Questions regarding the associated or underlying meaning of a word, in addition to its primary definition

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1answer
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What is the difference in meaning between 'nonchalant' and 'insouciant'?

OED defines them as: nonchalant adjective (of a person or manner) feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm insouciant adjective showing ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Word to describe a sensation of death coming over your entire body?

This is the context where I want to use the word: He closed his eyes. The living did not come to mind, neither friend, nor family—only the dance of death, plain to see. The dancing figures of ...
2
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4answers
2k views

Difference between 'Redundant' and 'Superfluous'

(I made a search for this question on this forum but surprisingly did not find related questions. Which is odd because surely this question is asked often.) First, the sentence I'm trying to use ...
8
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6answers
7k views

What connotation does “to fork one's repo” have?

In a recent news item, an employee was fired partly for making jokes about "big dongle" and "forking repos", which were alleged to be inappropriate sexual jokes. The employee admitted the dongle joke ...
2
votes
4answers
593 views

Can “famous last words” be used in positive way as a response in conversation?

I came across the phrase, ““famous last words.” I took it literally as the last word delivered by famous people. But Wikipedia defines““famous last words” other than this sense as: used in a ...
2
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2answers
329 views

“Crisis”, “drama” and similar words in the news

Today I read the economist headline: On to the next crisis. Automatic spending cuts took effect on March 1st; more drama is to come I startled at the word ‘drama’. It would be regarded as ...
50
votes
14answers
15k views

When to use “nude” and when “naked”

The question is quite clear. Is there any difference (semantically or connotationally, if that's a word) between nude and naked? Nude seems more formal to me, but I'm not quite sure. Interesting: ...
1
vote
2answers
281 views

What is the connotation or meaning of “exclusive thinking”?

How should I interpret the expression "exclusive thinking"? The expression "exclusive thinking" is one I've seen in criticism against some views or opinions that are called "exclusive thinking". Is ...
1
vote
2answers
255 views

Does the word “indefatigable” have positive or negative connotation?

Example usage: Terence, you have indefatigable enthusiasm. The effect it has on people is inspiring. In the sense of exuberance, but you feel positively about it.
-1
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1answer
2k views

“Take advantage” vs. “make advantage”

I'm worried that 'take advantage' could have a slightly negative connotation. Could you say "make advantage [of a situation]"?
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3answers
982 views

Has the suffix “-trix” acquired a pejorative meaning in recent years?

A couple days ago I needed the correct word for a female aviator, which I figured was aviatress. A dictionary.com search provided aviatress, aviatrice and aviatrix as acceptable choices. ...
2
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3answers
3k views

What does the expression “to add another dimension to the situation” mean?

Does the expression "to add another dimension to the situation" imply that the situation has become more complex? In Arabic we would say something like "adds another dimension to the situation that ...
13
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6answers
971 views

Does the word “newbie” have a negative connotation?

Imagine that I'm running a friendly and informal online business. I would like to introduce my service to the new customers by a blog post that entitles, 'Are you a newbie to XYZ.com?'. Will that ...
2
votes
3answers
649 views

Does “intellectual gymnastics” always have a negative connotation?

As far as I know, “intellectual gymnastics” is used in a negative sense. For example, the discipline of philosophy can be belittled as “intellectual gymnastics”. However, a university in Japan seems ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

Does the expression “web technologies” have a euphemistic/promotional character ?

In German, I sometimes come across the expression “Webtechnologien” as a direct adoption of “web technologies”, which usually relates to software, programming, web development. I've always found the ...
2
votes
2answers
563 views

Does the term “Methodical” have a negative connotation associated with it? [closed]

It seems to me that the only times I hear the term Methodical in journalism/press are to describe negative people such as killers or psychopaths. I don't believe methodical inherently has a negative ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Synonym for “godchild” without religious connotation

In English is there a synonym for "godchild" (or the gender-specific versions) without a religious connotation but without necessarily having other specific connotations? All the words I'm coming up ...
5
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the word for “stepping stone” if it is used in a derogatory sense?

I checked the meaning of stepping stone in a dictionary, it was a means of progress What would be the word for stepping stone if I want to use it in a negative sense? For example, He used ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Does “awe” have a colloquial meaning (similar to “awesome”)?

The meaning of awe is given in dictionaries as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime" (this definition is from ...
2
votes
4answers
377 views

“Dabbler”, without the negative connotation

According to dictionary, a dabbler is "an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge". I want a word that means a person genuinely interested in ...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

What exactly are the differences between “diligent”, “assiduous” and “sedulous”?

From OALD: sedulous (formal) showing great care and effort in your work synonym: diligent assiduous (formal) working very hard and taking great care that everything is done as well as it ...
1
vote
1answer
243 views

I was able to hear the sound/noise from here?

Given this question: Dude the rock band was awesome. Which one of sound or noise is correct here? Yes, I know — I was able to hear the concert’s noise from my balcony. Yes, I know — ...
1
vote
2answers
233 views

The “only…but” problem

In an effort to clarify my quandary, is it appropriate to use this statement to give condolence: I know you were only trying to help. Or, does only imply that you did more harm than good? It ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What are the connotations of the word “Greetings” when used as a greeting?

What are the connotations of the word "Greetings" when used as a greeting? I am British, and I have rarely heard "Greetings!" used as a greeting in the UK. I associate it in my mind with Commander ...
1
vote
1answer
164 views

Connotation of terms regarding one's profession [closed]

I'm wondering if there are more-commonly-than-not held connotations for terms regarding occupation that would differentiate between one's own personal experience in a field versus the description of ...
5
votes
4answers
858 views

Bless your heart

Is "bless your heart" something only used by old women in the South (all I've ever heard)? Or is it ever appropriate for a man to use it without seeming unmanly? Does the term always have ...
4
votes
6answers
490 views

What does the word “predict” imply?

I am not sure if I could use the word predict in the context of a scientific forecast. Does this word have a connotation of guessing, transcendental belief, or some kind of humbug? And if so, what ...
6
votes
4answers
888 views

Can “zealot” have a positive connotation?

A zealot is a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals. I have never seen this word used with positive connotation, but could it (without ...
0
votes
3answers
332 views

Does “work for someone” ever carry negative connotations?

Can I say that I want him to work for me in the sense that I want him to work at my company? Does it have any negative connotations, like association with slavery or objectifying the person? Is ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Synonym for “do you mean” without negative connotations [closed]

Whenever I use the phrase "do you mean to say", I notice that the word "mean" has a variety of negative connotations (cruelty, harshness, etc.) Is there any alternative for this phrase that doesn't ...
2
votes
4answers
175 views

Connotations of “anoint someone” as successor

I saw this headline on the BBC today: China anoints Xi as new leader There is one entry in the definition at Google's dictionary which exactly corresponds to the case in use: Nominate or ...
2
votes
1answer
656 views

What's the difference between “vita”, “curriculum vitae”, “maintenance history” and “résumé”?

As far as I know, the words vita curriculum vitae résumé maintenance history all mean a document that includes information about your life and your education that you give a company if you want to ...
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5answers
856 views

What does the phrase “flip flop” bring to mind?

I need help with the connotation of the phrase flip flop. Let me explain – I am working on a small project that is meant to promote travelling and education through travelling and getting to know ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

word to describe a person who catches the sexual overtone in a normal conversation

I know there is a word for it — I heard it when I was young. What is the word to describe a person who catches the sexual overtones in a normal (non-sexual) conversation? Here's one example I have (I ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the difference between the adjectives “live” and “alive”?

What is the difference between "live" and "alive"? When would I better use the first and when the latter? EDIT Say, there are several players actively participating in a game and some others are ...
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votes
1answer
1k views

Is it derogatory to call user a punter?

I've been wondering whether it is somewhat derogatory to call a user a punter. For instance, We should encourage punters to participate in the discussions. Update: My apologies — I owe you an ...
3
votes
3answers
529 views

Synonym with positive connotation for “peeping through the door”

She peeped through the door asking for permission to enter. Does peeped through have a negative connotation? If so, is there a better word or phrase to be used in such context?
4
votes
4answers
639 views

How did “kill” get its positive connotations?

For example: She made a killing on the stock market. The comedian killed the audience — they were slain with laughter. Did this meaning develop slowly over time or did some person or ...
3
votes
3answers
368 views

I am afraid I look servile when I say “please” [closed]

In Korea, when I say "please", others think that I am servile. In English, do I look servile when I use "please" in conversation? I want to know the intensity of the word "please" in servility.
4
votes
1answer
146 views

Connotation of “to expatiate”

Only the online Cambridge dictionary marks the verb “to expatiate” as ‘formal disapproving’. Nowhere else could I find the reference to a ‘disapproving’ connotation, although all the online ...
4
votes
5answers
360 views

Referring to my husband as my son's dad?

I received an invitation for a session at my son's (John) school. The teacher had asked us to confirm our attendance for the event. I wrote the following John's Dad and I will be attending the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Does “living in squalor” necessarily imply poverty?

Some definitions of squalor and its adjectival form squalid: Merriam-Webster squalor: the quality or state of being squalid squalid: marked by filthiness and degradation from neglect or poverty ...
0
votes
1answer
383 views

Does “end up” have a negative connotation? [closed]

Maybe not, as some of the example usages in here, but it still has a negative feel to me. Is there some positive way that can be used instead?
11
votes
3answers
982 views

Does the word “apparently” imply that I personally do or don't believe the statement following it?

When I say "Apparently, xyz", does that imply one of the following, and if so, which one? From observation, I believe xyz to be true, but I leave open the possibility that I might be wrong. I ...
0
votes
1answer
434 views

Does “invidious” come implicit with malice or consideration? Or is it just absent of care?

"Invidious" (the often misunderstood) is known to involve harmful or threatening effects — at least insomuch as one party feels "resentful" or similarly about the situation. So there are at least two ...
5
votes
3answers
245 views

Primary association of “to make out” [closed]

I am about to write an article about the German verb "ausmachen", which looking at the parts, looks awfully close to "make out". I did some reading on Merriam Webster and Wiktionary only to find that ...
2
votes
0answers
2k views

Are the fictitious names “Initech” and “Initrode” a play on words? [closed]

In the comedy film "Officespace", the protagonist works for a company called "Initech". At the end of the film, his co-workers take jobs at a competing company called "Initrode". It seems that these ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

Does the phrase that one “keeps their head down” have a negative connotation

Does the phrase that one "keeps their head down" have a negative or derogatory connotation in regards to the person whose head is kept down?
3
votes
6answers
330 views

Ebb - is it right to say “ebb toward”, or does this word have negative connotations

"[company name] is a company of specialists who ebb toward new and innovative technologies.." I'd like to use the word ebb in the above sentence, although the dictionary tells me that it has negative ...
1
vote
1answer
327 views

Does the word “facility” have a negative connotation?

When I hear about "facility" I immediately associate that with a building (like a company's headquarter, store, etc). However, some people say that it can be used to mean a "WC." Is this true? Does ...