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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

-2
votes
1answer
26 views

Words that split as they untie [on hold]

Say one has written a novel where certain sentences are supposed to split multiple ways, so: "The Bolshevik she cried, though he to too far away by virtue of words that split as they untied. The ...
0
votes
1answer
20 views

Ambiguity in sentence: retrieving a document marked as relevant by pure chance [on hold]

There is an ambiguity in the following sentence, since it is not obvious whether by pure chance refers to retrieving a document or to marked as relevant. I want to make it explicit that the document ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

“You have bought the ticket on 4/25” - ticket of the date or buy it on the date? [on hold]

I have bought a plane ticket to NYC on 4/25 I think this means I bought the ticket on 4/25 with no doubt. But what if I want to say the ticket is on 4/25?
2
votes
2answers
33k views

What does “Let me know if the problem persists” exactly mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When are “if” and “whether” equivalent? Which one is the correct meaning of "Let me know if the problem persists."? Or is it ambiguous? If the ...
4
votes
1answer
161 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
votes
1answer
33 views

What does “Term” on a quote mean? [closed]

I recently requested a quote from a web hosting provider. In the quote details, below the quote id number and the validity expiration date, I can read "Term - 6 months". What does it mean? Is it a ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Peevish, crabby, irritable, and bad-tempered [closed]

What's the difference between them? What the difference between someone who is peevish or irritable and a ‘crabby person’? As far as I get them Peevish — easily annoyed, especially by things that ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “I don't suffer from insanity” mean? [closed]

I'm pretty confused about a quote I've read on a website. It was written: I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it. I'd like to know what it really means when a person says ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Use of 'Like' and 'Unlike' prepositions

I am confused about the usage of the words like and unlike in sentences. Like and unlike make me confused because I see them being used everywhere almost interchangeably, and to make matters worse I ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Dual meaning of 'Latest'

I want to sort a list of events chronologically in 'latest first' order. Does this mean the most recent events will be the top of the list, or the bottom of the list? Latest means 'most recent', but ...
1
vote
3answers
60 views

Sentence with two possible meanings

I was reading this sentence and was a bit confused because it has two possible meanings: But I want to terminate the session as soon as user closes the browser using Ajax.           — Source ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Who are these people in context?

Text came from preface. I should also be remiss if I did not thank the anonymous Delegates for their thoughtful reports and constructive suggestions. Even those who did not much agree with me gave me ...
2
votes
1answer
60 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

'Birthdate vs birthday'- I know three other people who share my birthdate

We say birthday and not birthdate Generally, birthplace is used for place of birth but not birthdate for date of birth. What is the reason that birthday scores over birthdate when it comes to ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

what does “considers most” mean here?

The United States signed but has not yet ratified the Convention; however, the United States considers most of the Vienna Convention’s rules as representing customary international law. does it ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

what does “preceding warfare” means? [closed]

Peace treaties concluded after cessation of hostilities were usually considered to be valid because of preceding warfare. preceding means "come before (something) in time" warfare means ...
4
votes
3answers
101 views

What does 'measuring cast' mean? (1660, UK)

Source: 'Things Necessary to be Continually had in Remembrance', by Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to mercy and acquittal. How do you ...
1
vote
1answer
44 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. ...
0
votes
0answers
59 views

whats does “requires consideration of encounters and power” mean? [migrated]

as Nanda maintains, ‘Deconstructing central structural concepts in American society such as race, gender, religion, and ethnicity is an essential component of teaching cultural anthropology as ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Correlation to or between

My Brazilian friend wants me to check his PhD abstract in English. The information of gravimetric and topographic surveys shows the shallow nature of ECSMT with ~ 1.4 km deep, there is a strong ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

What does “then” mean in this context?

In the book Diplomacy: A Very Short Introduction by By Joseph M. Siracusa, we find the following passage: Prior to World War II, then, diplomacy was essentially a government-to-government ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

What’s the difference between “line” and “row”?

I’m not exactly sure under which circumstances is line or row the more suitable term. In Portuguese, they both translate to the same word linha, which can be used for both a drawing line or for an ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

WHAT IS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “STORY” AND “TALE” IN THIS CONTEXT? [duplicate]

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. In ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

class vs. group

So this is what I get from dictionary.com: class: a number of persons or things regarded as forming a group by reason of common attributes, characteristics, qualities, or traits; kind; sort: a ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

Meaning of the full title of Darwin's “On the origin of species”

The full title of Darwin's work "On the origin of species" is: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". My ...
1
vote
0answers
36 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 are five of ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What's the accurate meaning of “forget yourself”?

I was looking for a translation of the German expression "bevor ich mich vergesse" (lit. before I forget myself) and looked up if the literal translation could be used. In German this expression ...
1
vote
0answers
19 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
48 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?
1
vote
2answers
77 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?
10
votes
2answers
16k views

Controversy over verb choice in “neither you nor I {is/am/are} in control”

I was watching the film A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law when this line came up, "...neither you nor I is in control..." (I can’t remember the exact words that ended the ...
0
votes
1answer
45 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
37 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
62 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
69 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
4answers
60 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
41 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
78 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
151 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

Words to use instead of 'because' because 'because' is inherently ambiguous

What alternatives do we have other than 'because'? 'Because' guarantees you will be partially understood at best because unmodified uses of the word 'because' could mean 'solely because' or 'partly ...
0
votes
0answers
24 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
9k views

Difference between “robot”, “machine”, and “automaton” [closed]

What is the difference in meaning between a robot, a machine, and an automaton? I was inspired to ask this because I really can’t understand the subtle (or not so subtle) difference in meaning here. ...
0
votes
1answer
42 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
65 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
161 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
49 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?
7
votes
6answers
434 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
1answer
86 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
42 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 ...