16 Latin Question Words Hiding in the English Language

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Latin is ubiquitous in English. As Dictionary.com observes, “About 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin.” That even includes some of ancient Rome’s most nut-and-bolts words, like quid, “what,” quis, “who,” and the ubi in ubiquitous, meaning “where.” Here are 16 English words constructed from some of the most basic building blocks of the Latin language.

1. QUALITY

Quality derives from the Latin qualitas, “character” or “essential nature.” The great Roman statesman Cicero coined it, on the basis of qualis (“of what kind”), to translate a word the Greek philosopher Plato himself created: poiotes, “suchness.”

2. QUANTITY

A quantity is the “amount” of something, just like its Latin root, quantitas. This word is formed from quantus, “how much,” also the source of quantum.

3. QUIDDITY

No, this word doesn’t size up your Quidditch skills. It literally means “whatness,” formed from the Latin quid, or “what.” Quiddity was introduced as a philosophical term in the Middle Ages for “what makes a thing what it is.” In the 16th century, English writers apparently mocked scholars’ overuse of the term, turning it into a term for a quibble.

4. QUIBBLE

Speaking of quibbles, the earliest sense of quibble, recorded in the 1610s, is as a “pun” or “play on words.” The word not long after took on its modern sense of an “objection to a trivial matter.” Quibble appears to be a diminutive form of the older quib, “an evasion of a point at issue.” The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) suggests quib comes from the Latin quibus (“by what things”), a form of quid (“what”), “a word of frequent occurrence in legal documents and hence associated with the length and unnecessary complexity of legal documents.”

5. QUIP

Originally a “sarcastic remark” before softening to a “witticism,” quip might be from the Latin quippe, apparently used much like “Oh really?” Quippe is also based on quid (“what”), the neuter form of quis (“who”).

6. QUIDNUNC

A quidnunc is a fancy word for a “gossiper.” It’s from the Latin quid nunc, literally “what now,” which clever English speakers adopted for the incessant questioning of a nosy person.

7. QUID

We’ve seen Latin’s quid (“what”) already in a number of words. It may also be responsible for the British slang quid, or “one pound sterling,” used much as the American English buck. One of the leading explanations is that quid is shortened from the Latin expression quid pro quo, “one thing for another,” or an exchange, hence its application to money.

8. QUANDARY

The origin of quandary is, well, quite a quandary. A number of etymologists have proposed quandary as a quasi-Latin expression for some kind of dilemma of donation: quantum dare (“How much to give?”), quando dare (“When to give?”), or quam dare (“How to give?”).

9. CUE

The Latin quando (“when”) may also be the source of cue, which signals an actor to begin their lines. A 1553 letter, among other examples in the 16th and 17th centuries, refers to a Q marked in actor’s text of a play, which has been explained as an abbreviation for a Latin word such as quando, or “when” the actor should start.

10. QUOTIENT

In mathematics, a quotient is what you get when you divide. The word is from the Latin quotiens, “how many times,” i.e., how many times one number goes into another.

11. QUOTE

The base of Latin’s quotiens is quot, “how many.” From this, Medieval Latin formed a verb, quotare, “to mark chapters” or “mark a book with numbers.” This is also what quote first meant when it was borrowed into English in the late 14th century. It evolved to “reproduce a passage from a book” to “give as a reference, support, or source” to “repeat or copy out exact words.”

12. QUOTIDIAN

Quot also shows up in quotidian, which is something “happening every day,” hence “ordinary.” It’s from the Latin quotidianus, which joined quot (“how many”) and dies (“day”).

13. QUORUM

A quorum is the minimum number of people who must be present at an assembly, a word we typically hear in the context of legislatures. It literally means “of whom” in Latin, and was originally used by 15th-century commissions in official language appointing select justices of the peace, who had to be present for a court session to be considered valid.

14. UBIQUITY

Latin roots have been ubiquitous in this post, or “everywhere.” Ubiquity was coined—on the model of Latin’s ubique, “anywhere” or “everywhere”—in the 16th century for a Christian theological doctrine that held God as omnipresent.

15. HIDALGO

So far, most of the words haven’t been hiding their “who” and “what” Latin roots. Not so for the final two. Hidalgo, a Spanish term for a “gentleman” and the name of a state in Mexico, is contracted from hijo de algo, “son of something” (think, a real someone). The algo comes from Latin’s aliquis, “anyone” or “someone,” which quis we previously saw in quip.

16. KICKSHAW

Finally, and most surprisingly, we have kickshaw, a “fancy but unsubstantial food dish.” This lively word is from the French quelque chose, “a little something.” As the OED explains, a kickshaw, adopted in the late 16th century, “was ‘something’ French, not one of the known ‘substantial’ English dishes.” The quelque in quelque chose goes back to the Latin qualis—the same qualis, to bring things full circle, we saw in quality.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

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Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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11 Thoughtful Gifts For Word Lovers

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iStock.com/Jelena Danilovic

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It’s easy to spot the logophiles in your life: They’re the people who are addicted to word games, have full libraries at home, or who are always quick to provide you with the word that’s on the tip of your tongue. This holiday season, indulge your loved one’s passion for words with a gift they’ll appreciate.

1. Book Couch; $25

Gifts for Readers & Writers Store/Amazon

The better the book, the more exhausting it is to hold up. Give a rabid reader’s tired arms a rest with the Book Couch, a plush lap rest that props up books, e-readers, and tablets so they can gorge on words with minimal effort. It’s available in blue, grey, red, diner booth, and hot lips.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Moleskine’s Book Journal

Moleskine

The new year is a great opportunity to start a book journal. This one from Moleskine is specifically designed for documenting someone’s reading history, with sections for recording general information about the title as well as jotting down impressions and memorable quotes. Like other Moleskine products, this notebook comes with useful features like ribbon bookmarks and an expandable inner pocket.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Shakespearean Insults Chart; $25

Uncommon Goods

Give this chart to someone you know and instantly add color to their insult arsenal. The poster not only list dozens of scathing jabs from the works of Shakespeare, but it also breaks them down into categories like “body qualities” and “personal attributes” and subcategories like “knaves” and “dunghills.” The chart measures 24 by 18 inches and comes with a magnetic birch frame for an extra $30.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

4. KenzaPad; $60

Scott MacMillan, Kickstarter

Smartphones are convenient for taking notes on the go, but it’s hard to beat the tactile sensation of jotting down a thought with a pen and paper. The KenzaPad combines the best elements from both mediums into one handy tool. The pad looks and acts like a wallet on the outside, with pockets for holding keys, cards, and pens. Flip open the magnetic seal and it transforms into a notepad you can hold with one hand and write in with the other. And no thicker than a smartphone, the KenzaPad neatly slips into a purse or pocket.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Book Darts; $9

Amazon

Book darts give book lovers ultimate control over their reading experience. Instead of putting down a book mid-paragraph, or rushing to the next page before adding a bookmark, these tools let readers save their place down to the line. With 50 metal tabs per package, they’re also a great, reusable alternative to highlighters or sticky notes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Flexilight Xtra Booklight; $9

Flexilight/Amazon

Got a young reader to buy for? Grab one of the Flexilight Xtra booklights. Unlike most booklights, this LED-powered light is flexible enough to conform to most any book and comes in fun designs like penguins, dogs, and owls for kid word buffs. It’s also thin enough to double as a bookmark.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Novel Teas; $14

Bag Ladies Tea/Amazon

Few things go better together than a good book and a cup of tea. Now readers can elevate their cozy book appointments with Novel Teas, a set of 25 individually-wrapped teabags that each have literary quotes on them. The product also has one of the great slogans in advertising history: “Read ‘em and steep.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. William Shakespeare Engraved Inspirational Quote Pen; $20

Inkstone/Amazon

Keep the wisdom of the Bard close at hand with this engraved pen sporting the classic Shakespeare line: “To thine own self be true.” The ballpoint pen is compatible with G2 ink refills.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Other-Wordly; $13

Chronicle Books/Amazon

Take a trip through an assortment of arcane and delightful words in this sumptuous book by Yee-Lum Mak and illustrator Kelsey Garrity-Riley. Discover words in multiple languages that express all things beautiful.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Retro Series Scrabble; $20

Amazon

Scrabble has been updated several times since its debut, but the original edition remains a classic. This Retro Series-edition of Scrabble is the same version of the game that appeared on shelves in 1949, complete with vintage wood tiles and racks. Whether or not the players stick to words that were dictionary-official 70 years ago is up to them.

Buy it: at Amazon

11. Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers; $14

Clarkson Potter/Amazon

No true word lover can resist a good pun. Punderdome makes a game out of wordplay, tasking players with taking two prompts from the deck and making one terrific (i.e. awful) pun out of them. You can even play virtually for socially-distanced game nights.

Buy it: Amazon

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