Why is “-ber” the suffix of the last four months of the year?

September October November December Presumably something Latin, but my (admittedly brief) search sees only mention of the number-based root words. More specifically, what does “-ber” mean? Answer From Etymonline: The -ber in four Latin month names is probably from -bris, an adjectival suffix. Tucker thinks that the first five months were named for their positions … Read more

X vs. X-al adjectives (asymptotic vs asymptotical, etc.)

Right now I am writing a technical report, where I describe asymptotic(al) curves, expansions etc. My understanding after a bit of web browsing is that asymptotic and asymptotical are near-synonymous but the former is much more common (please correct me if I am wrong), so I will replace all instances of asymptotical by asymptotic. Is … Read more

A question about ‘reptiles and volatiles’ to describe creatures

I noticed in the Wycliffe Bible, in early Genesis, that the description of ‘creeping creatures’ and ‘flying creatures’ was ‘reptiles and volatiles’. I had not heard or read of bird species being called ‘volatile’ before. Apparently it is from the Latin volare, to fly, and comes through the French volatil. ‘Reptile’, I understand, comes from … Read more

inter- prefix means between but interact has a whole different meaning than -inter or act, why is that?

I just started to dig into suffixes and prefixes. But I couldn’t understand how do they exactly change the meaning of the word that they are appended. For example re- means again, retake means take again. Inter- means between, but interact means acting in a way that you have an effect on something. Interact has … Read more

Why is there an extra “t” in Lemmatization?

When we say : Specify, it becomes Specification (no t) Value, it becomes Valuation (no t) Custom, it becomes Customization (no t) Lemma is a code used in programming, to describe the process of doing this Lemma, the word used is “Lemmatization”. I wonder where did the “t” in Lemmatization come from? https://nlp.stanford.edu/IR-book/html/htmledition/stemming-and-lemmatization-1.html Answer "Lemma" … Read more

for words ending in “ing”, what parts are stressed?

For words ending in the -ing suffix, is the suffix stressed? Unstressed? Does adding the -ing suffix affect the stress of the other syllables? Example: (u is untressed, ‘ is stressed) Deteriorate is (U ‘ U U ‘), is deteriorating (U ‘ U U ‘ U)? Is it (U ‘ U U ‘ ‘)? Answer … Read more

When did “committee” become a collective noun, and why?

According to dictionary.com, “committee” comes from late Middle English, with the suffix -ee added to the word “commit”. Typical use of the -ee suffix would imply the meaning of “one who commits” or “one to whom something is committed”. Wiktionary agrees, and I understand that both of these meanings see usage in British Parliament today, … Read more

Is “skills-wise” correct English?

In the following sentence: …take a technical test, so your team can determine if I am suitable for the position skills-wise. Is “skills-wise” legitimate English? If not, how could I change it to get the same meaning across? Answer It is a perfectly idiomatic (natural) and productive pattern used in informal English but not common … Read more

Shouldn’t “some of the phenomenon” be plural?

The paragraph: Our team conducts fundamental research in Philosophy, trying to push the boundaries of what is possible with new techniques, and also trying to understand and formalize some of the phenomenon observed in practice. Source My Greek instinct read phenomena instead of phenomenon… Am I correct? Or, in English it’s OK to use it … Read more

A term for an ending that makes a subject from a verb?

I was looking up “wallah” and the OED said “from the Hindi suffix -vālā ‘doer’” and I was wondering if there was a term for suffixes like this. I suspect the answer is really trivial More English examples would be -er which transforms kick into kicker or jest into jester. Answer I would call this … Read more