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

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0
votes
1answer
916 views

What's different between “sophisticated” and “intricate”? [closed]

I know this is probably a very simple question, but it seems to me that I see "sophisticated" more in specialized books, and "intricate" more in non-specialized books. What's the difference?
1
vote
1answer
490 views

How should I understand the word “bound” in this sentence? [closed]

The following is an excerpt from the book 100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time by Kendall Haven. Charles Darwin entered Cambridge University in 1827 to become a priest, but switched to ...
1
vote
1answer
721 views

What is a rhetorical concession?

For context: The expression is used to bring up an unsatisfactory aspect of the seemingly agreed statement, thus it is a rhetorical concession. It's explaining a construct in Chinese Mandarin.
1
vote
6answers
5k views

What does it mean by “Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold”?

There's a famous Mario Puzo quote from The Godfather. Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold. How to interpret this sentence?
0
votes
3answers
308 views

“Enervate” and “intimidate” [closed]

What is the difference between the words enervate and intimidate? Both mean to weaken or to make timid.
3
votes
3answers
446 views

Is “Most of the world does not distinguish captions from subtitles” true?

In the wikipedia article about closed captioning one reads Most of the world does not distinguish captions from subtitles. In the United States and Canada, these terms do have different meanings, ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Are “gossip” and “rumour” perfect synonyms?

Are the words gossip and rumour perfect synonyms or is there a fine distinction between them? The only difference I'm aware of is that the second one is spelled differently in British and American ...
6
votes
8answers
13k views

Is it proper to use the word “bandwidth” as it relates to time allotment?

I'm a web developer and I've often heard other technical and developer types say: Sorry, I don't have the bandwidth to take on your project at this time. I started using the term myself and ...
0
votes
3answers
509 views

What is “amp't” in “Am I or amp't I?”

In Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, Esk, the main character, asks: "Am I or amp't I?" What does "amp't" stand for here?
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votes
2answers
613 views

Meaning of “Chase a Crooked Shadow”?

What is the meaning of chasing a crooked shadow? I read Chase a crooked shadow in the Times of India newspaper, 10 Feb 2012, but could not understand the meaning of that title. Some context from ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Can we get this over with?”

I am confused about this sentence because it ends in a preposition, something that I thought was not really grammatically correct: Can we get this over with? In addition, I haven't found a ...
5
votes
3answers
41k views

Regards & Regard

We ofter use "Regards" at the end of our e-mail. In one of my mail I mistakenly wrote "Regard"(without a "s") which my BOSS didn't like! My question is what is the difference between "Regards" & ...
4
votes
2answers
205 views

What does “the guns of spring” mean?

I saw this expression used in a Washington Post article about the possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear program: US officials don’t think that [Israeli prime minister] ...
2
votes
1answer
306 views

Using purgatory to describe a between state?

I was going to use purgatory to describe the state between childhood and adulthood. However, I looked online and could only find two definitions for the word, one being religious and the other a state ...
1
vote
2answers
961 views

Is it right to call it “SEO” and how do you pronounce it? [closed]

Two questions: I couldn't find a source to decide whether to assume SEO an acronym or not. How should I pronounce it? SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization" while it is the process of improving ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“Material world”, “Physical world”, “Corporeal world” - what's the difference?

What's the difference or different hues of meaning between these three phrases?
5
votes
7answers
609 views

Can we say “on the brink of off-topic”?

I recently learned on the brink in context of to teeter on the brink of disaster. Now, when I want to mention that something is marginal or borderline I remember on the brink. This question is ...
0
votes
2answers
8k views

What's the meaning of the expression “bed burning” or “bed on fire”? [closed]

There's a song by Midnight Oil called Beds Are Burning, and the song Psycho Killer also says that "my bed's on fire". What do those expressions mean (if they mean the same thing)? update: Some ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

I often say to people ''you're feeling all made up'' when they are really happy about the outcome of a situation, where does this saying come from?

I often use the phrase ''you feel made up'' or ''all made up'' when someone feels really happy or pleased about the outcome of something or how things have gone. Where does the meaning for this come ...
1
vote
3answers
533 views

What's the meaning of 'annoyingly good'?

One student was describing his advisor as 'annoyingly good'. I was wondering what that means, and is it rude to say or write it on your homepage? I'm guessing it might mean he's the 'tough love' ...
6
votes
1answer
11k views

What does “persay”/“per say” mean?

I heard: "It shouldn't break any of your site persay." I searched for it but cannot find it, not even in a dictionary. What does persay or per say mean?
3
votes
2answers
6k views

“Justification of” or “justification for”?

Do "justification of" or "justification for" mean different things? Is one more appropriate than the other?
-2
votes
1answer
805 views

What does “ Dark Emotions” means? [closed]

I have read a poem . In this poem , I am not very sure the meaning of "Dark Emotions" . The poet have written like that - "Dark Emotions were torn ever so deep". Please help me .
3
votes
0answers
333 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “X° of frost?” [closed]

I ran across this phrase in The Cherry Orchard: "3 degrees of frost," and I assumed it was a colloquialism for 3 degrees AND frost, or something of the like. But I just ran into "45° of frost" ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What does the phrase “none too dissimilar” mean?

I have heard the phrase none too dissimilar used many times. Based on context, it seems to mean similar, or perhaps very similar. Does none too dissimilar have a different meaning that I am missing? ...
1
vote
1answer
716 views

Meaning of “to fail at one's peril” in a legal document from the Elizabethan period [closed]

I do not know what "to fail at one's peril" means. The phrase appears in legal documents until the 19th century (at least this is what Google suggests). I cannot deduce its meaning no matter how hard ...
5
votes
1answer
917 views

To punt for something

In book I am reading ("German for dummies") appears the following sentence: Pronouns are the handy group of words that can punt for nouns so you don't sound redundant. This sentence does not ...
1
vote
6answers
288 views

“a variable of type int” versus “a variable of an int type”

In programming books, I noticed that "a variable of type int," and "a variable of an int type" are often used interchangeably. Which one is the correct one?
14
votes
5answers
6k views

How to spell [ʒʊʒd] and what does it mean?

I heard this strange word in American Dad over a year ago and it's been bugging me ever since. Not only do I have no idea how it's spelt, I have no idea how it could possibly be spelt. My only guesses ...
2
votes
3answers
715 views

Is this use of “pervades” correct?

I want to write that some specific philosophy "pervades" (or "permeates") my personal view of some topic. Is this understandable or does exist a better word to express this?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “before” mean here?

Kim frequently exhibited her vast knowledge of baseball before complete strangers. Before is usually used to depict a time line, so this use is confusing for me.
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between “presently” and “shortly”

What is the difference between presently and shortly? They seem to have rather similar meanings.
0
votes
2answers
5k views

Is “by the second” a correct phrase?

I heard it many times and I could infer that it means "all the time" or "without pause", "constantly". (Am I right?) But when trying to look it up, none of the dictionaries define it. Is this a ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Are words “Sophisticated” and “Sophism” logically connected?

I am not a native English speaker. The other day, I've had a conversation with an American, who claims my assumption to be wrong. I still think I am correct, so here it is: According to Wikipedia, ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the meaning of 'sorry lot' in Albert Einstein's quote?

I just came across this quote by Albert Einstein when I was leafing through the book 'Super Cooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other To Succeed': If people are good only ...
9
votes
3answers
19k views

Why do we say “by all means” when we mean “by any means”?

The common expression by all means seems to advocate the use of all means possible in order to accomplish a certain object, when in fact it expresses the use of any means to do it. I realize that all ...
4
votes
3answers
124 views

Does the term “avoid” leave room for exceptions?

For instance, this sentence: Avoid the "Reply All" option. Which of the following paragraphs better describes the above sentence? Paragraph 1: Don't use the "Reply All" option. ...
13
votes
6answers
32k views

“I can't seem to” vs “I can't”

I am wondering why would someone say "I can't seem to" instead of simply saying "I can't". Is there any specific difference between the two? Is the former usage informal? Is it correct to say that the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“file content” vs. “file contents”

I am aware of the difference between content and contents and usually the distinction is clear to me. However I am wondering whether file content or file contents is more correct. On the one hand, the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is using “I don't know that” instead of “I don't know if” grammatically correct?

When asked whether he recognized equal rights of atheists, George H. W. Bush said1: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This ...
-2
votes
2answers
322 views

Is there any difference in meaning between “cannot afford to + verb” and “cannot + verb”? [closed]

Is there any difference in meaning between the 2 patterns: "cannot afford to + verb" and "cannot + verb"? For example: I cannot afford to wait forever versus I cannot wait forever. I cannot afford ...
9
votes
7answers
8k views

Is “IMHO” a rude thing to say (or type)?

The initialism1 IMHO stands for "in my humble opinion". It's commonly used in text-based communication (chat clients, forums, popular Q&A platforms). Here's an example: Person A: What do you ...
-2
votes
3answers
130 views

Is there a word that has the following meaning: to distribute a portion of funds [closed]

I am interested in a single word, if such a word exists.
2
votes
1answer
405 views

Distinguish contraction of “ain't”

I know the contraction of am not, is not, are not, has not, have not, do not, does not, and did not can be represented as ain't. How can I understand correctly which contraction the speaker meant?
0
votes
2answers
307 views

Meaning of “sniped in” [closed]

What is the meaning of sniped in? Can I use it in the following sentence to replace bought? John has bought/sniped in a new BMW.
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What's your first impression of “in front of TV”? [closed]

If you saw the phrase in front of TV, what kind of impression will you get? To me, I will suppose someone is watching TV. But if so, how do you express the meaning that someone is just in front of TV ...
-2
votes
3answers
709 views

What is the deeper meaning of the phrase “as I was just saying to X”? [closed]

This is the scenario I'm thinking of. Person A talks to person B about something. Then person C joins them. For some reason Person A says something to Person C that they were just talking about with ...
1
vote
2answers
450 views

Must “nominate” be applied to an object other than the subject itself?

If you declare yourself as a candidate for office, can that declaration be considered a nomination? Or, is the verb nominate only applicable when it is applied to someone other than the nominator? ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

“Accounts for last year” or “Accounts of last year”?

The accounts for last year showed a profit of $2 million. or The accounts of last year showed a profit of $2 million. Which one is correct? My idea is that both of them is OK, anybody can ...
5
votes
4answers
9k views

Difference between “uncompress” and “decompress”

What is the difference between decompress and uncompress? Is there any? Context: The receiving node has to uncompress/decompress the data.