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

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2
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3answers
10k views

“To this effect”

What does "to this effect" in the following sentence mean? (This sentence is in a reply of an application). However, if you are not successful, we will inform you to this effect. Does this mean, ...
2
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3answers
6k views

What's the meaning of “bitching”?

What's the meaning of "bitching" in the following sentence taken from references in 'tfd.com'? December: I quit bitching with grateful thanks for all the good times, things and friends God has ...
2
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2answers
534 views

Is ‘beetle-black eyes’ expressing their owner’s character?

Hagrid's real intention, however, was to talk to Harry away from the rest of the class. He waited until everyone else had set off with their skrewts, then turned to Harry and said, very seriously, ...
2
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2answers
524 views

Meaning of “set such store” (not a shop)

I can't understand this sentence: No other professor in Great Britain set such store by being called Professor. In this case store is not a shop or a place to store something. I guess that the ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

What is the difference between “Prince William and Kate Middleton Marry” and “Prince William and Kate Middleton were married”?

In today’s New York Times (April. 30th) I saw the following line under the caption of “Royal Wedding”: “Prince William and Kate Middleton Marry: Prince William and Kate Middleton were married on ...
2
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5answers
809 views

Meaning of “brave my fire”

As in these Rome - To Die Among Strangers lyrics: the whores of rome and the kings of france have tried to brave my fire now the snakes curl up, the curtains part will you try ...
1
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1answer
99 views

What is the structure of “a goal remote in the pursuit is so easy to lose sight of”?

A goal remote in the pursuit is so easy to lose sight of. What does "a goal remote in the pursuit" mean here? I don't understand it structure-wise.
1
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3answers
113 views

What's the “case” in “basket case”?

The following is a passage from an article on the origin of the idiom basket case: The origins of this idiom are somewhat grisly. In World War I, there were cases reported which involved soldiers ...
1
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1answer
64 views

“Entertain of” - June 12th 1799 Letter by John Marshall

... Virginia has sustaind a very serious loss which all good men will long lament, in the death of Mr Henry. He is said to have expird on thursday last. The intelligence is not absolutely certain ...
1
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1answer
254 views

What is the average number of meanings for a word in English?

Many words have multiple meanings. Sometimes they are related (like "theory" as opposed to "practice", versus "theory" as in "scientific theory"), but sometimes they’re completely different (like ...
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0answers
164 views

Examples on the usage of “dialectical” and “tautology” [closed]

I've been coming across both words a lot and understand them in passing; but I was wondering if I may be given some sentence examples which explicitly illustrate their meanings? I feel that I lack ...
1
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2answers
1k views

What does “last month” mean?

Let me explain the situation. Today is Oct 31, 2012. After I got my October pay-slip yesterday I had the following conversation: Me: Hey guy, I have a question to ask you about the pay-slip of the ...
1
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1answer
440 views

Meaning of “as … as any … someone had ever done”

Recently I have been reading "The Lost Symbol" and there is a sentence I find hard to understand. The wooden stair descending to the Capitol's subbasement were as steep and shallow as any stairs ...
1
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5answers
149 views

Precedence: and > or?

The question Precedence of “and” and “or” asks if there is any notion of precedence ordering in the English and it would seem not, based on the answers. Regardless of that, if you saw the following ...
1
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2answers
516 views

Does a comparative always need to compare with something?

As I understand it, comparatives compare with something. So something that is colder is more cold than another thing. However, can't a word like colder be used as an adjective without being compared ...
1
vote
3answers
864 views

What does “lemon on” mean in this context? [closed]

What does the phrase lemon on mean in this context? Is it an idiom? What is its correct usage? Excerpt from where I read this phrase: ... Hold on, for this deal, one that does not exist anywhere ...
1
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2answers
8k views

Meaning of “f*ck” in the following conversation

This conversation is from "Youth in Revolt" movie. A boy named Nick met his colleague, a girl, in a music shop while purchasing a DVD and after a little talk, her boyfriend hugged her from behind ...
1
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6answers
3k views

Differences between “world-view” and “ideology”

These terms have slightly different nuances in meaning and connotation. Would you use world-view in an academic discussion? What is the correct context? For example, would you say creationism is an ...
1
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4answers
287 views

What does this mean: “Avoid oral calcium, dairy products, shark cartilage & exercise during the medication.”

I found this behind a medicine. At first thought, the sentence looks like it suggests avoiding exercise during the medication. However, I remember reading somewhere that in US English, when there is a ...
1
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2answers
139 views

Schedule on Tuesday

Take the following sentence. We want to schedule your appointment on Tuesday. Does this mean they want the process of scheduling to take place on Tuesday, or do they want my appointment to be on ...
1
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2answers
807 views

“It’s the height of the season”?

The question is from the transcript of a podcast: Mmmm, blueberries. It’s the height of the season, and I’ve been tossing a handful onto cereal, into pancakes or just straight into my mouth. I ...
1
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4answers
4k views

What did “your mom did a number on you” mean in Seinfeld?

I remember one episode on Seinfeld, a girl said "did your mother do a number on you" when they were talking about breaking up or not. This is the sentence reported from the transcript: LISI: ...
1
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4answers
3k views

What/who are “toy soldiers”?

There is a song called Toy Soldiers by Martika of which a part of the lyrics goes: Step by step Heart to heart Left, right, left We all fall down Like toy soldiers Bit by bit Torn ...
0
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1answer
81 views

“a due information”

Hamilton quickly focused on the last part of his opponent’s argument as support for his attempt to introduce evidence of the truthfulness of his client’s publications. Hamilton offered the ...
0
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2answers
103 views

Should I wash my hands of this?

Should I wash my hands of this? Has this expression ever been used as a way of suggesting a bribe?
0
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2answers
128 views

Meaning of “that” in “holomorphic function in the sector S that is continuous”

I have encountered a confusing sentence in a math textbook: Suppose F is a holomorphic function in the sector S that is continuous on the closure of S. What does that mean in the above ...
0
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4answers
14k views

What does “by way of” mean?

I was watching a TV show, and one man asked another where he was from. The response was "Pennsylvania by way of Illinois", and I can't really understand what it means in this context. Edit: ...
0
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3answers
3k views

What does “long enough to” mean?

"Around 10pm, I finally stopped drinking long enough to remember I had a car in a garage somewhere." I can't understand the above sentence clearly, especially the meaning of long enough to in ...
0
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1answer
529 views

Meaning of 'That old rocking chair's going to get me' [closed]

In the Joni Mitchell song Stormy Weather, there's this line: That old rocking chair's going to get me What does that mean? I suppose that old rocking chair is a symbol of something, but what? ...
0
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0answers
303 views

What's the meaning of “down to a T”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin of “Fits [x] to a T”? What's the meaning of down to a T? So what about you, what do you do for a living? Me, I'm a stay at home dad and do a ...
0
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0answers
84 views

What does “grandfathered in” mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “I'm only grandfathering you in because of Serena.” Over here, Jeff says something using the expression "grandfathered in." What does that mean and how ...
0
votes
1answer
342 views

Please provide me correct interpretation of this sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does negation affect the use and understanding of “or” and “and” A's girlfriend doesn't like movies or Roses. What would be the correct ...
0
votes
3answers
532 views

What does my coworker mean that our company doesn't support “Comp”?

I was talking to a coworker that said that our company doesn't support "Comp". We were talking about taking overtime to complete a project this weekend. I searched for comp in relation to jobs and ...
0
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2answers
708 views

What's the 'alternative forms of sexuality'?

The Beat Generation is a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Central elements of ...
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1answer
73 views

What does “which” refer to in “in respect to which”? [closed]

From footnote 34 on page 216 of Thinking Like a Lawyer by Frederick Schauer:  . . . it is accepted that individuals have due-process rights to notice and hearing [//] with respect to ...
-1
votes
1answer
433 views

Does the word “welfare” have an abbreviation?

I was listening to a lecture about Mercantilism where I heard a word that sounded like Welf. I tried to find if this word exists but I didn't find. In the lecture I heard this: The amassing of ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of “hyperbole” in “were prone to hyperbole” [closed]

hyperbole: n. A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton. Let us read the following sentence: Well, ...
-2
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning of “as” in following sentence [closed]

I am not sure of the meaning of this sentence: The significance of culture and identity in development has to do not so much with the cultural factor in the process of development as with ...
-3
votes
2answers
224 views

What does “establish” mean in this context? [closed]

From OALD, entrench is defined as: to establish something very firmly so that it is very difficult to change Does establish here means to cause to be accepted or recognized? Edit: I came across ...
-3
votes
1answer
3k views

Meaning of “as it was” in context

What does it mean "as it was" in this context? She was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Dorothy had not been lying on the soft bed she might have been hurt. As it was, the jar ...