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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

1
vote
3answers
419 views

What's the meaning of “Acme developers for IPhone”?

I have recently heard the term "Acme developer of IPhone." I was just wondering what it stands for? I think I know the meaning: Is it when a developer goes to a client and presents his/her ideas for ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “like kicking a puppy” mean?

"I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore," Zemlin said. "They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy." I'm just curious, how to correctly ...
5
votes
3answers
498 views

What is the difference (in terms of usage and connotation) between “loath” and “loathe”?

I'm having difficulty in understanding the differences in usage (and understanding which one is used from pronunciation/context) between "loathe" and "loath" - could anyone help clarify it ?
4
votes
3answers
18k views

What is meant by “sth”?

I came across this line in a site: Can u make sth effective for a sports betting related product? I can't understand what is meant by sth effective here. I tried to google it but was unable to ...
7
votes
7answers
85k views

Is there a difference between “vice”, “deputy”, “associate”, and “assistant” as descriptive job titles?

When vice, deputy, associate, or assistant is collocated with a job title, such as vice manager, deputy manager, associate manager, assistant manager, I wonder how to rank or differentiate their ...
4
votes
6answers
6k views

In what contexts would one use the slang word “minging” in British English?

I was watching a Youtube video on English accents, and in the middle of a Yorkshire one, I think, the author of the video used the word "minging", in what seemed to be an insult. So I have two ...
4
votes
2answers
74k views

What do first, second, and third person perspective mean? Why are they so called?

I am aware of the terms first person, second person and third person from grammar, but I have also seen them used in other contexts, in particular first person perspective with regard to video games. ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Does “hieroglyph” only refer to the ancient Egyption form of writing or to any writing system whose basic elements represent words?

If somebody refers to Chinese or Japanese characters as hieroglyphs are they right or wrong? Aren't there many hieroglyphic writing systems? If somebody says hieroglyph refers only to Ancient Egyptian ...
5
votes
9answers
8k views

Is “New and Improved” an oxymoron?

It irritates me that advertisers often claim a product is "New and Improved". Surely, if something is new (ie, has not existed previously), it can't be improved! And vice versa!
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“If it hadn’t been for the rock, the ship wouldn’t have gone aground”

If it hadn’t been for the rock, the ship wouldn’t have gone aground. What does this idiom mean, exactly? From The Economist.
1
vote
2answers
468 views

“fail to convey it”

Does "I fail to convey it" mean "I know but I don't explain it" or does it mean "I know and I try to explain it, but not well enough for people to understand it" or can it mean both? What's another ...
27
votes
7answers
92k views

“Insecure” or “unsecure” when dealing with security?

Which is the appropriate word to be used in the sentence: The system we were testing was determined to be insecure/unsecure. The usage is in the context of security, specifically a lack thereof....
4
votes
7answers
3k views

“convey” vs. “say”

It's easier than it seems, but I don't convey it well. My friend says that I should change that to read It's easier than it seems, but I don't say it well. However, this doesn't seem quite ...
3
votes
1answer
38k views

What do “a.m.” and “p.m.” stand for when talking about time? [closed]

What do a.m. and p.m. stand for when talking about time?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

“Would” with a present meaning—is this correct?

A great example I can think of: "Please, leave! I would be alone!" With would meaning something like, "I want to be alone." Is this correct, or not? EDIT: To further clarify, I am not aiming ...
0
votes
1answer
852 views

“Center” or “centre” in sports vocabulary? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Similar words that change from “-ter” to “tre” I am researching some stuff about football (soccer), and I came across the words center and centre, ...
12
votes
6answers
54k views

What does the phrase “Fee-fi-fo-fum” actually mean?

Fee-fi-fo-fum; I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make my bread. Joseph Jacobs, Jack and the Beanstalk (1890) I've read about ...
1
vote
1answer
501 views

What does ‘The show is all pump-up, no narrative” mean?

If you didn't know, Charlie Sheen recently kicked off his 20-date tour in Detroit on the evening of April 2nd “to a slew of walkouts and boo.” As the Guardian commented: “Charlie Sheen's remaining ...
20
votes
4answers
17k views

“pseudo-”, “quasi-” “semi-” and

I was wondering about the meaning of "pseudo-", "quasi-" "semi-" and possibly other related prefixes, in general cases. Particularly, in engineering and science, there are quite a few terms named ...
4
votes
6answers
10k views

Does sympathy necessarily mean pity?

This one has bugged me for a while. I've always been under the impression that sympathy doesn't have to mean pity. But everyone else tells me I'm dead wrong. So does sympathy always mean pity?
34
votes
3answers
36k views

Why do people say “over-” and “underwhelmed” but never just “whelmed”?

We've all been overwhelmed with work, or seen an underwhelming movie... but it occurred to me that I've never heard anyone use the root word, whelm. whelm (verb) 1. to submerge; engulf. 2. to ...
1
vote
0answers
189 views

What is the meaning behind: ''Mind your Ps and Q's" - how did it originate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does it mean to mind your P's and Q's? I've heard mothers using this on the playground when talking to their children, but not sure what point they were trying ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “so” a pronoun?

Reminded by What is the grammatical function of so in this sentence, something that has always bothered me is that the word "so" can be used as a pronoun: It looks like rain Responding with: ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Are there commonly used words to denote different gradations of friendship in English?

In English there is only one word for grade of friendship: friends. All of you agree that friends are different: with some of them you just drank beer few times, other you know for many years and you ...
18
votes
3answers
12k views

Gay (homosexual) and gay (happy)

When did the main meaning of the word 'gay' shift from happy to homosexual? How did the meaning evolve, if there is a relation between the two?
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Meaning of “ ‘Western’ world” and alternative terms

The discussion on the meaning and connotations of the world 'Oriental' got me thinking along similar lines on the usage of 'Western' world or 'the West' to denote North America and Europe. I find it ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What words sound like opposites but are synonyms?

Somewhat related to this question, I am curious to know what words in English would seem to be opposites at first blush but are in fact synonyms? Immediately I can think of flammable and inflammable.
1
vote
1answer
244 views

Words that have opposing definitions? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: English words that are their own antonyms What words have opposite meanings in different regions? I was reading a book the other day when the author wrote: The ...
9
votes
3answers
15k views

What does ‘Camel gets his nose under the tent’ mean?

In the article of New York Times co-ed columnist, Maureen Dowd dealing with Republicans’ objection of the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ under the title, “Mad Men and Mad Women”, I came across an ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What's the meaning of “in virtue of itself”?

Therefore, as Aristotle expressed it, things are what they are only relative to other things, and nothing is what it is simply in virtue of itself
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of “all left reserved” and “all right reserved”?

Could somebody please clarify the meaning of these two expressions and the differences between them: "All Right Reserved" and "All Left Reserved"?
1
vote
2answers
105 views

About the pronoun “one”

and the choice of what to include and what not to include was necessarily a personal one Could it be said: "...was necessarily personal"? Which is the "one" to substitute, "choice"?
4
votes
4answers
19k views

Meaning of “I feel so helpless”

What is the phrase "I feel so helpless" supposed to mean? Is it "I feel as though I am unable to offer help" or "I feel as though no one could help me?" I saw it in a movie, and always thought it ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “it was gone 2pm”?

The chicken in the “chicken and egg” soba was so tough I swore that it had seen active service in the First World War. I was of course the only customer (well, it was gone 2pm). Please give the ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it ‘a thousand and one’ when government employees ask questions on possible government shutdown?

In today’s Washington Post article titled “For federal workers, anxiety over a possible shutdown", I found a strange quote of number—‘a thousand and one questions.’ I understand it’s simply an ...
14
votes
9answers
7k views

Antonym of 'stigma'

I am looking for a word that has the opposite, positive connotation from 'stigma': For example, There is a stigma of laziness associated with poor people. What would be the replacement for '...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Scientific” versus “scientifical”

Is there any substantive difference in the meanings of these two words? Is the latter considered a proper word at all? If the answer to either of the above questions is yes, what are these words' ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

What is a dry sense of humor?

What does a dry sense of humor mean? This article explains how to develop it, but not what it is. How to Develop a Dry Sense of Humor Developing a dry sense of humor can be challenging ...
3
votes
3answers
54k views

Meaning of “true north”

Roz, I'm just trying to find my true north
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “booty-trap” mean here?

Can someone explain to me what booty-trap means in this sentence? We moved back in there, setting up booty traps. Each man booty-trapped his own home.
1
vote
2answers
24k views

“shall” vs. “will” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'shall' and 'will' Is there any difference at all between these two sentences? What will we talk about? What shall we talk about?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Unfamiliar use of “cricket”

I came across a use of the word cricket today that was new to me. It was in an article written by an American author about his recent trip to Egypt and about the role of the U.S. in the current ...
11
votes
3answers
31k views

What is difference among “a tad,” “a bit,” “a little?” Why do you use “a tad?”

I came across the word “a tad” which is unfamiliar to me in today’s New York Times’ article, titled “Yankees Bracing for Cold in Opener and in April.” The article starts with the following line: ...
10
votes
6answers
9k views

Why did the descriptive “Orientals” shift into a pejorative?

It seems as if a shift occurred and the descriptive "Oriental" was replaced by "Asian" as the accepted term in polite society — what caused this shift?
3
votes
8answers
44k views

Meaning of “makes no sense”

Which of the following has the closest meaning to "This makes no sense"? "I do not understand this" "This has no meaning" Update I will try to explain: My friend has proposed a solution to some ...
2
votes
1answer
638 views

What do “[People] talk about the baggage,” and “[Candidates] have lots of baggage” mean?

I came across the expression, “People talk about the baggage,” and “[Presidential] candidates have lots of baggage” in Jay Bookman’s article titled “Gingrich, Palin have no shot at being GOP ...
13
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the “explicit”'s equivalent of “imply”?

Note: The original title of this question was "Why is 'exply' not a word? While considering the words implicit, implicate, and imply, it struck me that I can't think of an equivalent to imply for ...
16
votes
3answers
90k views

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘in timely fashion’?

It was very disturbing to learn that Google will not open source Android 3.0 in timely fashion. What is the meaning of in timely fashion?
2
votes
1answer
348 views

What is a single word describing this type of statement?

Scenario: A gang from the west of the USA wants to kill gang members from the east of the USA. The gang from the west meet a gang member from the east and ask: 'Where are you from?' The gang member ...
6
votes
2answers
46k views

What does “life's a beach” mean?

Somewhere on Yahoo News I read this text: Scarlett Johansson and Sean Penn turned heads when they showed up together at Reese Witherspoon's wedding. The 26-year-old actress took 50-year-...