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

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0
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2answers
2k views

What does “Kooing” mean?

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081226070704AAhqTFt; Maybe its the sound like a Kooing, like a little baby would make? What does Kooing mean in this context? Is Koo a word or ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

What date range is being referred to when someone says {date} is in the first week of {month}?

Conversely, what about: {date} is in the last week of {month}? Is the first week of April the first week that is entirely in April or is it the first week that contains the first of April? Of course ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

What does the phrase “putting them in time out” mean?

I have a sentence, but there is an expression I can't understand. Could someone explain it to me? Here it is: "You should treat your employees like adults instead of putting them in time out like ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

“shameful” vs “shameless” [closed]

I have seen shameful and shameless being used interchangeably, but it is surprising that they would mean the same. Is there a difference?
7
votes
5answers
701 views

What does “I believe in making America safe for old-fashioned light bulbs and not those weird curly ones,” mean?

I saw the line, “That’s all I believe in. That and making America safe for old-fashioned light bulbs and not those weird curly ones,” in the speech of Michele Bachmann quoted in Maureen Dowd column in ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Origin of alternate meanings

How do some words get alternate meanings that have nothing to do with their original definition? For example, the word cool means both moderately cold and permitting such a sensation. How are these ...
7
votes
1answer
815 views

What is the meaning of the idiom “Like the Nation”?

In the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there are several curious references to "the nation". For example, in chapter 22: And at last, sure enough, [...] the horse broke loose, and away he ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

What does “taking mock offence” mean?

What does "taking mock offence" mean? It is said in brackets in a play as a kind of comment how the character behaves or says the following words. I can't find it anywhere.
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “guinea” mean here?

The following lyrics I'm about to post from the song Virginia, rapped by Pusha-T from the now defunct duo, Clipse. For background in answering my question, in the rap, Pusha-T has begun bragging ...
68
votes
8answers
19k views

History of “X is dead. Long live X”

What is the history of "X is dead. Long live X"? For example, Location is dead. Long live Location. JavaScript is dead. Long live JavaScript. I feel like I'm missing out on a joke.
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Reason for the strange meaning of “for any length of time”?

Consider the sentence [emphasis mine]: Foreign producers cannot sell all commodities at lower prices than domestic producers for any length of time because the depreciation (or pressures for ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Meaning of “one order of magnitude improvement”

There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude improvement in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity. ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Definition of “scolt”

We found a gravestone in Ashby MA. with an old word on it we could not understand. "Lot, son of ... was scolt to death Decr. 8, 1806, aged 2 years and 10 months.". We are not sure what scolt ...
17
votes
12answers
28k views

What is the difference between “quicker” and “faster”?

What is the correct word to use here and why: I will get there quicker [than you] vs. I will get there faster [than you] There must be similar adverbs for "slower".
-1
votes
1answer
117 views

“Know” and “know not”

I don't recognise the name Herb Sutter. I don't know him. I know him not. What's the difference?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

“cold cash” vs. “hard cash”

Context (New York Times): Besides piling into Treasuries, institutional investors are also seeking out the safety of cold, hard cash, pouring billions into commercial bank accounts backed up ...
1
vote
4answers
871 views

Word for company that takes bets on illegal events or helps you bet

As I understand bookmaker in English is a person or company that takes bets on events. But I have two questions related to this word: Is there any special word for a person or company that takes ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “very approximate” mean?

An approximate answer is one which is close to the correct answer. Likewise, we can talk of an approximate model, or approximate methods in mathematics. The etymology is from the Latin ad, "to" and ...
4
votes
1answer
225 views

Meaning of “shed all gentlemanly reticence”

Please explain the meaning of the text in bold, taken from this Bloomberg article. Ah, yes. They have shed all gentlemanly reticence over dragging former allies into court.
2
votes
1answer
346 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
847 views

A “human cue tip”?

I am watching the excellent documentary "Nobelity" by Turk Pipkin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobelity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turk_Pipkin 4 minutes into the movie, there is a bit that I don'...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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. Open-...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Like to vs like + ing [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something” Hello, Is there any difference of meaning between these sentences? I like to get up early I like ...
6
votes
1answer
126 views

“You took… and you…”

How would the grammar of this construction be analysed? I am trying to identify and define the difference between using this and the regular way of saying the same thing. Examples: You took this ...
-3
votes
1answer
230 views

Confusion about meaning of sentences in Economist

I am confused about the parts in bold while reading Economist. And the feeble recovery is petering out. Their prescription for a weak economy is a large slug of austerity. Why do we use the ...
4
votes
2answers
523 views

What is the meaning of the subclause of 'goes off the deep end'?

If a real-time program goes off the deep end, the system can become unresponsive.
8
votes
3answers
102k views

Difference between “intern” and “trainee”

I am filling out a form in order to get a J-1 visa to the US. One question is to say if I'll be an intern or a trainee (among others). Yes, I could ask the guys that made the form, but my question ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What's the (unobvious) meaning of “I saw you coming”?

Watching an episode of Ruddy Hell, the phrase "I saw you coming" was printed on a shop and the shop owner used it when talking to the rich lady. The context was that he sold stuff second hand and even ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

Confusion about “would it not be better if” vs “it would be better if”

non-native speaker here and I have problems with the following sentence. 'My friend asks if it would not be better for you to come here.' Does the sentence mean a) 'My friend thinks it would be ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Does “be lost in something” have a positive or negative meaning?

I get lost in my job. What does it mean? I get immersed in my work so deeply even the outside world seems to cease to exist (because I'm concentrating so much on what I'm doing). (Which sounds ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How to interpret this kind of sentence?

I have a question related to an example sentence below. I always have slight doubt in interpreting sentences which have this kind of clauses being connected. Consider this sentence: The book ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the meaning of “I'm a wiener”?

I have scoured out dictionaries searching for the word wiener without success. As you can notice I am not a native speaker. I usually see the this phrase as a demeaning joke on animations when some ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Meaning of the word 'en'

While reading Paulo Coelho's novel, I came across a word that left me doubting whether it was of English origin. Following is the sentence: She fell in love for the first time when she was eleven, ...
1
vote
2answers
425 views

What is the proper way to mention “current” for future events?

I am writing a software user manual so the topic is about possible situations which its users may come across. Here is an example sentence: The button saves the current URL in the browser. ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Are 'should' and 'be supposed to' interchangeable? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do we say “supposed to” for “should have”? I guess I really can't tell if 'should' and 'be supposed to' are interchangeable from the definitions ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “Eat our peas” mean - where does it come from?

In a recent speech about the national debt, Obama said it's time to "Eat our peas". What does it mean - where does it come from?
2
votes
3answers
151 views

Instantaneous interpretation of disjoined events over a duration

What is the correct interpretation of a sentence with two events occurring during some time span joined by "or"? It seems that the scope of "or" doesn't change in either case. For example: Today ...
3
votes
4answers
440 views
1
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5answers
1k views

“Drinking water” or “drunk water”

Why do people use bottled drinking water instead of bottled drunk water? I am puzzled by the two sentences. I am drinking some water. Some water is being drunk. I know they are the same ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the phrase 'off of' mean in the following sentence?

This threshold is currently eight, so if count is less than or equal to 8, the vectored I/O operation occurs in a very memory-efficient manner off of the process’ kernel stack.
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Use of “mental” and “spiritual” as adjectives

If I say something encouraging for someone, then I am mentally or spiritually supporting him. I mean to input into his head as well as resurect ideas of possibility that has been far out of ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Meaning or definition of “substantional”

Recently I came across the word substantional. What's its definition, and how can it be used in a sentence? Are there any common synonyms? Where did this word come from? I suspect it's related to ...
1
vote
2answers
797 views

Does ‘dislodge’ mean removing accidentally or intentionally?

I’d like to focus on one of the meanings of ‘dislodge’, to remove something. A dictionary says it means forcing or knocking something out of its position. What I’d like to know is if the word of ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“Feel it in my bones”

Does "Feel it in my bones" sound natural? I have never seen or heard any native speakers use something like that, except in a subtitle of a movie I watched long ago. What are other phrases, or common ...
3
votes
3answers
602 views

Meaning of “no two”

Is the following sentence ambiguous? The eight queens puzzle is the problem of placing eight queens on an 8x8 chess board so that no two queens attack each other. Do we need to add "or more" ...
7
votes
5answers
781 views

What is the upper bound on “several”?

In this answer on Stack Overflow, the term "several" is used as an indeterminate number, the actual value of which is literally in the quintillions: Zero is one of several values that can be ...
1
vote
3answers
384 views

What does “bordered on narcoleptic” mean? [closed]

What does bordered on narcoleptic mean in the following passage? But if an explanation is where the mind comes to rest, the mind that stopped at “lucky” when it sought to explain the Oakland A’s ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Use of the term Hans in an American name in the 1700's

I'm doing some research on family history. I am trying to track some people that came to the U.S from Germany in 1737 on the ship "Charming Nancy". Here's the link: http://www.progenealogists.com/...
3
votes
3answers
595 views

Is “senility” pejorative?

Could you please give your opinion on whether or not "senility" is a pejorative term? My sentence is: Although there wasn't any real upper age limit, elders who seemed to be affected by senility ...
2
votes
2answers
351 views

Please explain this sentence (a precept, really) [closed]

Intuitively, aside from being convoluted, it doesn't seem to make sense. Power of an imagination can arise from what it refuses to foresee.