This question , according to some users, makes no sense. It is about the possible origin of the metaphorical usage of the term "beak" to refer to a "man mouth". Please help me understand what sense is missing and in what way it is off-topic here. The origin of terms and their usage may require considerable research and a clear, precise answer is not always possible. It that the problem with my question?

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    The question makes perfect sense and I agree with the answers below here. As time as passed since someone voted it as off-topic I'll leave it as it is. Also, I've deleted the comments relating to the discussion on it being off-topic as they were going into the personal and contained no information, and this is not admissible on SE. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


I'm very new here so I'm probably off-tune with the general mood or tone, but from my current perspective - as I commented there - your question makes perfect sense. Whether it is a good fit for this site is more difficult for me to tell as I'm new, although it looks to me that it fits well, but regardless I think you might be taking too seriously the "goliard / frat-boy" (not in a particularly good taste IMO and probably not appropriate for this site but still not that serious) attitude that user @ElberichSchneider showed. Hopefully he can clarify how your question makes no sense but if I were you I would not feel the need to follow-up too much on this.


I've seen many questions of yours asking for the origin of a term / idiom.

While it's my personal opinion (and apparently also some other users') that often terms / idioms stem from themselves, this has nothing to do with the legitimateness of such questions (which by the way I personally find useful and interesting).

And technically speaking, I can't see a reason why those should be off-topic.

We have an tag on purpose.

  • You are right, for some reason etymological questions are not popular here unlike ELU, for instance.
    – user519
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 9:54
  • @Josh61 Well, it depends on the specific question. Usually the problem with those questions is saying a definitive word. You may find X using the idiom Y in the book Z in the year I, but maybe J used it in the book K in the year L. It's just that often it's hard to tell, and many idioms may not even have an "origin" intended in that way and they may have just "became viral" at some point. But still, there's no reason to deem those as off-topic: it's perfectly possible to get very close and / or to find more than a single possible origin, which in my opinion would be a loss not to have.
    – kos
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 10:10

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