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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
3answers
54 views

Meaning of “holloway”

Does it mean just "hollowed underground way" or there is something else? Word is taken from fantasy text.
1
vote
1answer
46 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
33 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... ...
1
vote
5answers
95 views

You will have to Vs Have to

I have across this, in a recent conversation with an educationalist. During our conversation regarding higher education; He said, "you will have to do that". Is it the right phrase? What is the ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Difference between “robot”, “machine”, and “automaton”

What is the difference in meaning between a robot, a machine, and an automaton? I was inspired to ask this because I really can’t understand the subtle (or not so subtle) difference in meaning here. ...
-2
votes
2answers
68 views

What calls are you making? [on hold]

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Reason vs. purpose

Just now I wanted to explain why I was doing something, then I wrote "the purpose of doing something is blablabla". Immediately I wondered why I didn't write "the reason of doing something is ...
-1
votes
4answers
28 views

paraphrase this sentence [on hold]

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.
10
votes
7answers
14k views

What is the meaning of the term “herbert” in British slang?

In the song Get Out of My House by The Business, the chorus is: Out, out get out of my house, you'd better take your sheepskin too no son of mine's going round as a hippie or a scruffy little ...
-1
votes
1answer
23 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
votes
0answers
26 views

how do i respond to this email? [on hold]

How do i respond in a way that is sincere but has a snide message to make the sender feel awkward for sending it. It is implying that I made them feel awkward for making them have to write it. ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Grease quote explanation “Pinkslips ownership papers?”

My son loves Grease and watches it over and over. So I am starting memorizing it all, but there are some phrases I don't understand. Please explain exactly what this part means (it is before the car ...
8
votes
6answers
999 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

What does “keeping someone in shoe leather” means?

In the following sentence: Unless your work is pro-bono, you should make sure that your customers keep you in shoe leather. What does "keeping someone in shoe leather" means?
1
vote
1answer
30 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
19 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
66 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
60 views

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

The moon shone on his face as he spoke, and the girl was pleased to watch it, it seemed to breathe such an innocent and old-world kindness of disposition, yet with something high too, as of a ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Meaning of “Military Cuts Our Specialty” in a barbershop window [migrated]

I don't understand the meaning of "Military cuts our specialty".
1
vote
1answer
68 views

What does “where's waldo” mean in this context?

The student thinks that he can where's waldo their way to the answer Now, does it mean it's gonna be a cinch or a sisyphean task? Again, if I add a little detail, The student thinks that he ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

Only a waning candle sheds its light around

I found above mentioned sentence in a article is it some proverb? What does this mean? Below I am copying paragraph where I found this. May be this would be helpful to answer. Only a waning candle ...
1
vote
3answers
566 views

Meaning of “at least Dick Turpin wore a mask”

I tried to sell my stuff and one of the guys asked me if I could bargain on the item and I said no. He replied with the message, At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. What does that mean?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the meaning of “plays in the minds of someone”?

What's the meaning of the phrase "plays in minds of someone". For example, in the sentence below. The significance of the IELTS is a fact that plays in the minds of hopeful migrants like Mr. ...
0
votes
0answers
59 views

Why use “modestly” to describe Moller in this paragraph?

I have copied this excerpt from a NPR news transcript below ALSOP: Isn't it nice? It's very pleasant and sunny and sounds like spring time. And, you know, it really belies the enormity of this ...
0
votes
3answers
42 views

Got their wires crossed. [closed]

Regarding a policy meeting I read: the meeting was a complete disaster, all members got their wires crossed before everybody left. Does it mean that they quarrelled and came to blows?
1
vote
3answers
199 views
2
votes
2answers
76 views

“than such as” + Predicate

To Alexander Hamilton Mount Vernon Novr 10th 1787. ... The new Constitution has, as the public prints will have informed you, been handed to the people of this state by an unanimous ...
0
votes
0answers
10 views

Meaning of “call it” in The Avengers [migrated]

I have been studying English by reading The Avengers script. Here are two passages. The Avengers look up, watching as more Leviathans and hundreds of warriors fly through the portal. — Natasha: ...
2
votes
2answers
253 views

What exactly does “tally ho” mean?

I heard this tally ho in a youtube video (British). I also heard it in the movies "Jack the Giant Slayer", and "Spiderman 1". I understand it's some kind of expression or exclamation or idiom to say ...
0
votes
0answers
4 views

Insert or Enter? [migrated]

What is the difference between Insert and Enter? If I have a form to fill in, which legend is better? Insert your data or Enter your data Thanks, Nk
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Is there a difference between “select” and “selected”?

When flying, I often read phrases like the following: Special Meals only available on select flights […] Then again, wouldn't it also make sense to say Special Meals only available on ...
2
votes
4answers
497 views

Meaning of “phoenix” in “Japan was a phoenix destroyed by the war”

An excerpt from the transcript of a lecture: And after that MacArthur stayed in Japan for six years working with the Emperor Hirohito and the new Japanese government, building its government and ...
0
votes
5answers
83 views

Why are there a lot of different types of the same verb?

Sometimes, I come across with strange 'ordinary' verbs which has two forms and they are not phrasal verbs: You have to bandage that cut. You have to bandage up that cut. Chop the onions ...
4
votes
2answers
382 views

'Mushed' meaning

I've been translating the song by Johnny Horton, North to Alaska and was stuck on the word mushed: He talked to his team of huskies as he mushed on through the snow Searching through the ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

What is a “travel validation”?

I'm currently trying to understand the DS-2019 form that I need to fill for a J1 visa. One thing I don't understand is this: What is a "travel validation"? What does it (in this context) mean to ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

“I do” in the end of a sentence

In the sentence "I love my veg I do" what is the purpose of the "I do" part? It seems to me that it gives a sprinkle of assertiveness, but a definite explanation would really help.
1
vote
5answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “she can be obtuse”?

A friend of mine once described a mutual acquaintance in this way: She can be obtuse. The dictionary definition of "obtuse" seems to suggest a "lack of intellect or intelligence". However, this ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

“Useless like tits on a log” vs. “tits on a bull” vs. “tits on a turtle” and so forth

I was reading an online book and there was the expression "useless like tits on a log". I googled to find more about this expression and I found a similar one: "useless like tits on a bull". Which ...
2
votes
4answers
226 views

Etymology of the phrase “Twenty-three Skidoo” as used in “Hey Arnold!”

The phrase “Twenty-Three Skidoo” has a very interesting and mysterious history described very thoroughly by the wikipedia article on the phrase. However, this article seems to indicate it’s usually ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Meaning of “Preparation of x, y and z and …”

I have a question related to this example sentence: Preparation of Isometrics, bill of material of all lines and supporting details of all lines below 2-1/2" except lines under IBR and get ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What does “Soviet time tactics - No give bucks and muddy the water” (If I heard it right) mean?

In our English language listening circle, we unanimously heard AP Radio News (aired on March 31) refering to Russia’s action on Crimea anexation by force as follows: Former ambassador, Michael ...
0
votes
3answers
73 views

How do I answer “Where do you work?”

What are the main purposes to ask someone 'Where do you work?' apart from to find out the type of place he or she works in? I can answer: I work in a shop. I work in a hospital. I work in an ...
1
vote
3answers
74 views

What is the difference between deep space and outer space?

Outer space is frequently defined as the area outside the atmosphere of Earth (or another planetary or stellar body). Deep space is defined as either a synonym for outer space (Google's definition) ...
-1
votes
4answers
76 views

What word (e.g. eventually vs potentially) does express better the following scenario? [closed]

The scenario: a) John believes that Peter Parker has a PhD degree. b) Peter Parker is the spider man, but John does not know about this. Which sentence does express the scenario in the best ...
12
votes
5answers
7k views

What does “canonical” mean?

Sometimes I read a sentence containing the word canonical, but I cannot find appropriate meaning of the word. For example, in this link: Returns a canonical representation for the string object. ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

“Lick on a trick for a Rolex” — meaning?

I heard this line in the rap song Ghetto Bird by Ice Cube (full lyrics here) and I'm completely puzzled by its meaning. My homey's here to lick on a trick for a Rolex And let me try the four ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Meaning of “In a medium” [closed]

What is the meaning of “in a medium” in the following sentence? A major objective in a heat transfer problem is to determine the temperature distribution in a medium resulting from imposed ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

Is “…written by the author it claims to be and not by someone passing themselves for them” correct?

I have a question to this sentence: Sometimes you need to know if the book was really written by the author it claims to be and not by someone passing themselves off as them. Is that correct? I ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Meaning of “even as”

Anjou and Maine both given unto the French! Cold news for me; for I had hope of France, Even as I have of fertile England's soil. (2H6 I.i.236) What does even as mean in this verse? I ...
-4
votes
1answer
31 views

What is the meaning of 'dismiss'? [closed]

I cannot understand the meaning of 'dismiss' in this sentence. 'Dismiss' doesn't mean 'ignore' or 'fire'? In this context, I guess 'dismiss' would have the positive meaning, but the meaning in ...