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

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14
votes
7answers
822 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, ...
3
votes
3answers
308 views

“Help save the planet with your mobile phone”

Does "help save the planet with your mobile phone" have a different meaning or connotation than "help save the planet using your mobile phone?"
7
votes
4answers
2k views

“Connotation” vs. “Definition”

There seems to be some ambiguity between the connotation and definition of a word / word group / phrase. The dictionary entry seems to be that a definition is more of a primary description of a word ...
1
vote
3answers
17k views

What's the meaning of “a staple amongst the community”?

In this context: trying to become a staple amongst the community
7
votes
3answers
630 views

What does “I can prove it on an abacus” mean?

I've got a feeling it means "I can prove it in a very simple and an ostensive way". Is this so? Update: The context. http://www.laddertheory.com/commoncriticisms.htm Search for "abacus".
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Meaning of “scared the hell out of someone”

The phrase I read on yahoo.com is the following one. Tendulkar never scared me, says Akhtar. The Pakistani maverick pacer said it was Adam Gilchrist and Brian Lara who scared the hell out of ...
3
votes
3answers
827 views

“Automatic door—push to open.”

This is the wording on signs I've been seeing quite often recently. It seems to me quite nonsensical; if you have to push the door to open it, it isn't automatic. Is that the case or is there ...
2
votes
2answers
701 views

Why do golfers yell: “Fore”?

Feeling rather bogeyed, I'm looking for some fore-closure to this query — help!
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Perdition vs Hell

What is the difference between the religious connotations of Perdition and Hell?
3
votes
6answers
562 views

“Discover” or “invent” in mathematics context

A very theoretical question I came across with friends some time ago. I am not a native English speaker, so I may be misunderstanding some details, but as I understand: 1) Discovery relates to a ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

What does 'even' mean in this context?

Even is one of those words with lots of meanings. It can mean divisible by two or flat/level. But it can be used in a sentence such as this: Are you even listening? What time does the shop ...
3
votes
3answers
518 views

Is 'peaceful demonstration' an oxymoron?

Oh, we know the standards: Jumbo Shrimp, Real Phony,Living Dead..... is peaceful demonstration in the list: reasons why/not are, of course unexpectedly anticipated.
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it an oxymoron when SOME definitions of a word with SOME qualifier sounds silly?

Viz: Is 'peaceful demonstration' an oxymoron? The OP suggests that Jumbo Shrimp is an oxymoron because Shrimp can be used to denote a small person. My take on this is that Jumbo means large ...
5
votes
3answers
488 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
313 views

What does “that place is a real bucket shop and they tend to work only with pikers” mean?

I was talking to my attorney, from the esteemed firm of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, and he made the above remark in response to a financial statement that I had produced earlier. What did Bernie mean?
3
votes
2answers
155 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
599 views

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

I want the meaning of the business jargon that says "big hitter".
2
votes
4answers
169 views

Difference between “should not” and “should avoid”

Is there a difference between should not and should avoid or more generally between not and avoid e.g You should not be drinking. You should avoid drinking.
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?
1
vote
2answers
363 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
416 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'? ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

“Build out” versus “build up”

How are these two different? Build [something] out vs. Build [something] up
5
votes
2answers
5k views

“Notion” and “conception”

What is the difference between notion and conception?
1
vote
2answers
466 views

Meaning of “an identity of thought and being”

Hegel asserted that in order for the thinking subject (human reason or consciousness) to be able to know its object (the world) at all, there must be in some sense an identity of thought and being. ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Which of these meanings for the word “pet” came first?

The word "pet" has a few different definitions (my own paraphrase): n: An animal kept for companionship. v: To affectionately caress. My question is, which of these usages originated first? Do we ...
2
votes
2answers
263 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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

“In God We Trust” vs. “We Trust in God”

A colleague of mine asked me what is the importance of word order in phrase "In God We Trust" And I could not answer. Is it a shame? Update: Would it be correct English to write: In God - we ...
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?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does dig mean in “You are dug into a position”?

The context is : I think you are dug into a position. And you think it's a sign of weakness to change your mind.
4
votes
4answers
500 views

Can snow be dry?

Disclaimer: There are a lot of questions packed in but their answers are interdependent. Different textures of snow can be described as "wet" and "dry". Considering that water is the quintessence of ...
2
votes
1answer
6k views

Intimate and Intimate

I was thinking about the "intimate" word used here: How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend? How can I differentiate both words? Edit: in response to comments, I don't quite ...
0
votes
1answer
225 views

What is “the spirit of aloha”?

I’ve read this expression in a news article related to a Hawaiian politician: “He is well-regarded in both Washington and in the islands for his gracious manner and spirit of aloha.” I understand ...
1
vote
8answers
8k views

Could you name some numbers that have a special meaning in English, like 666? [closed]

The question "What does the term “86'd” relate to?" made me wonder what similar cases we have in English. I'd like to know some other numbers that have a commonly understood meaning beyond their use ...
0
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “got insane” a correct sentence with a meaning?

First of all: it should be obvious English is not my native language. ;) A customer of mine just bought a domain, gotinsane, and I am just wondering if it has some meaning and if it is correct ...
0
votes
2answers
251 views

What's the reason of prepositioning Internet with “on” but not “in”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “in the internet” and “on the internet” Why do we say "on the Internet" but not "in the Internet"? This seems to be against the meaning of ...
3
votes
4answers
492 views

What do ‘a little Marilyn Monroe drag,’ 'whassup,’ and 'worked her derriere off' mean?

The Washington Post’s article on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on ABC written by Hank Stuever under the headline, At Oscars, the kids were all right and the 'Speech' was well-prepared was full of ...
3
votes
1answer
400 views

Does a road that “snakes” always imply a “winding” road?

If one says that a road snakes, does it necessarily imply that the road is winding? Or can it also express that the road is long and stretched out?
1
vote
1answer
507 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “to name others”?

By using this behavior, you can change some of the default settings for this provider like the connection string or whether the instance should be removed from the database after its ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Classical language [closed]

What are classical languages? How they are different from other languages? Is English is an example of classical language?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of the phrase “take cares of”?

What is the usage, and why use plural? The context is here: The automatic support for long - running workfl ows that the WF infrastructure provides is the most evident benefi t. The ...
3
votes
2answers
316 views

What does ‘[Ronald Reagan’s] colossus with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in his fist' mean?

I have been seeing many articles on myths about Ronald Reagan recently in newspapers. I don’t know why Reagan is mentioned so often these days. I guess it is related with American people’s growing ...
3
votes
1answer
425 views

What does ‘Gut the Roster’ mean?

I find the phrase ‘gut the (one’s) roster’ very often in the sport section of news papers as used in the following examples. What does it mean? Is it used only in sport related context? 1.He ‘gutted ...
3
votes
3answers
180 views

What is a “Patco moment”?

I'm an Australian so I don't understand what this means in the following quotation: Painting by numbers, Scott Walker, following Reagan's first stroke, took on labour. But Walker's Patco ...
7
votes
2answers
33k views

Cleanness vs Cleanliness

I only heard "cleanness" for the first time yesterday - I did not know this word existed. So what's the difference between cleanness and cleanliness? I've read this ...
11
votes
2answers
65k views

What does “wrt” mean? [closed]

What is the meaning of wrt in the following text? I think this is an excellent idea, but I'd like to see this explicitly reframed under the banner of providing Drupal.org data through ...
4
votes
2answers
10k views

What does “lost sales” mean?

What does "lost sales" mean in the sentence below? The most important quality cost, lost sales, is often omitted from quality cost reports.
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What is a “one-note joke”?

What is the definition of a "one-note joke"?
2
votes
2answers
327 views

Meaning of 'deprive them of any sense'

Thus they are compelled to cut all connection between their statements and experience; and precisely by this procedure they deprive them of any sense
2
votes
3answers
837 views

Do you agree with these intermediate gradations between “frank” and “evasive”?

While consulting the version of the New Oxford American Dictionary provided with Mac OS, I came across the following “word spectrum”, which its says “show shades of meaning between two polar ...