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

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7 views

What is the difference between “to be a fake” and “to be faked”?

To give an example; "The body was discovered to be faked." "The body was discovered to be a fake." I really don't understand what difference is.
5
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4answers
89 views

What are some less ambiguous words for “choice,” “decision,” “option,” etc.?

1) You come to a fork in the road. You need to make a choice between going left or right. You face a decision between the left path and the right path. You have the option to advance in either ...
4
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0answers
64 views

“Enormity”: Bigness or evil?

A few years ago, I learned that the word "enormity" meant "wickedness" and not (ever!) "bigness"--this according to the official curriculum for a major American standardized test. Upon learning this, ...
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1answer
26 views

How can I mean the “traditional” charade without ambiguity?

From the wikipedia page, a charade is A word guessing game [...] in which one player acts out a word or phrase, often by miming similar-sounding words, and the other players guess the word or ...
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0answers
20 views

Please let me know [on hold]

What is the difference between and are they both correct? 1.That has got to be the smallest foot I have ever seen. 2.That is the smallest foot I have ever seen. Thanks.
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2answers
48 views

Meaning of “I don't love her because she is beautiful.” [on hold]

I don't love her because she is beautiful. This sentence is in my grammar book. It means I love her not because she is beautiful. I am confused!
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1answer
28 views

“Algorithmic …ing…” vs “Algorithm …ing”

Q: Question is general, but let's take some concrete examples: Isn't "Algorithmic Auditing" - about audits done by (or using) algorithms (and subject can be whatever) "Algorithm Auditing" - about ...
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2answers
70 views

How many is many? [on hold]

Many is a great word for its ambiguity. You needn't know the actual number and you're still fine to say many. It lets you speak without knowing, or focus on the main idea without getting lost in the ...
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2answers
35 views

Succinct and understandable term when “turn up”/“turn down” is ambiguous

In particular, think of the home air conditioner or the power setting on the kitchen refrigerator: the intensity of effort is opposite to the numbering of the related quality. So "Turn up the air ...
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1answer
43 views

Need help in fixing an ambiguous sentence

Need help in fixing the ambiguous sentence below: 11 products are supported by single engineer What I want to mean is that in the 11 product, each product is only supported by one engineer; not ...
4
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1answer
90 views

Meaning of “trade-off between attention to fluency or attention to accuracy.”

I'm a foreign English learner. I could not understand the meaning because of two puzzling aspects in a sentence in shawn loewen's book Key concepts in second language acquisition: In SLA this is ...
3
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2answers
155 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 ...
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0answers
27 views

Word for Adjectives with conflicting meanings [duplicate]

First, I've been through, Word or phrase that can mean something and its opposite. I'd like to know if there's a word specifically for Adjectives, even phrasal verbs are welcome. Recently, came ...
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2answers
61 views

Prejudiced vs biased

How do "prejudiced" and "biased" exactly differ? Sometimes, they are used interchangeably. Upon consulting the dictionary, I find that "prejudice" is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as − "......
6
votes
2answers
409 views

What's the connection between the word 'roam' and the cell phone roaming? [closed]

"Roam" is defined as "move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment". What does it have to do with the cell phone roaming? Why is roaming called that? ...
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3answers
111 views

Is “He was shot in the street” ambiguous? [closed]

I'd say both of these uses of "he was shot" make sense: "How did he die?" -- "He was shot in the street" [meaning shot dead] "He was shot in the street, but luckily the bullet only hit his foot." [...
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1answer
25 views

What does it mean to say someone is “of” somewhere?

For example: William Howell of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, sang Our Gallant Ship.. Does it mean the place where the person was born? Or could it also just mean the place where they lived?
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0answers
108 views

“What do you mean by ___? " Is this ambiguous or rude? [migrated]

Is asking someone “What do you mean by ___?" a rude way to ask the meaning of something you don't understand? For example, when I chat with my American friends, and there is a word I don't know the ...
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0answers
41 views

list all possible meanings of this sentence [closed]

I would like to know all of the syntactically valid meanings of the following sentence: I am going to eat a bagel with egg on it like my wife. I can think of the following meanings (and included ...
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11answers
9k views

If a ship sinks, what does an airship do?

We were having a discussion at work about airships (zeppelins, blimps, etc.) and someone spoke about them sinking when they crash. Someone else said they can't sink because they're not descending ...
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1answer
18 views

Leaving temporarily

I'm looking for a word or expression to convey the meaning of "leaving temporarily". Context: I'm writing house rules for a bed & breakfast, and I want to ask guests to turn off the lights every ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

English equivalent of the French “trompe-oreilles”?

The following is the translation of the French definition of trompe-oreilles as it appears on the Wikipedia page: A trompe-oreilles is a valid sentence that, when spoken out loud, gives the ...
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4answers
203 views

“defeat Trump badly”

In a live-streamed speech, the Vermont senator made it clear he is no longer actively challenging Clinton and that the goal is to ‘defeat Trump badly’ … “The major political task that we face in ...
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1answer
74 views

Difference between “everlasting” and “eternal”

I know these two sentences are somehow different, but I don't know how: This is an everlasting love. This is an eternal love. I read here that there are a number of adjectives for ...
3
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2answers
349 views

Is having sex a hobby? [closed]

Wiktionary defines a hobby as An activity that one enjoys doing in one's spare time. Other dictionaries tend to have similar definitions. Viewpoint 1 Some people believe that the word hobby ...
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2answers
57 views

Ambiguity in prepositional phrases

"Nellie washed the dishes in the sink." This sentence is ambiguous, and the prepositional phrase can be read two ways--either as 'Nellie washed (in the sink) the dishes', in which case it is an ...
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0answers
33 views

In which country does “protocol” mean school related work or homework?

I was talking with a student online, I don't know where he is from, but he said to me that he is doing a "physics protocol" at home I am assuming that he meant physics related homework, rather than ...
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0answers
61 views

Stress pattern changes with noun and verb homographs: exceptions to the rule

We all know that words that can be used both as nouns and verbs have a different stress pattern: http://www.wordstress.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Stress-Pattern-Change-noun-verb-pairs.pdf As a ...
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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. ...
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3answers
67 views

Word usage technically correct, but misleading

An article title states a Black Lives Matter activist is charged with 'lynching'. When I read the article, what the activist actually did is unlawfully remove a suspect from police custody, in order ...
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1answer
46 views

Is 'good' a double-entendre in some parts of the US? [closed]

In the movie The Incredibles, the characters have the following dialogue: LUCIUS (FROZONE): Honey? HONEY: What? LUCIUS (FROZONE): Where's my supersuit? HONEY: What? LUCIUS ...
2
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3answers
60 views

Meaning of 'be bond to' in “since ye are bond to that magic” in 19th-century poem [closed]

I am reading a poem by Rudyard Kipling, Kitchener's School (http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_kitchener.htm) and I am wondering about the precise meaning/possible connotations of the verb 'be bond ...
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1answer
55 views

When do I collect my money '…as I pass Go'?

I was playing Junior Monopoly yesterday. The, er, grown-ups disagreed (!) over precisely when you collect your £2 pocket money. On the board itself the instruction is "...Collect £2 pocket money as ...
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5answers
4k 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 ...
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0answers
21 views

six points clear of Jack in fifth place

a. In the most recent rankings, Don sits six points clear of Jack in fifth place. b. In the most recent rankings, Don sits six points clear of Jack, in fifth place. In the second sentence there is ...
5
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2answers
99 views

Positive connotation of “fluke”?

Many sources (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, for a start) suggest the word "fluke" has mostly positive connotations when used in the sense of "accident." That is, "a fluke" properly describes a lucky accident, not ...
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1answer
315 views

Can “extremely professional” have a negative connotation? [closed]

If someone is described as extremely professional, might there be a negative side to it? This is how I would take it in many contexts, and I'm wondering whether it's justified. If some chap at work ...
4
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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 ...
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2answers
438 views

Ambiguous relative clause

In the following expression, whom does 'who' refer to? The friends of the participants or the participants themselves? "The friends of the participants who were told to order soft drinks" This was ...
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3answers
66 views

Ambiguous modifier at the end of this sentence? [closed]

We review recurrent neural networks in computer science, a simple class of learning algorithms that permit feedback between the different nodes in the network. I have two questions: Is the ...
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2answers
82 views

Multiple meanings of “I hope that you will prove them wrong”

I were recently told that the sentence "I hope that you will prove them wrong" should have two or more meanings 'in-sentence', but not how and this is bugging me! I can only make sense of this 'out-...
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6answers
26k views

How should I address someone with a known name and unknown gender?

When communicating with foreign cultures, the gender of the addressed person is not always clear from the name. What would be a professional way to address someone in this situation. (Dear Mr or Ms ...
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2answers
262 views

Sentence interpretation

I have been accused of a lack of reading comprehension in the following statement: Irgun later on became part of the "Jewish authorities", specifically the IDF by a self-professed wordsmith. To me, it ...
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2answers
75 views

What our students have to say. Grammar question

I often hear the phrase "what our students have to say" in testimonials, and I am confused with the grammar here. It can be taken in two ways as follows. 1) Our students have something (what) to say ...
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0answers
22 views

did not know that I had seen some/certain [closed]

a. She didn't know that I had seen some of her paintings. b. She didn't know that I had seen some of her paintings. Could either of these sentences be used instead of: c. There were certain of her ...
2
votes
1answer
199 views

When did “to forgive” lose its primary meaning for pardoning and become solely about an emotional response?

During a recent debate I was having with a peer, I was shocked to find out that the word "forgive" no longer carries a primary association with the act of pardoning another individual (i.e., ...
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3answers
704 views

why say “take” when we really mean “leave” (a piss, etc.)

The use of "take" in colloquial expressions of urination and defecation continues to both confound and amuse even the youngest of language enthusiasts. Just ask my son, who will insist with a smile ...
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5answers
9k views

Meaning of “to get stuffed”

What does the phrase to get stuffed mean in the following passage taken from my IELTS reading exercise? One of London Zoo’s recent advertisements caused me some irritation, so patently did it ...
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0answers
36 views

will buy any of them [closed]

a. Take any of the CD's you want. Does that mean Take one CD, whichever one you want. Or could it mean take all the CD's you want? b. Take any CD you want. Does that mean Take one CD, whichever ...
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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 ...