meaning - The etymology of 'substance'. Does it mean 'sub'-'stance'?

I am aware of the etymological fallacy and aware that the fallacy itself, also, does not always hold good. In other words, a word's pedigree may, or may not, be the reason it means what it means, today.The OED tells me, in the small print, that, beyond the immediate Anglo Norman substans lies the Old French sustance and beyond that lies the Latin substare, literally sub-stare 'to stand' or to 'stand under'.Interestingly, there is a concomitant word in Hellenistic Greek 'υποστασις, hupostasis which, literally, is as the Latin, and can be rendere...Read more

meaning - Are "course" and "lesson" interchangeable?

I'm writing a letter to Columbia University but I am having problems with the last sentence of the letter. [...] I have also nearly completed the X course that your university offers online. With this lesson being the second, and Columbia's former Provost and Dean of Faculties Prof. Jonathan Cole's influential article On the Matter of Edward Said that taught me the sanctity of academic freedom being the first lesson I took from Columbia, I wholeheartedly hope to take my next Columbia course on campus.The most problematic parts are in bold. ...Read more

meaning - Two words or names describing something which cannot exists without each part

I am looking for two words/names/terms that refer to something that as a whole cannot exist without each of the two. I am not looking for a term for the "whole" as this "whole" may not have a known name itself, as it is commonly defined by its parts. Each part is as important as the other. The two terms may have not an actual meaning, but if then it should be neutral or positively connoted.The best I could think of was Ying and Yang. Are there other suited terms?Ideas I discarded are given below [+ argument against]Alpha + Omega [implies b...Read more

meaning - Etymology of "Caleb Quotem"

I came across this expression while reading Dickens's American Notes. In context it seems to mean something similar to "all-purpose" or "catch-all," and seems to appear most in English/Welsh writing from the mid-19th century. It's new to me. There are few words which perform such various duties as this word ’fix.’ It is the Caleb Quotem of the American vocabulary. You call upon a gentleman in a country town, and his help informs you that he is ‘fixing himself’ just now, but will be down directly: by which you are to understand that he is dress...Read more

etymology - What is the meaning of the word “larriking”?

From “Holiday Memory” in Quite Early One Morning by Dylan Thomas Lolling or larriking that unsoiled, boiling beauty of a common day, great gods with their braces over their vests sang, spat pips, puffed smoke at wasps, gulped and ogled, forgot the rent, embraced, posed for the dicky bird, were coarse, had rainbow-coloured arm-pits, winked, belched, blamed the radishes, looked at Ilfracombe, played hymns on paper and comb, peeled bananas, scratched, found seaweed in their panamas, blew up paper-bags and banged them, wished for nothing. I searc...Read more

meaning - How to say that you wish and make efforts to do something?

I am looking for a short way to say that I wish and (simultaneously) make efforts / prepare to achieve something, however, so far I have come up only with candidate phrases which express just one of the two meanings:1) "wish" group: anticipate, look forward to, hope to...2) "prepare" group: work upon, strive to, pursue...My last guess was the phrasal verb look towards, which initially seemed to me like an amalgam of look forward and strive to, however, Uncle Google disagrees with this assumption.Thereby, I'm now left with no more ideas and woul...Read more

meaning - What is the word for a person who sets up a new business / foundation, etc

What is the word for a person who sets up a new business / foundation, etc. Founder would be too basic and does not imply setting up the structure of the organization. Same for initiator? In Dutch we use quartermaster but I have not seen this in non-army context.11 March:Interesting read and thanks for all the imput. Trailblazer or Groundbraker come close to what I’m trying to express. An entrepreneur invests in a company and mostly with the aim to make a profit.. Founder implies foundation only. Early or first employee implies an employment co...Read more

meaning - What does 'at that time there were only men on campus' mean in this quote?

I also think that what our students get out of the arts and humanities is critical for them to develop a sense that is much bigger than the quantitative aspects of a problem to understanding human complexity. So, I think every day we are preparing young people to tackle the troubles of the world. I don't think that John Sloan dickey ever meant that we were going directly fix the troubles of the world. I think what he meant and what I quote him as saying is ‘The worlds' trouble are your troubles.' But since the worst troubles of the world come ...Read more

meaning - What is slickrock?

In descriptions of areas in southern Utah, United States, I frequently see mention of slickrock (example from NPS (PDF, 240 KB). However, slickrock is not described on Wikipedia and the first result on Google Search is Join Slickrock for your next Belize (!) vacation. Google Scholar results appear to relate mostly to geographic areas with slickrock or slick rock in the name. Oxford Dictionaries wonders if I meant sly grog (I don't think I do), despite 742,000 results on Google Search and 44,400 on Google Books.Slick does have several meaning...Read more

meaning - Is there another way to refer to the "proximal interphalangeal joints"?

I'm trying to describe a character making a certain motion, sitting at a desk and resting his head on his hand, basically. But, instead of the face resting in an open palm, I'm imagining the hand mostly closed. Not tensely, but just closed. In this case, the face tends to meet the hand not at the knuckles of the fingers, which are technically the metacarpophalangeal joints, but instead at the proximal interphalangeal joints.How do I describe this contact between the character's face and his hand specifically at that point, without using such a ...Read more

meaning - Origin of "mapping" as a technical term

In Computer Science, the word "Map" often refers to an associative array, i.e. a list of key-value pairs. You could think of this sort of data structure as being like a dictionary.Likewise, as a verb, "mapping" refers to the process of associating keys with values.Based on some dictionary searching, it seems that "mapping" as a verb has long meant to make a map, i.e. to draw out a representation of a geographic space. I also see references to use in Mathematics that predate the use in Computer Science, which makes sense. OED provides this ex...Read more

meaning - Is it acceptable to call a hot dog a sausage?

This sounds like a silly question, but I've heard some very strong opinions about this, so I find this intriguing.A hot dog is a type of sausage (at least according to Merriam-Webster, Wikipedia, and Encyclopedia Britannica), but I find that very few friends and coworkers agree with this, and they go so far as to say that a hot dog isn't a sausage at all. It seems that there is a perception that goes along with the term "sausage" that people refuse to associate with the term "hot dog," even though the former is a generic term for the latter.I n...Read more

meaning - What term is most appropriate when describing the infinite space of possibilities created through inductive reasoning?

In arguments contrasting the differences between deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning, it is often pointed out that deductive reasoning is, by definition, bounded by the terms described in the problem through narrowing application of boolean logic. This contrasts with inductive reasoning, which is by definition unbounded through widening application of probabilistic analysis and inclusion of emergent properties.In describing the infinite nature of the solution space provided by inductive reasoning, I have generalized this into the phrase...Read more

meaning - Using the adjective "expressive" to mean an object allows for expression?

My intention is to say that systems of a particular type allow users to express ideas on them. I wanted to give the concept a more concise/general name, as a title for such systems. I called them Expressive Systems initially, but I realise that this may not be correct (it may, I don't know) because this seems to mean more that the system is able to express certain things on its own. This isn't even close to what I intended.Does the adjective "expressive" in this context mean what I intend to mean? If not, what form of the word (or other replace...Read more