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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0answers
42 views

What does “trabacaloes” refer to?

The book I'm reading contains the following excerpt: He thought of men he knew, junior to him but with better luck or better interest, who were now lieutenants in command of brigs or cutters, or ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What does ‘Jam down one’s throat” mean?

I came across the phrase “I’ll jam down their throats” in the following sentence of the Reuters’ article (June 30 issue) dealing with the Davis Cup, titled “Pat Rafter Wary of 'Awkward Chinese.'” ...
3
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4answers
400 views

Is positive reality good? [on hold]

I was reading this: A new sensitivity in today’s pastoral consists in grasping the positive reality of civil weddings and, having pointed out our differences, of cohabitation. It is necessary ...
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0answers
22 views

Walden and Civil Disodience [on hold]

I carry less religion to the table,ask no blessings; not because I am wiser than I was,but, I am obliged to confess, because, however much it is to be regretted, with years I have grown more coarse ...
1
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0answers
52 views

Is there a meaning behind “Aw(e)” in Awful and Awesome? [on hold]

I had to explain the meaning of "awesome". The person asking the question then asked, why some of "Aw" is good and a lot of "Aw" is bad. She was referring to "awful". I don't know the answer to ...
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1answer
1k views

What does this quote mean?

What does this quote mean: Oh, beauty is a beguiling call to death and I'm addicted to the sweet pitch of its siren." The quote is attributed to Johnny Quid in the movie RocknRolla.
0
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1answer
99 views

Words starting with “touch”

There are several words in English starting with touch, such as touchwood, touchstone, touchline, ect. (a list can be found here : http://www.scrabblefinder.com/starts-with/touch/ ) I would like to ...
7
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3answers
858 views

What does “long” mean before a name?

What does long mean before a name? Like Long John Silver in Treasure Island or Long Susan in Ripper Street.
9
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1answer
245 views

Romney claims that China likes to “flaunt the rules”

In last night's GOP debate, candidate Mitt Romney implied that China tends to "flaunt the rules". Looking up "flaunt," it means to "show off." So what did he mean?
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2answers
58 views

Difference between 'sort of', 'kind of' and 'somewhat'?

I was told that these three phases have the same meanings, but I want to know if there are any differences between them: sort of kind of somewhat
1
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3answers
63 views

The meaning of “muted kinetics”

An excerpt from a book I'm reading: The doctrine of Israeli nuclear exclusivity was carried out in muted kinetics. What is the meaning of "muted kinetics"? Fortress Israel By Patrick Tyler
3
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3answers
2k views

“all but at most one” - What does it mean?

I came around this one just now and I can't tell the meaning of this sentence by the context. no new vehicle is used unless all but at most one other vehicle has at least 50% of its time ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Meaning and use of girl child

I just stumbled across the name of the United Nations' International Day of the Girl Child To be honest, I have never heard the term "girl child" before, and could not find it in online ...
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1answer
39 views

What does the phrase “do your bit for your fellow gentlemen” mean? [closed]

Does gentlemen in the phrase "do your bit for your fellow gentlemen" mean yourself, or fellows at your company, or someone else?
0
votes
1answer
34 views

What is the meaning and usage of this “is true of”?

Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes ...
9
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4answers
5k views

Meaning of “meta-”

I am trying to figure out the meaning of prefix "Meta-" in English. Quoted from Wikipedia Meta- (from Greek: μετά = "after", "beyond", "with", "adjacent", "self"), is a prefix used in ...
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votes
1answer
24 views

what's the meaning of “in uncertainty”

I dont understand the meaning of "in uncertainty" in these sentences Estimating (providing mathematical proof in uncertainty) and arguing (providing logical proof in uncertainty) are required to ...
3
votes
4answers
334 views

Meaning of Early Modern English “iuie”

I found this phrase in Featherstone's Dedication at the front of an English translation of the Commentary on John by John Calvin: It is an old saying, (Right Honorable,) and no lesse true then ...
2
votes
2answers
466 views

Meaning of 'The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed'

According to M. Navratilova "The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed." Alas, I was not able to understand the ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

“simply”, “merely” and “only” - Are they interchageable in formal writing?

In the following sentence: "They are ....... wasting their time." Would "simply", "merely" and "only" be interchangeable? When I was a student of English I was taught the use of "simply" in formal ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

“Formal English” - Can its meaning vary from place to place? From person to person?

Can it be opinion based? Whenever I ask a question here about word usage in formal English, I will invariably get a comment saying "It depends on what you mean by formal English". Isn't there an ...
5
votes
3answers
98 views

What is the origin and sense of the phrase “put up or shut up”?

In researching the recent EL&U question Origins and Interpretations of "Put your money where your mouth is", I repeatedly came across the seemingly related but older phrase “put up or ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

“In and of itself”? What does it mean?

"It might be different if he were flagging down a passing car or trying to phone for help, but typing, in and of itself, is not an inherently dramatic activity." In this sentence, I do not understand ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “non-normative”?

What's the meaning of "a non-normative document"? Does "non-normative" mean "casual"? What's the significant difference between a normative document and a non-normative one?
1
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3answers
81 views

If X was not part Y, I'd like it - meaning

I'm trying to fill out a survey that asks me about features that should or should not be included in a smartphone app. The actual questions are confidential, but it's in the style of a sentence like ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What’s the meaning of “if that” at the end of a sentence?

I find it often after a number. What does it mean and what is that? It’d be nice if you could help me. (from Google search) Some books that are more than 100 years old still won't sell for more ...
4
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2answers
11k views

What does “Hollaback Girl” mean?

Gwen Stefani says, "I ain't no hollaback girl" in her song. What does it mean?
0
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2answers
81 views

What does “I am busting” mean?

I was watching Seinfeld and whenever things start becoming great for George (he is always jobless and miserable) he says : "I am busting". Does it mean breaking the bad luck or something else?
1
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1answer
43 views

What is the meaning of the (seemingly) noun word “claw-catch” in a poem?

From "God's Secretary" by R.S. Gwynn: Her e-mail inbox always overflows. Her outbox doesn’t get much use at all. She puts on hold the umpteen-billionth call As music oozes forth to placate ...
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votes
1answer
25 views

What is the meaning of this “General Government”?

No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. (from Up from Slavery)
0
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2answers
47 views

The use of OR in interrogative sentences

Is Indonesia a developing country or an underdeveloped country? Or Is Indonesia a developing or an underdeveloped country? I understand that "or" is either inclusive or exclusive. Is there ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Spendthrift vs Thrifty - origins

I have always been curious to understand the origin of these two seemingly similar words. Looking at them for the first time, I thought they were synonyms, but ever since I learnt them, their meanings ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

I wonder the meaning of 'come' particularly in this sentence

I have been reading the book which is 'The Road To The Churchyard' written by Thomas Mann and translated by David Luke. It follows bellow. On the saddle sat a young man-a boy, a carefree tourist. He ...
6
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2answers
38 views

Why does 'with' mean 'against' and not 'alongside' in phrases of opposition?

In phrases like fight with, argue with, combat with etc, why does with mean the subject is opposing the object (grammatical object, technically a human opponent)? Phrases like go with, study with, ...
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0answers
27 views

Does this make sense? [closed]

The scope of the internet is perplexing. I'm trying to write of the lengths of the internet and how much information it holds. If there's a way you would better put it, please share. Thanks.
1
vote
2answers
2k views

where did the word 'golliwog' come from?

I am aware of the fact that it is considered offensive. And I know it refers to soft faced black dolls. but before that character was introduced did 'golliwog' have meaning? I mean was it made up or ...
-1
votes
2answers
60 views

“a priori pigeon-holing of learners” What is the meaning of this phrase? [closed]

...Teachers must certainly guard against "a priori pigeon-holing of learners" before we have even given learners a chance to perform...
1
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1answer
57 views

Does “it gives me good feeling” make sense?

Helping others is important to me. It is beneficial to me as well, for it gives me good feeling.
0
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2answers
55 views

Is there a link between Fenestrated and Defenestrated? [duplicate]

Normally, when you place the "de" prefix on a word, it becomes the opposite. This does not appear to be the case with "fenestrated" and "defenestrated". Why do the two words, which appear so ...
0
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0answers
38 views

“Comfort me in accomplishing my task”

In a formal letter, can one say comfort me in accomplishing my task as in Your presence will significantly enhance this scientific event and comfort me in accomplishing my task. ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

“turn on a single word”?

"In fact, Matt says there is a lawsuit going on right now that may turn on a single word - the word and. " In this sentence, I do not catch the meaning of "turn on a single word." What does it mean? ...
1
vote
1answer
944 views

what is the difference between 'same', 'typical' and 'similar'?

What is the difference between 'same', 'typical' and 'similar', as all conveys the same meaning.
0
votes
4answers
191 views

“He walks as if he is drunk.” Grammatically correct ? Any difference in meaning from “…as if he were drunk.”?

Is it grammatically correct to use an indicative verb after "as if", or "as though" for that matter? I've heard someone say: "He walks as if he is drunk." Would there have been any difference ...
-1
votes
3answers
370 views

Meaning & usage of “buy me cake”

When someone says: "buy me cake", what's his meaning? Does it mean anything except its normal meaning? Thanks Edit: I've seen this in a language file of a computer program: "Buy Me Cake :)" ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

“have/has condition” or “need condition”

Yesterday, I put a message in a social network environment to inform other members about lottery: "Lottery for year 2016 is now open, try your chance. It does not have any especial condition." But a ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

“Quite a combo” - meaning

I found this phrase in comment for one song - "I really like this song, and i really like how diverse shawns family is, thats quite a combo." It seems, that it's a some kind of idioms. I really ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Before I go to sleep vs before I'm going to sleep [closed]

Are both sentences grammatically correct? Is there any difference in meaning between these two? I'm going to finish my report before I go to sleep. vs I'm going to finish my report before I'm ...
2
votes
3answers
203 views

What is a “Victorian audience”?

So I came across a sentence while reading the book On The Map: His[Eratosthenes’] world map was drawn in about 194 BC. No contemporary version exists, but the cartographer’s descriptions were ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to call a hot dog a sausage?

This sounds like a silly question, but I've heard some very strong opinions about this, so I find this intriguing. A hot dog is a type of sausage (at least according to Merriam-Webster, Wikipedia, ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Definiton of “lowest dredges”? [closed]

What is the definition of this sentence: He sunk to the lowest dredges. In specific, I want to know the definition of lowest dredges, in above sentence. Thanks