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

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14
votes
5answers
10k views

“Status” vs. “state”

Can anyone explain what the difference between status and state is when I talk about the condition or situation of an object? Here's what I got from Longman English Dictionary. status: a ...
2
votes
3answers
300 views

Inventory or repository?

I have a program for managing products and intermediate artifacts stored in a human concrete building somewhere. The program is not only manage the artifacts existed, but also the resource planning ...
-3
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “ugg”?

What does the word ugg mean? Does it mean made in China? Here is an example from a Skype group of my company: A: ... sesion ... B: misspelling of session -> sesion C: ugg! A is a Chinese, B ...
3
votes
4answers
17k views

“Can have” vs. “could have”

One often hears primarily people from the UK using the phrase can have in certain past tenses. What exactly is the difference between using could have and can have? I used to believe that can turns ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “shortening” mean? Is it different from “abbreviation”?

What does shortening mean? Is it different from abbreviation? I checked the dictionary, but I don't get the difference clearly.
4
votes
2answers
847 views

“We pulled rank”

What does pulled rank mean? "Don't worry about it," Mulder said, "we'll take the heat. You can tell him we pulled rank." She's the producer on this picture, but she never at any time made ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

What's a tuple in normal English?

A tuple in mathematics is a sequence of numbers (n1, n2, n3). In databases, a tuple is a single row of data from a table. What is a tuple in normal everyday English, or where does the word come ...
28
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the difference between “maybe” and “may be”?

What is the difference in meaning and usage between maybe and may be? Are they synonymous?
0
votes
2answers
4k views

“A English nerd” versus “an English nerd” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? “a” or “an” for words that don't start with vowels but sound like they're starting ...
6
votes
6answers
5k views

What does “change one's stripes” exactly mean?

I found a phrase in the headline of today’s Washington Post article (Feb. 14) that reads "Mubarak loyalists change stripes to fit into the new Egypt." Though I interpreted the meaning of change one’s ...
1
vote
2answers
476 views

What does “trigger-happy on broken windows” mean?

What does this expression mean: to be "trigger-happy on broken windows"
6
votes
2answers
5k views

The word 'Yahoo'

In my country, people use the word "Yahoo" as an expression of enthusiasm, joy, jubiliation and victory. What is the origin and original meaning of the word yahoo? As for that matter, what is most ...
2
votes
2answers
194 views

Meaning of 'be much as'

If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans Read more: ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Usage of “please” at the beginning of a sentence

Please report more details. Please do not send your faxes from the office. Please do not hesitate to contact us from our website. Does please have the same meaning, in those sentences? In the ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

“What can I be of help”

In a forum of a website, I read the following sentences (the writer is referring to a session in a conference): Makes lots of sense. Not sure what can I be of help (and I already have two ...
1
vote
3answers
154 views

“My always account”

What does my always account mean? The text where I read it is the following: Hello, I am [username], I would need to recover my always user [account name], I have 4 years with yours, is lot ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

What is it called when something is described by what it isn't?

I'm not looking for a particular part of speech. A corollary to this idea, and in some ways the opposite, is when something is defined by/as itself. A lot of times you will find this in bad ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “every other time”?

I was wondering what every other time means. For example: I know it's being fixed, but rebooting every other time you do something gets old.
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of “things are swept under the rug”

I was wondering what it means as analogy that quite a few things are swept under the rug.
5
votes
3answers
11k views

Meaning of “take a stab at doing something” [closed]

I was wondering what "take a stab at doing something" means? For example I'll take a stab at answering these.
8
votes
5answers
13k views

Origin of “on the QT”?

I was watching the movie L.A. Confidential last night, and was reminded of the phrase "on the QT", which Danny DeVito's character says several times. Off the record, on the QT, and very ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Proper usage of “known entity”?

Is the sentence below correct? I'd like to become a known entity with decision makers in our organization.
3
votes
4answers
1k views

“Today” in the past

Let's say I'm talking about some day in the past. In formal writing, I would use: Earlier that day, I had lunch with my boss. But is the following also correct? Earlier today, I had lunch ...
5
votes
3answers
427 views

Castle Caladan - why a “pile of stone”?

Frank Herbert's Dune book begins with a sentence that describes Castle Caladan as a pile of stone that has been home to 26 generations of Atreides Dukes. Not being a native English speaker, I am left ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

What does “make it cross” mean?

I believe it's a British phrase. I found it in that website, as: Fiat's Panda can offer an affordable route into 4x4 ownership. You just have to make it Cross. If you happen to know more ...
1
vote
1answer
305 views

Why does spelling matter? [closed]

If I write mispelling as supposed to misspelling why does it matter? The meaning still exists. Everyone knows what I meant to write. There is no ambiguity. Why do some people consider the proper ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

A depends on B, is A dependant, or is B dependant?

If A is dependant, what does one call B?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to understand the word cascade in CSS?

Why it is called cascade, instead of inheritable, or derivable, or chained, or something else? Maybe I have misunderstood the word? And, when should I use the word cascade in my own software ...
3
votes
3answers
206 views

Who is ‘Sarah Palin impersonator’?

Further to my question about the meaning of "If you must know" in Washington Post’s article on CPAC conference which I posted this morning in the forum, I stumbled on a phrase: the Sarah Palin ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

How does “if you must know” differ from “you may (might) know”?

In the following Washington Post's article (Feb. 13) reporting the outcome of CPAC 2011, I found the phrase if you must know. I think this phrase means though it may not be essential knowledge that ...
2
votes
6answers
65k views

What is the difference between “skeptical” and “cynical”?

Both the words "skeptical" and "cynical" refer to a doubtful mood, but what is the basic difference between them?
1
vote
3answers
415 views

Do “willingness” and “effort” imply different things?

In a post on Meta Stack Overflow, I used the word "willingness" in the following context: [X] is showing a willingness to learn. I justified this because [X] had posted a question asking to have ...
9
votes
1answer
29k views

What is the difference between “in-between” and “between”?

Do in-between and between have different meanings? What is the difference between in-between and between?
12
votes
7answers
834 views

Meaning of “stackexchange”

What does stackexchange mean? I have checked out this link to read about the Stack Exchange Network.
10
votes
3answers
19k views

“Criteria” versus “criterion”

I came across several forums and articles saying that criteria is plural and criterion is singular. Some gave me the impression that criterion is used to denote a set of rules. What is the correct ...
2
votes
5answers
341 views

Meaning of the word 'rap'

CIA takes rap for embassy attack.
4
votes
1answer
558 views

Does the suffix in “lipolysis” and “ketosis” have the same meaning in both the words?

Lipolysis and ketosis both end in ‑sis. Does that suffix have the same meaning in both the words?
4
votes
6answers
12k views

What does “putting someone on” mean?

Like in this example: He was worried that X was putting him on.
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Is “obscure” autological?

I remember that I had a question similar to this a long time ago (when I was in elementary school, I think), and it popped up in my head again today. Is the word "obscure" obscure itself?
0
votes
1answer
695 views

Is f**kstick really an abusive word?

I have heard the word fuckstick in a lot of Hollywood movies, most notably in 'The Shawshank Redemption'. What is this word even meant to convey? An insult? Is it even abusive? Or is just a ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Usage of the word “orthogonal” outside of mathematics

From the roots ortho (straight) and gon (angle), its meaning in mathematics is understandable. Outside of mathematics it has various meanings depending on the context: Debate - orthogonal: not ...
7
votes
2answers
567 views

“treat 'em and street 'em”

What does treat 'em and street 'em mean?
4
votes
3answers
899 views

Can the statement “bunch of bees” be correct?

I appreciate that the correct name for a group of bees is 'swarm', which is accurate whether the bees are clustered together or not. With that in mind, how correct is it to refer to the same group ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

People usually use “typical” in place of using “difficult”. Does “typical” also mean “difficult”?

Typical actually means "of a particular type" but that particular type may not be difficult. What do you people think?
16
votes
4answers
13k views

Is “curiouser,” in fact, a word (e.g., in the phrase “curiouser and curiouser…”)?

Is "curiouser," in fact, a word? (Yes, this question is very short, but that's really all I need to ask.)
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What does the word “Rep.” mean?

What's meaning of the 'Rep.'?
17
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the opposite of “meta”?

A while back I was talking about it with friends. Another question indicates a few meanings of the "meta-" prefix. Considering that "meta" means, in simple words, "about itself" (like how metadata is ...
7
votes
6answers
8k views

Non-sexual meaning of “to have a hard-on for someone”

What does it mean to "have a hard-on for someone" in a non-sexual sense? I've heard it used in contexts that make it seem like the subject is acting aggressive or belligerent toward "someone". Is that ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Can “Be under no illusion” have both positive and negative connotations?

In a recent email I received was this line: "Be under no illusion that 2011 is Our Year." From what I understand "Be under no illusion" means the same as "Don't be fooled". So I would expect that it ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the phrase “it is up to us to flesh it out” mean?

What does the phrase "it is up to us to flesh it out" mean? Can you suggest any synonyms?