This tag is for questions related to definitions and nuances of meaning of a word or phrase.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

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2answers
22 views

What is the difference of lavatory from toilet?

I was so far in understanding that lavatory and toilet are synonyms. But they are different in the following passage of Jeffery Archer’s “Be careful what you wish for.” A mastermind of IRA related ...
1
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2answers
28 views

Can “fainted” and “lost consciousness” be interchanged?

Fainted (dictionary.com): A temporary loss of consciousness resulting from a decreased flow of blood to the brain It says that "fainted" is a loss of consciousness from a decreased flow of ...
2
votes
1answer
33 views

What is the difference between 'ceremonial' and 'ceremonious'?

Even having looked in the OED I am still slightly unclear as to which contexts require the adjective ceremonious and which ceremonial. The OED treatment of ceremonious is as below with some of the ...
3
votes
3answers
93 views

Is there a word similar to Verbatim that means “Too many meaningless words used”?

Is there a word similar to Verbatim that means "Too many meaningless words used" ? I am looking for a word which describes the statement is meaningless with too many words.
1
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1answer
38 views

What word describes a self -created word/expression with an intuitive meaning?

Otherwise, the Court says, there would be no qualified individuals on federal Exchanges, contradicting (for example) the provision requiring every Exchange to take the "'interests of qualified ...
1
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0answers
26 views

Pure Applesauce: What does it mean and when/how was it created?

I could find out what jiggery–pokery means (dishonest or suspicious activity), but what does "pure applesauce" mean? And when, where, by whom, and how was this expression created? Context: ...
1
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1answer
23 views

What is 'understanding' involving learning?

It appears the word "understanding" is nebulous when used in an educational setting. What's the most rigorous definition you've found for "understanding" when used for learning? Background: Every ...
1
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1answer
34 views

meaning of a paragraph!

Can any one help me with the meaning of this paragraph: "We have insights into reality, we continually reshape them, putting oppositions together, arguing, reconciling on different systems of ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

Does the phrase “Do you want a hand in this” make sense?

From someone, somewhere, I remember hearing the phrase do you want a hand in this? I was told that it meant do you want to be a part of this? However, when I googled this phrase, nothing turned up. ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

Is there a single word or phrase for something that looks/sounds wrong, but is right?

Is there a single word or phrase for something that is so commonly spelt or said incorrectly, that when said properly looks or sounds odd? E.g. "Company staff is expert in management..." Saying the ...
1
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2answers
21 views

History and meaning of the word “clientelist” as in “clientelist politics”

In relation to news reports about modern Greece I see the term "clientelist politics" which I assume to refer to some sort of corruption. In order to learn more I looked up clientelist in the OED only ...
4
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2answers
101 views

Why are the buttons on computer keyboards called “keys”?

A computer keyboard is a board of keys. Why are these buttons called keys? Is it related to the usage of piano "keys"?
2
votes
1answer
38 views

What is proverbial town pump?

"Patrick Wethered was as well known as the proverbial town pump; his mysterious and tragic death filled all Dublin with dismay. The lawyer, who was a man sixty years of age, had been struck on the ...
-1
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1answer
28 views

Meaning of disposition

Is it correct to say "My disposition and dedication have become more rooted in this field"? What does disposition mean here? I looked it up in a dictionary, but still can't completely feel the ...
-1
votes
0answers
19 views

Thats a treat thats hard to beat [on hold]

What is the meaning of " thats a treat thats hard to beat" ?
1
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1answer
36 views

What does Sovereign mean in this context?

How would you explain what "Sovereign General Insurance Company" means to a child? Does it literally mean: The ultimate/ruler general insurance company EDIT: Or is it just a name? Just like Joe's ...
1
vote
3answers
53 views

I'm stuck on finding a word to say “you can try anything” or “anything goes” [on hold]

I'm stuck on finding a word to say "you can try anything" or "anything goes" - Thanks in advance homies :)
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Is it common to refer to the person steering a ship as 'pilot'?

According to its M-W entry (supported by some other dictionaries), a pilot (used of a person) can mean, among other things: a : one employed to steer a ship : helmsman b : a person who is ...
1
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1answer
61 views

What does “one” refer to in this sentence?

Here I am with a Hitchens sentence again! I can't come up with an exact part or parts one might be referring to in the following sentence. (Please note, however, that I will give the whole preceding ...
1
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3answers
135 views

What is the meaning of “cop” in this sentence : “He says if London cops it, he'll cop it” [on hold]

What is the meaning of the bold part,: I have found these meanings for "cop", but none of them seems relevant in this sentence: 1. a. To get hold of; gain or win b. To perceive by one of the senses ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Is “a-blink” an adjective form of “blink” in old days?

Under his breath, with a furtive exultation, he began once again the paean of victory and devastation. And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, ...
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votes
2answers
49 views

How do i know if the word is step or glide in English [on hold]

today I have a lesson in school about steps and glides and i didn't understand it. My first question what are steps and glides? My second question is how do i know if the sentence ends with steps or ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

what is the difference between verbal and oral? [on hold]

what is the difference between verbal and oral ? I am looking forward to the answer and I appreciate your effort
1
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1answer
50 views

When do you use the plural of “medicine”?

Or in other words, I am asking: How do you "count" medicine? Is the word "medicine" like "gas" where a collection of gas is still called gas: The air was filled with nitrogen gas. Instead of: ...
5
votes
2answers
111 views

Using 'tedious' to mean 'annoying'

Some of my British friends use the word 'tedious' to mean 'annoying.' A recent example: The museums in Oslo aren't open on Mondays. That's a bit tedious. I'm a native American English speaker ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

What is the meaning of “constituent” in this phrase?

Site Location : This is a process that organizations use to identify retail locations most suitable to the "constituent customer profiles ".
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What is this type of idiom called: “I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but…”

Basically, when someone says something along the lines of "I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but he should at least pass first grade math." It's peculiar because they are ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

Are there any differences? - to buy x to purchase [on hold]

Are there any differences between the meanings of "purchase" and "buy"? Thanks in advance.
1
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2answers
74 views

“I don't mistake” or “I don't make a mistake” Which one is correct? [on hold]

I have a query about these sentences: If I do not mistake, she would be his fiancée ... but my teacher told me that it must be expressed in another way If I do not make a mistake, she ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Cannot understand sentence in preface to “Old Indian Legends” by Zitkala-Ša

I'm reading the preface to Old Indian Legends by Zitkala-Ša, originally published in 1901. My mother tongue is not English, and I am having some trouble understanding - in detail - what she actually ...
1
vote
5answers
124 views

a word for a person who never attains a desire or goal

Is there a word in English that describes a person who never attains a desire or goal? I have found loser or dud or flop but these all seem to be informal, is there a better, more formal word that ...
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votes
0answers
35 views

How many objects do you need before it becomes a stack of objects? [on hold]

A stack is defined by the OED as: A pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged In turn, a pile is defined as: A heap of things laid or lying one on top of another and A ...
4
votes
3answers
220 views

Meaning of “all shelves about me towards the worse”?

"Here am I now upon my high place," he said to himself. "Life may be no better; this is the mountain top; and all shelves about me towards the worse. For the first time I will light up the ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

“when it's snowing and when it isn't” vs “when it's snowing and when it isn't snowing” [on hold]

Are either of the following sentences grammatically incorrect? Assuming they are both correct, is one preferred over the other? If so, in what situations is each preferred? I eat puppies when it's ...
0
votes
3answers
56 views

What does “delinquent” mean in this context? [on hold]

I'm more or less aware of the meanings of the word delinquent. However, I can't decide what it exaclty means in the following quote which is from god is not Great by Christopher Hitchens and where he ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

“Charges levied” Actually a thing?

I am positive I've heard of "charges levied," as in "criminal charges brought against" (e.g. the sentence "The charge levied against my client is unfounded."). However, while searching for a ...
1
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2answers
43 views

On a shady street

I wonder what image does the expression'on a shady street'invoke in a native speaker if he or she comes upon following paragraph. "They were from a nice family in a nice house on a shady street. ...
0
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1answer
43 views

“How are we?” vs. “How are you?”

What's the appropriate response to "How are we?" and what is it actually referring to?
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Meaning of word “nicy” [on hold]

Can you explain me the meaning of word "nicy"? I'm newbie in english, and I've already tried google translate, but I'm not sure. Maybe there is some informal forms, or other ways of using this word.
1
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1answer
28 views

What counts as a polearm?

Based on the definition, I would think both lances and spears are a type of polearm. However, in some cases, I have seen the word polearm used separately to lances or spears. For example, in the game ...
1
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2answers
59 views

Help on interpreting this sentence? [on hold]

These same perspectives may contribute to a 'glass ceiling' prohibiting relationship-oriented (i.e. feminine) leadership behaviors from being integrated into organization management structures. I ...
1
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2answers
68 views

Single word that could mean three other words [on hold]

I would like to know whether there's a word which could mean these 3 things: Support Like Congratulate I hoping to use it in my website for user's status. I would really appreciate if you could ...
1
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3answers
62 views

what does “First quality” mean?

My English teacher asked me what "First quality" means? No website on internet gives any definition of that term. is it correct to say like this? Starbucks is famous for its first quality coffee
1
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2answers
86 views

what is the meaning of “dry up and blow away” in this sentences?

"The Canadian flag's supposed to be a symbol of power... it's a leaf! Yeah, don't mess with us or we'll dry up and blow away!"-Jeremy Hotz Suppose that truth had simply dried up and blown away in the ...
1
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2answers
51 views

Difficult sentence strucure [closed]

His thesis works relatively well when applied to discrimination against blacks in the US, but his definition of racial prejudice as "racially-based negative prejudgements against a group generally ...
1
vote
3answers
74 views

Can someone help me to understand this difficult sentence structure?

Please help me to understand the following. I have difficulty with the passage that appears between the two dashes. Gutman argues convincingly that the stability of the Black family encouraged ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

First wife vs. Former wife

Does one of the designations indicate that one of the partners is dead vs. divorced? First vs. Former
2
votes
1answer
84 views

What to call words with permanent prefix, but no unprefixed form? (ex: nonchalant, untoward) [duplicate]

What do you call prefixed words with no unprefixed counterpart? For example, there's no such thing as a "chalant person". Bad behavior may be "untoward", good behavior is never "toward". What are ...
1
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2answers
34 views

“Restricted in” [on hold]

"Product has been restricted in: list of countries" Does this mean the product is available only in the countries listed, or not available in them? Thank you.
1
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1answer
50 views

Reading Comprehension Question: How to narrow down to correct answer? [closed]

Passage (Its a bit long) The pioneers of the teaching of science imagined that its introduction into education would remove the conventionality, artificiality, and backward-lookingness which ...