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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
2answers
186 views

what does “volatile pair” mean in love/romance relationship?

Recently, I am studying Chinese Zodiac Compatibility. They said "Snake (one born in Snake year) and Rat (one born in Rat year) are a volatile pair". I am not sure what "volatile pair" mean? like each ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

What does “did not achieve perfection and never would” mean?

At this point my brain refuses to comprehend this. Astronomers did not achieve perfection and never would, not in a solar system tugged by the gravities of nine planets, scores of moons and ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

The difference between 'credit' and 'accredit'?

Both verbs seem to mean the same thing -- to attribute 'X' to Mr. 'Y'. On looking it up, I found: credit - publicly acknowledge a contributor's role in the production of (something published or ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

How would you paraphrase “have sth before sb” in the given context?

How would you paraphrase "have sth before sb" in the following sentence? This elevation is, moreover, essentially rooted in the nature of our spirit, it is necessary to it, and it is this ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Send or Send across

How the words send and send across are used in email writing context? What are difference between these two? You can send your profile to 123@abc.com. Or You can send across your profiles ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

What does “Possibly being eaten by Diana” mean? Thanks

I need some explanation of what "Possibly being eaten by Diana" means. Thanks. My Chinese subtitle explained that Ms. B will have lunch with Diana (Ms. B's lady boss). I'm guessing that probably ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

what is the meaning of “no problem” in British English? [closed]

Here is the scenario: Today I asked my teacher whether I will get late penalty due to some reasons. The teacher says "no problem." Can I consider the response of "no problem" as I will not get ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

What does “discover from itself” mean in the following sentence?

The sentence is "The point of interest was to determine how far the natural light of reason, human reason by itself, could progress in the knowledge of truth, with the important proviso that ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

What's the pun in this “Julius Caesar” reference?

In a Blacklist episode, the following conversation takes place, the first and last speaker is the sophisticated Raymond Reddington: -'Ambition's debt must be paid'. -Julius Caesar? -One ...
1
vote
2answers
169 views

What does “'Avoid plastics' in commencement speeches" mean?

Today’s (May 12) New York Times carries an article written by Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute under the title, “How to avoid commencement clichés”. The author says: ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Meaning of “same day as one another” [closed]

I want to know the meaning of the phrase "on the same day as one another". The complete sentence where the phrase appears is The orchids and roses were delivered on the same day as one another. ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

Does “Wand” mean wall? [I think they call it a wand.]?

I m watching an American drama; it's called Younger. Ms. A is trying to hide her real age (40), and she's pretending she's 26 now. Her phone rang during a meeting. Ms. B is her colleague. Thanks. ...
0
votes
0answers
136 views

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing. The following sentences are what I've sent: I was wondering if you would be willing to write ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

What does “Just expected a gold star for doing your job” mean? Thanks in advance

I am watching Younger, an American drama, Season 1 episode 1, 16:10. Thanks in advance. A :Jane Austen has over 1,000 followers. How cool is that? B :Am I supposed to congratulate you? A: No, I ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What does “I was almost busted” mean? Thanks [closed]

I'm watching " Younger", an American drama, Season 1 Episode 1, 15:29. Thanks in advance. Ms. A: Let me ask you something, you've seen a lot of vaginas, right? Ms. B: Hmm, I've seen my fair share. ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

What does “plough” mean in this context?

The following excerpt has been taken from The Time Machine by H.G.Wells: ‘One might get one’s Greek from the very lips of Homer and Plato,’ the Very Young Man thought. ‘In which case they would ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

What does the “highs” and “lows” mean here?

It's in the lyrics of Will Young's song-Leave Right Now. Part of the lyrics below: I'm here so please explain Why you're opening up a healing wound again I'm a little more careful, perhaps it ...
2
votes
2answers
137 views

What does “an irate ex waving a maintenance order” mean?

I said: Finally, I found you Grumpy! (Grumpy is the name of the site) Grumpy replies: That comment has the distinct flavour of an irate ex waving a maintenance order! :-) Can you ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

Meaning of this short quote/poem [closed]

I watched the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind yesterday, and this quote in the movie forms the theme: How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

What is the meaning of “tank” in this sentence? [closed]

I think that to tank means to become strong, huge in height and weight. But I can't place the same meaning in this context: When the economy tanks as it did in the recent recession, How does ...
1
vote
3answers
67 views

Ambiguity of “last” [closed]

I find "last" ambiguous in the following context: I destroyed his report in our last meeting. IMHO, both of the following interpretations make sense: "He can get however pissed he wants; ...
-2
votes
1answer
51 views

What are the adverb for shabby and hardy? [closed]

What are the adverbs for shabby and hardy are, and what are their corresponding noun and adjective?
0
votes
1answer
46 views

What does the highlighted part mean in the context of the paragraph?

Much the same applies to the expression 'What a word has escaped you by the fence of your teeth!' This is intelligible, but unidiomatic, English for 'What nonsense!' Must we flout English usage to ...
0
votes
4answers
216 views

“on the back of” meaning and implications

A The Independent of London article, The rise and rise of Sudoku, reads: [...] sales of pencils in Britain are reported to have risen 700 per cent on the back of the Sudoku boom. Question: Does ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the meaning of joke “may it plizzle the cozizzle” in Futurama?

In Futurama 5ACV16, character Leela, while in court, says "May it plizzle the cozizzle" instead of "may it please the court" to the judge (Snoop Dogg's head). I am not native English speaker, but I ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

How does this sentence fit in this context?

The following excerpt has been taken from The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. "Draw the bolts," said the man with the black beard, "and if he comes—" He showed a revolver in his hand. "That ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Are not hard to reach

How would you interpret the message in the picture? I'm having a hard time understanding this black guy. I assume, the guy in the picture is trying to suggest that everyone could easily understand a ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

What is the meaning of “shoot” in this context?

The following quotation has been taken from The Mark on the Wall by Virgina Woolf. Tumbling head over heels in the asphodel meadows like brown paper parcels pitched down a shoot in the post ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

I want to understand this sentence [closed]

"Hemingway lived to hunt big game so should we be surprised at his virility, not to mention that of many of the author’s--chiefly male--protagonists?" Can someone please explain me on how to ...
1
vote
2answers
37 views

'Previously' or 'ever ' in this context

I encountered a question in a textbook for an English exam as below where I did not understand why the correct answer is that. Ms.Tanaka is the ideal leader for the project because she has _______ ...
-1
votes
1answer
29 views

Difference between laxity and lethargy? [closed]

I know their respective meanings but somehow I associate lethargy in a negative sense (as in a disease or something). Are they completely interchangble or do they have any specific usercases?
55
votes
5answers
10k views

What does “Your hair is so white now, it can talk back to police” mean?

Vanity Fair magazine (April 27) introduced a barrel of jokes about political figures Cecily Strong delivered at Best White House Correspondents’ Dinner held on April 25th in Washington under the ...
0
votes
3answers
48 views

What does the author mean to say in this quote?

The following excerpt is from My Three Passions by Bertrand Russell. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway over the flux. What does the author mean to ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Meaning of 'proverbial worm'

"An appropriate and dramatic end to a singular and yet typical case," said Thorndyke, as he put down the newspaper. "I hope it has enlarged your knowledge, Jervis, and enabled you to form one or ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

“answered in” or “answered”?

I'm confused whether the verb answer should come with the preposition in or without it in a sentence "the timing a question will be answered in is important" or "the timing a question will be answered ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

“predicting” or “prediction of”?

What is the difference between "can be used for prediction of user behaviour" and "can be used for predicting user behaviour"? I like the second version more since it's shorter and without a ...
1
vote
3answers
108 views

What does 'pip' mean in this context?

The following excerpt has been taken from the poem Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka. What does 'pipped' mean here? Voice, when it came, Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled Cigarette-holder ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

The elbow worked through the sleeve

What does it mean "The elbow worked through the sleeve"? and what is the synonym of the verb "worked" in the sentence?
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “failure to fail”? [closed]

What is the meaning of the phrase "failure to fail"?, And If I close now by professing that abject/ecstatic failure to fail, it is only by way of reminding myself..."
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Meaning of “lead” in the context of knots/ knot tying

In The Ashley Books of Knots (ABOK), Mr. Ashley frequently refers to various knots having or giving good or bad "lead" in a given situation. Two examples: The ANGLER'S LOOP has an excellent ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

What does “blue's my colour” mean in this context?

Monica: How are you? Fake Monica: I'm not too bad. Fortunately, blue's my colour. How-how did you know I was here? Monica: Because... I'm Monica Geller. It was my credit card you were ...
2
votes
6answers
844 views

Another way to say “it never hurts”

It wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more serious. Wouldn't/won't/never hurts make perfect sense in this example. I'm wondering if there's any alternative way to preserve the meaning of this phrase in a ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Way to stick it to

I am watching American comedy, Weird Loners. Mr A is on the phone and talking with headhunter. Mr. A: Jerry (headhunter), come on. I love the salary but these benefits are crap. You call me back ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

What does “no frame of graft” mean in this context?

Young Ethan: All right, look. I've gotta tell you something. I'm not 17. I only said so that you'd think I was cute and vunerable. I'm actually 30, I have a wife, I have a job, I'm your ...
0
votes
7answers
61 views

what would be the appropriate word in this passage? possibly loosely related to “conflate”

i'm looking for a word that means intentionally attempting to conflate/situate two apparently contradictory ideas/beliefs etc.- for example, "as a practicing psychiatrist, is it possible for me to ___ ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Is the comma misplaced in this sentence?

The following excerpt has been taken from Birth by A.J. Cronin. I think there is a mistake in the second sentence -- or, if it is correct, I do not understand its grammatical pattern. Is the comma ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Can *narrow minded* be positive?

As narrow is being not wide and not flexible, can it also be upright?
2
votes
1answer
277 views

What do “Bitches get stuff done“ and ”Bitch is the new black” mean?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article in New York Times’ (April 18) criticizing Hillary Clinton of overcorrecting her self-image in the current presidential campaign under the ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

What does 'hanged' mean in this context?

LOMOV: Excuse me; I cannot continue this discussion: my heart is palpitating. NATALYA STEPANOVNA: I've noticed that those hunters argue most who know least. LOMOV: Madam, please be ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

might we not say?

What might be the reason the author adds "might we not say" in his diatribe against boardinghouse life? Here's the context: "There is no chance for the development of the unhappy wife into a ...