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

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5
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6answers
1k views

What does ‘Sport’ mean when you say ‘the new Apple iPad sports cameras for video conferencing’?

I found a phrase, ‘the new tablet of iPad can sport at least one camera for video conferencing’ in today’s Washington Post article reporting iPad 2. I guess ‘Sport’ here implies ‘chase (move) after ...
1
vote
4answers
324 views

Conflict of interest

What's the difference between a "conflict of interest" and the "appearance of a conflict of interest"?
13
votes
7answers
2k views

How long does it take to mull something over?

I used the phrase "we'll mull it over" in an e-mail. My intent was to let the readers know that we (the team) needed to give it due consideration and come up with a considered response to their ...
8
votes
5answers
6k views

Differences between “price point” and “price”

Apart from its use among the bean-counters who talk about maximising company profits, I can't understand why price point has spread so widely in popular American parlance. As far as I can tell, the ...
11
votes
4answers
21k views

“Legend” or “key”?

What is the difference between a legend or a key? Is it still called a legend if it is located at the top, rather than the bottom of results?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Where does “Look yourself in the mirror” come from?

Where does "unable to look myself in the mirror" come from? related example: ...I asked her what she does if after six months or so it becomes obvious that a salesperson is not bringing in ...
0
votes
2answers
11k views

Meaning of “about to [do something]” when it refers to somebody's action

I am about to launch a start-up company. Would the sentence be understood as I am intending to launch a start-up company, or I am close to launch a start-up company? In a sentence like the ...
3
votes
4answers
577 views

In which dialect would “poll” mean “a person's head”?

I read that poll means also, in dialect, a person's head; that is the second meaning that NOAD gives to pool as noun. Is there, nowadays, a dialect where the word as that meaning? If such dialect ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

“Whale fail” - What does this mean?

Google uses the phrase "Whale fail" on this picture (from their error page): What does it mean?
2
votes
3answers
286 views

What is an “unsurance”

In semi-offical letter from non-native speaker the "medical unsurance" is offered to me. What is an unsurance really? U & I as required in comments:
0
votes
2answers
624 views

“The powers above”

I found the following comment left in a website: There was an offer to merge, but the API was completely different and I gave up with the negative feedback. The attached zips were as far as I got, ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“I'm unclear” versus “it's unclear to me that”

It sounds like your proposal would make a great feature request for the existing module. I'm unclear why you consider it was not a good idea. Does replacing I'm unclear with it is unclear to me ...
3
votes
3answers
714 views

Meaning of “bloody” in “Full Bloody Italian”

I have once seen somebody in a chat expanding FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) as Full Bloody Italian, after I said I was from Italy. While I can understand to what the person who wrote it was ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Meaning of “triple witching hour”

What does the phrase triple witching hour mean? I have seen it in the financial news relating to stock markets. I sense it has to do with the convergence of three events, deadlines or periods that ...
4
votes
3answers
414 views

Meaning of “run around doing something”

What does run around doing something mean? For example: I can't see any reason to run around deleting the recovery partition.
3
votes
2answers
488 views

Is Senator Alan Simpson’s quote – “a sparrow's belch in the midst of a typhoon” in comparing budget cuts frequently-used quote by Americans?

I found an interesting quote in former Republican senator Alan Simpson's following remark in commenting budget cuts plans proposed by Obama administration. That is 'a sparrow's belch in the midst of a ...
2
votes
2answers
933 views

“Aspects” or “respects”?

In the same respects/aspects, we can say it's right.
2
votes
1answer
8k views

“Oath” vs “pledge” vs “vow”

Oath, pledge, and vow: What is the difference between these words and where should I use each word? A simple example would help me to understand.
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Origin of the meaning of joe

I knew that Joe was used to mean the average man, and I discovered that joe is used to mean also coffee. What is the origin of such meanings? When it is used to mean the average man, should I ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the correct name for posts made on twitter?

Well, I honestly tried to search for this but I drowned in twit* and tweet* results. Should I write: "my tweet" or "my twit"? "I am tweetting" or "I am twitting" ("to twit" vs. "to tweet")? ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “Caucasian”

When I search the definition of Caucasian in the NOAD, I find the following definition (it's the first of three definitions): (often offensive) of or relating to one of the traditional ...
3
votes
3answers
955 views

What does ‘Young Americans are far less “white” than older generation’ mean?

I stumbled on a phrase, Young Americans are far less white than older generation, in an article of today's New York Times titled In Census, Young Americans Increasingly Diverse. I don’t think white ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the difference between “noun”, “proper noun”, and “name”?

Do noun and name carry a different meaning? If there are any differences, are those differences specific to a context?
-1
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of “track down”

I recently read (in a website) the following sentence. (I replaced the usernames with placeholders.) [username1], if this is still happening, there is a good chance your IP got blocked due to ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the meaning of “I've gotten over __ recently”?

I came across the phrase "I've gotten over [tool] recently" in an article written by someone who had tested the tool. From the article's context, it seemed that the author was not particularly fond of ...
15
votes
3answers
7k views

Is “since” a synonym of “because”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When are “because”, “since”,“for” and “as” interchangeable? A few years ago, I was told that "since" should only be used ...
1
vote
2answers
393 views

What's the 'fixed constant nature of sensible things'?

Aristotle makes the claim that, "the fact that a thing is itself" allows for "a fixed constant nature of sensible things" Does it mean: sensible things look like fixed and constant, or sensible ...
2
votes
2answers
704 views

What do you call who writes comments? Commenter or commentator?

What should I call a person writing/adding comments (by pressing "add comment" link)? Commenter or commentator? From a deleted answer, I understand that there are commentators (like those ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What should be the proper term when someone wants to “give back” to the community

I recently asked this question on Programmers.SE: Ways to use your skills as a developer to give back to the community/charities. You hear a lot about "giving back", but is it really what ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between “palazzo” and “palace”?

I have noticed that palazzo is used not only in Italian but in English too. So what is the difference between palazzo, and palace (in English)?
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Meanings of 'killing moon' and 'killing time' in song by Echo and The Bunnymen

I was wondering what the meanings of the expressions killing moon and killing time on the song Killing moon by Echo and The Bunnymen are. Under blue moon I saw you So soon you'll take me Up in ...
3
votes
4answers
519 views

What does ‘Receive’ mean in ‘Bush did not always receive a timely consideration of his option'?

The Washington Post (Feb 3rd) introduces upcoming Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir in an article titled ‘Rumsfeld remains unapologetic in his memoir.' I felt the word ‘receive’ was used in the following ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

“She left me for another woman” or “She left me for a woman”?

Assuming a male speaker is referring to an ex-partner, which of the following is more correct? She left me for another woman She left me for a woman The phrase She left me for another ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Origin and meaning of “every cloud has a silver lining”

Every cloud has a silver lining. Please provide some historical perspective and meaning of this expression.
6
votes
3answers
284 views

What is a “Snail Toss”?

What does snail toss mean in the following sentences? I'll drop this in the snail toss on the way, all right? I was thinking about some hardcore snail toss later.
1
vote
5answers
259 views

What does ‘Nevada Sen. John Ensign may be toast’ mean?

I came across a headline of an article in the Washington Post (Feb. 2nd) reading ‘Why John Ensign may be toast,’ which is followed by the following sentence; Embattled Nevada Sen. John Ensign ...
0
votes
1answer
802 views

a complex sentence, and I cannot understand

The truth is, we are all affected by the people we interact with, many of whom we don't even know personally we don't know what? those peoples or this truth ?
2
votes
2answers
742 views

Usage of “implication”?

Does the following sentence make sense? What are the implications if we do not take a proactive approach to web security? It sounds right to me but when I looked it up in the dictionary I ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

“Decimate”: has it been used in the “classic” sense in modern writing?

In this question, I learned that "to decimate" meant to reduce by 10% (hope I got that right). And it is lamented that no-one uses it in this sense anymore. Now, given that I never until today knew ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

“Take your ball and go home” - meaning of this odd phrase?

On a business website regarding the takeover of a radio station, I noticed this unusual phrase: Can't really see Orion Media changing Gold much, unless Global take their ball home and say that if ...
3
votes
3answers
405 views

Is it wrong to say “Music Concert”?

Concerts, by definition, feature music. Isn't specifying a concert to be a music concert needlessly redundant?
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Does “needless to say” convey to the reader that he is ignorant?

Isn't the term a bit condescending?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between “solidus” and “slash”?

I was reading a text, and I found the word solidus. What is a solidus? Is the word normally used in everyday language, or is there another word that replaces solidus even if it's not the completely ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

“Strait-laced” or “straight-laced”

Why do strait-laced and straight-laced have the same meaning when strait and straight have different meanings?
0
votes
2answers
266 views

Is “without padding one’s end zone” really a pun?

In another question, the whimsically yclept Yoichi Oishi asks What does "Without padding one’s end zone" mean? and Robusto replies, 'End zone' is a pun, because the object of American ...
1
vote
3answers
376 views

Meaning of the adverb 'differently' and its position

Perceptual constancy refers to our ability to see things differently without having to reinterpret the object's properties. Is differently referring to we see or things?
0
votes
3answers
404 views

“The Drude is on board with this”

In this comment, the author uses the expression the Drude is on board with this. What does it mean?
7
votes
5answers
15k views

What does the British idiom “taking the piss” mean?

I most recently heard this in the context of a business deal: Sorry gents, looks like we'll be taking the piss on that one. I understood that the business had suffered a financial loss, although ...
1
vote
1answer
295 views

“Available from” versus “available on”

What is the difference between available from and available on? Do the following sentences have a different meaning? Check the information available from [URL of a web page]. Check the ...
1
vote
3answers
440 views

front up or show up?

In article ‘How To Use the “Seven Deadly Sins” to Turn Visitors into Customers’ in the Smashing Magazine the autor used the word ‘front up’: Showing off your customers. People want to use tools ...