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

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3
votes
7answers
990 views

What could be a single word or phrase for the one who helps people to achieve their goals?

I was just wondering about this word to suggest it to my friend to use it for the NGO he is going to start soon.
12
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
88 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

“Syndicate something to boot” Definition [on hold]

What is the meaning of the bolded part? Fewer people seek critical opinion, especially when they’ve been bludgeoned by aggressive (and effective, as it turns out) viral marketing campaigns that ...
0
votes
2answers
31 views

“Short of” meaning in “means of finding an audience short of landing a job as a critic.”

what does the bolded part means? An established New York critic admitted to me a certain amount of bitter envy, for when he was coming up in the ranks, there were no outlets in which to express ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Meaning of “niche” in “he knows the niches of this or that genre”

He knows the niches of this or that genre. Which meaning is intended here? He is a master at every genre and knows everything about them. He has a shallow knowledge about every genre.
0
votes
3answers
108 views

What does “biased in your favour” mean in this sentence?

I checked several dictionaries and googled and checked previous biased-related questions here including Is it "biased towards" or "biased against"?, Word for being biased ...
-1
votes
0answers
25 views

As the final vote on Medicare was being tallied and the outcome became clear [on hold]

As the final vote on Medicare was being tallied and the outcome became clear, one member of the Republican leadership stormed out of the House center-aisle doors, in exasperation turned to the ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “A.C. or D.C.?”

In Heinlein's A stranger in a strange land, there is a moment when nurse Jill kisses Martian man named Mike and another man, Jubal, puts a comment on it. It comes as follows: “Son,” he said, “you ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

“What do you be?”

A guy in this video comes up with a very unusual greeting: Hello, top of the morning to ya! What do you say? What do you be? I know that the first sentence is an old Irish idiom. But what is the ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “for my sins”?

I have a sentence: No, Sir, for my sins, I am not a regular church-goer. What does "for my sins" mean in this case? The phrase is from a book but not published yet and I am translating it to ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Antedecent of “velocity u” in “particles moving in a medium with macroscopic velocity u”

In the following sentence, whose velocity is u? The particles or the medium? For particles moving in a medium with macroscopic velocity u: The normalized Maxwell’s distribution function (Eq. ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

Meaning of ‘draw out’

I’m translating an English novel into Italian but I’m stuck on the meaning of one sentence and I was wondering if you could help me: Why—his voice seemed to draw out soft and subtle, it penetrated ...
1
vote
2answers
49 views

Is usage of the word epitome in a negative sense correct?

Can the word epitome be used in a negative context like in this statement He is the epitome of corruption. And should I be using the epitome instead of an epitome?
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Meaning of “to be Accounts Receivable for someone”

I understand what accounts receivable are, and I understand what factoring is. But I don't understand what the phrase "to be accounts receivable for someone" means, e.g. "I'm accounts receivable for ...
1
vote
3answers
51 views

what is the meaning of the phrase “In the interest of honesty”?

Recently I came up on a question: In the interest of honesty, are you minimizing any important details that your prospects should know? What is the meaning of the phrase in this context ?
1
vote
1answer
36 views

What does “Tingling toes” mean?

I was listening to a song Top of the world by Bridgit Mendler. She sung some words I'm weak in the knees when... You're holding me close.. got tingling toes tonight What does tingling toes mean ...
-1
votes
0answers
28 views

Does ‘close’ sometimes now mean ‘in close contact’? [closed]

Does ‘close’ sometimes now mean ‘in close contact’, rather than ‘on affectionate and intimate terms’ in expressions like these: We are close. I thought the two of you were close.
3
votes
2answers
36 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “cut five sides in [something]”?

I was browsing the Elvis Presley page on Wikipedia when I read a strange sentence: During a two-week leave in early June, Presley cut five sides in Nashville. I've never heard this phrase ...
2
votes
2answers
80 views

The Appendix in Orwell's 1984 [closed]

After answering a question in SciFi if the Big Brother existed as a real person, I got responses that the last chapter, the Appendix (which can be found here), definitely proves that Oceania ceased to ...
0
votes
2answers
24 views

implication behind “can I ask you to …”

Is there any difference between these two sentences ? (1) Can I ask you to ...[do something]? (2) Can you ... [do something]? Eg., if my boss were to say to me "Can I ask you to pick up the ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

What is the meaning of this line of Andrew Marvell's poem?

O do not run too fast, for I will but bespeak thy grave, and die – Andrew Marvell in The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn Is the Nymph addressing the fawn here, saying "I will bear ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

What does “You hit singles, you hit doubles,” mean?

Roger Cohen, New York Times’ op-ed columnist wrote under the caption, “Ambivalence about America” in New York Times August 18 issue.; Geostrategic shifts over the past year indicate that the ...
0
votes
3answers
107 views

What is the meaning of “a trouvaille, mon cher”? [closed]

I was reading A Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde and came across this line. Can someone explain it to me? "An amazing model?' shouted Jain at the top of his voice; 'I should think so! Such ...
1
vote
1answer
156 views

What's the difference between degree and grade?

Maybe I am wrong but sometimes I am pretty sure to have seen something like "I graduated in my university with a degree of 105". Shouldn't "grade" be used in this case? I though that "degree" was ...
3
votes
3answers
112 views

Does “Can I have lunch with you?” imply I have something to talk about with that person? [closed]

Last week, I asked one of my coworkers to have lunch with me. I messaged him "Can I have lunch with you?" and he reply "No, I have a meeting until 2pm" Then around 4 pm, he walked to my desk and ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

What is the difference between “X is needed” and “X is necessary”?

Do the following two sentences mean the same? A: If you improve the quality of your data, less data is needed to achieve an error rate of 30%. B: If you improve the quality of your data, less ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

“a due information”

Hamilton quickly focused on the last part of his opponent’s argument as support for his attempt to introduce evidence of the truthfulness of his client’s publications. Hamilton offered the ...
4
votes
2answers
338 views

Can food be described as “nice”?

Can food be described as 'nice'? This food is nice; This dish is nice. I always thought it could be, but I was speaking to a few friends and they argued (and strongly may I add) otherwise.
-2
votes
2answers
119 views

What does “f***ing pay” mean? [closed]

I have never seen "fucking pay" before. what does it mean. I have read this in this sentences " Let's hope you're right. that's all I have to say. Because otherwise... you know? soneone, somewhere is ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Word for when you think of anyone and they call you

Is there a word when you think of someone and he suddenly shows up or calls you ?
1
vote
1answer
93 views

“Elves and Men, the Firstborn and the Followers”

This is a quote from Silmarillion, but I really do not know if there are two meanings or one. Because on my language this "Followers" can means that come after the Firstborn or those who likes ...
41
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “Barack Obama’s real crime is presiding while black” mean?

I thought it’s unusual for me to be able to come to the end of Maureen Dowd’s’ article without any second thoughts on her particular turn of phrases when I’ve read today’s NYT article titled “Reindeer ...
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.
1
vote
1answer
44 views

what is the meaning of “the family dynamic” and “Textbook Case”? [closed]

I encountered the terms “the family dynamic” and “Textbook Case” in the play The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris. I want to know what they mean. At page 58: Clay: Kelly was abused. Carol: ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

'of a kind prescribed'

In civil cases, in the Queen’s Bench Division, there is a right to a jury under section 69 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 if: ... 3. any question or issue of a kind prescribed is raised [but ...
11
votes
4answers
55k views

What does “10-4 ” mean?

I could have asked this question personally to my respected colleague who gave me a valuable answer to the question, “Is the ‘tame the infinite becoming an idiom or a popular phrase,” which I posted ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

Origin of the term 'bastard sword'

In many computer games (usually role playing games), there is an item called a bastard sword. Why is this name used, and does it bear any relation to the usual meaning of the term bastard?
4
votes
3answers
747 views

What does ‘alpha’ mean in the phrase, “A plea came for the President to be more alpha.”

I find the articles of New York Times’ columnist, Maureen Dowd, a treasure house of English expressions unfamiliar to non-native English learners. It’s stud with knotty expressions and new words to ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

What does “No pressure” mean when you’re meeting someone new?

Time magazine (6 Aug 2014) carries an article titled “Our Brains Immediately Judge People” and subtitled “We make calls on trustworthiness almost instantly” that says research at Dartmouth College and ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

can you give me a synonym for “ accumulated wisdom”?

who can explain for me what exactly the " accumulated wisdom" mean? I mean in this sentence from a play by Bruce Norris" KELLY : Right. I think the point is, I hope? that the accumulated wisdom of ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

What does “[Country] out” mean in the context of a photo description?

In the last photo of a slideshow of the 69th anniversary of Hiroshima bombing, there's a description of the photo, plus what I assume is metadata-ish content (emphasis added): U.S. Ambassador to ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Meaning of “cold finality”

In an American case in 1937, Justice Clarkson said this before delivering his dissent: In those after years when this case, elevated to high authority by the cold finality of the ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

What does “broken lives” mean?

The following is a comment made by a poster in response to this article: Absolutely correct. Intentionally obscuring who you are and what your desires are may lead to heartache and in rare ...
1
vote
3answers
57 views

Past progressive construction

I’m confused about how to construct a past progressive sentence. If I say these: I was walking in the park. I was singing in the bathroom. Would these sentences be considered to be in past ...
0
votes
0answers
56 views

Meaning of “quantify” in a dating context

Someone said: "You can always quantify things", as in "* Internet and all that stuff is just that. People are people and you can always quantify things." I'm Dutch/American, but am having a really ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “4-year advanced seminar” mean in this passage about the office of Vice President?

I’m reading Jeffrey Archer’s “The Prodigal Daughter” at a snail pace and came across the following sentence describing the scene where Florentyna Kate, the female candidate for Presidency answers the ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Logic behind “at most”

Does the term 'at most' mean there is at least one?
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Use of “concretely” for “specifically”

I have sometimes seen people using concretely in places where I would normally use specifically. I am not sure if both words correctly apply or if concretely is just a mistranslation from another ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

Meaning of snobbishly [closed]

I'm reading The Great Gatsby and on the second page it says: As my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth. ...