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

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1answer
47 views

Connotations of the word “cohort”

Outside of the scientific sense (cohort study), does the word cohort have positive, negative or neutral connotations? The dictionary defines it as a group of people or single companion and it ...
2
votes
1answer
790 views

“Languorous” versus “languid”

"Languorous" and "languid" have similar meanings. Are there any subtle differences in usage, due to connotation perhaps, that make one more suitable than the other under certain circumstances?
2
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1answer
437 views

Is there a word that means English-Language-Centric?

There was an argument about how someone spelled "Revolution" and they said "No, I did not write it incorrectly. I used the Spanish version: 'Revuloción' without the accented o to make my life a little ...
2
votes
1answer
723 views

Is an areligious person secular?

An areligious person is one who is: unconcerned with or indifferent to religious matters. A secular person is one who is: in the state of being separate from religion, or not being ...
2
votes
1answer
609 views

Connotation of the word “sprezzatura ”

According to Wikipedia, sprezzatura means a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it. ...
2
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2answers
600 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 ...
2
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1answer
4k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

Is this a correct usage of “gravitas”? [closed]

The word gravitas is usually used in reference to a human quality. Can it also be used correctly in the following example? The use of the time-worn stones for the steps gives an instant air of ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between these conditionals?

It's often said that non-native speakers have a poor understanding of the English tenses. I'm not one to disagree, but on the whole I've always thought tenses weren't that hard, until I got to the ...
2
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
2
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2answers
668 views

Word for someone who is “pretentious”, but without negative connotation?

Pretentious is defined as "attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed." What if someone does impress others because they actually do have ...
2
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0answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
496 views

Housekeeping App — does it make sense?

We are providing an app which manages your finances — like a housekeeping book. Our space is limited; therefore, we want to use the slogan "Housekeeping App". Would an English speaker know what is ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is “elder brother” implicit in “brother”?

I just watched a film called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. I wonder how one knows whether he is an elder brother or a younger brother when he only says that he has a brother and does not ...
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4answers
1k views

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

In which contexts the usage vary?
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2answers
226 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 ...
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6answers
101 views

positive version of tattle

Is there a word that represents the positive connotation equivalent of the term tattle or tattletale ? What I would be looking for is something like the following: Dan tattled on Ken to Ken's ...
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2answers
341 views

Does the word zealous have an implicit religious connotation? [duplicate]

Earlier today I was describing someone to a friend. I said, "I never realized how zealous he was." I meant for the meaning of zealous here to be religiously zealous. Without an adverb, I would ...
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5answers
1k 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 ...
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4answers
1k views

“Combination” versus “Amalgamation”

I'm looking for the key differences between combination and amalgamation. The differences between their verb forms (combine and amalgamate) is just as acceptable to me. Combination: the act or an ...
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3answers
2k views

“Endorse” vs. “condone”

What is the difference in meaning/connotation between the two words? Is endorse "stronger", more positive? Also, endorse is to endorsement as condone is to what? Is there a noun counterpart?
1
vote
1answer
686 views

Usage and acceptability of the word “queer”

This dictionary.com definition pretty much sums up my understanding of what the word queer is supposed to mean. However, in modern times (at least here in the US, perhap someone else can speak for ...
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4answers
696 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 ...
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3answers
603 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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?
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2answers
96 views

Difference between hideous, odious and obnoxious [closed]

I wonder about the difference between 'hideous', 'odious' and 'obnoxious' All three of them share the following definition at oxforddictionaries.com Extremely unpleasant While I know that ...
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2answers
3k views

Origin of milquetoast and the negative meaning of milk in modern usage

I searched the word milquetoast and found out that it is a very pejorative term used in American English (after a cartoon character- Casper Milquetoast) to refer to someone of an unusually meek, ...
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1answer
295 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
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1answer
229 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?
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4answers
990 views

Does a claim have to be explicit?

I have heard the claim that a claim must be explicit by definition, but do not see any definition that supports this. An example of how "implicit claim" is used from this Wikipedia page on ...
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3answers
4k views

Use of “brother” in non-family and non-religious contexts

I think the word brother (sometimes spelled brotha or bro) has been used for a long time among African Americans when talking to one another with the meaning of "pal" and not in a family context. ...
1
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1answer
55 views

Does 'hook up' imply a superficial relationship?

I am a non-native speaker. I would like to express that something happened two years after a character has formed a relationship with a loved one. This is what I wrote: Two years after I hooked ...
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vote
2answers
556 views

Does the word “vain” necessarily have a negative denotation or connotation?

I don't really know how to answer my Brazilian students when they ask me how to say "vaidoso/a" in English. The Portuguese word does not convey a bad idea but "vain" does. Or does it?
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2answers
303 views

The difference between “heathen” and “ungodly”

My student needed an adjective which means "irreligious" or "does not believe in God/a god." I suggested the words "heathen" and "ungodly". Would you say there's a difference between the two ...
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2answers
512 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 ...
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3answers
197 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?
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2answers
114 views

“Regression” in a positive sense

I'm looking for a word that means returning to the past or embracing old values, but words like "regression," "retrogression," and "atavism" all seem to have negative connotations attached to them. ...
1
vote
1answer
207 views

'Animus' — negative connotation?

The Oxford Dictionaries entry for animus reads: [mass noun] Hostility or ill feeling: [mass noun] Motivation to do something: Owing to definition 1 above, I suspect that a negative ...
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5answers
320 views

Connotatively neutral alternatives to “ignorant”?

The word "ignorant" has a denotative meaning along the lines of "to lack knowledge" or "to not know", but its connotative meaning, by my understanding, is negative. Are there any synonyms of this ...
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2answers
386 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
54 views

Does “slight future” have negative connotations?

I'm not an native English speaker and I see this word used in so many different contexts. Does "slight" come with negative connotations? It can be used negatively, but does it default to the negative? ...
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2answers
74 views

Is “reform” (v. and n.) losing its positive connotation?

OED definitions consistently imply that this word signifies change for the better. But I increasingly find people acquiescing and joining in using the term reform even when they frankly regard the ...
1
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1answer
86 views

Connotation of “unzipping”

I'm working a piece of software that, as part of what it does, will extract/uncompress a ZIP file. I'd like to report this to the user by showing the word "unzipping" alone. Will displaying the word ...
1
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3answers
557 views

Has “freak” always carried a negative connotation?

Many words (such as imbecile and idiot) used to be technical terms or proper names, however, eventually came to be used mainly for insults, and are today considered negative. Has the word "freak" ...
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2answers
826 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 ...
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1answer
653 views

Is ‘eclectic bunch’ trendy instead of simply saying ‘a group of different types of constituents'?

I found the words ‘eclectic bunch’ in the following sentence of a New York Times (July 29, 2011) article reporting increase in foraging in city parks, which is titled ‘Enjoy Park Greenery, City Says, ...
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1answer
279 views

What's the origin/etymology of the phrase “regular old”? Does it have a clearly defined meaning?

It seems to me that the adjective phrase "regular old" seems to have a few distinct usages, but a confusing conversation and some fruitless searches as to a specific definition have me coming to ...
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2answers
119 views

Am I right that “individual” is a little bit pejorative? [closed]

I have feeling that the word "individual" leans a little bit towards being pejorative if not used in an official or formal context. Me not being native to English and knowing it far too poorly, I ...
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1answer
59 views

Which phrase is more common or do the two phrases have different intentions?

Not all people are hard-working. Not everyone is hard-working.
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1answer
265 views

Connotation of “visceral”

I understand that "visceral" with respect to a reaction or feeling is a very intense one. But I haven't found an authoritative source that describes a visceral reaction as being an exclusively bad ...