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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

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4answers
725 views

What is the meaning of the expression “Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the can”?

What does "Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the can." mean? It seems that Google can't help me with this one. Could you also explain its origin and how it is related to the meaning?
2
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1answer
4k views

What does “never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter” quote mean? [closed]

What does the following quote mean? Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.
0
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1answer
509 views

What is meant by 'overlap in your experience'?

Recently I had a conversation with an employer. I am in IT field. After seeing my works he said 'I'm seeing a lot of overlap in experience'. I am not sure what does he meant by this. Can anyone ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Along/down the street

What is the difference between: He was walking along the street, and He was walking down the street ?
1
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4answers
490 views

“Questions” have “answers”. What do “problems” have?

If questions have answers, then problems have ____? I know it sounds simple but I am not sure what the best word is.
9
votes
13answers
1k views

Searching for a rare word for “something taken as truth due to having been repeated so much”

I'm searching for a certain single, rare, literary word meaning "something taken as truth due to having been repeated so much". This "something" could be either true or false. It is not necessarily ...
0
votes
3answers
813 views

What's the difference in being extemporaneous,being spontaneous and being impulsive?

What's the difference in being extemporaneous, being spontaneous and being impulsive? Or, when, where, - in which situation - would you rather use them?
1
vote
1answer
813 views

Is “Firestarter” something that native a English speaker would think as negative?

I'm thinking of Firestarter as a name for an upcoming software project. However, I justed Googled it and as it turns out, Urban Dictionary says it's when two males rub their parts together. Can I use ...
0
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2answers
494 views

The meaning of “short of the cut-off” [closed]

I have heard this term a lot and in different places but I do want to know the exact meaning. Googling didn't reveal anything that I could understand the meaning.
3
votes
2answers
279 views

meaning of parochial [closed]

As far as I know "parochial" means of or relating to a church/parish. My dictionary (and Google, or that matters, also says so.) But recently, I've heard it also means "narrow-minded" (or something ...
4
votes
3answers
499 views

What are the historic definitions of the word dragon?

Today, the term dragon is universally used for mythical, non-existent creatures that resemble dinosaurs in some ways. I thought I heard once from someone quoting a dictionary from 1600 something that ...
1
vote
3answers
18k views

What is the difference between retrospective and retroactive?

Having just briefly looked at both in the OED there seems to me plenty of room for interchangeability in the way they are used. Under 'retrospective' for example there is an instance of legislation ...
3
votes
5answers
4k views

Where did Somerset get its name?

A person speaking right now on the BBC Radio 4 'PM' programme has just asserted, following the extreme rainfall, that Somerset got its name from the fact, in pre-Roman times, that it was only fit for ...
2
votes
3answers
181 views

“Who doors wins”

What does this expression mean? Who doors wins Is it an idiom? Or is it a typo? Apparently, it makes no sense.
0
votes
1answer
774 views

what's the meaning of this phrase: “ top to the bottom quintile” [closed]

what's the meaning of this phrase: " top to the bottom quintile" e.g. "The ratio of expected retirement income of the top to the bottom quintile was 14 in 2007"
1
vote
1answer
393 views

Phrase: 'cited after'

I don't understand what's the meaning of "cited after" in books, when they cite a source, e.g., (cited after Manin 1997: 3)
3
votes
1answer
15k views

What is the difference between “graduate students” and “postgraduate students”?

I am reading about finding a good university for master studies and I am really confused if graduate students are the same as postgraduate students. Are the terms synonyms, or do they refer to ...
6
votes
3answers
18k views

“Rome was not built in a day” [closed]

I always heard this phrase from school, but never understood the actual meaning of it or how this phrase originated. What does this actually mean, and why was it Rome and not any other city? ...
1
vote
2answers
357 views

Meaning of “It's not in the bag.” [closed]

The Context Important rules of job interviews: A. Repeat to yourself: "It's not in the bag." B. To answer the question, "What would you do?" think of the correct answer to "What ...
2
votes
1answer
269 views

Was making 'dyslexia' hard to spell, a sadistic act? [closed]

Dyslexic (n.) is first recorded 1961; dyslectic (adj.) from 1964. My point is this - the Latin "legere" was already sufficient, "lexis" was contrived (I jest) out of the 'confusion' (see image) of "...
1
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3answers
149 views

What does “Church’s darkest existential problem in an era of existential problems” mean?

There was the following sentence in Time magazine’s (December 11, 2013) article titled, “Pope Francis, the people’s Pope.”]] “On December 5, in a long overdue move, the group of eight named a new ...
2
votes
2answers
873 views

What does *players* mean in the context?

Clay just nodded, seeming rather uncomfortable about something. “Yes, so keep your hands off! She doesn’t need players like you chasing her around,” he growled with a threatening tone to his voice. ...
2
votes
3answers
911 views

Modern use of “bourgeoisie”

How can I use bourgeoisie properly in this day and age? I understand that at one time it meant part of the wealthy "middle class". Back then the middle class owned the means to production (merchants ...
0
votes
2answers
576 views

To see them play and to see them playing

Excuse my limited acquaintance on English usage; which sentence is grammatically correct, and if any, which meaning do they convey to ? I saw them play chess. I saw then playing chess. Many Thanks....
1
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1answer
10k views

Have a nice day versus have a great day

I would like to hear an American perspective on this: is have a nice day and have a great day interchangeable? Does it depend on a speaker, and so on?
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Displaying two things scaled differently - ratio?

If got a picture that displays things. As thing A is alot bigger than thing B, I have downsized A. Not mentioning this size adjustment may confuse viewers and transport a wrong message. How can I tell ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

How Offensive is ''Grow a Pair?'' [closed]

What does ''grow a pair'' mean exactly? Is it offensive? Does it bring a man to a level of a girl/woman? Is it more offensive when a woman says it? Thank you for the answers, especially from women. :)...
0
votes
2answers
213 views

'Cumbersome' and 'Trivial'

I'm often confusing the meaning of Cumbersome and Trivial. I always visit on 'StackOverFlow', and watch these questions or answers, such as, This is cumbersome problem. Those things are ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Meaning of “run flat out”

What does "I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking" mean? It was said in The Bourne Identity. I am not a native English speaker. I know the meaning of the individual words, ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Analysis of Cost Efficiency - Economics of?

I'm in search for a title that says: You can exspect to read about how economic efficient different things are when compared against each other. As I need a noun, grabing the word economical and ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

“Enter information about your education history from secondary level onwards”: Is the word “onwards” inclusive or exclusive?

I was filling an application and I came across this sentence: Enter information about your education history from secondary level onwards. I am a bit confused. Do I have to include the ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

“Enter a market” vs. “break into a market”

Could you please shed light on the difference, if any, between "enter" vs. "break into" a market? Are they synonyms and interchangeable, or does the latter of the two imply more force?
5
votes
1answer
2k views

To friend vs. to befriend

I overheard a mother correct her child who said something to the effect of There was a new kid in my class today and I friended him. The mother said befriended and I was inclined to mentally ...
3
votes
2answers
15k views

Difference between nouns “strip” and “stripe”

Is there a specific difference between the nouns "strip" and "stripe", especially in the context of "a strip(e) of paper"? Are both equivalent or do they carry specific meanings?
1
vote
2answers
246 views

The meaning of “Nothing much seemed to dent this vision of corporate hegemony squeezing out all but the most profitable trash”

I came across this sentence while looking up the meaning of the word hegemony: Nothing much seemed to dent this vision of corporate hegemony squeezing out all but the most profitable trash. It ...
5
votes
1answer
8k views

Difference between the terms 'famous' & 'infamous'; 'valuable' & 'invaluable'

Question in Short: Why is it that the terms valuable and invaluable mean almost the same thing while the terms famous and infamous are almost semantically opposite in meaning? That is, one is used to ...
1
vote
1answer
119 views

What do these two sentences mean in Time's Sports?

Manning has enraptured the rapidly growing ranks of the formerly young in places far beyond the valley of the South Platte River. I hardly understand what this sentence means in this context; "...
1
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5answers
4k views

Meaning of the full title of Darwin's “On the origin of species”

The full title of Darwin's work "On the origin of species" is: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". My ...
2
votes
1answer
241 views

What does “passion-tearing” mean?

What does "passion-tearing" mean in the following context? My parents were at the summer theater singing a first matinee performance of "You Can't Take It With You". In summer stock productions ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

One word/phrase to describe the reaction when you eat a very spicy-hot food

I've read the discussion here about Difference between “spicy” and “hot”. I've also read this one: How to say that food is hot (temperature) without the listener thinking that I mean “spicy”?. But I ...
1
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2answers
10k views

Is there any difference between “clear conscience” and “clean conscience”?

I want to have a clear conscience so that I know to judge clearly what is right or wrong. vs. I want to have a clean conscience, therefore I will not do such an ugly thing. The dictionary ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

“Brunette” vs. “brown” and “blonde” vs. “yellow”

Why is that we never use these terms interchangeably? I.e. one wouldn't say "I've painted my walls a deep brunette". Why is it that "brunette" and "blonde" are used exclusively in reference to hair ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What does “barely” imply?

When someone says, I barely understand that. Does he mean: He almost doesn't understand [which means he understands a bit] He almost understands [which means he doesn't understand] ...
-2
votes
1answer
68 views

What is the difference between '..at 20 percent' and '..with 20 percent'

Consider the following two sentences: America has the highest oil consumption rate at...% of the world total. The Middle East has the largest oil reserves with...% of the world total. What is the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Are/were these strings of decorative colourful triangles known as “dags”?

There is an English word "dag" with various senses divided up into various etymologies. This question is about just one particular sense having this definition on Wiktionary: A hanging end or ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

What are the usages of the modifier “Many”?

Many of his books are... His many books are... Many books of him/himself/John/Alex/etc... Would you kindly tell me the exact difference between these?
0
votes
2answers
485 views

What would be a proper alternative word or phrase for “social network”, but have the same impact or meaning? [closed]

What people normally first think in my opinion when they hear "social network". What else could you say apart from social network?
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Meaning of 'Must not' and how to make the another meaning [closed]

I want to ask a question. The opposite of "must" is "must not", everybody knows. But, what does "must not" mean? Does it mean that you "may choose to do or not do" or you "may not choose to do"? Or ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of “turning the state of the art to the state of the practice”?

What's the meaning of "turning the state of the art to the state of the practice" in the following context: "We have the resources, the professional experience and the background to deliver turnkey ...
0
votes
3answers
387 views

is there any difference between 'it' and 'this' to these sentences?

Do they have same meaning? Is there any difference by intuition? What does it signify? What does this signify?