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

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4
votes
2answers
469 views

What does “chemical Mickey” that drives a man to love-making mean?

I happened to read an old article about the mechanics of “human Love” which appeared in TIME magazine (Jan. 28, 2008) under the title, “The science of romance: Why we love,” and was drawn to the word, ...
2
votes
1answer
13k views

'Preclude' vs 'Exclude' vs 'Prevent'

I'm trying to really understand how the word preclude differs from either exclude or include. Merriam Webster defines preclude as to make impossible by necessary consequence : rule out in advance ...
1
vote
3answers
802 views

Word describing one who is not aware of their own actions?

I'm reading a book and writing an essay where I need to describe the main character's personality traits, but I can't quite find the word for "unaware of one's actions."
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to say “find a way to do something” better, in English?

For example, I want to do something, but I don't know how to do it even I had tried. A real example, I'm using an open-source library, and I want to add some of my own functions: I may want to ...
3
votes
1answer
323 views

What do you call a name which has an adjective / describing word as part of it?

E.g. Charles the Great, Charles the Rash, Edward the Confessor, etc. I'm reasonably sure there was a word for this .... * scratches head *
0
votes
0answers
374 views

We got you surrounded. What use of GET is this? [duplicate]

I have heard a sentence "We got you surrounded", what would be difference between "We surrounded you"? I believe the first one implies that it has just been done, i.e. reaching certain condition, ...
8
votes
5answers
49k views

“Hot mess” meaning and etymology

A phrase has started to be used somewhat frequently over the past few years: "hot mess". I have heard it in professional journalism (albeit, admittedly, mostly entertainment and/or gossip ...
1
vote
2answers
860 views

Settle you in vs Get you settled in [duplicate]

As GET has so many meanings, it is hard for me to distinct between them and understand the nuances. Are these sentences all correct? Would you understand the same thing by them? I will settle you ...
1
vote
2answers
331 views

Can abide be extended to imply enforce or act?

In a legal document, such as a contract or agreement between two parties (where party refers to entities or individuals), what is the exact meaning of the word abide ? The clause in question : I ...
1
vote
1answer
873 views

What does the word “palpable” mean in this context? [closed]

From an answer on another Stack Exchange website (StackOverflow): Given how rare this will be, that ugly hack could be palpable. It sounds like the author is saying that the solution might be ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there any differences between “ascribe” and “attribute” when used as “because of”?

Are there any differences between "ascribe" and "attribute" when used as "because of"? The following two sentences, which one sounds more natural? The fall in the number of deaths from heart ...
-2
votes
2answers
133 views

What's the meaning of “be as”?

What's the meaning of "be as" in the following sentence: "Intellect isn't everything; being is just as important". What would be the difference if the word "as" were omitted?
0
votes
3answers
1k views

It is just like him to be late

What a strange construction is it? Why does it sound so strange to me, Ukrainian fella? For instance, why "him" instead of "he". And, first of all, what does it mean? I even cannot translate it ...
7
votes
2answers
585 views

What is “chopsing the ref”?

Adam Jones, the Wales and Lions prop, was reported as saying about his policy regarding the referee before yesterday's match:- You have to get the ref on the right side of you. You don't want to ...
4
votes
2answers
264 views

What does “wooden clothes” contained in “Comfort bag (assorted present kit) and the sender of it “have had themselves” mean?

Toru Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka’s comment asserting the “Comfort women” system during wartime was ‘A necessary evil’ was appalling, and I feel deeply shameful of his sensless remarks as a Japanese. But ...
4
votes
2answers
386 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
151 views

What is the term for asking for a higher object than you really want to make the second request sound more reasonable?

What is the term for asking for a higher object than you really want to make the second request sound more reasonable? For example, if I ask "I want a 10,000 raise", but in reality I just want a ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Can there be a “random order”?

A recent article in the New York Times discussed the decision by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to eliminate the use of small metal buttons to signify that you have paid admission. The entrances ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Banking meaning of “held”

While filling in a UK form I just encountered the following question: How many credit cards held? This was followed by a free-form text field. So they are either asking ‘how many credit cards ...
3
votes
0answers
71 views

Words that are members of multiple classes of words (without changing form) [duplicate]

By "class of word" I mean a noun, verb, adjective, adverb etc. This notation came from reading the definitions of these words themselves. For example noun grammar any member of a class of words ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the difference between “erroneous” and “wrong”? [closed]

Are these words totally interchangeable? I made the [erroneous/wrong] decision.
5
votes
2answers
13k views

Does “Who knows” need a question mark?

Although "who knows" is almost as an expression for giving sense however, expressions can be statements, orders, and questions, so does the expression: "who knows" need a question mark?
5
votes
1answer
924 views

difference between action and live action

In film genres I have seen and heard 2 words: 1) Action Movie 2) Live-Action Movie What is difference between these 2 words? What live represent here?
1
vote
1answer
164 views

What is Etymology of Munkustrap etc

These bold words are from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats: Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, Such as Bombalurina, or else ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “Small words” in “They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view.”?

Washington Post (June 27) picked up Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s comment digging in Sen. Wendy Davis for her filibustering the abortion bill in his speech delivered at a convention of the National Right to ...
2
votes
5answers
7k views

Where did the word 'golliwog' come from?

I am aware that the term is considered offensive. And I know that it refers to soft faced black dolls. But before that character was introduced, did 'golliwog' have meaning? I mean was it made up, or ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

“Suspended” vs “Blocked” meaning [closed]

What's the difference between: Process A is suspended. And Process A is blocked. (Process refers to process running on computer).
8
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the origin and meaning of conniption dido

My mother who was born in 1917 used this term just as someone might use conniption fit. When I asked her where the word dido came from she said that her grandmother used it. I can't find anything that ...
1
vote
2answers
851 views

Meaning of the word 'function' in this context?

The concept of execution environment is an essential part of the definition of software reliability. Consider that a software system supports 10 different functions f1,...,f10, and there are two ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What is “Who are ya?” and whence it came?

“Who are ya?” seems a popular chant or taunt with English football fans, both on and off the stands. Is it a fair assessment that it means to diminish the opposition as unknown and insignificant? ...
1
vote
2answers
381 views

Green green green green green. E-e-h? [closed]

Can this possibly be a correct phrase: Green green green green green. I got it from a Russian demotivator: I wonder if there is any possible meaning, or whether it shouldn’t be more like ...
4
votes
3answers
369 views

Is “maker” less professional than “manufacturer”?

To me as a non-native, maker sounds much less professional than manufacturer or supplier. I.e. an average "piston maker" would probably be much smaller than an average "piston manufacturer" or "piston ...
7
votes
6answers
956 views

Do the following negations mean the same thing?

I don't think you understood me. / I think you misunderstood me. Do these senteces mean the same thing? If not, what's the difference? Edit: I just realized that I asked something different ...
1
vote
2answers
212 views

Who is the authority — scientists, or linguists — on the definitions of everyday words referring to types of animals? [closed]

For instance, biologists these days like to say that the word "dinosaur" is inclusive of modern birds, since birds are descended from dinosaurs. This is consistant with biologists' tendency to ...
0
votes
3answers
182 views

Is it correct to say “This requirement is because”

The following passage uses the phrase "This requirement is because". Is that correct usage? Modularization is a key requirement to manage the size and complexity of large ontologies that can be ...
1
vote
1answer
6k views

“Field of study” vs. “subject of study”

What is the difference between field and subject and what is the discipline here?
1
vote
2answers
10k views

The right, concise way to indicate current enrollment in multiple specific master's degree programs

EDIT: I originally titled this "Master of Architecture student" or "Master of Architecture candidate"? My apologies if the question was unclear, I couldn't think of a better title at the time, I hope ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Dropping the second “the” in sentences: the X and the Y vs. the X and Y

Is there any difference between these two examples? 1. (Both) the Senate and the House of Representatives are legislative bodies. 2. (Both) the Senate and House of Representatives are ...
5
votes
2answers
977 views

What does “I’m done” in Serena William’s counter shot to John McEnroe, “I just have people picking on me. I’m done.” means?

There was the following sentence in Time magazine’s article titled, “Serena Williams and the theater of public apology” being followed by the strap, “Her recent spat-with-followed-by-olive-branch-to ...
1
vote
2answers
191 views

Meaning of liquor and leverage

Please tell me the meaning of "liquor and leverage" Just I read Warren Buffett Ideas there I got this sentence. I've seen more people fail because of liquor and leverage.
18
votes
4answers
13k views

What does it mean to be “mortally wounded”?

The only source I could find for a definition of this phrase was Wikipedia, which states a mortal wound "leads directly to the death of the victim. Death need not be instantaneous, but follows soon ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

How to remember the difference between: “Can you try to open” and “Can you try opening”?

I am well aware that a similar question has been asked in the past, namely “Try to save” or “try saving”. However, I am not totally satisfied by the posted answers. My problem is that, every time I ...
5
votes
2answers
442 views

Has the term ‘weapons of mass distraction’ gotten currency as a metonym for web sites and lowbrow mass media contents?

I found the term ‘weapons of mass distraction’ in the article titled “Social Networking in the 1600s” in the Sunday Review section of June 22 New York Times, which begins with; “Social networks ...
5
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the exact meaning of “You've got yourself a deal”? Is it only an American slang?

I came across the phrase, ‘got yourself a deal’ being introduced as a vulgar American English by a character in Jeffery Archer’s, fiction “The Fourth Estate.” In the scene Keith Townsend, Australian ...
1
vote
2answers
341 views

“Between a mother and daughter” vs. “between a mother and a daughter”

What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences? The relationship between a mother and daughter. The relationship between a mother and a daughter. I know both are ...
-3
votes
1answer
247 views

Meaning of the phrasal verb “to dart at”

There was the poor bear, spluttering away in the water, and trying his hardest to swim whilst the goldfish darted at him in fury. What does to dart at mean in this context? Does it mean "attack"? ...
3
votes
1answer
390 views

What does the word “practical ” mean in “Old Possum's book of practical cats”?

There is a T.S. Eliot title, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. As the Wiki entry says: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a collection of whimsical poems by T. S. Eliot about feline ...
10
votes
4answers
991 views

What does “purchasers of a new tablet won’t ‘end up with a doorstop’” mean?

Washington Post (June 17) reports Barnes & Noble’s offer of tablet software update at a surprisingly cheap price under the title, “It’s official: Nook Tablets are now ridiculously cheap." It ...
3
votes
2answers
934 views

What does “it doesn’t make much of a case for itself” mean?

I have found a phrase here: ... it doesn't make much of a case for itself in ... Obviously, it is some negative remark. Probably, it is a combination of two expressions, but I can't divide them ...
6
votes
5answers
23k views

“Would” vs. “Will”

Which of the following sentences is correct and why? Please note that I "will" be working on another script this month. Please note that I "would" be working on another script this month. I should ...