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

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3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the noun for “implore”?

What is the noun form of the word "implore"? I saw some suggestions online for "imploration", but this seems awkward to me.
1
vote
1answer
106 views

when we should use to “inventory” and “list” [closed]

Can any one explain those conditions on which we have to use word 'list' and 'inventory'
14
votes
1answer
8k views

Trapezium/trapezoid — why are the US/UK definitions swapped around?

These are the US definitions... Trapezoid — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides that has a pair of opposite sides parallel. Trapezium — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides and NO parallel ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

Actual meaning of “abstract”

I see people often use abstract as a synonym of strange, but what does it actually mean? I've looked up a definition: thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual ...
0
votes
3answers
334 views

Use of “homeostasis” [closed]

I'm going to say what's on my mind and it just might affect your homeostasis. Is homeostasis correctly used?
-1
votes
2answers
728 views

What does the word “omnipreneur” mean?

I came across the term "Culinary Omnipreneur" in this week's Times Magazine. I couldn't find the meaning of the word omnipreneur on WordWeb or by googling.
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “putting something up”

teacher: "put your books up" //meaning to put away our books to be ready to take the tests What is the meaning of the example above? I am confused as it doesn't make much sense if you ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Difference between “affiliated” and “associated”

What is the difference between being affiliated and being associated with a group of people?
1
vote
5answers
402 views

What does “standards of proof characteristic of an exact science” mean in this sentence?

Many people interested in human behavior do not feel the need for standards of proof characteristic of an exact science;the uniformities in behavior are "obvious" without them. My understanding ...
-1
votes
4answers
164 views

Don't understand the connotation of the modal verb “may”

In the sentence there may be no legitimate form of reasoning to the best explanation understood as an alternative to inductive reasoning. does may be no mean that it is possible that there ...
0
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the difference between “image”, “picture”, “photograph” and “illustration” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “photo” and “image”? Difference between “picture” and “photo” For my magister dissertation I need to rely on an ...
6
votes
4answers
798 views

Is “Thisness” an established English word? What is the alternative expression that sounds more natural and familiar?

I came across an unfamiliar word to me, thisness in the following sentence of New Yorker magazine’s (April 19) article titled, What We’re Reading: Buzzfeed, “Pulphead,” Chekhov, and More” James ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What's “mutton sleeves” or “leg of mutton sleeves”?

I'm reading a book and came to this term... it's a bit strange to me... so I searched on internet but can't find a definition. There are some pictures on internet and wiki mentioned it in ...
1
vote
1answer
523 views

Meaning of “as … as any … someone had ever done”

Recently I have been reading "The Lost Symbol" and there is a sentence I find hard to understand. The wooden stair descending to the Capitol's subbasement were as steep and shallow as any stairs ...
4
votes
4answers
39k views

What's the origin of “flipping the bird”?

What is the origin/meaning of the phrase "flipping the bird"?
2
votes
3answers
9k views

What's the meaning of “bitching”?

What's the meaning of "bitching" in the following sentence taken from references in 'tfd.com'? December: I quit bitching with grateful thanks for all the good times, things and friends God has ...
6
votes
1answer
570 views

What does “To” mean in a newspaper headline?

What does to mean in a newspaper headline, for example: Airline XY to cut cost of pilots' wages Is it a shorter form of "Is going to" or "Is planning to"?
2
votes
4answers
6k views

Difference between “shake”, “tremor”, “shiver”, “tremble”

I put only four words in the title, but I know there are more. Right now I remember jerking. I know the difference between shaking and vibration. But I don't have any idea about the usage of others. ...
4
votes
2answers
75k views

“Good to hear from you”?

Is it correct to write "Good to hear from you" ? I have seen it many times but I feel it should be "It feels good to hear from you" or equivalent.
1
vote
3answers
174 views

“Don't know of” vs. “Don't know”

What is the difference between the following? I don't know of any other place. I don't know any other place.
0
votes
2answers
86 views

Usage of 'appeal'

I recently came across the use of the noun appeal in a book chapter by Gopnick and Wellman on Theory Theory. The sentence is: Theoretical constructs need not be definitely observable, but they ...
3
votes
1answer
333 views

What does “even in costume” mean here?

I was reading The Invisible Man, here's the sentence: The stranger did not go to church, and indeed made no difference between Sunday and the irreligious days, even in costume. What does even in ...
5
votes
1answer
8k views

Question tags — “did you” vs. “didn't you”

Typically, when we ask for confirmation/denial of a statement, we say something like the following: We turn left here, don't we? You have a cat, don't you? We've met before, haven't we? ...
1
vote
3answers
858 views

What's the meaning of the expression “gold-plated commandos”?

One guy is leading a bunch of weird guys. They are hunting monsters. The leader says: I'd be surprised if either one of them could dream up gold-plated Commandos. The leader is talking about ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is “Motivate your answer” correct English?

Me and a friend were having an argument recently over "Motivate your answer". He said this: see it like this, motivate = force that drives you, okay? motivate your choices = arguments you ...
2
votes
2answers
213 views

Meaning of “stop for something”

Q. Did the customers stop for narrow selection of food? A. The customers stopped for wider selection of food. Does it mean the customers just ignored or didn't shop for food?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “you just divided by zero”

This question comes out of curiosity. I have seen some people mention you just divided by zero. For example, http://thxforthe.info/2007/12/02/you-son-of-a-bitch-you-just-divided-by-zero-didnt-you/ ...
0
votes
1answer
233 views

Is it clear in the following sentence the distinction between the “individual” and the “whole”?

Is it clear in the following sentence the distinction between the "individual" (a single person), and the "whole" (nature, universe...everything around, etc)? "People want to be eternal as an ...
-1
votes
2answers
27k views

What does 'reference' mean in a CV?

I am an undergraduate student who is creating a CV for internship. I saw a CV template which had a heading called "Reference." What does that mean? Is it related to the applicant's previous work ...
4
votes
2answers
455 views

Conversational Postulate

In two fields that I've worked I've heard the term "Conversational Postulate" used to refer to a yes/no question that is expected to elicit some behaviour in the listener. Questions such as "Can you ...
1
vote
1answer
510 views

What's the meaning of the expression “flow of bloodlines, and yours is far too thin”? [closed]

A man is talking to a woman. We choose who we mate with. We decide the flow of bloodlines, and yours is far too thin. I am not sure about the meaning of flow of bloodlines. When someone says ...
0
votes
2answers
705 views

What does “morning wet” refer to?

I recently read the story "The Sign of the Four", by Arthur Conan Doyle. In it, one particular phrase stood out: ...rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet. I believe ...
1
vote
2answers
178 views

What do the President Obama is “smooth without big handles,” and he “got his mojo back”?

There were two “fancy” phrases –“he is smooth without big handles” and “he is getting his mojo back” in describing recent images of President Obama’s in New York Times’ (April 14) article titled “Come ...
2
votes
1answer
285 views

Is it possible to rephrase “we're going to bring back that hulking hunk of bumbling brawn”? [closed]

The context of the following quote is from the comic book Avengers. In a circus, the ringmaster introduces a brawny guy by saying: First off today, we're going to bring back that hulking hunk of ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Can or can’t the Three Mile Island meltdown be described as a farce in “tragedy / farce” rhetoric?

There was the following sentence in the Time Magazine article (Mar. 25, 2011) titled “The Real Cost of U.S. Nuclear Power.”: “When Karl Marx wrote that history unfolds first as tragedy, then as ...
2
votes
1answer
496 views

What's the meaning of the expression “give that tall drink you call yer husband a break”?

Reed Richards says: "Amazing! Psycho-Man's ship is so massive that its gravity has trapped an atmosphere shell around the hull!" His wife asks him "What now, Reed?", but is the Thing who answer to ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “to spit a rat” mean?

I know what spit means, and I know what rat means, but what does to spit a rat mean? I was unable to find any idiomatic meaning in the dictionaries either in the entry for rat or spit. The literal ...
1
vote
1answer
12k views

“all but one refused to do” means everyone do it or only one did it? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “all but at most one” - What does it mean? When a sentence has this phrase: "....which all but one refused to do." Does it mean all refused to do and only ...
2
votes
2answers
138 views

Unique for how many reasons?

Does the phrase "The holocaust was a unique event in history for two reasons:" mean that the following two reasons will individually cause uniqueness or will in conjunction cause the uniqueness? Here ...
3
votes
4answers
825 views

What does “half the point” mean?

We're doing a Dutch translation of an English play and having a disagreement about how to translate "I don't like her, but that's not half the point". Some want to translate "half the point" ...
0
votes
1answer
520 views

Meaning of sentence with 'would'

The sentence is: What would the people eat? Can it mean "What are the people going to eat?" in future Or, "What were the people going to eat?" talking about future from past Or, both?
2
votes
3answers
153 views

Is the word “until” thought of as belonging to a temporal context? [closed]

I speak German and I'd usually translate "bis" into "until". However, it occurred to me that the word "until" is almost always used in a temporal context. Or at least much more often than the German ...
1
vote
1answer
176 views

definition of “you are churning it”

What is the definition of the expression "you are churning it", other than its literal sense? I heard it in the context of someone playing music.
0
votes
1answer
505 views

Meaning of 'jumps across' in sentence [closed]

The sentence is, The English teacher jumps across the room with a large stick. Does it mean the English teacher really jumped from one position to another position?
2
votes
5answers
9k views

Does 'mailbox money' mean anything?

My friend and I heard someone on the phone say the phrase 'mailbox money'. The sentence was 'mailbox money is always nice' My friend told me that 'mailbox money' means money/checks that you keep ...
2
votes
7answers
8k views

I'll take you home / I'll bring you home

Being both non-natives, I had some discussion today about the following situation: suppose you're at a party and you want to take/bring your drunk buddy home. I believe that: "I'll take you home" ...
6
votes
2answers
979 views

“feint” and “feign”: Are they synomyms?

Both to feign and to feint seem to mean to pretend. Are they synonyms or the same word with only a different spelling? Or is there an actual concrete difference in their meaning?
7
votes
5answers
3k views

What exactly is “verbal irony”

My daughter has been given the task - by me - of explaining irony. She identified and did a jolly good job of explaining 5 of the 6 apparent types of irony: dramatic, cosmic, socratic, situational, ...
11
votes
8answers
51k views

Should we use “in terms of”?

I have came across this reference: https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents/c3_p35.html This phrase is virtually meaningless, but we often hear it on the news and in bloated speeches. “In ...
7
votes
5answers
34k views

Difference between “accountability” and “responsibility”

I've looked them up in many dictionaries, it seems the two words have the same meaning, right? I don't know when we use each of them properly.