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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0answers
3 views

What does 'slugger' means in these contexts?

There are two absolutely different characters (girls) in Heinlein's novels 'The Star Beast' and 'Citizen of the Galaxy', one of them is 'boy-ish' and another one is 'lady-ish' and both of them are ...
0
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0answers
20 views

Why does switch take a noun in the plural?

Why do we say "We switched locations." or "We switched phones." instead of "We switched location?" or "We switched phone?" Are there any other verbs that take the noun in the plural?
3
votes
3answers
217 views

When if means iff and if, respectively?

It seems sometimes 'if' really means 'if and only if' (abbreviated as iff), and sometimes 'if but not necessarily only if'. Is there a better usage with 'if' than the regular/default way? Should I ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

what does “crack thumb” mean?

what does " crack thumb" and also " Balck fall" mean in this sentences from a Play: " that is the House of shaws! blood built it; blood stopped the building of it; blood shall bring it down. see ...
5
votes
3answers
240 views

About the phrase “ pick someone brain”

Does the phrase " pick someone brain" have the meaning of "ask someone" and is it often used?
-2
votes
1answer
28 views

Is this what these sentences mean?

"I don't like neither of you" -> In this sentence I think the meaning is that the person doesn't dislike any of the other people. "I haven't done it neither" -> This is just a confusing double ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Is there any differences between “I suggest doing” and “I suggest you do?” [duplicate]

I know that both "I suggest doing this" and "I suggest you do this" are grammatically correct. But I wonder if they have same meaning or there are subtle difference between them.
5
votes
2answers
97 views

Apart from the intensity of the feeling, is there any other subtle difference between “surprised” and “astonished”?

In the following passage, from an old English Teaching Journal, "surprised" and "astonished" are said to have a subtle difference in meaning, other than the intensity of the feeling. Is there such ...
-1
votes
1answer
59 views

What is this symbol called [on hold]

This symbol shows up when I view a pdf copy of a word document € does anyone know what it is or why.
-1
votes
1answer
22 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct? [on hold]

"with an ability to deliver clear and concise communication to our respective designates" It just doesn't read right to me.
-1
votes
2answers
45 views

Meaning of the sentance [on hold]

What does the following line convey " The old man was just as generous with his confidences as with his porridge and tobacco."
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Is there a difference between the adjectives “express” and “expressed”? [on hold]

Here is an example. It is the expressed wish of the bride and groom that this be a non-alcoholic occasion. It is the express wish of the bride and groom that this be a non-alcoholic occasion. ...
-1
votes
3answers
62 views

Does not divide the Sunday from the week [on hold]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1 Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Does not divide the Sunday from the week; It is easy to guess the meaning of: Does not divide the ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

What's the meaning of “to him who”?

While I was searching on the net, I found this sentence: Memorandum to him who is concerned. I looked for a definition to to him who, but I found nothing. So what's the meaning of it? ِAre ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Literature: 'Why' at the beginning of sentences [duplicate]

I’m currently reading George Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire novels in English. As a non-native speaker (I’m German), I stumbled upon some grammatical constructs that I’ve never seen before, one of ...
4
votes
1answer
62 views

Difference between promptness and promptitude

Seeing this EL&U question: 'saying thanks to someone answering your email ASAP who is important for you', the first word that came to my mind was promptitude which, as the definition states, can ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

Are the two sentences same meaning? [duplicate]

Is the sentence "I didn't marry you because you were rich." same as " I married you not because you were rich but for another reason."
0
votes
4answers
154 views

How to name or define a new word? [on hold]

Suppose I wanted to create a new word. Are there any rules for that? How can I do it? If I create the word, how can I ensure that it has an appropriate meaning? For example, in a word like quiz or ...
-3
votes
1answer
36 views

How could one quantify the typical modern non-literal usage style? [on hold]

I was thinking, "'Nobody' (joke) uses words literally in English any more -- but, could we quantify that somehow?" So for example with "nobody," the word now only means "almost no-one". If you want ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Difference between 'attain' and 'achieve' [on hold]

We can say To attain this goal, we should work hard or To achieve this goal, we should work hard What the difference between those two words?
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Phrase: give pause

What exactly does the phrase give (sb.) pause mean? Is it just a simple shortening of the following?: give pause to someone (or give someone pause for thought) cause someone to think ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Do these sentences mean the same thing?

Do these sentences all mean the same thing? You are not great because you know many things. You are great not because you know many things. You are great for another reason. As another example, ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

When back, if I say “Out of office until Thursday” [duplicate]

I am always confused when I get an email stating "out of office until Thursday". Is the sender back on Thursday or still out of office (o.o.o.) on Thursday and only back on Friday? Is there a good ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Is there a proper name for saying something like “stack'em”?

Is there a proper name for saying something like stack'em instead of stack them or any other "'em" in place of "them"? Is it slang or something to do with dialect? UPDATE It is a ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

What is “lay governance” in the context of higher education?

I am looking for a basic definition to understand it. I see it used in texts mainly about US higher education systems and governance.
0
votes
0answers
24 views

“b'ile over” seemingly incorrect spelling?

"There's no pleasin' her, nohow, no matter how you try! I wouldn't stay if 'twa'n't for the wages and the folks at home what's needin' 'em. But some day--some day I shall jest b'ile over; and when I ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

A tight hair of hern?

"Yes. If she'd just let that tight hair of hern all out loose and careless-like, as it used ter be, and wear the sort of bunnits with posies in 'em, and the kind o' dresses all lace and white ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

What's the difference between patent and obvious?

Patent is used a lot more in "serious" matters, like legal breaches, such as a "patent breach of law," but does that really mean anything? Does "patent" just sound more refined?
1
vote
1answer
42 views

What's the meaning of “off line”?

The following is a verse from Daniel Powter's song Bad Day: You stand in the line just to hit a new low You're faking a smile with the coffee to go You tell me your life's been way off line ...
-1
votes
0answers
17 views

1 or 2 word synonym of “fill in the blank”

That is, to fill in a gap or blank. For instance, to fill a pothole. Patch comes to mind. Nothing else really.
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Information unavailable to the audience

What is it called when a character knows something the audience doesn't? For example, if the character was stating something obvious like "today is your birthday", saying it only to inform the ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Meaning of “nine-to-five kind of person”?

What does "nine-to-five kind of person" mean? For example: The great thing about my job is just music, I get CDs constantly pushed into my hand, and I go to loads of gigs, so if you love music, ...
11
votes
1answer
535 views

What does “amletic” mean?

Today I encountered this question on StackOverflow and saw the word amletic, which I've never come across before (as a native speaker). ...and I have an amletic doubt about one thing. I looked ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

What does “ be upon mental” mean?

What does " be upon mental" mean? For example in this sentence: "we Both must be upon our mental". Is it somehow about being crazy? It's a story in verse; it refers to Grimm's Fairy Tales. ...
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Words starting with “touch”

There are several words in English starting with touch, such as touchwood, touchstone, touchline, ect. (a list can be found here : http://www.scrabblefinder.com/starts-with/touch/ ) I would like to ...
0
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0answers
18 views

What is the meaning of this expression “scream with sth”? [migrated]

What is the meaning of the expression scream with sth? I find this expression when I look up the word scream at Oxford learner's dictionary. This is the example the dictionary gives: The kids were ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

“As I go” expression

Could anyone please tell me what "as I go" means? Like in the following context: I will fill it out as I go.
1
vote
2answers
270 views

What does “Shall be” mean? [closed]

What does Shall be mean? I find it in different context, sometimes it seems to me that is means is or Will be and more likely Must be, but sometimes I can't figure it out, so if it means Must be, what ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

I was applying for a job and I don`t understand this question [closed]

Are your former employment references or education listed under a name other than that stated above? Yes or No : If yes, please indicate former name : English is not my first ...
1
vote
3answers
91 views

What is a word for comparing two things but suggesting one is better than the other?

What is a word for comparing two things but suggesting one is better than the other? For example: John verbally compares a and b but hints that a is superior. With what word would I replace compares ...
13
votes
2answers
419 views

Reversal of the meaning of the word “restive”

According to google etymology the word restive originally meant inclined to remain still. But then it changed the meaning to the opposite. I would like to know if such phenomenon of revresal ...
0
votes
2answers
35 views

Meaning of “playing of favorites”?

I am came across this phrase in a CR presentation (slide #19). What is its meaning? Equanimity – Less “playing of favorites” with people, compassion
1
vote
1answer
44 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

What is the difference between “matter-containing media” and “matter”?

I'm reading the english wikipedia entry titled "Radiation". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation you can find the word in the first paragraph, or by searching. so... What is the difference between ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Meaning of “to be responsible for being…” [migrated]

The external safety unit is therefore responsible for the functions and applications being correct. What is meant by the sentence above? The external safety unit is therefore responsible for ...
7
votes
3answers
90 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
52 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.” ...
12
votes
2answers
845 views

Why does common usage of “random” feel so incorrect?

I am bothered by the modern usage of the term "random", and am wondering if "it's just me" or if there is a reason for my being discomfited. Take for instance, this lovely bit: The column and table ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Marlin mate means [closed]

Marlin is a type of swordfish, that's fine. But what does the marlin mate mean? Does the word "mate" have a similar meaning as in the "first mate" or something? Is a marlin mate someone who harpoons ...
0
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0answers
11 views

treated him as a child [duplicate]

1-His wife treats him like a child. 2-His wife treats him as a child. Is there a difference between the meanings of 1 and 2? 3-His wife talks to him like a child. 4-His wife talks to him as a ...