Topics having to do with multiple meanings of a word or phrase.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
1answer
99 views

is “reads as” equal to “similar to” in this context?

For all their efforts, the diplomats at Versailles achieved the precise opposite of what they had set out to do, inexorably, tragically laying the groundwork for the next, more horrible world war. ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Not sure if five of them

a. I don't know if five of my friends are still alive or not. b. I am not sure that five of my friends are still alive. Aren't these sentences ambiguous? I see two possibilities There ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

adverbials part II… I left the building with him…

Can one say a. I left the kitchen with the water running. b. I went to his house with my brother in jail. c. I went out of the bedroom with her naked. d. I left the building with my brother ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Ambiguous sentences

Consider the following two examples: I’ve heard more vicious rumors. I’ve heard less vicious rumors. Which of these examples, if any, can be considered ambiguous in interpretation?
2
votes
2answers
97 views

Can “prognosis” ever be correctly used outside of the medical meaning of the word? [closed]

i.e. would it be correct to ask about the 'prognosis' of an ongoing engineering project?
0
votes
1answer
55 views

The “garden path” theory of ambiguity resolution. apply to the joke:

Does the "garden path" theory of ambiguity resolution apply to the joke: A seal walked into a club... Given that the listener probably is familiar with this type of joke: A sandwich walks into a ...
2
votes
2answers
83 views

Word meaning “has many similar forms”

I'm looking for one word (or a variety of words) that imply ambiguity through synonymous meaning. "Do you have that in large?" "No sir, we only have it in big, great, impressive, grand, and ...
0
votes
2answers
237 views

Differences between “carton” and “box” (Express service)

What's the differences between "carton" & "box"? I didn't know which word to choose when using express to send samples. From the Internet, some say that carton is a smaller box, and some say that ...
3
votes
2answers
151 views

An Example of Lexical Semantic Ambiguity?

As a joke, is A seal walks into a club... an example of semantic ambiguity, lexical ambiguity, or the expression I just recently discovered, lexical semantic ambiguity? Or put another way, is ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

What is the meaning, and the tense, of “are paid to” and “are received by?” [closed]

What is the tense of "are paid to" and "are received by" in the sentence: If any attorney fees are paid to or received by Tom, Tom shall forthwith pay Mary one-half of all such fees recovered or paid....
2
votes
4answers
75 views

To seek asylum from

Say Marcia was born in the Kingdom of Liliput, a country with an oppressive government, and is a victim of persecution. She wants to leave her homeland and immigrate to the Kingdom of Blefuscu, ...
4
votes
4answers
227 views

Ambiguity of the word 'any'?

Given the following question, in the context of a poll or vote: Should any employee of Company X be allowed to assume absolute authority in any project with Company X's name associated? Under ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

“It is just one way” — ambiguous? [closed]

I wonder what the following fragment of lyrics of the song "Ticket To The Moon" by Electric Light Orchestra means: Ticket to the moon Flight leaves here today from Satellite Two As the ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Meaning of “We have worked too long for the priests to undermine us with more fairy-tales.” [closed]

I want to know the real meaning of this sentence: We have worked too long for the priests to undermine us with more fairy-tales. Have we worked too long for the priests? Or have we worked too ...
0
votes
4answers
232 views

Word meaning communication that is received and understood

Communication seems to focus on the act of delivering information but not on whether it was received or understood. Oxford dictionary has only a sub-note referring to the success of communication and ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Is this sentence ambiguous? “For all subsets c, d belong to a, …”

I wrote a math practice question as For all subsets C, D belong to A, is it true..... What I meant was both C and D are the subsets of A. However, a student said what he understood is the "...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Different meanings of “supported” software

Let's say I write a computer program for Linux. People pay me, they get this computer program and my support staff will "support them" using it. There is different (well, actually many) different ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

Is there an easy way to identify whether or not a pronoun is ambiguous?

It seems like I have the most trouble with ambiguous pronouns. I wrongly assume that a pronoun is ambiguous very often. Consider these three examples: The city of Conway, Wales, now surrounds the ...
1
vote
2answers
169 views

Why is “is” not the error in this SAT sentence?

In this practice SAT question, the test-taker is required to identify the existence and location of an error in a sentence: True chalcedony is different from blue agate [in] the purity of its ...
2
votes
2answers
66 views

Connotation of “Notorious”

I used to think "notoriety" is "negative fame", but saw "The keynote speaker is notorious for his work in the field" with the obviously positive connotation. So which is it? Both?
0
votes
1answer
111 views

In what varieties of English can “does not qualify” mean “disqualifies”? [closed]

Are there any (nonstandard?) varieties (dialects/registers/styles) of English where "does not X" can mean "does the opposite of X", either in general, or specifically for the transitive verb qualify, ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

Aramean vs. Aramaic?

What is the difference in usage between the adjectives Aramean and Aramaic? It seems that we use Aramaic to describe the language and Aramean to describe the people. But which one should we use to ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

“improve upon” another party's design - meaning?

My supervisor in Japan is currently translating my CV from English into Japanese, however she has asked me to reword one sentence (in English) as to her its meaning is not what I intended it to be. ...
7
votes
6answers
525 views

What is the origin of 'as long as' meaning 'on condition that'?

According to dictionaries 'as long as' means "during a period of time" (as long as you live), but it also means "on the condition that" (I will attend the conference as long as I can arrive on time). ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

did not think he would steal some

a. I did not think he would steal some of my ideas. b. I did not think he would steal certain of my ideas. Could these sentences have two meanings: I did not think he would steal any of my ideas. ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

“Dial M for Murder” meaning

For me, the title of Alfred Hitchcock's film Dial M for Murder is ambiguous, it may mean either Dial M to order a murder (instead of a pizza) / for a murder to occur (similar to the previous, but ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

How to distinguish between temporary and long-term hate/hating?

When I say I hate someone in could be in a heat of a moment. "I hate him." (right now, because he ate my chocolate). However I could "I hate snakes." (all my life). It is still the same word. Are ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

“available (availability)” vs. “valid (validity)” for “having sufficient power or efficacy” in AmEng vernacular

Per Random House Webster's College Dictionary, Ed. 1991, available suitable or ready for use; of use or service; at hand: I used whatever tools were available. readily obtainable; ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Date as a synonym for anus

In the Song "Ten Foot Cock And A Few Hundred Virgins" Tim Minchin uses the phrase "it's a sin to take it up the date, even if it's great, even with your cowboy mate". I'm not a native English speaker -...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

The first is convex, and the second is linear when x>2. is it ambiguity?

In my paper, I want to say, the first is convex all the time, and the second is linear when x>2. I am afraid that some people will think that: The first is convex when x>2, and the second is linear ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

directory path or directory’s path

I know that I should use an apostrophe if I want to show possession. My questions: Which form should I use? Are the forms interchangeable?
0
votes
0answers
60 views

Low values vs small values [duplicate]

I would like to describe the indication of some numerical index, let us say x. I would like to say that if x << n then this indicate positive impact however x >> n this indicate negative ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Is there any difference between 'in the control of “ and ”in control of"

For example: the terrorist is in the control of the government the terrorist is in control of the goverment
1
vote
2answers
117 views

Appearances: Ambiguity in meaning

People care way too much about their appearance/ appearances? Google provides much more evidence for the singular but I have learnt not to trust it. In a formal essay I would opt for the plural ...
-1
votes
1answer
106 views

The Who/Whom examples in Strunk and White's Elements of Grammar [duplicate]

From Strunk & White, Elements of Grammar, 3rd Ed., p.11: "When who introduces a subordinate clause, its case depends on its function in that clause." They then give four examples without ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Is there a term for using a correct word having a double meaning that creates ambiguity given the context of the sentence? [duplicate]

Tough to describe this in the title so I'll give an example many English speakers have come across: Speaker 1: "Should we go left or right?" Speaker 2: "Looks like our friends went left." Speaker 1: ...
-1
votes
1answer
65 views

What does “vested” mean? [closed]

In the context of "the Consultant's Materials are vested, and shall remain vested, in the Consultant." I can't guess the meaning!
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Are “pay phones” still, if ever, called “pay stations” in the U.S.?

What is pay station in the U.S.? If you look it up, say, on ODO, it is defined as an AmEng equivalent of pay phone. pay station: n. US term for pay phone ODO Now, if you search Google Images ...
2
votes
2answers
54 views

Does this sentence regarding “coleopteran” make sense? [closed]

There's some ambiguity between Polish and English ( as far as beetles are concerned). Please help me determine if this sentence makes any sense at all. Thank you. I know that a (forest) dung ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

“Due to buy a house” vs “due to look for a house”

I know that "due to do something" is the correct way. For example: Sometime next month, we're due to buy a house in Rutherford. However, Sometime next month, we're due to look for a house ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Two different meanings of Present Perfect Tense [duplicate]

I have a problem in the interpretation of the following sentences in the present perfect tense. 1) I have worked for them since 2006. Does it mean I am still working for them or I don't work for ...
1
vote
1answer
397 views

“I have 4 people in my family” vs “I have 5 people in my family”

Recently, a colleague created a warm up question: How many people are in your family? And the model answer was: I have 4 people in my family; my mother, my father, and my 2 brothers. ...
4
votes
2answers
183 views

Disambiguation of “fluff” vs. chiefly AmEng “lint” vs. chiefly BrEng “bobbles” vs. “pills” for French “peluches”

Robert & Collins French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985 gives: lint: (US: fluff) peluches nfpl peluche (=bouloche): bit of fluff; fluff Collins French-English Dictionary Now, these are ...
0
votes
1answer
281 views

What exactly does “the deadline for submissions is January 1, 2016” mean? [duplicate]

Although I'm a native English speaker, I'm confused by the above sentence found on the page here. I've been debating with myself throughout the day whether I should interpret it as meaning before ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

“I got to shoot a few animals” - kill or take a picture? [closed]

I wanted to say that I had managed to take a few pictures of some animals. But when I say "I got to shoot a few animals", is that clear? As shooting animals to me sounds more like killing..
1
vote
1answer
78 views

How to use the word “rave” [closed]

I am a little confused about how to use rave, because sometimes it means a bad thing like: A madman cried (raved) loudly. Yesterday, my friend recommended me a movie by saying: My people ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why there are two different meanings for “triweekly”?

Context: I am looking for a term to indicate a time period of 3 weeks/21 days For instance, a "fortnightly" event would occur every 2 weeks/14 days. My Usage: The "Read for the Visually ...
0
votes
3answers
206 views

Word to define person with bad social skills

How would you define a person without (or with very bad) social skills? I don't mean a totally anti-social, but one that struggles to behave in a social context, and feels awkward or out-of-place ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Is “ho-hooo” familiar as an owl sound?

I am writing an article and I am wondering if the readers will understand that hoo-hooo is an owl sound. It's for an American audience. The article starts like this Everything was silent except ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

The rain/snow/storm “let up”

What does "let up" denote in "the rain/storm has let up so we can go out/drive back home"? With a context lacking clarity, should it be understood as, "the [hard] rain/storm has lessened up to a ...