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

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13
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7answers
2k views

What does “and counting” in “Bits of plastic in oceans: 5.25 trillion and counting” mean?

Today’s (December 11) online New York Times carries an article dealing with the quantum increase of plastic material in the ocean under the headline, “Bits of plastic in oceans: 5.25 trillion and ...
1
vote
5answers
347 views

In “That patient merit of th'unworthy takes”, what does merit mean exactly?

In the famous Hamlet's soliloquy, I am not quite clear on the role/meaning of merit in the following: The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th'unworthy takes, My ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

“Kick off tracking time in the notepad” means start making notes or stop making notes

I'm not sure for 100% if "Kick off tracking time in the notepad" means to start or, otherwise, to stop tracking time in the notepad. Could anybody explain? Thank you.
0
votes
1answer
49 views

what does “business” mean?

in a book titled Knowledge Management in the Intelligence Enterprise, the word business has been used very often. I don't understand its meaning— maybe it means trade or job processes (organisational ...
-1
votes
1answer
91 views

no more feed the children commercials (and so on) [closed]

No more feed the children commercials. With 40 million over weight americans negros to eat, the african cannibals would have food for years I don't understand causality or a causal relationship ...
2
votes
1answer
319 views

What does “rummun” mean in this sentence?

"They have had a bitter quarrel I think" said he and bit into the bagel. "They're rummuns" said he chewing it.
1
vote
3answers
106 views

sword and chalice attributes

"Bess holds the queenly hand, caresses the royal head and keeps the imperial body intimate company, suggesting that Elizabeth (the Queen) abandoned the metaphoric sword but not the chalice." What did ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What does “better angel” mean in Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address?

I'm reading the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It mentioned that Lincoln replaced the phase "guardian angel" to "better angel". I don't understand what the phrase means. ...
1
vote
3answers
359 views

Meaning of Top Gun quote

In the movie Top Gun Maverick says: "I'm gonna need a beer to put these flames out." This was part of a compilation of quotes supporting the gay theme of the movie. Urbandictionary doesn't have a ...
1
vote
3answers
106 views

What 'checkout' is supposed to mean in 'git checkout' sentence?

I am learning git, and I have difficulty understanding how some commands relate to english, particularly git checkout --file. From context (https://try.github.io/levels/1/challenges/17 : Files can be ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

What is the right way to say that, “his credit balance is likely to be in deficit” [closed]

I want to say that that 'x' person spends a lot and his credit balance is likely to become negative. "With multiple ...., his balance is likely to be in deficit." OR "With multiple ...., his ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

“Suffer from” use for non human contexts

Is it normal to use "suffer from" for subjects other than humans? For example is it acceptable to say: "this old building suffer from irregular electricity"
3
votes
8answers
1k views

What to call a patient's close relatives, friends and family members in one or two words?

It's connected to a scientific paper for a public health topic. I need to name a patient's surrounding of caregivers which can include family members, friends, close relatives. I came up with a ...
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Why do applications and résumés use the word “sex” instead of “gender”? [duplicate]

We understand what the meaning of the terms name, age, and address when used in applications and résumés, but why is sex used instead of gender? Definitions from the Free Dictionary : meaning ...
-2
votes
1answer
233 views
6
votes
2answers
375 views

“If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be…” What does this mean?

I'm translating a book, which involves logic and quoted the sentence from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass: "If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

what is “read out”

Some species of tree have been read out of the party by economics-minded foresters because they grow too slowly. Could anyone tell me what "read out" means here? Obviously, it doesn't mean read ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

What does “over time” mean?

I have problem understanding this: Over time, this is a fragile approach. What does "over time" mean here? Thanks!
-1
votes
1answer
84 views

Meaning of “get it on”

What does phrase "get it on" mean in sentence "Am I wrong, cause I wanna get it on, till I die". I found a translation where "get it on" is translated as "to have sex" but i think it is not ...
-1
votes
2answers
121 views

What does “Booting these guys” mean? [closed]

I am not native English speaker, but in a conversation with an American guy, I come across this line. I am adding the situation where that guy used this sentence. He gave me some things to do, I did ...
-1
votes
1answer
32 views

Meaning of “Stakes” [closed]

Can anyone help me with the meaning of "stakes" in the following sentence: "In other words, melodrama is about recognition and clarification, how to be clear what the stakes are and what their ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

Meaning of “repay” in “the book repays close study”

What does the word "repay" in essence mean in the phrase "the book repays close study"? My OED defines "repay" as to make return for; requite [a service, action, etc.]... must repay their ...
-1
votes
1answer
99 views

Use of “although” without a contrasting statement [closed]

In IAS 37 Clause 37 states: Although a constructive obligation is not created solely by a management decision, an obligation may result from other earlier events together with such a decision. ...
1
vote
1answer
109 views

Spill the metaphorical beans?

I was reading a comic book and ran into this phrase. Is there any difference between 'spill the beans' and 'spill the metaphorical beans'? here is the context. Talk show host: "But seriously, Reed. ...
0
votes
2answers
70 views

What does “perfect” mean in the following context? [closed]

Man sits and holds a baby, and says: Look at you, so big, so perfect. I can't imagine a joy of spending every day with her... So, I'm trying to understand what it precisely means when you say ...
0
votes
3answers
119 views

Is the usage 'literally nuts' correct? [closed]

1) Suppose there is a very stupid person. Is it correct to tell that he/she is 'literally nuts'? 2) What about using it if the person is mentally ill? This came up in an informal talk with my ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

What does “optic stems” mean?

I'm watching an episode, some may recall which one, of a comedy show and one guy says something like this if I hear correctly: "I looked this woman in her optic stems" which is part of the joke, ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

What is the right meaning of the sentence: “I should demonstrate restraint”?

I've watched this clip of The Originals TV show. Starting on 00:09 sec there's a dialog between Klaus and Elijah: Klaus: Finn and Kol must be turned to us. Elijah: I should demonstrate ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Meaning of 'action' - 1884 UK

Source: p 115, The Law of Contract, 5 ed (2012), by O’Sullivan and Hilliard Lord Blackburn was even more troubled by the result [in Pinnel's Case (1602)], tantalisingly hinting that he had ...
6
votes
11answers
44k views

New (slang?) meaning of bass?

I have come across the song "About that bass" by Meghan Trainor, and was wondering what "bass" and "treble" mean in the chorus, which goes: Because you know I'm all about that bass, 'Bout that ...
0
votes
2answers
101 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
90 views

Divide/split/dissolute the state

I'm not quite sure how to phrase this idea: a state (primarily, federative) split/divide/dissolute by ethnic borders. I mean (or want to show the meaning) that this process may not be legally ...
0
votes
3answers
66 views

Meaning of “or” in “working on applications to sell or for any other purpose”

A licence reads: If you are an individual working on your own applications to sell or for any other purpose, you may use the software to develop and test those applications. I'm having ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Meaning of a sentence in a play

What is the meaning of the sentence said by Derry in the Susan Hill play On the Face of It given below? In case I see you looking and mind and get upset
2
votes
1answer
106 views

What does the word, “rascally charm” mean? Can “Rascally” be used as a complimentary modifier?

There was the following comversation in the Vanity Fair’s (November 14 issue) article that came under the title, “Imagined Celebrity Connections: How Beyoncé Responded to Kim Kardashian’s Paper ...
-1
votes
2answers
126 views

How to use the word “piquant”?

I referred the meaning for the word piquant and the dictionary online gives two contexts in which it can be used 1) taste : piquant taste 2) attractive and charming : piquant face But I am seeing ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

What does it mean “to blow out one's arm”?

I've watched the episode of The Vampire Diaries today, and here's the question: what does it mean "to blow out one's arm" in the following context? So guess who came into the hospital for a ...
0
votes
4answers
173 views

meaning of “some people agree that”

I am discussing with friends the meaning of the following sentence: "while some people agree that there are less women in science because they don't have the skills, others will argue that it is ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

How common is ' to trickle down' used in contexts unconnected to finance, wealth, etc.?

I have been using trickle down in contexts totally irrelevant to economy and similar concepts. Here is an example: Any change involving a particular part of an ecosystem will trickle down, in due ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

Meaning of “Her eyes opened, her mother’s blue”?

This passage is from "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" by John Updike. What does the the italicized sentence refer to? The little girl (not so little any more; the bumps her feet made under the covers ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

“split 'em up with a movie” on the sitcom “Friends”

I have a question about a sentence from the television sitcom Friends. The six are playing poker, and the girls lose. Phoebe: Alright, here's my $7.50. But I think you should know that this money ...
0
votes
1answer
379 views

“you seem pretty cool yourself”

What is the meaning of "you seem pretty cool yourself"? I don't understand the "yourself" in this context. Is this ironic and means that I find myself being cool? Regards Klaus
0
votes
2answers
35 views

What does 'That is' mean here?

“Very sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to, er...” The embarrassment was still reddening Jackson’s cheeks when he found the paper-knife at the bottom of the case. “I think I’d better keep this though, if ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Great trials have turned on less

What excactly does it mean when in a sentence "It occured to me then that great trials have turned on less."?
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Meaning of “Noble of us” idiom in context

It would be noble of us to not revel in it, though. The sentence above has some idioms that I don't know the whole meaning of the sentence. What dos it say? Or when such a sentence could be ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

His “get-up-and-go” is likely to have “got-up-and-gone” Any hidden meaning in this comment?

I once overheard a conversation between two young women on a long distance flight and one of them said: "He is past seventy, you know. His get-up-and-go is likely to have got-up-and gone." And they ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

the meaning of a word from a TOEFL reading passage?

"While rock between two consistent strata might in one place be shale and in another sandstone, the fossils in that shale or sandstone were always the same." I have trouble understanding the meaning ...
1
vote
2answers
83 views

what does this word in the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song mean?

In the lyrics of the song Black Crow Blues, one line reads "(I was) listening to the billboard knock". What does the word "knock" here mean? I've looked it up in several dictionaries, but I don't ...
4
votes
2answers
546 views

'Broken Shells Make Temple bells' meaning? [closed]

There is a great Irish song 'As I Rover Out'. The 'Omnia' band made a remake of this song called 'Who Are You?' The meaning of the certain sentence in this remake became a subject of discussion ...
2
votes
1answer
188 views

The word “darg ”

What would the word darg mean in the novel 'the invisible man' where a person has been bit by a dog of a carrier person.