This tag is for questions related to definitions and nuances of meaning of a word or phrase.

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5
votes
6answers
10k views

“Ineffectual” vs “ineffective”

Skeptics argue that these kinds of initiatives are doomed to remain perennially peripheral and ineffectual. Intuitively, changing ineffectual to ineffective in the sentence above seems to ...
0
votes
0answers
7 views

Stuck while reading a blog

What does it mean- "why might that be? " This is the complete sentence:If America’s universities are indeed poor value for money, why might that be?
1
vote
0answers
39 views

What does someone not good at "faking cheer” mean?

There was the following passage in New Yorker's (March 25) article titled "A bad day in American-Israeli relations: “I talk to him all the time. He is representing his country’s interests the ...
4
votes
2answers
296 views

“Tommyknockers”: why the “tommy” prefix in AmE?

From The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to run, don't know if I can, 'cause I'm so afraid of ...
0
votes
3answers
39 views

Umbrella term for organizations that help people?

Is there a word besides humanitarian which we could use to describe any organization (non-profit, charity, volunteer, or otherwise) whose explicit purpose is to help people? Is that precisely what ...
5
votes
2answers
277 views

Does the phrase 'human race' allude to the idea of a relay?

Describing the history of humanity as a 'race' might seem odd to a listener who hadn't heard it before. Is the image behind this phrase alluding to the idea that human beings reproduce and pass on ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

What kinds of educational institutions do people call “school”?

It often confuses me when english speaking people say something about their "school" and later I discover that what they meant is some kind of college. In Russian language, which I am a native speaker ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

What does “the gum-treed sky” mean? [on hold]

Extract: The Whales by Evie Wyld There are four of them footslogging single file along the trail. They sweat and wave their sticks at the flies, spitting the salt off their lips and feeling the ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

“Product detail page” or “product details page”?

As a name for a (web) page that shows detailed information about a product, which of the following is better fitting/correct: product details page or product detail page Or is there an ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

A word for 'to empathize without identifying with'

I'm looking for a verb or noun that refers to our capacity to abstract someone else’s experience or experiences vicariously. Such a word would be good for describing what it takes to be able to ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

What does “Who's down to go” means? [duplicate]

What does "Who's down to go" or "Who's down to go with me" means?
1
vote
2answers
78 views

What does “What a make!” mean?

Stumbled across this on a photography forum. All the bells, dials and whistles on this one. I handled her once. Nice! But surprisingly heavy. The impression of weight (and a lasting impression ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the meaning of “paint it black” and when to use it?

I stumbled upon the phrase "paint it black" in a tv series (Elementary) and was wondering what does it exactly mean? Also, in which situations would you use it normally? Except when you tell the ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

Sometimes “you don't want to do that” means “I dont want you to do that.” Is there any opposite saying? [on hold]

Sometimes "you don't want to do that" means "I don't want you to do that". It is said that some great bosses will use these words when they want to help you think through. Is there any opposite ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

What's the meaning of scriptionist? [on hold]

I made some research and it seems that's not a word, but I could be wrong. So, what's the meaning of it, if it has one, and what's the first impression you get when you read the word? Edits: Well, I ...
2
votes
3answers
123 views

Term for using Google or other search engines to cheat at trivia?

In a most meta act, I've been trying to search for such a term, but as you may have guessed, it's extremely difficult to get meaningful results when including the words in my question. Lots of noise, ...
9
votes
10answers
1k views

What's the word for the facial expression over an unexpected disappointment?

If your friend says something sarcastic to you unexpectedly when you are talking about something that makes you exited or your innermost feelings and makes you feel stupid. What's the most widely ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

How to make sentence using big words? [on hold]

I don't know how to make it in sentence with some words like the word Distinguish meaning different. For example Coke can and 7up can are distinguish because it is different flavours. Normal Coke ...
3
votes
2answers
494 views

The person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it

The person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it. ...anonymous quote. What does this phrase mean? It seems to suggest that if you marry for money, you will earn all of the money ...
1
vote
2answers
45 views

It would be… vs. it could be

When doorbell rings and i think it is my friend at the door, what should I say? "It would be my friend at the door" or "It could be my friend at the door" What is the difference between the above ...
0
votes
1answer
291 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
1
vote
4answers
14k views

“stress” vs. “distress”

From Cambridge dictionary, stress - great worry caused by a difficult situation. distress - extreme worry, sadness, pain. I'm not sure if the words 'distress' and 'stress' have the same ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Defference between ''may'' and ''may well''

What's the difference between may and may well in following sentences? Besides, which sentence says it is more likely to rain? It may rain. It may well rain.
14
votes
3answers
9k views

Fine semantic differences between “thus” and “therefore”

I have seen a few Q&A's with this title but none really reflects my question. I am aware both are adverbs and so forth and how they syntactically can be used equivalently, but what about ...
78
votes
20answers
14k views

Is “women men girls love meet die” a valid sentence?

Is "women men girls love meet die" a valid sentence? If so, what does it mean? The sentence shows up in academic papers about the "Sausage Machine" for natural language processing. (A google will ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

What does “#Race together” mean? Is this a perfect English sentence?

Starbucks decided to stop their baristas writing “Race together” on customers’ cups in response to raging public criticism. Totally apart from political, social, or racial dispute involved in this ...
0
votes
1answer
629 views

What is the meaning of ''until the shine wears off''?

I love the songs Lost! and Lost? (well, it's the same song but in different versions) by Coldplay. In these songs, we can hear: I just got lost Every river that I tried to cross Every ...
1
vote
4answers
107 views

What's the meaning of 'What do I care?' [on hold]

I guess that expression is used when someone is talking about something that he/she doesn't want to care about, I mean, 'Why do I have to care about? I don't want.' Is my guess correct?
0
votes
2answers
109 views

Who does “who” apply to in this example?

His governors, some of them incompetent and tactless, quarrelled bitterly with the people, who were constantly demanding greater political control. In this sentence, who are demanding greater ...
6
votes
2answers
277 views

Antecedent of “which” in “A man coming out of the backdoor of his house which is facing east”

In a recent quiz there was a question: A man coming out of the backdoor of his house which is facing east... In this scenario, should I understand the meaning to be 'the house is facing east,' ...
1
vote
2answers
134 views

Antecedent of “its” in “the dog attacked the cat and its friends” [duplicate]

The dog attacked the cat and its friends. Does the sentence imply that the dog attacked the cat and the cat's friends, or that it attacked the cat and the dog's friends? How would one properly ...
0
votes
4answers
176 views

Name for something that is being advertised

What would be the correct term for a thing that is being advertised? I am looking for something less generic than Product but can still be used across different business domains (so not something ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

On the target of “not”

I would like to know the target of the word "not" in the following sentence. The problem is that Britons were never given a chance to vote on whether they wanted the CCTV cameras set up or not. ...
-6
votes
1answer
191 views

Antecedent of “naked” in “I would like to paint a picture of you naked”

You’re such a pretty person, I would like to paint a picture of you naked. Does this mean "you’ll undress while I get my brushes", or does it mean "strike a pose while I take my clothes off"?
0
votes
1answer
58 views

What claims are there on the word 'ale' other than for 'cask-brewed real ale'?

The word ale has followed a movable pattern over the centuries, as the below extract from the OED will illustrate. The enduring characteristic of the word is that it has been employed in opposition ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

What is the difference between Mitigate and Mollify?

I have a feeling that mollify is used with anger and other emotions while mitigate can be used with severity of something such as punishment. Mitigate: to lessen in severity or to appease ...
0
votes
4answers
9k views

What is the difference between translation and transliteration

It's always intrigued me what the difference is between these two terms. I can guess that translation is a contextual translation whereby the original foreign text is maintained with any language ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

What does “dredging deep for steel” mean?

I read the leader column - 'Should an ex-jockey be allowed free rein as pseudo sleuth? (Answer: no, of course not.)' and then, dredging deep for steel, I finally returned to India Cathcar's piece. ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

I don't know how to put the meaning into sentences? [on hold]

When I search the meaning of a word in a book, I can understand it, but sometime it's hard, because some words have different meanings. So after reading and finding the meaning I understand it, but ...
1
vote
4answers
270 views

How high is “probability” in terms of likelihood as compared with “possibility”?

There is the following famous line in the book, “Life Lessons” co-authored by Elisabeth Kuble-Ross, an expert on death and dying and her colleague, David Kessler, “We all live with the possibility ...
-1
votes
0answers
35 views

Is there a word for helping someone when you are better equipped than them?

Is there a word or phrase for doing a favour or helping someone because you are in a better position than them to get it done? For example, it would take me a lot longer to herd some cattle than it ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

What “order in advance” means?

I am buying somethings from one site and I aways see this phase: "Order in Advance". Order in advance for your specific needs! This mean that I need to order (or buy) a lot of things to have my ...
-1
votes
3answers
47 views

Is it correct to say “he tells me” in the following: [on hold]

What is the best way to indicate that there have been ongoing conversations where one has continued to discuss the same topic over time? He tells me that they are getting divorced. OR He has been ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

“eclipsed public knowledge of all economists—better ones, he says— before Smith.” Meaning of this sentence

Even Smith’s critics do not deny the book’s immense influence. Murray Rothbard levels the criticism that The Wealth of Nations, in fact, eclipsed public knowledge of all economists—better ones, ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

logic Programing [on hold]

"Anyone who is thin, tall and energetic will be good basketball player. Some people are tall but not good basketball players. Anyone who do exercise or eating healthy food will be energetic. Saman is ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What is the meaning of sarcastic? [on hold]

I've searched this term on internet. It shows various meanings of sarcastic which means that this word is a slang. However i just want to know the meaning of sarcastic in this very particular line ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

What does “stage-cutch” mean?

I would like to ask about the meaning of "stage-cutch" in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. it appeared in my translation test this afternoon and I didn't find any definition of it. In my opinion, ...
0
votes
3answers
44 views

If A is a component of B, then what is B relative to A?

For example, we have the concepts of mentor and mentee, or trainer and trainee: If person A is a trainer of person B than person B is a trainee of person A. How can I apply a similar concept for ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

What does 'Extreme end of the Spectrum' mean? [on hold]

"The rioting is only the extreme end of the spectrum of bad behaviour by British youth and young adults." What does it mean? Thank you!
-1
votes
2answers
51 views

Can “for” work as “compared to”?

Human capital is vastly increased Crowdsourcing brings people together to solve problems. Yet far fewer than one per cent of the world’s population is involved. We need expand human capital. ...