This tag is for questions about the meaning of a longer passage of English.

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1
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1answer
49 views

What does “looked every day of it” mean?

She was in her late fifties and looked every day of it. In this instance, what does looked every day of it mean?
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2answers
44 views

What is 'burning or baiting' about the verb 'stake'?

stake (v.2)    "to risk, wager," 1520s, perhaps from notion of "post on which a gambling wager was placed" (see stake (n.2)), though Weekley suggests "there is a tinge of the burning or ...
3
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6answers
181 views

Why is the definite article used here?

They ran to the door of the cellar, but Toto was afraid, and he ran under the bed. — Chapter 1 of The Wizard of Oz(Oxford Bookworms Library Stage 1) In this book, There is no bed that has ...
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0answers
26 views

How does “ourselves alone” actually sound? [on hold]

I am not a native English speaker nor do I live in an anglophone country. So although I can understand the language, sometimes I miss how a word really sounds in everyday life. In this case, I'd like ...
0
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2answers
66 views

Does “Fat Fighters” mean that the group fights against fat, or that they are fatty?

We are having an argument about whether naming a gym "Fat Fighters" communicates the right message. The name should suggest that they fight against fat (obviously). The "fat" is both noun and ...
0
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0answers
44 views

meaning of: “Might be dated though!” [closed]

Actually, I got a reply from the author of a blog. It is the following I am glad it's of help to someone! Might be dated though! However, I understand the meaning of the first part, that the ...
1
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2answers
61 views

What does “strip away all the sound and fury” means?

I have seen this quotation from Ed Miliband's current rhetoric: "Strip away all of the sound and fury and what people across England, Scotland and Wales, across every part of the UK, are saying is ...
0
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1answer
33 views

The patient is 'through'

After the treatment, the patient is through except for follow-up. What does through mean in the above— recovered from the sickness? What about 'except for follow-up'?
0
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0answers
38 views

'look the worse for'

After a night of profound slumber in Margaret’s bed she looked very little the worse for her fright and her wetting. from Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth The above expression of look the worse ...
1
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1answer
40 views

What is the meaning of "confluent''?

What is the meaning of the word confluent in the context of the phrase the confluent of the river?
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0answers
100 views

Is “cause” instead of “because” becoming Standard English?

Nowadays, I'm seeing a drastic increase in usage of cause in place of because, especially in written English. People are in such a hurry, that a statement like below passes off like Standard English: ...
0
votes
2answers
73 views

What does “throw in the fact” and “the escrow” mean? [closed]

I came across the following dialogue in an American TV show, but I do not understand the parts in bold. (A is a 40-year-old divorced woman who is trying to hide her real age and pretends to be 26; ...
0
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0answers
18 views

How to say it shorter [closed]

How can I say 'I couldn't imagine life without' in half as any words or fewer? I am trying to create a title and this is just too long. Can anyone help me find a way of saying this in fewer words but ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

what does hard copy subscription mean?

I want to know what does "hard copy subscription" mean ? full sentence : where payment is primarily for physical goods or services (e.g., buying movie tickets, or buying a publication where the price ...
-1
votes
1answer
28 views

What do “read faces”, “much of a head for figures”, “take the bull by the horns” mean? [closed]

This online zodiac compatibility test has this paragraph People born in the year of the snake are flexible, and adaptable to the changing circumstances. They do well in reading faces, having ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

what does “volatile pair” mean in love/romance relationship?

Recently, I am studying Chinese Zodiac Compatibility. They said "Snake (one born in Snake year) and Rat (one born in Rat year) are a volatile pair". I am not sure what "volatile pair" mean? like each ...
0
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0answers
32 views

What does “did not achieve perfection and never would” mean?

At this point my brain refuses to comprehend this. Astronomers did not achieve perfection and never would, not in a solar system tugged by the gravities of nine planets, scores of moons and ...
0
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0answers
30 views

Meaning of a sentence in an article [closed]

I was reading an article on the New Yorker—here's the link for that: An overlooked classic about the comedy of race. In a particular paragraph, this sentence has been used: There's nothing ...
2
votes
2answers
46 views

The difference between 'credit' and 'accredit'?

Both verbs seem to mean the same thing -- to attribute 'X' to Mr. 'Y'. On looking it up, I found: credit - publicly acknowledge a contributor's role in the production of (something published or ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

How would you paraphrase “have sth before sb” in the given context?

How would you paraphrase "have sth before sb" in the following sentence? This elevation is, moreover, essentially rooted in the nature of our spirit, it is necessary to it, and it is this ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

Send or Send across

How the words send and send across are used in email writing context? What are difference between these two? You can send your profile to 123@abc.com. Or You can send across your profiles ...
0
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1answer
48 views

What does “Possibly being eaten by Diana” mean? Thanks

I need some explanation of what "Possibly being eaten by Diana" means. Thanks. My Chinese subtitle explained that Ms. B will have lunch with Diana (Ms. B's lady boss). I'm guessing that probably ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

what is the meaning of “no problem” in British English? [closed]

Here is the scenario: Today I asked my teacher whether I will get late penalty due to some reasons. The teacher says "no problem." Can I consider the response of "no problem" as I will not get ...
0
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2answers
22 views

What does “discover from itself” mean in the following sentence?

The sentence is "The point of interest was to determine how far the natural light of reason, human reason by itself, could progress in the knowledge of truth, with the important proviso that ...
14
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8answers
3k views

What's the pun in this “Julius Caesar” reference?

In a Blacklist episode, the following conversation takes place, the first and last speaker is the sophisticated Raymond Reddington: -'Ambition's debt must be paid'. -Julius Caesar? -One ...
1
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2answers
122 views

What does “'Avoid plastics' in commencement speeches" mean?

Today’s (May 12) New York Times carries an article written by Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute under the title, “How to avoid commencement clichés”. The author says: ...
0
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1answer
32 views

Meaning of “same day as one another” [closed]

I want to know the meaning of the phrase "on the same day as one another". The complete sentence where the phrase appears is The orchids and roses were delivered on the same day as one another. ...
0
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2answers
61 views

Does “Wand” mean wall? [I think they call it a wand.]?

I m watching an American drama; it's called Younger. Ms. A is trying to hide her real age (40), and she's pretending she's 26 now. Her phone rang during a meeting. Ms. B is her colleague. Thanks. ...
0
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0answers
62 views

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing. The following sentences are what I've sent: I was wondering if you would be willing to write ...
1
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2answers
32 views

What does “Just expected a gold star for doing your job” mean? Thanks in advance

I am watching Younger, an American drama, Season 1 episode 1, 16:10. Thanks in advance. A :Jane Austen has over 1,000 followers. How cool is that? B :Am I supposed to congratulate you? A: No, I ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

What does “I was almost busted” mean? Thanks [closed]

I'm watching " Younger", an American drama, Season 1 Episode 1, 15:29. Thanks in advance. Ms. A: Let me ask you something, you've seen a lot of vaginas, right? Ms. B: Hmm, I've seen my fair share. ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

What does “plough” mean in this context?

The following excerpt has been taken from The Time Machine by H.G.Wells: ‘One might get one’s Greek from the very lips of Homer and Plato,’ the Very Young Man thought. ‘In which case they would ...
1
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1answer
36 views

What does the “highs” and “lows” mean here?

It's in the lyrics of Will Young's song-Leave Right Now. Part of the lyrics below: I'm here so please explain Why you're opening up a healing wound again I'm a little more careful, perhaps it ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

What does “an irate ex waving a maintenance order” mean?

I said: Finally, I found you Grumpy! (Grumpy is the name of the site) Grumpy replies: That comment has the distinct flavour of an irate ex waving a maintenance order! :-) Can you ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Meaning of this short quote/poem [closed]

I watched the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind yesterday, and this quote in the movie forms the theme: How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

What is the meaning of “tank” in this sentence? [closed]

I think that to tank means to become strong, huge in height and weight. But I can't place the same meaning in this context: When the economy tanks as it did in the recent recession, How does ...
1
vote
3answers
58 views

Ambiguity of “last” [closed]

I find "last" ambiguous in the following context: I destroyed his report in our last meeting. IMHO, both of the following interpretations make sense: "He can get however pissed he wants; ...
-2
votes
1answer
46 views

What are the adverb for shabby and hardy? [closed]

What are the adverbs for shabby and hardy are, and what are their corresponding noun and adjective?
0
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1answer
34 views

What does the highlighted part mean in the context of the paragraph?

Much the same applies to the expression 'What a word has escaped you by the fence of your teeth!' This is intelligible, but unidiomatic, English for 'What nonsense!' Must we flout English usage to ...
0
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4answers
64 views

“on the back of” meaning and implications

A The Independent of London article, The rise and rise of Sudoku, reads: [...] sales of pencils in Britain are reported to have risen 700 per cent on the back of the Sudoku boom. Question: Does ...
18
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3answers
3k views

What is the meaning of joke “may it plizzle the cozizzle” in Futurama?

In Futurama 5ACV16, character Leela, while in court, says "May it plizzle the cozizzle" instead of "may it please the court" to the judge (Snoop Dogg's head). I am not native English speaker, but I ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

How does this sentence fit in this context?

The following excerpt has been taken from The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. "Draw the bolts," said the man with the black beard, "and if he comes—" He showed a revolver in his hand. "That ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Are not hard to reach

How would you interpret the message in the picture? I'm having a hard time understanding this black guy. I assume, the guy in the picture is trying to suggest that everyone could easily understand a ...
1
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1answer
50 views

What is the meaning of “shoot” in this context?

The following quotation has been taken from The Mark on the Wall by Virgina Woolf. Tumbling head over heels in the asphodel meadows like brown paper parcels pitched down a shoot in the post ...
1
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0answers
49 views

I want to understand this sentence [closed]

"Hemingway lived to hunt big game so should we be surprised at his virility, not to mention that of many of the author’s--chiefly male--protagonists?" Can someone please explain me on how to ...
1
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2answers
33 views

'Previously' or 'ever ' in this context

I encountered a question in a textbook for an English exam as below where I did not understand why the correct answer is that. Ms.Tanaka is the ideal leader for the project because she has _______ ...
-1
votes
1answer
27 views

Difference between laxity and lethargy? [closed]

I know their respective meanings but somehow I associate lethargy in a negative sense (as in a disease or something). Are they completely interchangble or do they have any specific usercases?
55
votes
5answers
10k views

What does “Your hair is so white now, it can talk back to police” mean?

Vanity Fair magazine (April 27) introduced a barrel of jokes about political figures Cecily Strong delivered at Best White House Correspondents’ Dinner held on April 25th in Washington under the ...
0
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3answers
32 views

What does the author mean to say in this quote?

The following excerpt is from My Three Passions by Bertrand Russell. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway over the flux. What does the author mean to ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Meaning of 'proverbial worm'

"An appropriate and dramatic end to a singular and yet typical case," said Thorndyke, as he put down the newspaper. "I hope it has enlarged your knowledge, Jervis, and enabled you to form one or ...