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

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0
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1answer
14 views

What does the phrase “woman who does” mean?

I've first heard the phrase on QI (season 3 episode 6) where Stephen Fry uses it as rhyming slang for "buzz" Bill: "Woman"? Stephen: "Woman who does": buzz. Bill: Buzz. Phill: ...
0
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3answers
24 views

Can shoving someone be nonviolent?

I'm trying to express a situation were someone is being forced/persuaded to move in a certain direction by another person, not in a violent, but rather a humorous, way. The word I'm thinking of ...
-1
votes
0answers
23 views

What does the phrase “sage's away” mean? [on hold]

It is from Robert Browning (Paracelsus) and I came across it in The X-Files. I tried googling it but all the results were about either the word sage or the herb. Does this simply mean "ages away" ? ...
1
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3answers
36 views

“squeamish” and “relishing in”

"It looks at the somewhat squeamish work being produced by artists relishing in new gene technologies." What type of artworks are "squeamish works"? What does "relishing in" mean here? Does it mean ...
1
vote
1answer
15 views

In the context of tertiary education in nursing, what does “traditional” mean?

Someone described themselves as doing a traditional nursing university degree. In this context, what does "traditional" mean? Nursing using traditional medicine? Nursing involving traditional ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

mom-husband-wife thing

I heard this one on TV, too. Here is the quote: Narrator: Sara is isolated geographically and emotionally from her family and friends. A friend: Five years had gone by where we were doing ...
-1
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0answers
23 views

Is it autological?

I believe that from a business and personal perspective, leadership defines itself because it is too complex, has too many variables, and any attempt at defining it is severely lacking. Is there a ...
0
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0answers
27 views

hit the road (meaning in context)

I was watching a show on TV (I escaped my killer) and Lisa Noland is dropped off after being raped several times by her attacker and to her surprise he doesn't kill her, drops her off at her ...
18
votes
6answers
761 views

What is it called when a highly respected person commits an immoral act but people don't believe that he committed the act?

I was wondering. It just came up. It has no real world relevancy. An example: A highly respected businessman commits child abuse and one day his wife finds out about it. She shares what she had ...
1
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1answer
13 views

What does “a media splash” mean?

What does the expression "a media splash" mean? Is it something like a reference or mention appearing in the media?
-4
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0answers
41 views

What is “comeforpie”? [on hold]

what is comeforpie? and what's the -pie suffix mean?
2
votes
0answers
61 views

What is the meaning of 'Austenian'?

Yesterday evening the other half and I took a delightful drive into the countryside about 30 miles away, and sat for a while in the Hampshire village of Chawton (whilst listening on the car radio to ...
1
vote
4answers
111 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
vote
2answers
75 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
55 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
142 views

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

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
vote
1answer
42 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
80 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
vote
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
vote
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
58 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
51 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
vote
2answers
24 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
votes
2answers
113 views

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

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
43 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
votes
1answer
29 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
vote
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
54 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
54 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
vote
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
vote
3answers
144 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, ...
-1
votes
2answers
51 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
61 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
vote
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
3answers
136 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
vote
2answers
76 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
129 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 ...
-1
votes
0answers
36 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
221 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
43 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
vote
2answers
44 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
votes
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?