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

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1answer
137 views

metaphor of “lily” and the meaning of “emerging from the mire”

I ran into this: "And you, Madame Lucrezia, flower of the Borgias, if a poet painted you as the catholic Messalina, a skeptical Gregorovious turned up and almost completely absolved you of that ...
0
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1answer
70 views

“That's it” versus “That's that”

Example one: Once they give their money, that's it, they don't want to hear it anymore. Once they give their money, that's that, they don't want to hear it anymore. Example two: Today's ...
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1answer
197 views

Meaning of a quote from “The Quiet American”

Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no ...
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4answers
454 views

How is this quote interpreted? [closed]

I was going through Goodreads and found this quote “Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald I thought it means behind every hero there is a story of his ...
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3answers
50 views

Can “I write of love” be used as a substitute for “I write about love”?

Can I use something like "I write of love, I write of hate. I write of destiny and fate." instead of "I write about love, I write about hate. I write about destiny and fate."? Do they mean the same? ...
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2answers
120 views

What does “on the stricken” mean in this passage from The Hobbit?

The following passage comes from The Hobbit, in the chapter “The Clouds Burst”: The goblins gathered again in the valley. There a host of Wargs came ravening and with them came the bodyguard of ...
7
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2answers
318 views

Is “A Moveable Feast” more than home catering?

I read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast before I knew the term describing moveable feast days on the calender. Comparing Hemingway's famous quote about Paris: "If you are lucky enough to have lived in ...
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5answers
486 views

To not want to believe something has happened

I usually hear people use the phrase "I don't/didn't want to believe it," and I've always been curious as to what it meant. Does it mean that the person is in denial of something? Or does it mean that ...
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4answers
187 views

What does “trollpoking” mean?

The edit summary here says: cleaned up a bit, removed the trollpoking. I'm certain removing trollpoking is referring to the removal of: This answer is going to be deleted as off-topic, isn't ...
0
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2answers
190 views

What does this sentence mean ? “Heaven and earth, are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?” [closed]

In Pride and Prejudice, when an old woman (Catherine) asks a young lady (Elizabeth) whether she is engaged with her nephew or not, the young lady neither confirms nor rejects such relationship in a ...
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2answers
248 views

What does proverbial mean? [closed]

She smiled , and in those deep blue eyes I saw what I found so irresistible about her. It wasn't just that she was the proverbial ten and a half. What does the last sentence mean?
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2answers
26 views

What's the meaning of “to reach opinion leaders”?

What's the meaning of "to reach opinion leaders" in the following text? He called for concerted efforts to reach opinion leaders and policymakers in the nuclear weapons states: “Many of them ...
0
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1answer
34 views

What's the meaning of “And this because”?

What's the meaning of "And this because" in the following text? And this because, Terasaki added, “there is both a practical and moral imperative to rid the world of those apocalyptic weapons." ...
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2answers
64 views

Meaning of “at the way” in “she looked away from his face at the way his shoulders sloped” [closed]

Please share with me how would you understand meaning of "at the way" in the context below. He smiled at her now and she looked away from his face at the way his shoulders sloped in the loose ...
59
votes
5answers
3k views

When does thousand turn into thousands?

My boyfriend and I are arguing whether thousands of miles means 1000+ or 2000+ miles. The first argument is that 1000+ is over 1000 and therefore 'thousands of miles' by rounding up. The other ...
0
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1answer
60 views

consider using one to other

Me and my tutor at work came across this sentence which I understood slightly different in our language than him: Where possible, consider alternative diuretic therapy (e.g., thiazides) to more ...
0
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1answer
46 views

phrase “extend over” in context

I don't understand the part in boldface. The Oxford dictionary interprets "extend over" as "occupy a specified area or stretch to a specified point", but I'm not sure if that definition fits here. ...
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2answers
53 views

How to understand the phrase “through its successive approaches to perfection” in the given context?

I don't understand the bold sentence below. I guess it means "I should not attempt to find the origin of the human's organization by studying its evolution progress." What confuse me is that I don't ...
2
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2answers
85 views

What does “to revive the 2-for-1 model” mean?

What does "find a clever way to revive the 2-for-1 model pitched by the Clintons so long ago" mean in the following quote from The Washington Post of today? The author, Michelle Cottle, wrote that ...
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1answer
171 views

What does “a'me” mean?

Only boss a'me, is me. What is the meaning of "a'me" in the above sentence?
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1answer
63 views

How to group the words in following sentence

Shall I group the words as "the cause of [mankind before the sages]" or "[the cause of mankind] before the sages" in the following sentence? Why? I shall therefore maintain with confidence the ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Is this “of” means category relationship?

Here is the context. The dictionary define one meaning of "of" as expressing the relationship between a general category and the thing being specified which belongs to such a category. Is it fitted ...
1
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1answer
807 views

“For one thing” — meaning in context

I know what "for one thing" means. But sometimes idioms are used in such a way that gives non-native speakers a hard time to understand their meaning. I encountered the following passage: She ...
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2answers
180 views

To 'throw' a farewell party

I would like to write an informal email: Sorry for not throwing a farewell party Is throwing the right word here?
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2answers
140 views

Meaning of the phrase “to corner the world's pleasures”

So I was baffled when the women at college accused me and my sex of having cornered the world's pleasures. I know about the meaning of all of the words in this sentence, but I don't know the ...
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1answer
194 views

What does these sentences mean? Explain your answer [closed]

But as a boy, Sanders was also exposed to soldiers on military bases, and he came to view soldiering as the only available alternative to a life of toil_the warrior, faced not with toil, but with ...
1
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1answer
51 views

Does 'for' here mean despite? and Does 'lightness' here mean light-minded?

She had gathered these things from time to time when she had gone to the Sunday-school with the children, and had laid them up in her memory more carefully than she had done with those other words ...
2
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2answers
116 views

Meaning of “dogmatic” in “there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood”

and whenever she heard a large word she said it over to herself many times, and so was able to keep it until there was a dogmatic gathering in the neighborhood, then she would get it off, and ...
2
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1answer
169 views

What is the meaning of the sentence “you have to be possessed which you can't will”?

There is this video on John Baldessari and he says there's three things a young artist should know. I couldn't get the second one because I could not figure out the sentence. Take a look at it: ...
0
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4answers
83 views

Restrain vs curb [closed]

In an exam I found this phrase: There was very strong support for the police who were determined to (curb) this kind of crime. There was a choice between restrain and curb. Why was curb the ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Never fail to disappoint

When you say "he doesn't fail to disappoint", to me it has a negative meaning as in he always disappoints. But I've heard some people using it as a compliment and in a positive way. So, am I wrong ...
0
votes
1answer
103 views

Meaning of “about all…” and “hold on to the hand of…” in the sentence [closed]

What are the meanings of "about all..." and "hold on to the hand of" in the sentence "There are many times in life when about all we can do is to hold on to the hand of the Divine Guide until we have ...
0
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1answer
66 views

What is the mean of bold words

All, I read this paragraph from a read. But not sure about the exactly meaning. please help me to understand it .thanks. Grant focuses on making it fun for beginners to learn Ubuntu Linux. If ...
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1answer
110 views

a passage in Dracula

In Dracula, there is this passage: Tell your friend that when that time you suck from my wound so swiftly the poison of the gangrene from that knife that our other friend, too nervous, let slip, ...
3
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2answers
162 views

a line in Dracula

In Dracula, a passage: My dear young miss, I have the so great pleasure because you are so much beloved. That is much, my dear, even were there that which I do not see. I am stuck at "That is ...
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0answers
75 views

Meaning of “Unstable depth decaying modes”

Could anyone help me to understand the meaning of "unstable depth decaying modes". This one came from the sentence: To add to the uncertainties introduced by these three approximations it is ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

In Grapes of Wrath, What does “I learned to write […] Birds an' stuff like that” mean?

In The Grapes of Wrath: I learned to write nice as hell. Birds an' stuff like that, too; not just word writin'. My ol' man'll be sore when he sees me whip out a bird in one stroke. (Tom Joad) ...
2
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1answer
158 views

Meaning of “top” in “to sleep as sound as a top”

From "The Early Bird", by George MacDonald. A little bird sat on the edge of her nest; Her yellow-beaks slept as sound as tops; Day-long she had worked almost without rest, And had ...
0
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1answer
96 views

Can someone please explain the bolded parts to me?

The master said, with vehemence, "It's far above instinct; it's REASON, and many a man, privileged to be saved and go with you and me to a better world by right of its possession, has less of it *that ...
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2answers
168 views

Is “heartfelt” reserved for sad moments, or can it be used for happy ones?

I'm writing an email about something nice (a newborn child), and was about to use the word "heartfelt". Just then, I noticed I may have heard the word almost exclusively in the context of a sad ...
0
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1answer
80 views

the mean of “one's bearing” in the sentence [closed]

What is the mean of "one's bearing" in the sentence "To be a conqueror in appearance, in one's bearing, is the first step toward success."? I referred to dictionary and searched but I didn't ...
0
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2answers
145 views

Use of “lacerate”

I read this newspaper article which quotes someone saying: I must do the penance that lacerates me. What does this mean? 'Lacerate' means to tear, so I don't see the connection. Did the speaker ...
0
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4answers
187 views

What's the most common word refer to the after death letter?

I am confused between : Will, legacy, Commandment, Precept, Behest, Testament and more. Which word refer to the declaration or the message by which a person ask the world to do certain things after ...
0
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3answers
57 views

Which word is better, damage or defile?

I think I look like Brad Peter. – Oh, you are damaging my idol. (He is far from Brad’s look). I mean my friend’s words made me feel uncomfortable because my idol was compared to something much ...
0
votes
1answer
102 views

What does “amortized” mean

In this link I see following: A recent talk about unordered_map in C++ made me realize, that I should use unordered_map for most cases where I used map before, because of the efficiency of lookup ...
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3answers
69 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 ...
0
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1answer
82 views

To “fling oneself on his/her face” — expression

What does this phase "fling oneself on his/her face" mean in the following context? Winston promptly flung himself on his face.
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3answers
308 views

What is the difference between chickens and birds?

I watched news about turkeys this morning and instead of calling them chickens the news anchor called them birds. In my opinion, turkeys are sub-type of chickens. They are not a bird because they ...
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2answers
103 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
124 views

Meaning of “to fall smack on her overextended haunches”

In a tutorial on ballet classes, I came across the following sentence: Once a star is born, she is given every imaginable opportunity to fall smack on her overextended haunches. I do not ...