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

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5
votes
2answers
5k views

Difference between “he said something” and “he mentioned something”

(a) What is the difference between he said something and he mentioned something? Can they be used interchangeably? (b) Is it proper to respond to Did I tell you X? with Yes, you mentioned it?
3
votes
2answers
496 views

Meaning of “scour”

First, let me make it clear that English is not my primary language; I'm Brazilian and I speak Portuguese. I'm reading an RPG book ("Heroes of the Fallen Lands") and I crossed the verb scour being ...
2
votes
1answer
858 views

“Tamper evident opening”

I am not native English speaker, and I just saw this sentence written in a sealed box: "Tamper evident opening" Is that sentence correct? I mean, I think it means "If you tamper with this seal, it ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “Caucasian”

When I search the definition of Caucasian in the NOAD, I find the following definition (it's the first of three definitions): (often offensive) of or relating to one of the traditional ...
2
votes
2answers
822 views

Does a comparative always need to compare with something?

As I understand it, comparatives compare with something. So something that is colder is more cold than another thing. However, can't a word like colder be used as an adjective without being compared ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between “extremities” and “extremes”

What is the difference between extremities and extremes? Which is more appropriate when attempting to convey that someone blows things out of proportion or is a bit hyperbolic? For context, this is ...
3
votes
1answer
221 views

Is the predicative proper in this example?

I object to praises that are too abundant and too often. Does the meaning of abundant fit here? Often is an adverb, so can it be used as a predicative which is usually adjective or noun?
2
votes
2answers
829 views

Meaning based on emphasis

Is there a term used to explain how some words change meaning based on the accent? For example, "convict" can be both a noun and a verb depending on which syllable is emphasized. The same is true for "...
4
votes
2answers
298 views

Meaning of “surrealistically” in an NYT article

I was reading this article from the New York Times and I came across the word surrealistically. I know surreal means something resembling a dream. But I am not sure what is it that the author wants to ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

What is meant by the phrase “which is to say”?

When someone says ... X which is to say Y ... is there an implication that X is mistaken or false? In this construction is Y generally the opposite of X? Some random examples from the NY ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Is the term “Break Glass Policy” or “Break Glass Procedure” used outside the healthcare field?

One of the defining questions of the Healthcare IT site uses the term "break glass policy" and from this link I understand what it means in the given context. My question here is, if this term is ...
3
votes
2answers
289 views

What is the meaning of 'SO' in Denali is SO last month?

From this article, I guess that the name 'Denali' isn't used any longer for Microsoft SQL Server 2012, which now seems to be the official name. But I want to know, what is the meaning of 'Denali is ...
5
votes
3answers
195 views

Difference between “on the command line” and “at the command line”

What is the difference between on the command line and at the command line?
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is “double history”?

I'm a Yank watching the UK version of Being Human and the character mentions sitting next to his ex-girlfriend in "Double History" (season 2 episode 3 around timestamp 24:18). It's clearly a history ...
4
votes
3answers
833 views

Is the term “antagonym” widely used to describe a word that is its own antonym?

There are several words which have contradictory meanings. They may have one meaning now, and have had a different meaning in the past. For example, the current definition of peruse is: to look ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does appraisal have so little to do with praise?

Appraisal and praise can be traced back to a common Latin root: pretiare (“to reward”). One thing that I do not understand, though, is how they came to have such different meanings: praise is positive,...
2
votes
1answer
648 views

What does “chow-wow” mean here?

I came across a new word while reading Newspaper - chow-wow. This context is a Cooking Fiesta workshop happening in the city. Excerpt from the Newspaper: . . . . . "Well, you'll just have to ...
15
votes
3answers
9k views

If someone says “Do not pass go” to you, what do they mean?

I have seen this phrase do not pass go a couple of times reading Internet forums, but I don't remember figuring it out in context, as I've never played the game Monopoly. What does it mean?
2
votes
1answer
408 views

Is there a connection between “pork barrel” and “gravy train”?

Have these two phrases evolved independently, and how much do their meanings overlap? Pork barrelling (as in "pork barrel politics") is pretty clear in its meaning, but how about gravy train? Where ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are these genuine apologies? [closed]

I often hear people (especially policitians) giving an "apology" that is phrased so that the speaker does not seem to be accepting blame. e.g. Instead of "I am sorry I let you down" they say: ...
5
votes
1answer
195 views

Is it common to describe one’s life stage in English, like “Stage III Hemingways”?

I found the word, “men who looked like stage three Hemingways” in the following sentence of Maureen Dowd’s article, titled “Farewell to Macho,” in the New York Times (October 15): “Diliberto recalled ...
7
votes
2answers
260 views

Is there any semantic difference between “absolutely no x, except y” and “except y, absolutely no x”?

Bit of a quibble on a discussion elsewhere. I made the following statement: They had absolutely no debt, except for their mortgage. Someone (with whom I disagree vehemently) has accused this of ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

Difference between 'kindness' and 'politeness'

Can one use kindness as a synonym for politeness? What's the difference? Where do you draw the line between them?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “since changed”

The MVC in Backbone originally stood for Models, Views and Collections, since there were no controllers in the framework. This has since changed. Does it mean it has changed from that moment or ...
1
vote
3answers
11k views

What does “dorsal” mean? [closed]

I'm having trouble with the adjective "dorsal", as different authorities have seemingly conflicting opinions. Tortora and Derrickson write in Principles of Anatomy and Physiology that the adjective ...
0
votes
1answer
13k views

Drove my chevy to the levee but the levee was dry [closed]

Years ago, I heard this phrase (I don't know if it really is a phrase, please correct me if I'm wrong) during a congress from the general manager of a major car production company, but I don't ...
8
votes
1answer
294 views

Are the rhetorical meanings of “elliptic”, “hyperbolic”, and “circular” connected to their mathematical meanings?

The words "elliptic", "parabolic" (or "like a parable"), "hyperbolic", and "circular" all have meaning in rhetoric. Are these meanings etymologically connected to the conic sections?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What does it mean to be “correct” in pronunciation or grammar?

(Preamble: this post is literally about the meaning of the word “correct” in this context, but also, of course, overlaps with the philosophy of prescriptive perspectives in the process. I hope that ...
2
votes
2answers
626 views

Is “Roach Motel” now an established English term for some kinds of buisiness behaviour?

I found the origin of the word and the statistics about its usage. I found these two links about facebook and Oracle’s Public Cloud using the term figuratively. Is this usage common today?
2
votes
1answer
295 views

Meaning of “credits”

Does "credit" in the following sentence mean 2) money that you borrow from a bank? Or 5) a sum of money paid into a bank account? (OALD) Finally, in our progress toward a resumption ...
1
vote
2answers
550 views

What is a “mind-share leader”? [closed]

My limited understanding is that it applies to a company that comes first when people think about a particular topic. Could I say Microsoft is a mind-share leader for Operating Systems? The ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What does “turn off” mean here?

Could it be a typo for "and one by one they will be turned off"? CNN: Many of the existing space telescopes, Hubble included, are nearing the end of their lifetimes, and one by one they will turn ...
1
vote
5answers
441 views

Which definition is more used for “determine”?

I've seen "determine" used for two completely different meanings: Zeus' mood will determine tomorrow's weather. (determine = control, dictate) The weather forecaster will determine tomorrow's ...
10
votes
3answers
55k views

Difference between phrase, idiom and expression [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between an expression and a phrase? Difference between “phrase” and “idiom” What is the difference between a phrase, an ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
638 views

What does “the Gettysburg Address would have stinkethed” mean?

I came across the word stinketh in the following sentence of the article titled, An American King: Noah Webster’s Holy Bible in New Yorker September 29 issue. Abraham Lincoln, born in 1809, sucked ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What does the noun “lucker” mean?

What does the noun "lucker" mean? It's not in the Webster, but Google does give search results for such key phrases as "I am a lucker" or "He is a lucker" (and those are not misspellings like "luckier"...
-1
votes
0answers
130 views

What's the meaning of the noun “lucker”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does the noun “lucker” mean? What does the noun "lucker" mean? Yes, it's not in the Webster, but Google does give search results for such key phrases as "I ...
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
2answers
45k views

What does “but” mean in “Life is but a dream”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The construction of “Known but to God” What does "but" mean in this case and what other uses is this word used in the same context. I'm trying to explain what ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “triple up”

I understand the meaning of "triple", but what does "triple up" mean? What is the meaning of "up"? Our campuses are increasing class sizes. Services may be diminished. Even in residence halls, ...
12
votes
2answers
48k views

Difference between “valuable” and “invaluable” [closed]

Invaluable intuitively seems to imply a higher degree of importance. Please explain the difference between valuable and invaluable and in what context you'd use one or the other.
1
vote
1answer
176 views

Are all mobile enabled mobiles considered to be smartphones? [closed]

I'm hoping this is not a grey area as 'smartphone' means a lot of things. But I need to know if I am looking at statistics that say 'smartphone' does this cover all phones with a browser or are there ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

What does “That woman’s got style” mean?

In Jeffery Archer’s new mystery, “False Impression,” there was the following conversation between senior FBI agent, Jack Delaney and his subordinate, Tom Crasanti, both of whom are pursuing after the ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Way to do something

I was wondering if "way to do something" means it is right or wrong to do something? I thought it means it is right to do something until I read this: Just a few doors down, Lynette's sister ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Difference in usage between “beware of” and “mind”

I am trying to understand the difference between beware of and mind when they have the meaning of to be on one's guard. Are they always interchangeable ? I'll try to explain what bothers me, but ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Meaning of “data pooling”

What does "data pooling" actually mean? The program Distance enables pooling of data across sites and derivation of density estimates at those sites (strata) where there are too few records to fit ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What does the phrase “badly lit” mean?

What is the meaning of the phrase "badly lit" in the following scene from the TV series Columbo (emphasis mine): [Set in a court of law. Prosecution is attempting to prove their client was ...
2
votes
4answers
418 views

What does “draft” mean in “draft a cyclist”?

I would like to be able to understand this question. Also, in British English, would this be named "draughting"?
2
votes
2answers
4k views