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

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6
votes
2answers
9k 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
204 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
4k 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
14k 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
167 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
9k 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
4k 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.
10
votes
3answers
23k 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.
14
votes
5answers
37k 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
3k 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
4k 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
574 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
6k 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
334 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
3answers
3k views

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

If A is dependant, what does one call B?
5
votes
3answers
2k 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
223 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
158k 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
641 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
84k 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?
15
votes
7answers
1k views

Meaning of “stackexchange”

What does stackexchange mean? I have checked out this link to read about the Stack Exchange Network.
18
votes
4answers
77k 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
397 views

Meaning of the word 'rap'

CIA takes rap for embassy attack.
4
votes
2answers
1k 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
28k views

What does “putting someone on” mean?

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

Is “obscure” autological? [closed]

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
1k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
11k 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
731 views

“treat 'em and street 'em”

What does treat 'em and street 'em mean?
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
8k 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?
19
votes
6answers
28k views

Is “curiouser” in fact a word (like in the famous 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
3k views

What does the word “Rep.” mean?

What's meaning of the 'Rep.'?
23
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
17k 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
3k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
5k 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?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “yadda yadda” mean?

In a phrase like the usual yadda yadda, what does yadda yadda mean? What is its origin? Please read, this is not the usual yadda yadda! Three things: Because the dumps are quite a bit of ...
15
votes
3answers
73k views

“Egoistic” vs. “egotistic” [closed]

Does "egoistic" and "egotistic" mean the same thing?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “piracy pirates” mean?

What does the following phrase mean? In Soviet Russia, piracy pirates YOU. What is implied by "piracy pirates YOU" and what by "IN Soviet Russia"? Update 1: My difficulty was because the term ...
8
votes
4answers
54k views

What does “roll your eyes” mean?

I came across the following sentence in a technical documentation that explains about integration with HTTP protocol. What does "rolled your eyes" mean here? Excerpt: If you’re a developer ...
5
votes
2answers
15k views

Explain the choice of the verb “dip” in “dip your lights”

Does the phrase "dip your lights" mean to turn them off or something else? Why is the word dip used? Quote: If you drive with your headlights on full beam in fog, the light will just reflect back ...
20
votes
8answers
18k views

What does it mean to mind your P's and Q's?

During office discussion two turns of phrase came up in close proximity: "peace and quiet" shortly followed by "mind your P's and Q's". What is the meaning of P's and Q's? I wondered if it might be ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

What does ‘Sport’ mean when you say ‘the new Apple iPad sports cameras for video conferencing’?

I found a phrase, ‘the new tablet of iPad can sport at least one camera for video conferencing’ in today’s Washington Post article reporting iPad 2. I guess ‘Sport’ here implies ‘chase (move) after ...
1
vote
4answers
350 views

Conflict of interest

What's the difference between a "conflict of interest" and the "appearance of a conflict of interest"?
15
votes
7answers
6k views

How long does it take to mull something over?

I used the phrase "we'll mull it over" in an e-mail. My intent was to let the readers know that we (the team) needed to give it due consideration and come up with a considered response to their ...
8
votes
5answers
14k views

Differences between “price point” and “price”

Apart from its use among the bean-counters who talk about maximising company profits, I can't understand why price point has spread so widely in popular American parlance. As far as I can tell, the ...
12
votes
4answers
51k views

“Legend” or “key”?

What is the difference between a legend or a key? Is it still called a legend if it is located at the top, rather than the bottom of results?