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

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5
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3answers
155 views

What did “make love” mean in the 1920s?

This 1921 article gives "Ten Pointers for Domestic Happiness". Pointer V reads: Make love to your wife; continue to be her sweetheart. Neglect begets indifference that is fatal to married life. ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Meaning of “to wrestle places from their surveillance grids”

His concern is tracing the individual and personal history in the seemingly banal, and wrestling anonymous places from their recording and surveillance grids. What could "wrestling something from ...
7
votes
8answers
732 views

Homograph challenge [closed]

My friend said the other day, "I hate when a sentence starts with the word polish, because you don't know whether they mean polish or Polish." polish (v) - to make smooth and glossy Polish (a) - ...
-1
votes
2answers
61 views

Meaning of “Zenith” [closed]

Looking at the dictionary I found that the world zenith means the point above the observer directly opposite the nadir. So what does it mean in the following sentence: At the age of forty-five, ...
3
votes
3answers
634 views

What is the meaning of “paint it black” and when to use it?

I stumbled upon the phrase "paint it black" in a tv series (Elementary) and was wondering what does it exactly mean? Also, in which situations would you use it normally? Except when you tell the ...
0
votes
3answers
36 views

Meaning of “little heart” vs. “less heart”? and why

Little heart/less heart? And why? I have read the following sentence: "he has little conscience and less heart." Can I write that "he has less conscience and little heart"? Could you solve my ...
5
votes
4answers
155 views

Not to want someone doing something. What shade of meaning is attached to this structure? (gerund rather than infinitive)

On page 137 of First Certificate Trainer by Peter May (Cambridge Books for Cambridge Exams), the last paragraph in Test 4, Use of English Part 2 (a cloze test on a short text entitled Safe camping), ...
0
votes
3answers
49 views

What does `not in small way` mean [closed]

Can you tell me what does not in small way mean in following context : To work at this company you really have to have just desire to do something, and not in small way.
-1
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1answer
22 views

meaning of a word in a particular context [closed]

what does resolve mean in the following sentence? In spite of her resolve, her lips responded to his silent quest.
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2answers
75 views

What does “honking” mean in this context?

Joel Spolsky: We started with Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for programmers about programming questions. StackExchange is an attempt to bring that same technology to other fields besides ...
1
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2answers
40 views

'Took a lot of breakin' down' in Yellow Slugs by E.C. Bailey

He gazed at Bell with large, solemn eyes. “His wife! He’d schooled her thorough. Ever hear anything more miserably appealing than her on her dear babies and poor old Mrs. Wiven? Not often? No. Took ...
-2
votes
2answers
105 views

Having question about what a sentence mean, and to figure out what the references referring to

In context: Where is the simple fact? Scientists have been seeking it in the two extremes, in the infinitely great and in the infinitely small. Biologists, for example, have been instinctively led ...
2
votes
2answers
44 views

What is “thrown in for salt”

His voice drifted up, liquid and full of tears, mostly Oh dear with the occasional Oh God or Now it's snow "thrown in for salt". What does "thrown in for salt" mean hear?
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What's the exact meaning of “make to a budget”

The sentence is as follows: This isn't just an Apple tablet made to a budget Am I correct in assuming it means: This isn't a cheap tablet made within certain budgetary constraints so that you can ...
0
votes
2answers
43 views

Dickens (a tale of two city, chapter 1): what do “they were awake” and “was to be atheistical and traitorous” refer to?

But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that ...
0
votes
4answers
112 views

Is it correct to say “Getting out of schedule” or “Going out of schedule”

Let me put some context: We have a day of tech sessions, so what I'm trying to say to a partner is that he better prepare well his time (about 60 minutes per session) so he won't run out of time ...
3
votes
3answers
65 views

Dickens: meaning of “preserves” in “preserves of loaves and fishes”

What is the meaning of preserves in the opening passage of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities? There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Can someone provide an explanation regarding the etymology of the adjective “hell-bent?”

It's etymology is given as: hell-bent, 1835, U.S., originally slang, from hell + bent How do the the words "hell + bent," when taken together, form the definition "determined to achieve ...
2
votes
2answers
294 views

Is 'Success!' ever used as a spoken/written encouragement?

In many languages, such as French, and my beloved mother tongue Romanian, it is common to say 'Succes!' to someone as an encouragement, this being a replacement for 'Good luck' for those who do not ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “check” mean in “check your privilege”?

The phrase "check your privilege" is currently enjoying some popularity on the Internet. It seems that "check" could have several meanings: holding back so as to avoid applying unwanted force: "The ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

“I am from” vs. “I am with”

I want to say that I work for Company A or represent it. I see 2 ways to express this: I am from Company A I am with Company A Which way is correct one? What are other ways to say it? ...
6
votes
8answers
509 views

How to rephrase “Deliberate failure”?

I have a document that I'm drafting that, at the moment, has a sentence that reads something like: Remove X from all company computers. Deliberate failure to do so constitutes grounds for ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

What is the difference between “sheer” and “pure” will(power)?

In English, we use the phrase "sheer force" much more often than "pure force" (Google Ngram). And willpower. What is the difference, in meaning and usage, between the two (and is there a reason for ...
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votes
3answers
56 views

Meaning of “popping” in “I've bought some corn for popping” [closed]

It doesn't show signs of stopping And I've bought some corn for popping The lights are turned way down low Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! What does "corn for popping" mean? What is ...
0
votes
3answers
44 views

Meaning of “and everyone, but everyone, was calling”

I recently took a year or so out to return to school. This is something I recommend for all sorts of reasons. One benefit is the new perspective you gain afterwards when you revisit a once-familiar ...
3
votes
3answers
346 views

“The Moving Finger writes even in Heaven.”

Following is an extract from a Rabindranath Tagore story called, "A Wrong Man in Workers' Paradise". I need help in understanding the contextual meaning of a line in it. The story is about a man who ...
2
votes
2answers
51 views

Meaning of “we're rather flat” in context

From Yellow Slugs by H.C. Bailey: He went to the room where Eddie lay. The doctor was there, and turned from the bedside to confer with him. “Not too bad. We’ve put in a long sleep. Quite quiet ...
1
vote
2answers
125 views

What does the word robo means? [closed]

I was looking at another StackExchange site and saw this phrase: Although it was ultimately accepted, the reviewers who accepted it look more like robo-reviewers than those who rejected it. ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

What does “Chinese theater” mean?

In a 1904 review of a piece by Maurice Ravel, one critic used the phrase Chinese theater Two years later, a critic in the New York Tribune wrote, "In his String Quartet M. Ravel is content with ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

What does it mean that sea turtles get a smaller ''salary premium''?

For starters a bit of background about sea turtles to give some context to the question: The terms "sea turtle" (a pun on "hai gui") and "seaweed" (a pun on "hai dai") are homonyms for "return ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Meaning of an English sentence on a Punjabi painting

With the dawn sparrow's tweet, as bogged in woes I trun and churn. This sentence is written below a painting at my friend's house. The painting is Punjabi and depicts a woman using a machine to ...
2
votes
1answer
193 views

What does Twain mean by “tares” in the last sentence in a letter to Walt Whitman?

I know the dictionary answer is vetch, an alfalfa-like plant. Is he making a comparison between "wheat" and "tares?" I realize this sounds like a homework question, but I'm over 60, and maybe a ...
2
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0answers
174 views

Is language inherently circular? [closed]

I looked up "Hallelujah" in etymonline.com today, and the result, as often happens with etymological research, ended in following a rabbit warren of possibilities. Take the word "Hallelujah" for ...
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2answers
74 views

Does “I am sorry” imply responsibility in this context?

I know sorry basically conveys two different meanings depending on including responsibility or not. "I'm sorry your grandpa was dead" usually conveys no responsibility, just sympathy. But "I'm sorry ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

What is the difference between “Must” and “Must be”?

I saw the following sentences in an advertisement. Graduation must be in computer science. Graduation is must. I want to know the meaning of Must and Must be and the difference between them.
0
votes
1answer
50 views

What is the meaning of where is it gone/going? [closed]

I was sitting next to a guy. He dropped something on the ground by accident. Then he said to himslef "where is it gone/going?" or at least that was what I heard. Does this sentence ,if I got it ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

“retain the title” in legal terms [closed]

Here is another question from me while making efforts to translate a wordy document. Please read the paragraph as follows: Mr. Justice Holmes stated in dissent: "If [the manufacturer] should make the ...
1
vote
2answers
37 views

“holding their own internal lives at bay”

The following is a passage from this article: The shift from emails to texts simply accelerates the process by which people are holding their own internal lives at bay. After all, if some future ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

the first case … is the court's decision

As I have said many times, I'm translating some wordy document, and here is another sentence that need shedding some light on: Thus the first case cited by the Court in Schwinn for the proposition ...
0
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2answers
64 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?
12
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3answers
2k views

Why is an actor sometimes called 'ham'?

I came across the word 'ham' in an article which was used to refer to an actor. I referred the dictionary. But I was unclear of the fact that how can it be used to refer to an actor?
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Difference between article, tutorial, how-to, course, track

I find these words(keywords) article, tutorial, how-to, course, track...etc some what same but CS people always use them (even my tutor) in different ways.. Don't assume this is about the programming ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

What does “Cost” mean in this context [closed]

I'm reading a book about Distributed Systems (Computer Engineering). I faced with following context : Full transparency will cost performance, exposing distribution of the system What does ...
1
vote
3answers
62 views

How is 'transparent' used in this context?

ERP system has become important because it uses IT to integrate information of all operations of an entire company. Ketikidis et al. (2008) conclude that ERP system improves the competitive ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

does 'A' in 'Easy A' (movie) mean “ei”?

English is not my first language. I have just watched the movie Easy A. I understood its content a little bit but I don't understand what the title means. I often hear many Native English speakers ...
0
votes
1answer
248 views

What is the difference between “order” and “command”? [closed]

What is the difference between those two words order and command, and where to use each of them? Please give some examples. Thank you!
4
votes
2answers
162 views

What does “sheafs” mean in “The rays cut straight sheafs”?

This sentence is from Atlas Shrugged, depicting rays of light running through coils of steam enveloping a building: The rays of a few strong lights cut straight sheafs through the coils. Could ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

What does the “eggy” in “eggy data” mean? [closed]

I heard that raw data is also sometimes called eggy data. I personally has never used it or heard anybody else using "eggy data". What does "eggy" mean in this context?
1
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0answers
179 views

English Communicative Functions [closed]

Perhaps it is difficult, if not impossible, to list all the communicative functions available in the language, but I wondered if there is such a thing so that we can evaluate sentences, and more ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

What's “jewishness” supposed to mean?

There is an image at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/160511174191029351/ which goes like this: I don't quite get the joke... what's "Jewishness" supposed to mean in this context?