2
votes
1answer
97 views

Can someone provide an explanation regarding the etymology of the adjective “hell-bent?”

It's etymology is given as: hell-bent, 1835, U.S., originally slang, from hell + bent How do the the words "hell + bent," when taken together, form the definition "determined to achieve ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Meaning of “dogmatic” in “there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood”

and whenever she heard a large word she said it over to herself many times, and so was able to keep it until there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood, then she would get it off, and ...
1
vote
2answers
212 views

Is “heartfelt” reserved for sad moments, or can it be used for happy ones?

I'm writing an email about something nice (a newborn child), and was about to use the word "heartfelt". Just then, I noticed I may have heard the word almost exclusively in the context of a sad ...
2
votes
2answers
190 views

What does “buggy” mean in “a hot, buggy August morning”?

While reading a short story, I came across a use of the word "buggy" that I'm not familiar with: It’s a hot, buggy August morning, too early for lunch, so we find a deserted picnic table without ...
2
votes
1answer
179 views

Visual connotation associated with “lucid”

I’m interested in the definition and connotation of lucid when it comes to physical objects: what does a lucid object look like? From Merriam-Webster: suffused with light : luminous ...
2
votes
4answers
177 views

What does ‘tame’ mean in ‘tame scandal’ and ‘tame squabble’ on golf course?

In association with my question about the names of foods that have a risk of turning into an offensive remark, there was the following statement in New Yorker’s (May 25) article titled “Sergio Garcia ...
1
vote
2answers
825 views

What's the meaning of “brutal” here?

What's the meaning of brutal in this comment? I just had some mild food poisoning on Tuesday into Wednesday, sh-t was brutal but it was pretty much cleared up after I slept. According to most ...
-1
votes
2answers
777 views

Usage of “no more” in a sentence

I would need help with the following sentence: It may be no more difficult to claim in words a feeling not felt than one that is. The “no more” is related to the whole sentence or just to the ...
3
votes
2answers
249 views

Meaning of “Irish true”

This is a sign from a pub. I would expect it to read “Irish truth” or “true Irish”. Why is “Irish true” used?
3
votes
3answers
642 views

What does “vampiric” mean in this context? [closed]

In Sam Harris's blog he writes Most of us have been around this block often enough to know that many “former atheists”—like Francis Collins—spent so long on the brink of faith, and yearned for ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

US English — “primary grains being produced” vs. “major cereals being produced”

I am correcting a Spanish-to-English translation that states, The primary grains being produced in the world are maize, wheat, rice, barley, sorghum and oats. I would prefer to use cereals ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Meaning of “this is a routine chapter” [closed]

Does "this is a routine chapter" mean that there is no creativity in this chapter? Context: This is a routine chapter. There is almost nothing creative here. I just generalize theorems about ...
3
votes
4answers
62k views

What does 'abstract ideas' mean? [closed]

In the sentence for example: This book would also interest intelligent students with a taste for abstract ideas and theoretical arguments. What does the phrase "abstract ideas" mean? I looked up ...
5
votes
4answers
290 views

Meaning of “sterile perfection”

I came across the following lines: Make no mistake: the setting matters. There are many ways to listen to Indian classical music-in the private, somewhat sterile perfection of the CDs and DVDs ...
2
votes
2answers
287 views

Usage of “certain” in these newspaper articles

Is the usage of "certain" in these newspaper articles correct? Excerpt from Mutual funds for P1,000 a month (Inquirer.net) (emphasis mine): "Because remember, you're acquiring shares. So it's ...
3
votes
2answers
594 views

Is “put together” an adjectival phrase?

When someone says "He is smarter than I and she put together," what is the function of the phrase "put together"? Is it considered an adjective?
3
votes
1answer
335 views

Calling Method or Called Method? [closed]

I was reading something on MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and I saw this and made me confused: Although variables passed as an out arguments need not be initialized prior to being passed, ...
14
votes
7answers
4k views

In what occasion could the word “precious” be taken disapprovingly, or sarcastically?

I understand that the word “precious” in the following quote of Maureen Dowd’s article “Heart of Darkness” (NYT, March 20) literally means “2. valuable or important and not to be wasted” as defined in ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “ingenuous” mean?

As well as the standard oratorio repertory, she sang solo recitals, her dazzling smile and enchantingly ingenuous personality creating an instant bond with audiences. TELEGRAPH I am a little bit ...
0
votes
2answers
631 views

What are “faded eyes” like?

Does that mean pale eyes (color) or glazed eyes (energy) or sight-dimmed eyes(ability)? I have no idea. Just for your information, the wandmaker in the following citation is a very old man with pale ...
4
votes
2answers
458 views

Original use of kosher in the English lanuage

Recently I saw a post on the meta.rpg.se site that asked When is editing your answer not kosher?, and it got me thinking. Why is the word Kosher used, instead of, for example, Halal, Permissible, or ...
8
votes
5answers
10k views

“An awful lot”: Any negative connotation?

Today was my first time I saw people use "an awful lot of" instead of "a lot of". It reminded me of "terribly good", which obviously has little negative connotation. But how about "an awful lot"? ...
2
votes
2answers
483 views

Meaning of “mints”

Context (New York Times), MINTS An organic fudge brownie awaits you in the room, along with a personalized welcome letter... First, I'm not sure if I'm on the right track or not (I'm wondering ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

Meaning of “sharp”

Context (New York Times): Still, rooms were large by the city’s pint-size standards, service was sharp, and for the moment, they offer some of the best values around. Does sharp here mean ...
1
vote
1answer
214 views

What is the meaning of ‘something blind’?

The phrase “Something ugly, slimy, and blind” is confusing me. Here are my questions. What does the 'blind' part mean? Is ‘something blind’ a special expression? (For I couldn’t find its example in ...
1
vote
1answer
163 views

Does ‘magnificent head’ sometimes mean ‘magnificent hair’?

While searching the Net, ‘magnificent head’ shows me a lot of lion’s heads, but I found ‘a woman with a magnificent head’ in a book. “Fleur Delacour, though she demonstrated excellent use of the ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

What does “canonical” mean?

Sometimes I read a sentence containing the word canonical, but I cannot find appropriate meaning of the word. For example, in this link: Returns a canonical representation for the string object. ...
15
votes
4answers
11k views

What does “pneumatic” mean when applied to a person?

For example, in this review of the movie Unknown, Mark Kermode refers to Liam Neeson's character's wife as being played by "X-Men's pneumatic January Jones". I'm never quite sure whether this refers ...
1
vote
3answers
544 views

What does “a slightly overblown cartoon figure” mean?

“Harry! Good-o!” said Bagman happily, looking around at him. “Come in, come in, make yourself at home!” Bagman looked somehow like a slightly overblown cartoon figure, standing amid all the ...
0
votes
1answer
534 views

Meaning of “intriguing” in the following sentence

Reading comprehension is one of the most important parts of any management entrance examination and a bit intriguing as well. Does it mean: Challenging? Interesting? Provocative? All these ...
54
votes
10answers
5k views

What's the difference between the adjectives “strategic” and “tactical”?

I recently read this sentence: It was a strategic move rather than a tactical one. I have trouble interpreting it. Can someone help?
2
votes
4answers
4k views

Does “intense” have a negative meaning?

I always thought that intense has a positive meaning, meaning something that has no tensions, therefore an intense activity is actually a fun activity. So, what does intense exactly mean? A few days ...
3
votes
1answer
259 views

What is the meaning and usage of the word “dense”?

I often come across people saying to each other: I don't want to be too dense here, but… What does the term dense imply in such contexts?
5
votes
3answers
7k views

What does “ad-hoc” mean?

I read some articles that used ad-hoc like an adjective. Questions: What exactly does it mean in this paragraph: Needless to say, all of that is pretty painful and error prone. Sure, once ...