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

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1answer
45 views

What does “older faith” mean in this sentence?

I've come across a sentence in God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens and don't understand what older faith means here. "Extra ecclesiam, nulla salus," as the older faith used to say. “Within ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Does the word, ‘peruse’ have a single meaning of ‘attentive reading,’ or double, contradicting meanings of ‘attentive’ and ‘cursory’ reading?

I’m confused to find opposite definitions in the same word, ‘peruse’ in Readers English Japanese Dictionary published by a leading foreign language dictionary publisher in Japan. It defines ‘peruse’ ...
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2answers
236 views

What does the phrase “woman who does” mean?

I've first heard the phrase on QI (season 3 episode 6) where Stephen Fry uses it as rhyming slang for "buzz" Bill: "Woman"? Stephen: "Woman who does": buzz. Bill: Buzz. Phill: ...
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6answers
1k views

How does “among” vs “between” affect the meaning of this sentence from the Times?

I realize that this has been discussed elsewhere on the site, but I was interested in the use of the preposition "among" in a sentence from a story in yesterday's New York Times: Research done by ...
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1answer
91 views

GRE question - not convinced with the answer

Should we really care for the greatest actors of the past could we have them before us? Should we find them too different from our accent of thought, of feeling, of speech, in a thousand minute ...
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1answer
43 views

mom-husband-wife thing

I heard this one on TV, too. Here is the quote: Narrator: Sara is isolated geographically and emotionally from her family and friends. A friend: Five years had gone by where we were doing ...
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0answers
29 views

hit the road (meaning in context)

I was watching a show on TV (I escaped my killer) and Lisa Noland is dropped off after being raped several times by her attacker and to her surprise he doesn't kill her, drops her off at her ...
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1answer
27 views

What does “nothing that” mean?

I read this article- Greeks take to the streets for dueling rallies that reflect a divided nation in Washington post. And I'm confused about what the "nothing that" means in this part : The ...
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1answer
160 views

Is “cause” instead of “because” becoming Standard English?

Nowadays, I'm seeing a drastic increase in usage of cause in place of because, especially in written English. People are in such a hurry, that a statement like below passes off like Standard English: ...
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1answer
47 views

What does 'get something about me' in this context?

I am reading 'The Invisible Man' by H.G.Wells and there is this scene. Griffin(the invisible man) broke in Dr.Kemp's house and they met. After Griffin finally made Kemp understood that he is actually ...
2
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1answer
43 views

What is proverbial town pump?

"Patrick Wethered was as well known as the proverbial town pump; his mysterious and tragic death filled all Dublin with dismay. The lawyer, who was a man sixty years of age, had been struck on the ...
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3answers
32k views

“All but” idiom has two meanings?

Here's two ways I've seen the "all, but" idiom used: "Close all tabs but this one" (Any modern application with a number of tabs might have this as an option.) It means "close all the tabs, but not ...
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1answer
61 views

What does “one” refer to in this sentence?

Here I am with a Hitchens sentence again! I can't come up with an exact part or parts one might be referring to in the following sentence. (Please note, however, that I will give the whole preceding ...
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1answer
32 views

What does “facility” mean in the context of fitness certification? [on hold]

I want to host a fitness certification. So, i have to fill this form. But i didn't understand what facility means in this context therefore i can't find the best word to put in that field. What does ...
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1answer
34 views

Can I use instance and case like this?

I want to write something about Android bus tracking system based on crowdsourcing, where the routes are determined by wifi: "In order to exclude instances of passing buses, it only cases are ...
2
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1answer
45 views

What is the meaning of this “go in and out”? [on hold]

What is the meaning of this "go in and out": (from Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet) The chipmunk said in a pleased voice: "My day." He sat there and listened while the bat said: In and out the ...
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3answers
82 views

Can I say “awaken me from my naive view”?

I found out that the same product tended to mean different things for different people. For one person, a lipstick brought confidence. For another, it was just a simple pigment. This experience ...
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3answers
56 views

What does “delinquent” mean in this context? [closed]

I'm more or less aware of the meanings of the word delinquent. However, I can't decide what it exaclty means in the following quote which is from god is not Great by Christopher Hitchens and where he ...
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3answers
115 views

Good Luck **in** all your endeavors' versus Good Luck **to** all your endeavors'

What is the difference between 'I am currently busy with family stuff so I really don't know when is a good time to catch up. Good Luck in all your endeavors' versus 'I am currently busy with family ...
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1answer
112 views

What is the meaning of “ironically” in this passage?

A rocket launched and shortly afterward exploded, on Tuesday. Below is passage from a news article written about it: This was the second launch attempt for the mission. Monday evening's try was ...
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3answers
13k views

I am on “annual leave”?

This one has been bothering me the past couple of weeks. On many (most!) people's email auto-responders, when they go on holiday, they set it to something along the lines of: I am currently on ...
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1answer
52 views

Reading Comprehension Question: How to narrow down to correct answer? [closed]

Passage (Its a bit long) The pioneers of the teaching of science imagined that its introduction into education would remove the conventionality, artificiality, and backward-lookingness which ...
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4answers
133 views

differentiating between all that and what

Original (extracted from the book The Scarlet Letter): Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. My own rephrased sentences: Like whatever that pertains ...
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0answers
36 views

One inference question - how many answers do you see? [closed]

I teach English to high schoolers in Korea, and there is this one question which makes me scratch my head. In order not to give you any ideas before your getting into the question, I will simply put ...
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1answer
31 views

Nobody would believe what an effort it is **to do what little I am able**,--to dress and entertain, and order things

Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able,--to dress and entertain, and order things. (a part of "Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman) I don't ...
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1answer
39 views

Meaning of a good scrap [closed]

The context is as follows. Quick on his feet, Barney could sniff a weakness in the prosecution's case and would pounce on opposing witnesses. He was a brutal cross-examiner and loved a good scrap. ...
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1answer
59 views

What does 'drinkle' mean? [closed]

I came across the word "drinkle" in the sentence: It's one of the Drinkle girls. I Googled it, but I couldn't find anything helpful.
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2answers
67 views

Reading Comprehension question

Here is a GRE practice question that I have an issue with. It is given here, Question #7. Passage: French cuisine is highly regarded all over the world. Yet in Paris there are more ...
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2answers
159 views

How to determine which definition of 'contingent'?

This quote was revealed to exemplify Definition 1, but working backwards, how would you determine the meaning of contingent? Even after seeing the context, I'm still vacillating between definitions 1 ...
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3answers
70 views

What does “bet-covering” mean in this context?

As always, I'm stuck in a Hitchens sentence from God Is Not Great. Here it is: If you believe in god and there is a god, you win. If you believe in him and you are wrong — so what? I once wrote a ...
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2answers
58 views

To be sound in doing something?

I've looked up each and every possible meanings of sound. I've reduced the options to two or so. But I still find it hard to ascertain the meaning of sound and the way its is used in this context. ...
0
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1answer
40 views

the switch went on (definition)

I heard this in a documentary. The speaker is some serial killer who claims he started his rampage after watching a video. He goes like this: "I put one of the videos in and what came on the ...
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1answer
56 views

“to appear in the dock on”

I'm new here. This is my first question. What's the meaning of the sentence with italic/bold. I'm writing complete passage to make simpler. He was described by prosecuting lawyers as the alleged ...
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3answers
963 views

Why would a cynic be offended by fantasy?

I just came across the sentence Like most people today, Judy was a cynic and was offended by the slightest hint of fantasy. According to the dictionary, a cynic is : a person who believes ...
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0answers
26 views

Reading Comprehension GRE

The article “Shock therapy for mental patients will be reviewed” continues the ignorant tradition of demonizing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the media (the very use of the ...
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2answers
59 views

Meaning: 'take on a macabre ring'

I've come across a confusing phrase. This former Belgian possession is the most Christian country in Africa, boasting the highest percentage of churches per head of population, with 65 percent of ...
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3answers
128 views

What does unicorn mean in the following context?

The Black Adder s01e03 - The Archbishop. In the epilogue, Sister Sara asked the Mother Superior, So presumably you won't be needing the unicorn tonight? followed by a laughing track. Is she ...
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5answers
13k views

What does ‘play a blinder’ mean? Is it a popular phrase?

I came across the phrase ‘played a blinder’ in the following paragraph of the New York Times’ December 12 article, titled “British Euro Farce,” dealing with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto ...
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2answers
2k views

An explanation of the preface in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

I am currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, my grasp of English isn't very good and I'm puzzled over the meaning of a few sentences on the opening page. The highest as the lowest form of ...
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1answer
55 views

There you have it again?

I wonder if no one has asked it simply because it is so obvious, but I really can't grasp the exact meaning of there you have it (again). I occasionally infer it from the context but not every single ...
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3answers
96 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 ...
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8answers
908 views

What is the term used to define an answer which does not offend anyone?

For instance - I do not want to take anyone's side in a debate and when asked about my point of view, I end up giving a smart answer which does not offend anyone of them. What is the word for that ...
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2answers
51 views

Meaning of “if you want to exchange gear for promo”

What is the meaning of this model's response to a photograph? Well I have enough work on my plate, but if you want to exchange gear for promo, I'm always cool with that!
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1answer
70 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. What is it going to say? Or when such a sentence could be said?
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1answer
37 views

Meaning of “Industry Puzzled” [closed]

I'm not a native speaker and I have a bit of trouble with understanding the meaning of the term Industry Puzzled in a newspaper headline. Here is an example I found that uses the term: Biodiesel ...
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2answers
38 views

Who are belongers and emulators? [closed]

As part of a lengthy description of its Ideal Customer, a remodeling company says this: Our ideal customers are belongers and emulators - they entertain and love to have family around. A big draw ...
3
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3answers
86 views

What's the “tumbleweed” in tumbleweed badge?

Well I just earned one :). According to the description it's awarded to a question which receives literally no attention in a week. (Snapshot below) So it led me to the notion that a "tumbleweed" ...
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6answers
227 views

Why is the definite article used here?

They ran to the door of the cellar, but Toto was afraid, and he ran under the bed. — Chapter 1 of The Wizard of Oz(Oxford Bookworms Library Stage 1) In this book, There is no bed that has ...
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4answers
342 views

What is meant by “thank you” in quotes?

In two different emails, I have seen "thank you" placed in quotes. The first was a response to an email notice regarding an address change: “Thanks” for the e mail, I updated our system. And ...
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1answer
53 views

What does “wishful tradition” mean?

A passage from The Magus, by John Fowles, reads: The wishful tradition is that our family came over from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes- noble Huguenots remotely allied to ...