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

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2
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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 ...
9
votes
4answers
954 views

Does using the word “crony” necessitate a negative connotation?

I have always heard the word "crony" in the context of acquaintanceships between people exploiting their closeness for less than noble means. Despite its definitions in the usual places as simply ...
2
votes
2answers
194 views

Does using the word “prefer” contain an implication of “necessity”?

I would prefer you come in and not your friend to get the signature. Above is the sentence in the email I received from my supervisor. I was in another city so I had no choice but to ask my ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we call snail mail “snail mail”?

Why do we call snail mail "snail mail"? So by default mail will refer to email?
4
votes
4answers
12k views

Meaning of “have an agenda”

What does it mean when someone says he has an agenda? Is there a negative connotation to agenda? If there is, then why and what is a word that means the same thing but has a positive connotation?
4
votes
2answers
297 views

Why is “hopefully” treated so mercilessly?

Is the word "hopefully" unjustly treated? We don't like the sentence: "Hopefully, my ship is just over the horizon and due in real soon now." But we don't mind saying: "Happily, the tree fell on ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

“Destiny” vs. “Fate”

I'm aware a search will turn up many discussions on the differences or interchangeability of these terms, but it would be good to get some answers here with an emphasis on the etymology of the two ...
7
votes
2answers
628 views

How does one use the adjectival noun “l'enfant terrible”?

I have seen this phrase bandied about from time to time, usually in more "academic" works; my problem is that I remember it rarely being applied to children, as a direct translation might imply ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Does “oath” have an implied religious connotation?

In Singapore you don't have to swear an oath in court if you are of certain religions. Instead you affirm that you're speaking the truth: Circumstances under which affirmation may be made 16.   ...
3
votes
3answers
559 views

How to call attention to “I” without “I myself” or the pretentious “even I”?

I find that in persuasive conversation, whether written or oral, it is sometimes useful to draw attention to the "I" in the sentence, giving the connotation that you are confessing or conceding to ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

“Dabble” in a positive sense

Can the word "dabble" be used in a positive sense? As in, A true "master of all trades", he has dabbled in several fields & contributed to numerous scientific advances.
1
vote
4answers
409 views

“Major location” versus “primary location”

I have a requirement that includes references to "major" and "minor" locations (referring to one main location and less significant ones). I have a feeling that "primary" and "secondary" are more ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I interpret the meaning of “narrative” in different situations?

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the meaning of "narrative" is defined as: A description of events, especially in a novel. The act, process or skill of telling a story. ...
2
votes
1answer
219 views

To 'know' a person — online versus in person

I searched and couldn't find anything — though that surprises me. It feels like there are hard to express differences between knowing a person in real life - people I work with, people I went to ...
1
vote
4answers
655 views

What's the difference between 'fallacy' and 'misnomer'? [closed]

In which contexts the usage vary?
4
votes
3answers
400 views

What is the difference (in terms of usage and connotation) between “loath” and “loathe”?

I'm having difficulty in understanding the differences in usage (and understanding which one is used from pronunciation/context) between "loathe" and "loath" - could anyone help clarify it ?
3
votes
6answers
3k views

In what contexts would one use the slang word “minging” in British English?

I was watching a Youtube video on English accents, and in the middle of a Yorkshire one, I think, the author of the video used the word "minging", in what seemed to be an insult. So I have two ...
2
votes
6answers
674 views

Which word meaning “someone who kills bad substances” can be used in an ad campaign?

We have an idea to post short ads like "our company is hiring" in company blog posts. The company develops software and one of duties of people we want to hire will be finding, locating and fixing ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Does “uxorious” have sexual connotations?

I understand the literal meaning of uxorious, but does it have sexual implications? That is, does it just mean that one is excessively devoted to one’s wife, or does it imply excessive sexual ...
3
votes
4answers
228 views

Must an “accident” evolve from human error?

I've been censured for calling the nuclear plant incident in Japan a "nuclear accident". I've never exclusively reserved the word accident only for those things which evolve from or are precipitated ...
3
votes
2answers
271 views

What is the nuance of ‘Slipping’ when you say ‘I started slipping my classes short writing assignments?’

I found an op-ed article titled ‘Teaching to the Text’ in today’s New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/opinion/20selsberg.) interesting as a non-native English learner. However, I stumbled on a ...
1
vote
3answers
163 views

Meaning of 'authenticity'

As I am dubious of your authenticity here (a mailing list), I cannot spend any time with you Is he dubious that I'm not a real user or I'm not a expert?
4
votes
3answers
15k views

“to a degree” vs. “to an extent”

Is there a measurable difference in meaning between the phrases "to a degree" and "to an extent" (or "to some degree" and "to some extent")? Examples: To [some degree / some extent] that is a ...
6
votes
11answers
718 views

A synonym for “bastardized” without the evil slant?

With the following definition: To lower in quality or character. Synonyms found: corrupt, pervert, subvert, demoralize, demoralise, debauch, debase, profane, vitiate, deprave, misdirect ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Do “good for you” and “I am happy for you” have a negative or positive connotation?

I am not sure if this is the right place, but I was wondering if "good for you" and "I am happy for you" have a negative or positive connotation.
6
votes
6answers
3k views

What connotation do these words describing “someone who straightforwardly expresses their” opinion have?

The adjective ones I have heard recently are forward straightforward forthcoming frank I was wondering if each of them has positive, negative or neutral meaning? What are other similar terms ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Terms to apply to something that leaves strong memory

Do the following terms have positive, neutral or negative meaning? memorable impressive remarkable What are other similar terms that are used for positive, neutral and negative intention?
0
votes
3answers
310 views

Connotation of “maze” and “get maze”?

Is it correct to say "get maze"? If so, what's the meaning? Also, does "maze" have a bad connotation?
3
votes
1answer
273 views

What does “undoable” mean?

When something is undoable, does it mean that it has the ability to be reverted back to its previous state or does it mean that it's not feasible? I broke something on my computer and a fix is ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Connotation of “proud”

Does the word proud have a bad connotation? I want to use 'proud+something' as a company and website name but I'm not sure what connotation it can have.
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Does “peculiar” imply “unusual”/“hard to expect”?

When something is called peculiar or having a peculiarity what does that mean? Does it just mean it has some specific features or does it mean that those specific features are unusual, not normally ...
0
votes
5answers
4k views

Do people perceive a difference between “phantasy” and “fantasy”?

When I started to learn English, I was used to write phantasy instead of fantasy, and I was always corrected. I recently noticed that phantasy is an English word too. Do people give to those words a ...
1
vote
3answers
424 views

Do “willingness” and “effort” imply different things?

In a post on Meta Stack Overflow, I used the word "willingness" in the following context: [X] is showing a willingness to learn. I justified this because [X] had posted a question asking to have ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

“Quote” vs “estimate” (business context)

I'm interested in the semantic implications of using the words quote and estimate in a business scenario. Here's the situation: When someone wants to purchase a service that I provide, they can fill ...
4
votes
4answers
579 views

Does “having” something imply the possession of it?

I'm seriously pained when I hear the word "have" being used in the present continuous to imply possession. Take for example, the following quotation from Wordsmith.org. Read the Etymology of the ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Does “develop” mean “upgrade”?

In my native language, the English word "develop" is translated to "the process to make something/somebody large/strong/big, and etc.; for example: economic development." Does develop mean upgrade?
1
vote
2answers
216 views

How could Ronald Reagan be compared with God in Sarah Palin's list of American authentic, and why?

Further to my question about the usage of ‘Blood libels’ I posted yesterday, I found the following lead-copy of an article referring to Sara Palin’s rhetoric in today’s Washington Post. It seems the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Difference in meaning and prononciation of urbane and urban

I encounter these two words pretty often, both orally and in writing. What is the difference between two, and how to pronounce, say in USA?
3
votes
3answers
398 views

Does the word “evolution” connote “upgrade”?

Does 'evolution' means 'upgrade' ? 'downgrade' or just 'gradient'?
3
votes
2answers
387 views

Can you *donate* to a non-charitable cause?

I just had someone insist that a donation can only be to a charitable cause or organization; otherwise, the word contribution should be used. When I objected to "contribution" on the grounds that it ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Cultural connotation of American English — some examples?

I am from India and we speak English there as well, albeit not as culturally refined as I see in the US. In India, and perhaps in the UK, English is spoken in a straight and 'as it is' manner. For ...
3
votes
3answers
423 views

“Memorial” as a non-sad word?

Can one use the word "memorial" (noun or adjective) without the negative/sad connotation of commemoration of the dead?
7
votes
3answers
242 views

What could the word “thumbtick” mean?

I am trying to give a piece of software a name but for non-native English speakers it's sometimes hard to avoid awkward associations with names because you don't live with the language. Sometimes word ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Connotations of trite, passé, and cliché

What are the differences between trite, cliché, and passé? They seem to all have a similar denotation, but what are the subtleties of their connotations? The only difference I really see is that ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Is the term “hack” more positive or more negative?

What emotional association does the word hack have nowadays in the first place: negative or positive? Is it more for doing something illegally or without permission? Or for doing something in a ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a connotational difference between “Reality” and “Actuality”?

The motto for the TruTV channel has always bugged me: Not reality, actuality. At least from online dictionaries I have looked up these words on, they seem equivalent. The definitions even reference ...
7
votes
3answers
33k views

Does the phrase “fine with me” have a negative connotation?

I have always thought that you could answer "it's ok with me" or "it's fine with me" when you agree with something that somebody proposed, like a meeting time. But apparently the phrase can have a ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...