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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

1
vote
2answers
614 views

What does “brought low” mean in this sentence?

I'm reading Anna Katharine Green's A Strange Disappearance and found the following sentence: if the girl had a secret—as nearly all girls have, brought low as she has evidently been—it had ...
1
vote
3answers
547 views

what does “among the dead” mean?

I am reading a book that states the hero "knew himself to be among the dead". Does this means that he considered himself as good as dead, or that he understood that all the people around him were dead?...
1
vote
1answer
160 views

What does “disarm and waylay one's heart” mean?

In Salinger's "Paula" there is the following passage: "I so desperately want our baby born safely, darling. I’m afraid of falling. I’m afraid of a thousand things." Mrs. Hincher paused, suddenly ...
0
votes
1answer
148 views

What does “blow over someone's quest” mean?

What do the following sentences intend to convey to the reader? One blew over the industrialist's quest. One blew over the ford's quest.
3
votes
2answers
4k views

“On the first of every month” vs. “every first of the month”

What is the difference between the following two? On the first of every month... Every first of the month...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between “fun” and “interesting”

In Japanese, there is no difference in definition between fun and interesting in their adjective forms. I know that fun also has a noun and verb form in English, but I am wondering is there any ...
1
vote
1answer
10k views

What's the difference between “made from” and “made of” [duplicate]

What's the difference between "made from" and "made of"? Could anyone give me some examples?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is a “blue bird” the same as a “bluebird”?

Is “blue bird” in the following quotation from Lady Chatterley’s Lover referring to an actual bluebird? The lush, dark green of hyacinths was a sea, with buds rising like pale corn, while in the ...
1
vote
1answer
56 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
462 views

What is “a torn man”?

How can we understand "a torn man"? I found it in Love Is a Fallacy. I sat down in a chair and pretended to read a book, but out of the corner of my eye I kept watching Petey. He was a torn man. ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

What's the meaning of “clothing as meat bags”?

I'd like to know the meaning of clothing as meat bags as used in the second box of this comic strips.
0
votes
1answer
10k views

What does “eau” mean?

I read it from a jewelry website relating to a bottle of perfume or cologne maybe? Some sort of spray? I can't seem to find a definition on google. I'm assuming French roots.
1
vote
2answers
149 views

Is it proper to say “nor scarce” in this sentence?

Oh, were you never a schoolboy, And did you never train, And feel that swelling of the heart You never can feel again? Did you never meet, far down the street, With plumes and banners ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'?

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'? I really want to know because "knocked" in the song, doesn't make sense to me.
1
vote
1answer
78 views

How do you use “timbre of the times” and what does it mean?

How do you use "timbre of the times" and what does it mean? I read: Given the timbre of the times, I wouldn't have done it. Thanks.
-1
votes
1answer
117 views

help with the verb “is” [closed]

My friend told me about auxiliary (is); we are using is after what in questions like "What is his name?" and 'why there is' questions like "What season is it?". The main question is when to put is ...
1
vote
2answers
395 views

Meaning of “Write Off” in a particular context

This question is about a specific Seinfeld episode "The Package". For those that are familiar with the show, Kramer breaks-up Jerry stereo package and sends it back to him with a insurance. That way ...
0
votes
3answers
534 views

Going beyond something

Some years ago, I started to go beyond being a simple user. The meaning I want to give to the sentence is that after "some years ago" I'm not anymore a simple user but someone with a higher ...
0
votes
3answers
379 views

How best to write this sentence. Grade | Mark | Score related

I'm trying to figure out how best to write that I've been awarded for obtaining the second best (is it better to say highest?) grade|mark|score. I'm talking about the final grade|mark|score of a ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does “groove” mean “take pleasure in”?

The original meaning of "groove" is something like a cave, or as a verb, make a groove. Why can "groove" mean "take pleasure in" as a verb?
2
votes
2answers
532 views

What is the name of the grammar structure of the words in the sentences below [closed]

What is the name of the grammar structure for sentences or expressions in the examples below? Your coming here is always a pleasure!! Your talking to her made all the difference !! In these ...
11
votes
7answers
23k views

What does “ratchet” mean and when was it first used?

The word ratchet is all over Twitter. Some real examples from just now: "All these ghetto ass ratchet ass girls at mchi are wearing these Santa hats, and they all claim to be Santa..." "I was ...
2
votes
6answers
570 views

What word or phrase describes the quality of an assertion to be inbetween a fact and an opinion?

I'm looking for a word or phrase that describes a statement that is neither a scientific fact nor an opinion. Google defines opinion as "a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily ...
1
vote
4answers
15k views

What is the difference between “responsibility” and “obligation”?

I must admit that I am confused with these two words. For so long a time, I have been using them interchangeably. I have consulted the dictionary (of course) but I can't seem to pinpoint the glaring ...
1
vote
2answers
547 views

Why does “forgetive” mean “creative”, not “easy to forget things”?

As the title says. It surprised me when I found this online dictionary entry at the time I tried to express "easy to forget things" and "forgetive" appeared in my mind. What is the history or ...
6
votes
6answers
755 views

Single-word replacement for “by definition”?

Software that is free is that which, by definition, has its full source code published. I thought about definitionally, but after looking it up, it doesn't seem to be right.
0
votes
2answers
325 views

What does 'let the idea go begging' mean?

What does 'let the idea go begging' mean? Does it mean someone hesitates when making a decision?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “a woman of mean understanding” mean?

In the end of the first chapter of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet is described as a "woman of mean understanding". On the Web, I found two meanings: of little knowledge bad temper ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Can we say “torch relay” and “relay the torch”?

We saw this school is having torch relay (maybe it's correct), but I don't know if relay a torch is right. Eg, he is selected to relay the torch. If not, how do we usually say it?
4
votes
2answers
10k views

Is there a significant difference between “sorry,” “pardon” and “excuse me”? Are they interchangeable?

I was amused with the line, “Stand-alone 'sorry' may have dressed like a gentleman, but his heart was made of India rubber” in the article titled “A poor apology for a word” in December 13 New York ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
168 views

Metaphoric meaning of “racket”

How does the original meaning of racket lead to the following metaphoric meanings? an illegal or dishonest scheme for obtaining money a person’s line of business or way of life
11
votes
4answers
389k views

What does “thot” mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...
1
vote
2answers
424 views

Correct English words for trade 'source item' and 'destination item'

First of all, I hope I'm on the correct site asking a question, usually I'm around on Stack Overflow itself. So here's the story: I am designing a database table involving trading and I'd like to use ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Starting a sentence with “In the following, …”

My native language is German, where we have a phrase "Im Fol­gen­den" to start a sentence. In scientific writing (e.g., in a paper) can I start a sentence with In the following, we refer to three ...
5
votes
4answers
31k views

“Further, …” versus “Furthermore, …” at the beginning of a sentence (meaning the same thing)?

I am not a native speaker (my mother tongue is German). In the context of a technical paper (computer science), is there a difference between starting a sentence with Further, ... and starting it ...
0
votes
1answer
348 views

Hypocrisy definition clarification

According to Wikipedia: Hypocrisy is the state of falsely claiming to possess virtuous characteristics that one lacks. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

go there vs go up there

What is the difference between 'go up there' and 'go there'? Examples: The boys want to go up there. He didn't want to go there. Are they interchangeable in the above examples?
0
votes
2answers
470 views

Rouge or Rogue? [closed]

Is there a difference between the two? I want to write a sentence which says Users Go Mad, and would like to know the correct word to use here. Is this just American/British difference?
4
votes
5answers
11k views

What do you call the person sitting behind the driver on a bike?

I know pillion is a seat behind the rider of a horse or motorbike etc. I would like to know the word for the person sitting on pillion.
0
votes
2answers
747 views

What is meaning of “off” in this statement? [duplicate]

Would someone please explain this: "C++, pronounced "C plus plus," is a programming language that was built off the C language". What is meaning of "off" in this statement?
2
votes
3answers
194 views

Grapes and vintners

Please, can you translate this? These dregs are distilled until a clear liquid results that retains, supposedly, the vapors left behind by the grapes gone to the vintner. I suspect that the ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What does the word “trip” exactly mean in English? [closed]

My question is whether “trip” means experiences on the way to one’s destination or experiences after arriving at the destination? Or can it mean both?
1
vote
5answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
133 views

Can I say that a scientific field has been “polymorphic” if it has changed dramatically over time?

The field of artificial intelligence, abbreviated as AI, has been quite turbulent and polymorphic since its creation. If not, what other word or construct could I use? By polymorphic I meant that ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Word for “collecting money for a special event from a group of people”

What is the English word for "collecting money for a special event from a group of people"? For example, say some friends are planing a party. Each one has to contribute some amount of money to the ...
0
votes
1answer
91 views

“He started paying Carol to look after me”

Can anybody help me understand this sentence? He started paying Carol to look after me... Does it literally mean he started to give her money for looking after me or is there some other meaning ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“For all intents and purposes”

The phrase "for all intents and purposes" seems redundant and circular to me, because of the overlap of the meanings of the individual words: intend: have in mind as what one wishes to do or achieve. ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What are the uses of “totality”?

Often I find myself wanting to use 'totality' in a sentence that would otherwise work with 'total'. What are the correct usages of 'totality' given that both nouns describing the sum or completeness ...
0
votes
1answer
107 views

What is “Loan principal”?

I'm using an English financial application to keep track of my spending. When trying to categorize a transaction as a student loan payout, the closest built-in category I could find was "Loan ...