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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
2answers
299 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
2k 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
77 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
531 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
165 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 ...
-5
votes
3answers
60 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
46 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
69 views

The first forty years of life give us the text, the next thirty supply the commentary

What does the following sentence mean? The first forty years of life give us the text, the next thirty supply the commentary I can't see the link between the text and commentary.
3
votes
3answers
411 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
52 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
174 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
50 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
68 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
127 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
200 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
81 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
38 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
66 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
53 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
46 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
votes
2answers
75 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
votes
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
58 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
63 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
63 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
129 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
327 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
164 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
51 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
vote
0answers
251 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
83 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?
0
votes
3answers
92 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
0
votes
2answers
177 views

What is the difference between “search” and “look up”?

This questions is coming from here. Is there any difference in meaning between the 2 terms?
1
vote
2answers
108 views

What does 'to be maxed out' mean?

I want to understand what Chandler means when he says he's maxed out after thinking he's embarrassed by his bunny costume.
0
votes
1answer
94 views

What do “a bare foot” and “flat on his belly” mean in this context?

In the opening prologue to the novel A Game of Thrones, two sentences left me with questions: The great sentinel was right there ať the top of the ridge, where Will had known it would be, its ...
2
votes
3answers
773 views

What's the meaning of “in the spirit of”?

The following is a passage from this article: In the spirit of full disclosure, the texter in question turned out to be my editor at Salon. (Hi, Sarah!) She has not texted me again. What does in ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

“Seize the night” vs. “Enjoy the night”

I was listening to "We Own the Night", by "The Wanted" and I realized the phrase "we are only young if we seize the night". Seize, in this case, sounds like enjoy, right? But, what's the contextual ...
0
votes
1answer
167 views

Does “but one” mean “only one” or “except one”? [duplicate]

Does "but one" mean "only one" or "except one"? This phrase shows up in the song "Love is an Open Door" from the movie "Frozen". The relevant line is "Our mental synchronization can have but one ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

“Their windows slot the ebony of their walls with lemon.” What's the meaning of this sentence?

What is the meaning of the italicized sentence in this paragraph? From basement to sky rise the tenements of an alien colony. Their windows slot the ebony of their walls with lemon. Behind those ...
1
vote
3answers
112 views

Meaning of “holloway”

Does it mean just "hollowed underground way" or there is something else? Word is taken from fantasy text.
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Verb moods in the poem “Once more into the fray”

There is a poem in the Movie "The Grey" (2011). It goes like this: Once more into the fray... Into the last good fight I'll ever know. Live and die on this day... Live and die on this day... ...
-2
votes
2answers
82 views

What calls are you making? [closed]

Sorry, if this is a trivial question. But I feel really confused when I ask people, their answers are different to my answer. So I want to ascertain what exactly is answered to this question. For ...
-1
votes
4answers
72 views

paraphrase this sentence [closed]

Please help me to paraphrase this sentence. Because of their insect origin, the Myrmidons were blindly loyal to Achilles, so loyal that they would die without resisting if ordered to.
-1
votes
1answer
33 views

Meaning of goat-footed nature gods play in the fields and woods

There,shepherds play their pipes and sigh with longing for flirtatious nymphs and goat-footed nature gods play in the fields and woods. How can I understand this sentence? And does "play pipes" mean ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Using “such” and “as”, together and segregated

Here are two variations: I would like you to buy such fruit as apples and watermelon for me. Can you buy me some fruit such as apples or watermelon? Is there any blatant difference or a fine one ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

“It was turning out the dining-room done it.”

“It was turning out the dining-room done it, if you ask me,” said Mrs. Sutton. “Now, don’t you overdo yourself, ma’am,” I says to her; but you know how she is, sir. She gets that restless, she ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Impel and compel and the finer nuances

I was contemplating over the two words - impel and compel. consider the examples: 1. she impelled me to take the job 2. she compelled me to take the job. is the word compel somewhat derogatory or ...
2
votes
3answers
317 views

“Small Latin and Less Greek”

About a third of the way through his poem "To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and What He Hath Left Us," Ben Jonson writes: And though thou hadst small Latin and less ...