Help with English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The idiom seems to have first come into use in the early 1800s. Charles Dickens, one of the most famous British writers, used it in his novel The Pickwick Papers in 1837. Prior to that, the idiom was "I'll eat my words."

    I would guess that eating one's own words was not a terribly unpleasant situation, since words are composed of air. To say "I'll eat my hat" suggests that you are much more sure of yourself, so you're willing to risk a much more unpleasant fate.
     
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  3. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    caesarean = of or relating to any of the Caesars, esp Julius Caesar.

    But why it can mean : A cesarean section, or c-section, is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus.
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    There are several possible origins of this phrase, but the truth is lost in history. Like many words, phrases or idioms, there may have been several similar phrases that reinforced each other. (The word "OK" or "okay" is a perfect example of this type of etymology: a Scottish word, a Native American word, an African word, a trademark and an abbreviation, all with similar pronunciations and similar meanings, were in use at about the same time.)

    During the reign of Julius Caesar, a law was passed against burying a dead woman who was pregnant. The fetus had to be removed from her uterus. Of course with the medical knowledge and techniques of the era, it's unlikely that very many babies--if any--actually survived the process.

    This seems to be the oldest reference linking the procedure to Caesar, but that doesn't mean that it's correct.
     
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  7. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    travesty of justice means justice is not done?
     
  8. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Justice wasn't just "not done" but completely ignored.

    A mugger getting away with assault and robbery is not justice.

    A mugger suing their victim for injuries sustained whilst they were defending themselves, and winning that lawsuit, is a travesty of justice.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It might help to review words with meanings very similar to "travesty," such as mockery, perversion, sham and distortion. The word was originally used in the study of literature and the other arts. A travesty is a mockery, a burlesque, or simply an inferior or grotesque imitation of the original.

    So a travesty of justice is a legal process that seems, or pretends, to follow the rules of jurisprudence, but, instead, ends up with a result that is completely unjust.
     
  10. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

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    What is the Plural of Tardis?

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  11. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    I believe it may be TARDISes?
     
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  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    TARDIS (all capitals) is an acronym for "time and relative dimension in space." It is only used in the "Doctor Who" universe in British television. Since the show and its spinoffs have a dedicated fan base, I suppose some of the fans use the word in conversation.

    You'd have to delve into fandom to find out whether it is possible to have more than one TARDIS. I'm not familiar with the show, but the Wikipedia article seems to imply that it is always referred to as the TARDIS. This suggests that there is no need for a plural form.

    In general, acronyms are given regular plural inflections in accordance with the phonetics of the singular. Therefore the plural of tardis should be tardises.
     
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  13. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    To start a new business OR
    To start up a new business?
     
  14. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

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    (cheater..you looked...Wiki has Tardises listed as the plural..)
    "TARDISes also possess a degree of sapience (which has been expressed in a variety of ways ranging from implied"

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    good info though!
     
  15. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Both sound like they should be acceptable, perhaps one is how the Americans say it and the other is how the British say it.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    "Start" without "up" is better. However, people say it the other way also. "Start-up" by itself is a noun, meaning a new business that is starting up.
     
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I was recently rereading a book by William Safire in which he mentioned "upmanship" - inserting the word "up" where it is not really needed - e.g. "start up", "open up", even "slow up". Sometimes it introduces a subtle difference in meaning.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Interesting. The word "one-upmanship," as in getting "one up" on the other guy, was apparently coined in the 1950s or 60s. The first time I encountered it was in a British movie in the 1960s.
     
  19. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Is there any American in US does not know how to speak English?
     
  20. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    romp to = Slang To win a race or game easily.
     
  21. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    downplay = ignore? scorn at?
     
  22. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    To attempt to minimize the importance of an event or a thing.
     
  23. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    You seem to be pretty good at getting the meaning of words from context.

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