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

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5
votes
3answers
497 views

Technique relating environment and emotions/personality

I was wondering what is the technical term for the technique relating a physical environment to the mental state. For example, I am writing about how the dim lighting and cluttered workspace of ...
11
votes
8answers
1k views

What does the “shed” in “watershed” mean?

It seems like a kind of house; if it is, I cannot grasp the meaning of watershed.
0
votes
3answers
1k views

How to understand this film name 'Tron: Legacy'?

I have checked a dictionary, 'tron' isn't a word in English. And someone translated into my native language: Creat: fight record
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the phrase “God and my twin vicars” mean?

As you all may have figured out, I have an affection for Britishisms and peculiar colloquiaisms of British speech. Recently, I came across an inscrutable one watching the hilarious FX show Archer, and ...
13
votes
6answers
33k views

How to use “tens of” and “hundreds of”?

If I'm not mistaken, tens of means 10 to 99 and hundreds of means 100 to 999. Is this correct? I found in some dictionaries that tens of is actually not correct. I also found that hundreds of could ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the difference between “filtrated” and “filtered”?

The word "filtered" seems to be much more common than "filtrated". I know that these words derive from "to filter" and "to filtrate". What is the difference in meaning between these two verbs? The ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What does the word 'carcareal' mean when referring to policies?

In The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism by David Harvey on page 240 the author alludes to an "... anti-democratic, money-saturated and carcareal drift of capitalist state policies..." ...
11
votes
7answers
42k views

What does “a man among men” mean?

The phrase: "A man among men." We have been having a debate about whether this means: unexceptional, common, like all others, ordinary a superior example of one in a class We have found examples ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the origin/meaning of “get off my cloud” and will it change?

What is the etymology of this phrase, and might the meaning change due to cloud storage?
14
votes
7answers
828 views

Non-religious mentions of God (or religious concepts) in the American English language

Reading about an appeal turned down by the US Supreme Court, I see that the majority opinion on phrases such as “in God we trust” and “one nation under God” is that they are not affirmations of faith, ...
6
votes
3answers
22k views

“What's not to love?”

What do people really mean when they say "what's not to love"? Is there any context in particular to use this?
3
votes
2answers
159 views

Which one to use — “support” or “sports”?

I have read about many times like as given below: Nokia N8 Mobile Support A 12-Megapixel Camera. and Nokia N8 Mobile Sports A 12-Megapixel Camera. So my questions are: Is there any ...
8
votes
6answers
52k views

“Get to do something”

What's the meaning of "get to do something"? I get to spend a lot of time with you and the kids.
7
votes
3answers
18k views

“I just ate them” and “I've just eaten them” — What's the difference in American and in British?

I know there are differences between American and British English in this area. So when answering, please specify whether you speak American or British English.
7
votes
2answers
13k views

How do you interpret 'up to'?

Consider the sentence: "The boxes must be filled up to the last box". Does this mean 'including' the last box or all 'but' the last box? If I ask you to start with 1 and count up to 8, you'll likely ...
1
vote
2answers
125 views

In which context is “lignicolous” used?

Is lignicolous a word used in a specific context, or is it common to say "that is a lignicolous bug"?
11
votes
7answers
10k views

Meaning of the phrase “the wrong side of history”

I've just realized I don't understand what this phrase means. What does "Gaddafi is on the wrong side of history" mean? Does it mean he's about to die, or something else? Here's the relevant ...
2
votes
3answers
605 views

What is the meaning of the business jargon “big hitter”?

I want the meaning of the business jargon that says "big hitter".
6
votes
3answers
2k views

“Not worth the paper it's printed on” - wrong meaning?

Technically a small piece of paper is worthless - having zero resale value, so why is the saying not: It is worth the paper it's printed on?
2
votes
8answers
3k views

What does “I pissed the wall” mean?

What is the meaning of a sentence like "I pissed the wall"? Is there any difference with "I pissed my pants"?
4
votes
3answers
32k views

What does “if nothing else” mean?

I understand the meaning of "if nothing else" in sentence A, but couldn't understand the meaning in sentence B. A. "I will go to library this afternoon if nothing else to do." B. "Google argues that ...
55
votes
11answers
11k views

What is the difference between “gender” and “sex”?

What is the difference between gender and sex? Wiktionary says that gender is The mental analog of sex but that's too high English for me. Basically, I'm developing a web-application that stores ...
1
vote
2answers
376 views

Arrange, settle, reconcile — could these words be used before “their differences”?

Arrange, settle, reconcile — could these words be used before "their differences"? What are the differences in meaning?
0
votes
1answer
417 views

Meaning of 'full reality to change'

Therefore, classic ontology denies any full reality to change, which is conceived as only accidental and not essential In the above sentence, which is the object(or complement) of the 'deny'? what ...
2
votes
3answers
9k views

Meaning of 'confer upon'

The only objects which can constitute [the space-time framework essential to interpersonal communication] are those which confer upon it their own fundamental characteristics.
5
votes
4answers
51k views

What does “put it down on me” mean?

What does the phrase "put it down on me" mean?
4
votes
3answers
5k views

“Build out” versus “build up”

How are these two different? Build [something] out vs. Build [something] up
0
votes
1answer
263 views

meaning of 'frame by'

This paper has been framed by two seemingly recurring topics in IS research
5
votes
4answers
6k views

Why use 'step down' instead of 'resign'? Is there any difference?

Ozzie announced his plans to step down from his role at Microsoft on October 18, 2010
5
votes
2answers
32k views

What is a “high-level conversation”?

Recently I was told by a potential interviewer for a job that we would be having a "high-level conversation" soon. I assumed at the time that she just meant a conversation with a higher-up, e.g., ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

“Notion” and “conception”

What is the difference between notion and conception?
10
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “pur sang”?

In the closing of an English L&U question, one of our users, Cerberus, used what I'm sure is a marvelous construction full of history, pur sang, as in: "...he is trying to argue here why it ...
13
votes
2answers
13k views

What is the distinction between “role” and “rôle” [with a circumflex]?

One of our users, Stan Rogers, mentioned there was such a distinction, I think, when he answered a question and talked about how the orthography of foreign loan-words typically changes to conform with ...
1
vote
3answers
606 views

“Senseless” and “irrelevant” synonyms of “unreasonable”

Aren't "senseless" and "irrelevant" synonyms of "unreasonable"? This question is related to: What does it mean when someone calls himself “non sequitur”? comments to to my answer to Is there a ...
10
votes
6answers
36k views

What is the difference between “monologue” and “soliloquy”?

Just a random thought as to what the actual difference between monologue and soliloquy might be.
6
votes
1answer
5k views

Meaning of 'made them out to be'

Michelson-Morley experiments weren't the failure MIT made them out to be, just as Cold Fusion wasn't the failure MIT made it out to be
-1
votes
3answers
1k views

What does it mean when someone calls himself “non sequitur”? [closed]

Coming from my answer to question Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?” What does it mean when someone calls himself "non sequitur"? Examples: "I AM NON ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“Intent” and “purport”

I was unable to understand the similarities and differences between intent and purport. A description will be good to understand.
2
votes
1answer
646 views

What does “It dopes it really really well. Dope even” mean? [closed]

Recently I came across a stackoverflow comment for a post. It goes something like this. Dojo has an UpgradeBar that dopes this: Blah Blah Blah and then somebody commented the post It ...
2
votes
2answers
264 views

What does ‘Knicks have to go through another week of “jelling on the fly”’ mean?

I came across the phrase ‘jelling on the fly’ in today’s New York Times’ article titled, ‘The Knicks are racing to blend talent into a team.’ As I don’t understand the meaning of ‘jell on the fly,’ I ...
6
votes
4answers
14k views

What does “punch line” mean?

I read this sentence and I don't understand what "punch line" means here: Most people recognize this Amazon: Jeff Bezos's hyperproficient Borders-killer; one of the few dot-com initial ...
6
votes
6answers
8k views

What connotation do these words describing “someone who straightforwardly expresses their” opinion have?

The adjective ones I have heard recently are forward straightforward forthcoming frank I was wondering if each of them has positive, negative or neutral meaning? What are other similar terms ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Terms to apply to something that leaves strong memory

Do the following terms have positive, neutral or negative meaning? memorable impressive remarkable What are other similar terms that are used for positive, neutral and negative intention?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of 'sphere of'

who attempted to make sense of every sphere of social life
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What does Agatha Christie’s line, ‘Speak through one’s nose full of b's and d's’ mean?

Unlike my usual questions picked up from newspaper sources, this question regards literature. I was asked by one of my friends who is an English enthusiast about the meaning of “speak through one’s ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

Where did “I tend to agree.” as a standalone statement originate?

And what does it mean? When I first started hearing someone using it a few years ago, I figured it was a personal spin on "agree sometimes", but apparently, he's not the only one who uses this phrase....
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning of the expression “2.1 kids”

What does it mean to say, "Everyone in this city has 2.1 kids"? Is this an idiom?
5
votes
5answers
9k views

What does “country fellows” actually mean?

I searched on Internet for country fellows, but I couldn't find definition. What is the origin and the real meaning of country fellows? Edit: I didn't mean "fellow countrymen". does this phrase have ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

Are “zugzwang”, “catch-22” and “catch-33” synonyms?

Are these words synonyms? zugzwang — a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer to pass and make no move catch-22 — a ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the origin of “33” in “catch-33”?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch_Thirtythree explains: Lyrically, the album is a concept album, revolving around different kinds of paradoxes, hence the title Catch Thirtythree (see Catch-22). ...