our JavaScript compiler generates minimal code thanks to tree-shaking." —Google trumpets Dart release as first stable version in phys.org news

    A computing term I've never encountered before: looking through the code and eliminating things that are never used.

    October 18, 2012

  • The problem is that two 'definitions' found on the Internet are mutually inconsistent. That's got nothing to do with what a clade is. Clades are defined by descent; there's no actual need for any two members of a clade to share any particular inheritance. A clade is a species together with all its descendants.

    November 21, 2011

  • 'Niche market', however, doesn't show what part of speech it is. It is natural to suppose 'niche' is a noun in that phrase (as in 'stock market', 'bear market'). It is the ability to be modified by adverbs that shows it has (for some people) become a noun.

    November 14, 2011

  • According to the new reverse dictionary thingy, the definition of this word contains the word 'columbium'.

    June 22, 2011

  • This name was once briefly suggested for nobelium, which may be enough to scupper it with the IUPAC.

    June 22, 2011

  • There's at least one French/English pair of surnames: Boileau = Drinkwater. Then there are the Rabelaisian names that get translated with the same structure: Baisecul = Kissebreech. Do-nothing is a translation of the old French fainéant kings.

    June 16, 2011

  • What a silly word. Isn't this what we standard English speakers call the paxwax? And q.v. for alternatives: 'Also called paxywaxy, packwax, faxwax, fixfax, and whit-leather.' I bet that last one is made up.

    June 14, 2011

  • Apparently another new term for RSI and its little friends.

    June 10, 2011

  • There are two, surely: an abrupt one in crash, crack, crunch, crumple, crinkle and a slow one in creep, crawl. I suppose creak, crumble could partake of both.

    Surprisingly, cranberry might be relatable to these after all, if its etymon crane has any kind of abrupt cry.

    June 10, 2011

  • José Carlos Meirelles is a "sertanista" – the name given to a select few people who scour the Amazon jungle is search of isolated peoples and then set up a remote outpost to monitor and protect them from contact with "civilisation".

    Al Jazeera, 24 June 2008

    June 10, 2011

  • Zero, a Word sometimes us'd especially among the French, for a Cipher or Nought (0).

    Phillips's New World of Words, 1706

    June 8, 2011

  • 'Candid' does not mean "white". It comes from a Latin word meaning "white" or "candid".

    June 2, 2011

  • Actually the pronouns mine and thine do, but kine doesn't. The -ine is the Germanic form of the adjective ending more familiar from Latin-derived equine, porcine, etc. Greek also had it*; crystalline is the only English inheritance of this that I can recall.

    Kine on the other hand is a double plural: first by umlaut alone, ku: becoming ky:, then picking up the -n plural.

    * Hm, apparently the -i- was short here, so perhaps not the same ending after all.

    June 1, 2011

  • Plus archy, Latin for . . . oh, wait. So it'd be a paedarchy or tecnarchy then.

    May 27, 2011

  • I read this on Wordnik yesterday, and didn't understand what oroboros had taken so long to tumble to. Wished oroboros had included a definition. Looked at it today . . .

    May 26, 2011

  • Trium (genitive as in trium virorum) does seem to be an error that has crept in. Older books pretty consistently favour trinum. (Tritium in Google Books is a scanning error for italic trinum.) One source gives ternarium, which would I suppose be synonymous, as in the adverbs trini/terni. Annoyingly, Perseus is now filtered at work so I can't do the proper checking.

    May 23, 2011

  • I thought BrE was pretty neutral about all the other -ward(s) words, and was surprised to see how much 'forward' preponderates over 'forwards': about 10 in 1 in both Ngrams and the BNC.

    Examination of the BNC shows that much of this can be put down to common constructions like 'look forward to', 'put forward' (a proposal etc.), where only the one is possible.

    May 20, 2011

  • The current AmE preferred form of 'towards', and has been since 1900, as illustrated strikingly on Google Ngram Viewer. Other -ward(s) words don't have anything like so dramatic a history.

    In BrE it's always been very much a minor variant, but it may have started to come into regular use in recent years.

    May 19, 2011

  • Full of termites and gradually falling into the large pit next door, but you won't have to worry too long, as it's in line for compulsory acquisition for a freeway next year.

    May 16, 2011

  • Not sigmatic, that is not formed with sigma: said of Greek aorists and futures. In the case of aorists also called second aorist.

    May 3, 2011

  • From English back + German schön "beautiful", weirdly compounded in Japanese. As a (supposedly) foreign word it is written in katakana.

    April 27, 2011

  • Actually Maltese ċaw, pronounced basically the same as the Italian ciao, its origin.

    April 27, 2011

  • Formed with a kappa, in the Greek perfect tense. Compare the sigmatic aorist and future.

    April 1, 2011

  • It's not plurale tantum, as it readily occurs as both singular and plural in syntax; however, the two forms are the same, like sheep and aircraft.

    This problem hadn't occurred to me before, but I agree in theory that singular species's is possible. However, we use apostrophe-only with certain singular words, such as classical names ending in multiple sibilants: Xerxes', Rameses', Jesus'. It's the difficulty of pronouncing the extra syllable that recommends the apostrophe-only, as it would in the narcissus' petals.

    March 30, 2011

  • None of the below. 'hærəst, with the vowel of hat, not hair.

    March 21, 2011

  • -onym- "name", rather

    March 21, 2011

  • Actually the Hebrew begins with the consonant `ayin.

    March 4, 2011

  • No occurrences in BNC (571 for demolition).

    February 17, 2011

  • A more impressive term than pork pie.

    February 15, 2011

  • I wonder could it be unlisted because it's a misspelling of physiognomy? What relation -gamy "marriage" might have to the art of studying the face is unclear to this little black duck.

    January 28, 2011

  • Is it contrapposto you're after? That at least is close.

    January 27, 2011

  • Whole auks stuffed into a seal carcass and left to ferment. (How can I be the first to even look this up?)

    January 25, 2011

  • Previously almost invariably transitive; since 1960 however the construction 'befitting of' has greatly increased in popularity. Although Google Books still has it as only minute in numbers by 2000, today's Web shows it coming on very strong.

    This is the first comment I have made here using information from the Ngram Viewer.

    January 25, 2011

  • zeroize and Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz

    January 24, 2011

  • It is sad that Albert Ghiorso died (26 Dec. 2010) without seeing an element officially named after him, as Glenn Seaborg saw seaborgium. Ghiorsium was informally proposed for ununoctium after its claimed discovery by Berkeley, but the claim had to be withdrawn after fraud was discovered.

    January 24, 2011

  • Today's aisle/isle distinction is recent, and aisle owes its silent S to isle. Although ultimately from Latin ala "wing", the church word was from about 1600 confused with or merged with isle, and often so spelt. Some time in the 1700s the hybrid spelling aisle came into use, and seems to have become established by about 1800.

    In this same time period its use was extended from the side passages, the 'wings', to the central passage, the nave. Some complain that couples walking up the aisle are really walking up the nave, but the usage is long established now.

    January 24, 2011

  • To give more detail, from -grad-s- in medial position; where the -s forms some perfects and supines. This assimilated to -grass- in the Old Latin period or earlier. In Old Latin stress was initial, and unstressed a before two consonants became e (so also non-initial morpheme -ject- from jac- "throw").

    January 20, 2011

  • Not related to Latin id, despite the apparently obvious connexion via Grimm's Law. The Old English was hit, the h being lost in Middle English. This makes it related to he, both from a pre-Germanic *k- root (not as far as I know represented in Latin1). The neuter ending -t is however cognate with the -d of Latin id, quid, illud etc.

    1. Unless it's the deictic -c(e) of hic, sic.

    January 20, 2011

  • Term used in the CGEL for the clause that can be equated to a dummy subject 'it', e.g.

    It is a mistake to eat eclairs in bed.

    In most cases it might have been the subject instead:

    To eat eclairs in bed is a mistake.

    It has been extraposed from subject position to the end of the clause, after other complements. This distinguishes it from the displaced subject of a dummy 'there' clause, which is merely displaced past the verb:

    There are three men in the garden.

    December 20, 2010

  • Unable to face the OED's new website, I'm going to guess that a noun 'unrule' is attested first (cf. extant 'misrule').

    December 9, 2010

  • Having read XKCD first, I didn't realize that arsenic-based life really has been discovered. It's a bacterium that can replace much of its phosphorus with arsenic. (via 3quarksdaily)

    December 3, 2010

  • Petulantly actually, unless Stephenie's proof-readers were the same parents who named her.

    December 2, 2010

  • Two different morphologies and pronunciations. I found a real example of its use somewhere, over the weekend. I wish I could remember where.

    November 29, 2010

  • Even in the side streets there was evidence of the new régime; twice they were obliged to shelter as police lorries thundered past them laden with glaucous prisoners.

    —Evelyn Waugh, Scoop

    November 16, 2010

  • The difference is detectable. A voiceless consonant significantly shortens a preceding vowel, so the vowel of aɪs is shorter than that of flaɪ. The difference is retained in compounds.

    November 8, 2010

  • A stern of ships, a light of fires, a jar of doorknobs, a maze of wonders, none of them count.

    October 12, 2010

  • The reason this works is that the second player beats the first to whatever sequence the first chooses. If the first chose HTH, that begins HT, so any second-player strategy XHT has a 1 in 2 chance of winning one round before HTH comes up. (Rather than the naive 1 in 8 chance of waiting for one or the other triple to turn up.)

    You choose your X to make sure it's not symmetric: that the first player hasn't got the same advantage over your sequence. Their choice ends in TH, so you mustn't let yours begin with that. So choose HHT, not THT.

    October 10, 2010

  • Real one, cos I saw it last night on a placard; possible a London local paper: Mental health cuts fears.

    October 7, 2010

  • The first recorded use of the term is from Mrs Radcliffe's Romance of the Forest (1791):

    Above the vast and magnificent portal of this gate arose a window of the same order, whose pointed arches still exhibited fragments of stained glass, once the pride of monkish devotion.

    This clearly can't be the first occurrence; but anyway, what did they call it for centuries before that?

    October 7, 2010

  • A potatoe with roots at both ends.

    —A Northern word, from Grose's Provincial Glossary

    October 5, 2010

  • Gretna Green by piggyback, alternating. A roll or two of toilet paper for the bride's dress, and the groom could wallow in a pool of black mud and let it dry. Half a packet of Mr Kipling's Battenberg cakes on a knitting needle. Keep the crumbs to throw.

    October 4, 2010

  • I too am a red-throated loon when I've got a few sherbets inside me, and I want to pick a fight with this posing Inuit upstart. What a ridiculous-looking word.

    October 2, 2010

  • 'Thot plickens' has been looked up 71 times. I know who one of those is; I'm curious about the other seventy.

    October 2, 2010

  • actually Ospedale

    October 1, 2010

  • The usual term, I thought, was p-brane for a p-dimensional brane.

    September 30, 2010

  • Cold, dead, bony fish corpses in a grey jelly. I spat out my first mouthful and threw the rest away.

    September 29, 2010

  • They infest its weak land;

    Fatten, hide slugs, infestate.

    —Jon Silkin, 'Dandelion'. The word is not in the OED.

    September 28, 2010

  • Also a surprising etymology, because of the vowel change. The Old Latin rule for unstressed vowels would give incelc- from calc-. Then the dark l rounds and backs and raises the vowel (as in the set velle, volo, vult).

    September 28, 2010

  • It sounds more fun than the mercury we all played with as kids before we saw the shadow demonstration of the fumes rising up.

    September 28, 2010

  • < Warlpiri pintupi, probably < Pintupi pintupi, an impolite expletive.

    —The OED's intriguing etymology. What expletive and how impolite? Enquiring minds want to know.

    September 27, 2010

  • A bank has provided a trade finance loan to the Ghana Coca Board, it says here. I wish I could leave that uncorrected.

    September 24, 2010

  • Oh, a queen can ork, yes, of course. A queen can ork at a king. Or a cow. If a cow strayed onto the field. You could probably set it up so that both queens are co-orkers.

    September 18, 2010

  • Of course not. A bilby is not a quokka.

    This word seems the logical progression of a series denoting how many pieces a chess piece is attacking at once: quork, trork, bork, mork, and the harmless nork. More boards and new rules are required to achieve the higher-dimensional possibilities: hork, sork, ork, eeyork, and dork.

    September 17, 2010

  • Composed of lamazi "beautiful" + suffix -a "is" (equivalent to the full verb aris).

    September 14, 2010

  • გვფრცქვნი - Georgian for "you are peeling us". The prefix gv- is the first person plural; I don't know how the rest divides.

    September 7, 2010

  • deda: Georgian for "mother"

    September 3, 2010

  • ts'q'ali: Georgian for "water". The first vowel drops out when further inflectional vowels are added: ts'q'lebi "waters".

    September 3, 2010

  • dzalian: Georgian for "very"

    September 2, 2010

  • Sakartvelo: Georgian for "Georgia"

    September 2, 2010

  • ati: Georgian for "ten". In the reduced form t- it is part of the numerals 11 to 19: for example, t-ert-met'i from ert-i "one".

    September 2, 2010

  • Rickety dwellings of undoubted fashion, but of a capacity to hold nothing comfortably except a dismal smell, looked like the last result of the great mansions' breeding in-and-in; and, where their little supplementary bows and balconies were supported on thin iron columns, seemed to be scrofulously resting upon crutches.

    —Dickens, Little Dorrit, ch. 27

    August 27, 2010

  • One of two words surviving in modern English with the abstract noun formative suffix -red, the other being kindred. This is not the same suffix as in hundred.

    August 26, 2010

  • An often boisterous gathering of captains of whaling ships in the cabin of one of them.

    One of the more specialized words in English, I think. Etymology: the much more familiar mallemaroking.

    August 26, 2010

  • The small protective object under a mug or the like gets its name via an earlier meaning (unknown to me but perhaps not obsolete everywhere): a tray for decanters, so that they can 'coast' or go round the table.

    August 26, 2010

  • The modern meanings of the noun and verb are not related in the obvious way. Latin costa meant "side" (including in particular "rib"), and originally in English as in French its descendant was applied to the sides of various things. In English the noun came to be practically restricted to the side of the sea, the sea-coast.

    One French meaning "hill-side" was adopted locally in North America for a snowy or icy slope that could be slid down on a sled, and the act of doing so. Though the verb 'coast' had previously meant various things related to the ordinary noun, such as "abut, border" or "travel round the shore", the verb now surviving derives from the act of sliding unpowered down a hill.

    August 26, 2010

  • On the contrary; I would have thought a god-botherer was normally one who bothers other people, e.g. me, with their unwanted beliefs.

    August 26, 2010

  • On the other side of the world,

    you pass the moon to me,

    like a loving cup,

    or a quaich.

    —Carol Ann Duffy, 'World'

    August 20, 2010

  • I don't think so. Rather, we use the word fillet, as in fillet of beef, where AmE uses or might use filet. In the one expression where we do definitely write filet we pronounce it in French fashion, ˈfɪleɪ, namely filet mignon ˈfɪleɪ ˈmɪnjɒ~. There is a stress difference: BrE ˈfɪleɪ, AmE fɪˈleɪ.

    August 18, 2010

  • Organization has expertise in moth residential and commercial development.

    —text I'm proofing. 'Tis pity to change it.

    August 12, 2010

  • Or exocentric verb-object compounds.

    August 12, 2010

  • The Latin sidus, sider- is "star", but the Greek sidêr- is "iron". The genuinely Greek-derived word for divination by the stars would be 'astromancy'.

    August 9, 2010

  • The idiom that wasn't. I was all poised to google for "number on choice", thinking perhaps it was a number as in "a nice little number", and on reflection, on making or having a choice . . . when I realized it was all just a typo and a missing hyphen.

    August 6, 2010

  • Lunolatry?? Who makes up these ridiculous words?

    August 4, 2010

  • Same as heliolatry except very badly formed.

    August 4, 2010

  • In addition to the obvious use in auctioneering, this term is also used by the London Stock Exchange for 'the Exchange’s middle price (“the hammer price”) of the relevant securities immediately prior to the time at which the default was declared'.

    July 30, 2010

  • As a verb coordination, this string behaves normally: The police stopped and searched ten people. As a nominal however, it is a compound rather than a coordination: They performed ten stop and searches. (*'Stops and searches' just doesn't sound right.)

    July 29, 2010

  • In a legal context (rare): said of a junior barrister acting in a case on their own, that is not led by a QC.

    July 29, 2010

  • Girl Scout beaver traps upset activists

    July 23, 2010

  • Impact assessment seems a perfectly normal kind of assessing. You can also study, evaluate, judge, or prepare for something that will came about in the future.

    July 21, 2010

  • Unlikely. 'Iterate' is only rarely used to mean "reiterate" (and many of the Google hits for "iterated that" are from Indian sites). In normal use 'iterate' and 'reiterate' have completely different meanings.

    July 20, 2010

  • "Spray to inunction the partition slightly treat to fuck the empress to with the Beat to whet."—Victor Mair discusses this charming Chinglish at Language Log.

    July 14, 2010

  • There's an uncorrected alphabetic copy at the ARTFL Project, so errors can be picked up by eye: spelling mistakes (most obviously, those out of alphabetic order), and tag errors for bold, italic, and indentation. The verb 'incase' is on Page 742, and subsequent pages show misspelt forms of 'incestuous' and 'incidental'. Slow going, but rich pickings.

    July 13, 2010

  • Some Web copies of Webster 1913 are based on a scanning with numerous errors. Other copies are from a better (or perhaps corrected) scanning; and one of those shows that the definition here originally belonged (i.e. in the 1913 print) to two-word 'in case'.

    July 13, 2010

  • I am disappointed to learn that 'chagrin' = "irritation" is now believed not to come from the Turkish for "horse's bum". I do hope the OED find the old story is true when they get round to revising C.

    July 8, 2010

  • 'On' theatres?

    July 8, 2010

  • Or in some grassy lane unbosom all

    From even-blush to midnight

    —R. Browning, Paracelsus

    July 7, 2010

  • Pronunciation oddity: the first syllable is long. You'd expect it to be short as in department, developmental. I thought this might be a recent development, but the OED only gives the pronunciation with i:.

    July 7, 2010

  • Back-formation from grovelling.

    July 2, 2010

  • Origin of the word grovel, by back-formation. It was originally an adverb formed of an obsolete word meaning "prone position" (spellings ranging over gruff, groffe, grufe etc.) plus an adverb formative -ling related to the suffix of headlong, sidelong, along.

    July 2, 2010

  • A newcomer to the pronoun system, only arising around 1600. It does not occur in the Authorized Version of the Bible, for example, which continues to use the transitional form thereof.

    July 2, 2010

  • Newly-named extinct genus of whales, created for a 12 million year old fossil resembling a sperm whale with large teeth, Leviathan melvillei.

    BBc science news, 1 July 2010

    July 1, 2010

  • HI Mr Hector, we also too like natvie United States-speakers visit our website making the innocent friends interested in many things such as like dog poo, Ponzi schemes, being hauled off to jail, So keep listening to at the door.

    June 30, 2010

  • This is actually chhertum; a former spelling of it was chetrum.

    June 29, 2010

  • ... but he was not a pawn on any chessboard of Mr Penicuik's making; and, for he was a gamester, he would have forgone every penny of that considerable fortune rather than have obeyed such a summons as he had received.

    —Georgette Heyer, Cotillion, ch. 12

    A highly unusual instance of a phrase beginning with causal for preceding its main clause. It is probably only possible here (to the questionable extent that it is possible) because it's a supplement inside an expanded clause, namely and he would have forgone... We could perhaps insert this supplement at other non-initial points in the clause too:

    and he would, for he was a gamester, have forgone...

    That is, although it appears to wholly precede the non-expanded clause he would have forgone..., its appearance is actually licensed by its being embedded in a higher clause. Or is it? Could we, could Georgette Heyer, with no more than the same oddness or archaism of phrasing, place it initially in an independent sentence?

    For he was a gamester, he would have forgone...

    No, I don't think so. The embedded version rates a '?' from me, the initial one '*'. It's not at all grammatical in my dialect; Heyer's original is merely surprising and odd.

    The CGEL discusses various evidence about whether this causal for is a coordinator (like and, but, or, nor) or a preposition (like because, since), and comes down on the side of a preposition. (The traditional category 'conjunction' is not used by CGEL.)

    June 23, 2010

  • (Of a word) Created by conversion from a participle: for example, English prepositions such as according, concerning, given, including, seeing.

    June 22, 2010

  • I have just discovered a completely new construction. Faced with the clause 'The firm is intuitive to our needs', I thought first, 'That's not English', and second, 'How do we say that in English?' I then asked my respected colleague and she confirmed that it wasn't correct.

    But Google shows about 150 000 hits for "is intuitive to * needs", which are robust (they don't go away as you page through). I was about to accept it as a mere quirk that I'd never encountered this construction before. Then I added site:UK to the search. That brings it down to eight (8) hits, rather than the expected ten to fifteen thousand. No wonder I'd never heard it before.

    June 15, 2010

  • Bartholomew's Day massacre and St Valentine's Day massacre are not examples: they are not X's Y, but X Y, with X and Y both nominals. The X in each case is internally Z's W, so the days themselves are candidates, like all other saints' days.

    June 14, 2010

  • The well-known story for the name of isabella is, however, chronological impossible, as the word was in use in 1600, before the Siege of Ostend:

    Item, one rounde gowne of Isabella-colour satten,..set with silver spangles

    June 14, 2010

  • Often? I can't imagine this being said in an accent that had r there.

    June 11, 2010

  • The [beadle's] rent is excused or lowered; he gets certain perquisites, such as a measure of seed-corn from time to time, or a piece of meadow (a beadle-mead) for himself, or a number of sheaves at the harvest.

    —H. S. Bennett, Life on the English Manor, Cambridge, 1960, p. 180

    April 29, 2010

  • A schedule added to an amending Act, setting out the final form that an amended section will read as after the amendments have passed: useful where the amendments themselves are small, patchwork variations to the previous wording.

    Named after a Mr Keeling, who in 1938 asked a question in the House of Commons suggesting such a device. I got my explanation from Hansard of 13 Nov 2000.

    April 23, 2010

  • All the quotations in the OED second edition (1989) are from philosophy, going back to 1949.

    April 9, 2010

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Comments for qroqqa

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  • Thank you for the catch on "hotrus siccus," qroqqa. Pardon my dyslexic typing.

    July 8, 2014

  • bilby misses you. I do, too.

    August 10, 2012

  • Dear qroqqa,

    Thank you for your comment on curry. I especially like the bit about the "mediaeval eggcorn."

    Yours truly,


    January 19, 2011

  • "qroqqa has added 24 lists containing 2,235 words, 227 comments, 227 tags, 2 favorites, and 0 pronunciations."

    September 5, 2010

  • We miss you and your illimitable founts of etymological wisdom!

    May 24, 2010

  • Would you pronounce your username?

    February 28, 2010

  • I played with your name. 

    October 7, 2009

  • Thanks for your suggestion (a week and a half ago!) regarding my question about how to refer the "singular" of a pluralis tantem. I think I understand the notion of a "bound base", but I am not sure that applies to units like *scissor, *hijink, and *trouser, since the -s in the pluralis tantum is not really an affix in the way that dis- is in discombobulate, but a grammatical ending (or perhaps this distinction is irrelevant?). In other words, when we remove the ending from scissors, we still have a hypothetical noun that acts like real nouns in certain ways, notably, it can serve as a verb ("She scissored her way through the crowd") or a modifier ("The scissor pieces lay on the table, waiting to be assembled"). Would lexeme work in such cases?

    March 9, 2009

  • Hi, Qroqqa! I am looking for a way to refer to the hypothetical singular form of a pluralis tantem, e.g. *scissor, *underpant, *hijink. Are these lexemes? I figured that you would be the Wordie to ask about this.

    February 3, 2009

  • Happy New Year qroqqa, there's only us on Wordie!

    January 1, 2009

  • I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your citations and contributions to this site and I'm glad you're here.

    August 29, 2008

  • For the record, qroqqa is about the only Maltese word I know.

    August 15, 2008

  • Time for a cookie! Perhaps a Maltese treat for us here?

    August 15, 2008

  • Hi qroqqa. I'd appreciate a Maltese miaow here.

    July 12, 2008

  • qroqqa, thank you for your help on the braggadocio recipe. Can I just ask you to use a narrower definition of "English word"? Risotto and espresso are Italian, Morocco is a country, and Lobelia is borrowed from the scientific name.

    I can't believe no wasn't there yet!

    Thank you!

    July 8, 2008

  • Yay! You know, there is a secret subgroup of biologists here on Wordie. But it's so secret that I can't talk about it.

    July 3, 2008