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

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7
votes
2answers
280 views

Percentages of meanings in an English dictionary

Often when you look for some new word in a dictionary, you will find many definitions or meanings of the one word. For example when you look for a word to in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary you ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What does “Shaking an idea” mean?

I heard this on a TV series, just don't know what it means: But now I get this crazy idea, and I can't shake it.
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “intellectual fit” mean?

It appeared to me when a graduate school application form asked me Why do you think X university is an intellectual fit for you? What does intellectual fit mean?
-2
votes
2answers
9k views

Definition of “Degree Objective” in Personal Statement [closed]

I am writing my Personal Statement for my graduate school application right now. Coming to the Degree Objective section, I became a little dizzy. Does it require me to write which program degree I ...
3
votes
2answers
171 views

Is “Beginner” a measurement of time, or skill? [closed]

The definition is: A person just starting to learn a skill or take part in an activity Which makes me think it's time-related, although I see it's used as a synonym for novice which relates to ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “Rubber stamp” [closed]

What is the meaning of rubber stamp in "rubber stamp National Assembly"? Does this imply that the assembly has no real power? Where did this originate?
3
votes
4answers
15k views

Meaning of the phrase “squeeze water from a stone”

What does the phrase "(to) squeeze water from a stone" mean? Have you ever squeezed water from a stone?
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Using “any” with positive sentence [closed]

Everyone can do it. Nobody can do it. The both sentences are very clear. I understand what they mean. Anyone can do it But I feel a little confused about this sentence. What does it mean? ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

“Making casts of the melted spaces” [closed]

How to understand the word "cast" here? The modern British artist Helen Chadwick invented a winter game by urinating in the snow and making casts of the melted spaces. Source: The Guardian ...
2
votes
2answers
12k views

What does “it is not an option” mean? [closed]

In general, what does it mean when people say "something is not an option"? It sounds like it means "something is a must". Am I right?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What does “to become controversial” mean?

As a non-native speaker, I do not fully understand the meaning of the term "to become controversial" in the following text, which I have to translate into German: Where translators have made their ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What will happen if I say to my boss, ““I'm not going to kiss your ring and I'm not going to kiss any other part of your anatomy.”?

I was a bit surprized to find the line which was delivered by the former Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman in December 5th Time magazine. It reads: “In Fox News interview, Utahan tweaks the Donald, ...
3
votes
2answers
633 views

What is “Theodical” disappointment? [closed]

A recent Wired article had the following sentence: "... beneath the paranoia and infighting lurked something more vulnerable, an almost theodical disappointment." I've never encountered this word, ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Is there any difference between “has gone” and “went” in this context?

Is there any difference between these two sentences? Mirek went to Europe on business. Mirek has gone to Europe on business.
-4
votes
1answer
1k views

“Is there anything else we could/ will have done?” [closed]

What is the difference in meaning in these two sentences? Is there anything else we will have done? Is there anything else we could have done?
5
votes
2answers
337 views

“Timeboxing” versus “time-slicing”

What is the difference between timeboxing and time-slicing? From what I can tell, it is the same concept, but timeboxing is applied to project management and time-slicing is applied to scheduling ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

For what verbs is there no difference between 'has …' and 'has been …ing'? [closed]

For some verbs like 'live', where if you say "have lived" it means you lived somewhere for a period of time but that is not true anymore, and if you say "have been living" it means you still live in ...
0
votes
2answers
811 views

Fallacy vs Misconception vs Misnomer

Consider the following general statement: Somebody with very little credibility is likely to win a debate. Given that the opposite is most likely true, how can we best describe the above ...
0
votes
3answers
834 views

The meaning of “to cut the biscuit”

What is the meaning of this expression? Does it mean that something meets the expectations or it is up to standard? Edit: Here is an example of usage. ...
1
vote
1answer
862 views

Can alumnus be used for both men and women? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can you call someone who chooses to quit his/her study in college as alumnus? Is it correct or acceptable to use alumnus for both genders?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Precise meaning of “Last N days, weeks, months or years”

Would phrases like these generally be considered inclusive of the current period? I think it's pretty clear that last week does not include the current week. But does last 2 weeks include the current ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

“Sound engineering” [closed]

What does "sound engineering" mean in this context: "Establishment and use of sound engineering principles to obtain economically software that is reliable and works on real machines efficiently. ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

What would you call a person who is not a student, but takes interest in exploring academic topics?

A person who is not formally enrolled as a student, researcher or faculty in some university or college but who takes interest in exploring academic topics/stuff. For e.g. Such a person could be ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “let's go with that” mean here?

What does Howard from The Big Bang Theory mean when he says "let's go with that"? I think the meaning was "let's just keep thinking it's true." Am I right?
-3
votes
1answer
300 views

Meaning of this sentence, just too complicated [closed]

There was a time I caught your hiding inside From something shining through the blinds
3
votes
1answer
438 views

'Tenure' vs. 'tenancy'

Can anyone clarify for me the differences between these two words, in their senses of "occupation by a tenant"?
0
votes
4answers
1k views

“Everything is not…”

I keep hearing people say everything is not… which frustrating because it is ambiguous. It could mean either Nothing is… (for the set of all things, no thing is…) or Not everything is… (for ...
0
votes
4answers
408 views

Is “pseudonym” used for names other than authors'?

A pseudonym is a fictitious name for an author. Is the term ever used to denote an alternate or made-up name for anything else, such as a book, a product, or another kind of object? (The use can be ...
2
votes
1answer
399 views

What is the origin of using the term “lease” to signify a financing agreement with option to buy out an asset, as opposed to simple rent?

A formal definition of the word "lease" makes a lease out to be very similar to "rent" in meaning: noun \ˈlēs\ Definition of LEASE a contract by which one conveys real estate, ...
1
vote
2answers
9k views

Difference in meaning of “frustrated at” and “frustrated with”

What is the difference in meaning of "frustrated at" and "frustrated with" used in sentences like He is frustrated with me or He is frustrated at me When is each of these sentences above are ...
-2
votes
2answers
267 views

What does “animal” mean in the following context? [closed]

Does animal here mean 4a person with a particular interest or aptitude in the Merriam-Webster? Mr. Black recalled that Mr. DiCaprio dug up obscure film footage of a young Hoover giving speeches ...
1
vote
5answers
4k views

How do I ask the question “Where is it made?” or “Where is it made in”?

Sometimes I feel confused about if I should add a preposition, like "come back to Seattle" or "come back Seattle". If I want to ask a question about where something is made, how to say the question ...
3
votes
3answers
13k views

Difference between “read”, “scan”, and “skim”

What is the exact difference between read, scan, and skim? Is the difference related to the concentration on the text, or is there anything else? The answer is really important for me, since I often ...
6
votes
2answers
18k views

What does “drop the beat” mean?

From Yahoo answers and other sources I could find, it is suggested this means that the beat of the song changes, however when it is mentioned in song lyrics it is usually mentioned as something ...
8
votes
4answers
626 views

Is a film actor a “thespian”?

Can I call a film actor a thespian, or does this term exclusively relate to acting on a theater stage?
2
votes
5answers
16k views

When does a comma change the meaning of a sentence?

Match the two sentences with their meaning: 1) I had a discussion with a friend and a programmer. 2) I had a discussion with a friend, and a programmer. Meanings: a) I talked to a ...
1
vote
3answers
225 views

Is “A Project Guide to UX Design” correct grammar?

A Project Guide to UX Design. This is the title of a book I got from Amazon. But I dont think the title makes sense. I did a Google search for the exact term "a project guide" and got very few ...
2
votes
3answers
93 views

Can “x-percent in savings” mean “an x-percent savings rate”?

A PolitiFact article rating a statement by Newt Gingrich has the headline: In Chile "they have 72 percent of the GDP in savings." That is immediately followed by the subhead: Newt Gingrich ...
1
vote
3answers
946 views

Would the word “dehumidifier” be another word for “heater”?

A salesman told me that they do not call heater (not water heater that you use in bathroom but it is the one that warm up the air around) a heater. They call it dehumidifier. Anyone kind enough to ...
0
votes
2answers
147 views

Meaning of “club”

Is "club" here used figuratively? Mr. DiCaprio’s choices may be unusual, but he does have his own version of sticking with what works. The characters are mostly tortured, unsympathetic, ...
8
votes
4answers
545 views

How much time must elapse for an item such as a book to become classic?

Mentioning a book to an individual to include in their list as classic was met with... I wouldn't call "Book Name" a classic - it's less than 11 years old. This got me thinking about when a ...
4
votes
3answers
512 views

Is there a difference between “Joe said” and “said Joe”?

Does the subject/verb order make a difference when writing a dialog tag? "The sky is blue," Joe said. "The sky is blue," said Joe. Is one preferable over the other? Does one emphasize the ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

What is a difference between “what if” and “if”

My English teacher asked me what's the difference between what if and if last week. I can't search anything about that. What only I know is what if is a question sentence. And if is a general(?) ...
5
votes
9answers
5k views

Usage of “East Indian” to distinguish from “Native American”

I know someone who uses the term "East Indian" to refer to people from India, or whose ancestors are from India, lest they be misunderstood to mean Native American. This struck me as unusual and ...
-2
votes
3answers
967 views

Meaning and usage of “Adjacent to refuse, is refuse” [closed]

In a show I have heard the line: "Adjacent to refuse, is refuse". Can anyone explain to me what that means. I found the script and give the context in what is was said. JERRY: Was it in the trash? ...
4
votes
4answers
30k views

Meaning and usage of “It's in that vein”

I am really hooked on watching Seinfeld; it is really my favorite series. Now in one of the episodes the sentence in bold is used: George: Hello. Kelly the Waitress: Well, what's it going to be? ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “above” mean in this context?

I just read this lady's profile. The following sentence has drawn my attention: I'm not above occasionally bending or breaking a grammar rule for good cause. But I do believe clear, persuasive ...
-5
votes
3answers
490 views

Meaning of “run down your debts/assets” and “dissave” [closed]

What does this sentence mean? The private sector is seeking to run down its debts. A similar construction is the following one: The Janets must be prepared to dissave, to run down their ...
6
votes
2answers
656 views

What does “living the first line of my obituary” mean here?

I came across a new phrase while reading an appeal letter from Wikipedia programmer here. Excerpt: I feel like I’m living the first line of my obituary. .......... What does "living the ...
-2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the word “Ambivalent” = “Ambiguous”? [closed]

Ambivalent = uncertainty to do two opposite or conflicting things = of doubtful or uncertain nature = Ambiguous The above is my understanding of the two word Ambivalent and Ambiguous. Are there any ...