I thought to double-check the intelligibility of What semantic notions underlie 'ex/in-tēnsiō' with the logical meanings of 'ex/in-tension'? Or is it unclear what I'm asking?

Please help me make this on-topic? It's obvious that this question demands Latin knowledge.


To make a question like that on-topic, it has to be about Latin. If it focuses mainly on a word in English, French, German, or any other language, it is likely to be off-topic on our site. Some probably think that elementary etymology questions should be off-topic; our scope is largely decided by how people react to questions.

But mind you that on-topic does not imply well-received. If people consider your questions to be bad quality, they can be voted down. Fatigue also plays a role: your questions are often very similar to each other, and it is not unlikely for people to get tired of them. Perhaps people feel that you should have learned something from earlier questions and their answers and put that understanding into your newer questions. One important aspect here is sources: Etymonline is not the most reliable of sources, and if you seriously want to understand etymology (as your continued interest suggests), you are better off getting proper etymological books about Latin.

Personally, I think one of the main issues is that your questions tend to be badly formatted. This is of course a matter of opinion, and people are free to vote and comment according to their own views. Here are my suggestions for writing a better question:

  1. Do not include a screenshot or a quote from a dictionary entry. Instead, give a link.
  2. Do not use the phrase "what semantic notions underlie X". Format your questions in plainer English, like "how does adding ex- to tendere lead to the meaning of extendere?"
  3. Write your question as paragraphs of text. Lists, quotes, and pictures are very rarely necessary. Most of your questions can be written well with only paragraphs of text.
  4. Explain your own thoughts and observations. Don't draw circles in screenshots, but explain in text what you saw and what puzzles you.
  5. Look at the highly voted questions on our site. People seem to like them. See how they are written and reflect on them. Could you write in a similar way?
  6. Do not insist that etymology always connects to meaning in a clear way.

Here is a quick example of a question similar to many of yours, written in a way that I would be more welcoming of:

How does abalienare refer to legal transfers?

I looked up the verb abalienare in Lewis and Short. Starting from ab- and alius, I can understand how it means "to make alien from". Meaning I.B.1 of the linked L&S entry mentions that it can also mean "to make a legal transfer". This is quite a jump in meaning, and I can't connect the dots here.

Could you explain how this meaning arises from the basic meaning "to make alien from"? Is there some use context that would help make sense of this?

If you can adhere to these guidelines, I'm sure some of those downvotes will turn into upvotes.

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