usefulness of this tag is under debate

learn more… | top users | synonyms

9
votes
2answers
158 views

What does “crawl over a pile of hot coals” mean?

Subsequent to my question about “within an inch of one’s life” in Vanity Fair magazine, Emily Jane’s article, “Megyn Kelly slams media “Bias against Trump” for criticism of her prime-time special” ...
24
votes
4answers
6k views

What does President Obama's “pro-knowledge” remark mean?

Today’s (May 17) New Yorker carries an article written by Andy Borowitz under the title, “Obama alienates millions with incendiary pro-knowledge remarks," which begins with the following passage: “...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

How to write £1 million where style guide clashes

I am writing the figure of £1,000,000 in a presentation but finding that my style guide clashes with what looks right. 'Million' must be spelled out. '£' must be used instead of 'pounds'. Numbers ...
6
votes
3answers
604 views

What does “the New York egoscape “ mean?

I was interested in the word, “egoscape” used in the following paragraph of the New Yorker magazine’s (March 14) article written by David Remnick under the title “American Demagogue”: “For a long ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

What words describe the relation between “dollars” and “cents”?

A dollar can be divided up into 100 cents. A Swiss franc can be divided into 100 rappen. What are the words that describe these units (dollar vs cents or franc vs rappen)? I found out that ...
2
votes
2answers
219 views

Is it common to use “where” after “a time” as a relative?

I heard the following comment of Mr. Marco Rubio about Mr. Donald Trump on CBS’s “Face the Nation” in a clip in February 29th AP Radio News: “There is never gonna be a time where the Republican ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Is “There are perks, but there’s also baggage” a popular English adage?

I was interested in a phrase “There are perks, but there’s also baggage” in the following passage of Washington Post (March 7) article that came under the title, “Marco Rubio Implodes On Super ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

What does Mr. Trump’s “inner rabbit” mean?

There was an article written by Gail Collins, op-ed columnist in the New York Times (February 19) under the title, “Trump Shows His Inner Rabbit.” The article starts with the passage; I am sorry ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

What does “Retail politics” mean? Is it an established political term?

I come across the word, “retail (oriented) politics” in an article under the title, “All presidential politics is local” in Conway Daily Sun (December 23, 2015), which contained the following ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “triple down” in “Trump triples down on George W. Bush’s responsibility for 9/11”mean?

A Washington Post (October 18) article begins with the following passage under the headline, “Trump triples down on George W. Bush’s responsibility for 9/11.” Donald Trump says he doesn’t flat out ...
4
votes
2answers
104 views

Can the word, “OK’er,” be used in other area than copy editing?

I recently heard the word,’OK’er” in the New Yorker’s Live video, in which Mary Norris, New Yorker’s copy editor and author of "How I proofread my way to Philip Roth’s heart,” “Between You & Me on ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Is “pre-spin” a common word?

I was drawn to the word, “pre-spin” in the following passage in New York Times’ (October 9) article that came under the title, “From Donald Trump, hints of a campaign exit strategy.”: “Stuart ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

Is ‘scooplet’ a popular word?

I came across the word, ‘scooplet’ in the statement of New York times’ reporter in its “What we are reading section” (October 24). Carolyn Ryan introduces “Time Machine” written by Kitty Kelley by ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “medical scare” mean?

Today’s(September 25)Time magazine reports that: “Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is feeling "fine" following a brief medical scare during an evening speech. Yellen was speaking at the University ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

Why “off the table” is not included in major English dictionaries while “on the table” is shown as an idiom in all of them?

I recently saw a cartoon in which President Obama in a physician’s costume followed by an elephant and a buffalo in suit is lifting up the one end of a surgery tolley marked “Big farma and insurance ...
1
vote
3answers
191 views

What does “for comfort” in “too fast (close / hot/ warm / crammed) for comfort” mean?

I was drawn to the phrase, “Too fast for comfort” in New York Times (August 10) article with a headline, “China devalues its currency amid economic slowdown.: The move appeared to be a response to ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

What does “fall for a bluff” mean? [closed]

New York Times (August 6) reported under the title, “25 years after Gardner Museum heist, video raises questions” that Federal officials released a video tape recording a guardsman, Richard Abath’s ...
1
vote
1answer
164 views

Is “It’s not unheard-of to do” not-an-unusual expression in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Hooray for Hillarywood” in New York Times May 30 issue: “You hear plenty of complaints about the president’s mingy care and ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Is “over-babble” a common word usable in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in New York Times (May 14) article under the title, “Wow, Jeb Bush is awful.”: "The bottom line is that so far he seems to be a terrible candidate. He couldn’t ...
2
votes
4answers
555 views

Is there a word for the small of currency, eg, cents, pence, etc?

I am writing some instructions and I want my audience to understand that an amount must be entered in cents / pence / Eurocents / Satoshis etc. Is there a word that describes these small, granular ...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

Is “two-Perrier” lunch a businessmen’s buzz word?

There was a line, “He was not one for two-Perrier lunch,” in the eulogy for a British politician who made a great contribution to the formation of E.U. system. Also there is the following passage in ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

What does “Live in one’s own skin” mean?

There was the following passage in Vanity Fair magazine’s (January 7 issue) article under the headline, “Meryl Streep responds to Russell Crowe’s controversial comments about ageism in Hollywood”: ...
3
votes
2answers
236 views

What does “cheffed-up” in “Traditional ramen that hasn’t been cheffed-up” mean?

In connection with my previous question about the meaning of the line, “This is a lot of cargo for noodle soup” in NYT’s (March 4, 2014) article, “Ramen’s Big Splash,” in its Dining & Wine section,...
1
vote
1answer
109 views

Who are “the perks people”?

I was drawn to the phrase 'the perks people' in the headline of an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal (November 20, 2014 issue) — The perks people: Meet silicon valley’s ‘Little elves'. ...
4
votes
1answer
337 views

What does “literary stylist” mean? Is it a characteristic or a profession?

The following passage in an article in The Guardian titled Occupy was right: Capitalism failed the world (April 13, 2014) comments on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the twenty-first century, a work of ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

Is “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet” a common or respectable English expression?

Today’s edition of the New York Times (December 16, 2014) carries an article written by Mark Bittman under the headline “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It begins with the following passage: “What’s ...
3
votes
3answers
376 views

Is “Grey tsunami” a mere metaphor, or acknowledged phrase to represent for accelerated global increase of old age population?

The article of the Economics (April 26, 2014) titled “Demography, growth and inequality; Age invaders” ends up with the following passages: It (shift to ageing population) will be a world in which ...
2
votes
3answers
242 views

Is “Click bait” an Internet buzzword? How can I rephrase it?

I found a video showing a fireman who rescued a suffocating kitten from a fire smoke and resuscitated her by oxygen inhalation introduced in the article titled “Why that video went viral” in New York ...
3
votes
1answer
190 views

Who are “Security moms”?

I came across the word, “Security mom” and “Wal-Mart mom” in the following statement in my newspaper clippings, originally in Time: Can Obama Win Back Wal-Mart Moms? "The women that are different ...
4
votes
4answers
310 views

Are “Real class” and “Paper class” well-received pair words?

Today’s (October 23) Time magazine and New Yorker carried articles dealing with a report of academic scandal of the University of North Carolina under the respective headline, “North Carolina releases ...
0
votes
2answers
328 views

What is the provenance of “ring the cherries”?

I was drawn to the phrase, “ring the cherries” in the following passage in Thomas Harris’ “The Silence of Lambs” in a part officer, Jerry Burroughs telling the profile of a suspect killer to FBI agent,...
8
votes
3answers
489 views

The usage of “banzai”

I started to reread a pretty old mystery of Thomas Harris, “The silence of the lambs,” which I once gave up reading because of difficulty of understanding the narrative studded with technical jargons ...
5
votes
2answers
458 views

What does “media (news) disruptor” mean?

There is the following passage in the article titled, “Why disruptors are always white guys” in New York Magazine September 10 issue: “It’s happening again. There’s a list of “media disruptors.” ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What does “show some (a little) leg” mean?

There was the following sentence in the New York Times (August 16) article under the title, “Where the justice at justice.”: “Attorney General Eric Holder said in May that “no reporter who is ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Lean in and lean out

There was an article titled “Forget Leaning In, Let's Talk about Leaning Out” in Forbes magazine (April 2. 2014) in which the author, Caroline Mayer says: “I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “Ur-moment” a normal English expression?

The New York Times article of this past July 29th titled, “The D.O. Is In Now: Osteopathic Schools Turn Out Nearly a Third of All Med School Grads,” features the growing popularity of the Touro ...
6
votes
3answers
411 views

Is “since-folded (TV network)” an accustomed English word?

Time magazine (August 29) reports that Sara Palin has launched her own Internet Television network in its Entertainment TV section. It says; “Palin’s not the first candidate to lose an election ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Does the expression, “As sound as a pound” still holds its currency?

There is the following sentence in the New York Time’s (July 24) article titled, “A Chinese gold standard?” written by its Op-Ed Contributor, Kwasi Kwarteng. “For most of the 19th century the ...
3
votes
2answers
290 views

What does ‘Reverse fig leaf” mean?

I was interested in the word, “Reverse fig leaf” in an article titled, “Should Germans read ‘Mein Kampf” appearing in New York Times (July 7), which deals with the planned publication of Adolf Hitler’...
0
votes
3answers
89 views

Word or concept for “credit system” in context of “topping up” an account

The word or concept I'm after is the system where a user of a service can transfer real money to their account (top-up), receive "credits", use those credits somehow inside the system, and then ...
5
votes
2answers
122 views

Is the phrase “Corporate Daddy” getting currency, or is it just a one-off coinage?

I was attracted to the word of the headline, “The Corporate Daddy: Wal-Mart, Starbucks, and the fight against inequality” of an article in New York Times (June 19), which was written by Timothy Egan, ...
3
votes
3answers
621 views

What does “Empty dress” exactly mean?

Washington Post (May 22) reported the victory of the 35-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky Democratic primary to position her as the challenger to 72-year-old Senate’s GOP leader, Mitch ...
0
votes
1answer
120 views

What does ‘Konrad Lorentz’s observation was “one sentence”’ mean?

New York Times (May 20) introduces a study of Dr. Johanna H. Meijer at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands that proves mice are really enjoying wheel-running in the article titled, “...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

Is “I’m Mike” scam a popular metonym of grandparent scam?

This question is related to my previous question asking for English equivalent to Japanese “It’s me” scam. The Asahi, a leading Japanese daily newspaper reported that the Consumer Agency is ...
14
votes
8answers
21k views

What does “soft bigotry of low expectations” mean?

There was the following question from a reader and the answer by Charles Blow under the headline, “Your Questions, Answered” in the Opinion Page of May 7 New York Times. I invited you to ask me ...
6
votes
2answers
762 views

Is “release one’s butt cheeks” a euphemism?

It was interesting to learn the English language (any language would be) is spoken or heard differently by the person in the following sentence of Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” describing the scene in ...
4
votes
2answers
522 views

Is the word, “kinda-sorta” accepted as a normal word to be used in writing?

I was drawn to the word, “kinda, sorta” which appeared in the article of Time magazine (April 27) under the headline, “The Clippers Should Have Boycotted Game After Owner’s Racist Remarks”: The ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Is “cheese-stick operation, manufacturing, building current word?

I was drawn to the word, “cheese-stick” appearing in the article titled, “The book that didn’t exist” in the Opinion Pages of New York Times (April 14), which deals with the art and craft of writing. ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

Is the word, ‘nerdocracy’ just a nonce word, or becoming current?

I was drawn to the word, ‘nerdocracy’ appearing in an article in New York Times’ TV Watch section under the title, “Start-Ups and Upstarts.” It reads; “There is a relatively new social order ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

Is “un-grown-up” a common, or not so common word?

I came across a word, “un-grown-up” in Jeffery Archer’s fiction, “The Prodigal Daughter.” In the scene, the heroine, Florentyna Rosnovski asks her governess if her father, the owner of a hotel empire, ...