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

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5
votes
4answers
622 views

What does ‘Receive’ mean in ‘Bush did not always receive a timely consideration of his option'?

The Washington Post (Feb 3rd) introduces upcoming Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir in an article titled ‘Rumsfeld remains unapologetic in his memoir.' I felt the word ‘receive’ was used in the following ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

“She left me for another woman” or “She left me for a woman”?

Assuming a male speaker is referring to an ex-partner, which of the following is more correct? She left me for another woman She left me for a woman The phrase She left me for another ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

Origin and meaning of “every cloud has a silver lining”

Every cloud has a silver lining. Please provide some historical perspective and meaning of this expression.
6
votes
3answers
312 views

What is a “Snail Toss”?

What does snail toss mean in the following sentences? I'll drop this in the snail toss on the way, all right? I was thinking about some hardcore snail toss later.
1
vote
5answers
280 views

What does ‘Nevada Sen. John Ensign may be toast’ mean?

I came across a headline of an article in the Washington Post (Feb. 2nd) reading ‘Why John Ensign may be toast,’ which is followed by the following sentence; Embattled Nevada Sen. John Ensign ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

a complex sentence, and I cannot understand

The truth is, we are all affected by the people we interact with, many of whom we don't even know personally we don't know what? those peoples or this truth ?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of “implication”?

Does the following sentence make sense? What are the implications if we do not take a proactive approach to web security? It sounds right to me but when I looked it up in the dictionary I ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

“Decimate”: has it been used in the “classic” sense in modern writing?

In this question, I learned that "to decimate" meant to reduce by 10% (hope I got that right). And it is lamented that no-one uses it in this sense anymore. Now, given that I never until today knew ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

“Take your ball and go home” - meaning of this odd phrase?

On a business website regarding the takeover of a radio station, I noticed this unusual phrase: Can't really see Orion Media changing Gold much, unless Global take their ball home and say that if ...
3
votes
3answers
798 views

Is it wrong to say “Music Concert”?

Concerts, by definition, feature music. Isn't specifying a concert to be a music concert needlessly redundant?
7
votes
5answers
5k views

Does “needless to say” convey to the reader that he is ignorant?

Isn't the term a bit condescending?
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between “solidus” and “slash”?

I was reading a text, and I found the word solidus. What is a solidus? Is the word normally used in everyday language, or is there another word that replaces solidus even if it's not the completely ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

“Strait-laced” or “straight-laced”

Why do strait-laced and straight-laced have the same meaning when strait and straight have different meanings?
0
votes
2answers
323 views

Is “without padding one’s end zone” really a pun?

In another question, the whimsically yclept Yoichi Oishi asks What does "Without padding one’s end zone" mean? and Robusto replies, 'End zone' is a pun, because the object of American ...
1
vote
3answers
530 views

Meaning of the adverb 'differently' and its position

Perceptual constancy refers to our ability to see things differently without having to reinterpret the object's properties. Is differently referring to we see or things?
0
votes
3answers
609 views

“The Drude is on board with this”

In this comment, the author uses the expression the Drude is on board with this. What does it mean?
9
votes
5answers
37k views

What does the British idiom “taking the piss” mean?

I most recently heard this in the context of a business deal: Sorry gents, looks like we'll be taking the piss on that one. I understood that the business had suffered a financial loss, although ...
1
vote
1answer
963 views

“Available from” versus “available on”

What is the difference between available from and available on? Do the following sentences have a different meaning? Check the information available from [URL of a web page]. Check the ...
1
vote
3answers
614 views

front up or show up?

In article ‘How To Use the “Seven Deadly Sins” to Turn Visitors into Customers’ in the Smashing Magazine the autor used the word ‘front up’: Showing off your customers. People want to use tools ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What does “If you're gonna get up in my face you'd better be ready to back it up!” mean?

I just read the following expression: I have a vague idea what it means but please could a native speaker comment: "If you're gonna get up in my face you'd better be ready to back it up!"
5
votes
1answer
13k views

What does “cramp one's style” mean?

Dude -- you're cramping my style! What does it mean?
6
votes
3answers
924 views

What does “Backing forward or backing back” in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s comment mean?

I found the phrase backing forward or backing back in Secretary State Hillary Clinton’s remark on the Sunday Show, which was quoted in today’s Washington Post as follows. Secretary of State ...
0
votes
3answers
356 views

How can a human being be a part of useful endeavor?

http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/EconEdLink-print-lesson.php?lid=556&type=educator the students will identify useful endeavors they can be a part of. How can a human being be a part of ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What does “hit margin” mean?

This is used in an economic context: We don't monetize ourselves properly, so we don't hit margins.
0
votes
2answers
223 views

And lead raptivity captive

What do raptivity and "And lead raptivity captive" mean?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What does 'Become a scarlet letter' mean for a Senator who took advantage of the ‘Tea Party’ wave in the mid-term election?

I came across a phrase, senators who become a scarlet letter, in an article of today’s Washington Post (Jan.29) titled "Tea Party Caucus holds first meeting without some who had embraced banner." The ...
4
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the difference between Admiral and Rear-Admiral? [closed]

I know the meaning of admiral. But what does it mean when we use "Rear" before it?
1
vote
3answers
684 views

“indulger of” vs. “indulger in”

A person can indulge in something. Is he therefore an indulger of something or an indulger in something? Are both okay? If both are okay, is there any difference between these two phrases or are ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

“Tone” vs. “shade”

"Tone" and "shade" seem to refer to the darkness or brightness of a thing. So do they mean the same thing? Where is it proper to use each of them? When describing a person's skin, what is the ...
0
votes
3answers
314 views

About the 'f-word' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How bad is the f-word really? I fucking love this man! It's awesome, keep it up! Is it not a bad word sometimes? Can it be used in formal article?
2
votes
3answers
753 views

What does ‘Need a turn on the butcher’s block’ mean in cutting down the U.S. Government spending?

I came across a phrase a turn on the butcher’s block in the following sentence appearing in an article of Time Magazine (Dec. 19, 2010 issue) titled Can Washington Tackle Its Deficit Cows. I know how ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

What is a “go-around” in this context?

Well, to begin with, I don't even know what is the usual meaning of "go-around". So, if you know, please, explain it to me. But in this case this noun ("go-around") seems even to be used in a ...
3
votes
5answers
645 views

Is it safe to equate 'less evil' to 'more good'?

We had a bit of a debate with this one. He, a native speaker (unlike me) went for: "less evil" implies that you are comparing evil people and "more good" implies that you are comparing good people ...
11
votes
3answers
20k views

Origin of the meaning of “à la mode”

In American English, à la mode means: in fashion, up to date. with ice cream. (of beef) braised in wine, typically with vegetables. While the first meaning matches the French meaning, the other ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

What does r/t and e/w stand for, after the flight ticket price?

What does r/t and e/w stand for when shown after the price? Something like this: Flight from $300 r/t and flight $100 e/w
1
vote
1answer
341 views

Some questions about the lyric of “so feel autumn rain”

so feel autumn rain Can 'feel' be modified by 'so' without saying what's the feeling? Leaving with twilight though I was chosen Why 'I was chosen' can be the cause of 'leaving with ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is ‘Yes-ish’ a perfect alternative to Yes, or is it 'Yes ‘on condition’? Is it received English?

I found a word ‘Yes-ish’ in the answer (from PLL) to my question about the meaning of ‘Stuck to the script’ I posted today. As it is quite new to my ear, I consulted with Wikipedia before logging out ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “strike home” mean?

What does "strike home" mean in this sentence?: "This example ought to strike home for you"
16
votes
3answers
87k views

Does the casual use of “a la ___” in English preserve the French meaning?

In English, we use a la carte and a la mode, but it is also common for people to add their own word to the basic construction. For example, one might comment on someone's dancing: He showed us ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of terms of shoe laces

What does "lace-up", "open-throat or wide-set" and "closed-throat or close-set" mean in How to Select Shoes to Wear With a Man's Suit: Wear lace-up shoes for your most formal occasions. ...
9
votes
9answers
10k views

Is the verb “redouble” just a redundant way to say “double”?

A colleague and I were reading a corporate memo that contained the phrase 'redouble our efforts'. His claim was that the word redouble was equivalent to double and simply nonstandard. (Similar to, ...
30
votes
3answers
304k views

What is a good way to remind someone to reply to your email?

Sometimes some of the emails to people senior to you in the company are left unanswered. What are the ways to politely remind the person that he needs to reply to your email (which he might have ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Free as in 'free beer' and in 'free speech' [closed]

This phrase is all over the internet. They will say that something is free as in 'free beer' and free as in 'free speech'. I have never really understood this. Are these the examples of two different ...
28
votes
3answers
139k views

What does “For what it's worth” mean?

I hear it often, and can usually derive a sentence's meaning with or without it. What does it really mean? When would one use it?
7
votes
7answers
18k views

Does “pants” more commonly mean “trousers” or “underpants”?

In the UK, I've heard pants being used as slang for underpants (or was it in Bridget Jones' Diary?), whereas in India it almost exclusively means "trousers". Describing the meaning of "put your pants ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Etymology of “Sidejacking”

How did the term "Sidejacking" come out? What is its origin?
7
votes
4answers
22k views

What is the meaning and usage of the word “beknownst”?

I've used "beknownst" and "unbeknownst" a couple times but I never really bothered to look it up until now. But it's not in most of the online dictionaries websites I frequent. I'm under the ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Can “modality” mean “having modes?”

A widget has one button. This button performs different functions depending on the widget's mode at the time the button is pressed. Can this be said to have modality, or a modal design?
3
votes
3answers
565 views

What does ‘Near-career’ mean?

I found a word, near-career filling in the following article of today’s New York Times titled Unusual Work, Even in World of the Theater. Tom Santopietro has made a near-career filling in for ...
0
votes
1answer
452 views

What is “dismal”?

I've struggled with this word for about 2 years (no joke). Every time I see it, I look it up, kind of understand what it means in that context, and then gleefully forget. Please help me understand ...