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

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distanced always by a sense of [closed]

What does "distanced by" mean in: "The images in themselves are as grotesque as those in Hirst’s catalogue pictures but taken out of documentary context, juxtaposed with other material and distanced ...
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1answer
111 views

In any but the most vestigial and nostalgic way…?

Once again, here I am with a question raised by the highly unintelligable Hitchens... It can be equally useful and instructive to take a glimpse at the closing of religions, or religious movements. ...
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3answers
397 views

Can a sport team “clinch” a championship in the last regular season game?

This question gets into the subtle shades of meaning of the word clinch, in the context of sporting teams securing spots in the playoffs. My past experience hearing this term on television, or ...
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1answer
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Use of the expression “Stop it! You are too cute” [closed]

In what context would you use "stop it!! you are too cute"? Isn't that negative to say "stop it!! first? Is there a degree or a connotation to it? (i.e, flirty, embarrassed, flattered, etc) There are ...
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2answers
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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. ...
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1answer
129 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.
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1answer
3k views

One word/phrase to describe the reaction when you eat a very spicy-hot food

I've read the discussion here about Difference between “spicy” and “hot”. I've also read this one: How to say that food is hot (temperature) without the listener thinking that I mean “spicy”?. But I ...
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3answers
262 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 ...
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1answer
84 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of “just as well” in this context?

The family cemetery sat at the bottom of the hill from the mansion. Dan thought it was kind of stupid they'd hired a hearse to carry Grace a hundred yards down the driveway. They could've put ...
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1answer
440 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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2answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
619 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 ...
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5answers
166 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

“Against traffic” or “Against the traffic”

The following first sentence comes from Wikipedia, which 'the' is not used before 'traffic', while the second one comes from BBC, which has 'the' before 'traffic'. I wonder if both usages are correct ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
17k 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 ...
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6answers
7k 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 ...
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4answers
315 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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4answers
7k 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: ...
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3answers
5k views

What/who are “toy soldiers”? [closed]

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 ...
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1answer
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does “open to charges of” equal to “doing propaganda” here? [closed]

Always open to charges of propaganda and interference in the internal affairs of other nations, public diplomacy challenged both the spirit and letter of the Havana Convention. Book | ...
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1answer
81 views

What is the intended connotation of addressing somebody by 'lovely' in a letter or an email?

If as a man I got emails from a woman with: "Thank you, lovely!" and "Good morning, lovely!" what would the connotation of the addressing word 'lovely' be in English ? Is this word in English common ...
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1answer
100 views

Meaning of the quote “Is she not complicit with this state of affairs?”

What does is Steiner not complicit with this state of affairs? mean here? I think it means "does not Steiner have any role in the conflicts between the feminists and the Marxists? yes she has, ...
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2answers
111 views

What's the difference between “insulated” and “isolated”? [closed]

I don't know the difference because they have the same meaning.
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2answers
229 views

What does “to 1 part in 2x10^5 ” mean? [closed]

What does "to 1 part in 2x10^5" means in this sentence? A bridge circuit enable us to measure the change in capacitance to 1 part in 2x10^5, equivalent to a rotation angle of 8x10^(-8) rad, with ...
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4answers
1k views

How does “not least” mean “in particular; notably”?

What's an intuitive derivation behind ODO's definition that helps to internalise its meaning? not least = In particular; notably I couldn't find the etymology for this ??adverbial phrase?? I ...
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2answers
120 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 ...
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3answers
519 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 ...
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2answers
391 views

Does “Should I wash my hands of this?” suggest a bribe?

Should I wash my hands of this? Has this expression ever been used as a way of suggesting a bribe?
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3answers
1k views

Can I say it this way “ People are benefited by social networking ”

Is it correct to say People are benefited by Social Networking when what I really want to say is that People benefit from Social Networking
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3answers
12k views

How do I answer “Where do you work?”

What are the main purposes to ask someone 'Where do you work?' apart from to find out the type of place he or she works in? I can answer: I work in a shop. I work in a hospital. I work in an ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the italicized “do” in this sentence?

A child meets this kind of discipline every time he tries to do something, which is why it is so important in school to give children more chances to do things, instead of just reading or ...
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2answers
143 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 ...
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4answers
37k 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: ...
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3answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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? ...
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0answers
305 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 ...
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0answers
93 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 ...
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1answer
522 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 ...
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3answers
601 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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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…, as the Marxist critic Herbert Marcuse has proposed [closed]

Two questions regarding the following paragraph: First question: Which meaning is grammatically true for the first bold lines? (My problem is to know what the sentence "as the Marxist critic Herbert ...
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1answer
270 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
671 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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, ...
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2answers
405 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 ...
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1answer
8k 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 ...