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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

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2answers
48 views

Similar forms to word-making as onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is defined as; the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle). (from Google). They also add: late 16th century: via late Latin from ...
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0answers
34 views

I am writing a poem- and am unsure of what to call a character- help?

I have to write a summary of the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Caroll. There is a person who is talking in it but is not the narrator. What do I call this character?
2
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1answer
75 views

What does the perfect infinitive mean?

I came across a sentence recently: Before I turn 40, I want to have written a book. Could someone explain to me what does it actually mean? I'd rather say: Before I turn 40, I want to write a book. ...
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5answers
50 views

“far from” versus “away from” [closed]

What word should be used when referring to a metaphorical state of two concepts that do not relate to each other? For example: Love is far from hate, Art is far from commercial interests, Artists ...
1
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1answer
26 views

full length of the counter

What does "walk full length of the counter " mean? The original sentence is: "Where all these technologies in looking for the ideal partner err is in having to make one’s selection before walking the ...
0
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1answer
47 views

Vicious Crusade - is it against vice or is it bad itself? [on hold]

There's a music band named Vicious Crusade. How would you understand that naming, is it a crusade against vice and vicious people or is that crusade itself vicious?
1
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1answer
60 views

Are "out of the box“ and “(right) off the bat” interchangeable”?

I came across with two idioms associated with immediacy in different context recently: (1) Anyone who was hoping that the Watch would flop out of the box and fall short of the high standard that ...
0
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1answer
76 views

The meaning of “You cannot go out and hang out with your friends.” [closed]

My mom said "You cannot go out and hang out with your friends." I think there are two possible explanations to this sentence: The first one: It means that I cannot go out and that I ...
0
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0answers
16 views

What does this sentence/expression mean? [closed]

Amazement comes from discarded attitudes and idiosyncrasies of oneself, not from thoughtfulness of it
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4answers
65 views

Is 'could be possible' the same as 'is possible'?

If I have a bag of dice, and ask, "Is it possible to roll a 7?" what is the answer? I understand that, if I ask if I dump dice out of a bag, it's possible, but once I pick the bag, and don't know if ...
1
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1answer
53 views

The use of “rift” in Orwell's *Politics and the English Language*

In Orwell's famous article *Politics and the English Language, he writes: DYING METAPHORS. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor ...
0
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2answers
44 views

Feel for you or feel about you? [closed]

So there is this girl I really like. Should I tell her that I feel about her or that I feel for her? What is the difference between using for or about in this context or when would you use for and ...
2
votes
2answers
43 views

meaning of word “brythonic” in english [closed]

what does "Brythonic" mean in English? I have heard explanations of who the Brythonic people are, but there has been no translation of the word "Brythonic" denoting the origin and interpretation of ...
1
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1answer
40 views

What means “jungle`s creep” in the following sentence? [closed]

In the near distance, hulking concrete bunkers, ugly and indifferent, held back the jungle’s creep. Jungle as a forest or rather jungle as a mess/muddle? What do you think?
0
votes
1answer
30 views

“will not long go unsold to” meaning?

What does "will not go unsold to" mean in the following sentence? The King of Portugal, Lord of Spices, has set... prices just as he pleases, for pepper, which, at any cost, no matter how dear, ...
4
votes
3answers
779 views

What does “flop out of the box” mean? Is it a popular turn of phrase?

Washington Post (April 9) carries a review of now topical Apple watch under the title, “Should you buy an Apple watch?” It begins with the following statement: This is a good product with a bright ...
1
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1answer
63 views

What does the word “phink” in the pink panther cartoon mean?

What does the word "phink" in the pink panther cartoon mean? It's in the title of the episode where the panther and a painter try to repaint a house: The Pink Phink.
0
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1answer
40 views

Is “rape incidents befell American campuses” alright?

Befall is usually used as a synonym for happen or occur but with a negative connotation. In this sentence, is the use of befell semantically correct? As a matter of fact, the majority of rape ...
0
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3answers
49 views

Perceived pain vs observed pain?

What is the difference in meaning between perceived pain and observed pain? To observe indicates that we watch carefully the way something happens or the way someone does something, especially in ...
-1
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2answers
75 views

a “sound understanding” of something [closed]

I encountered this phrase: ...a sound understanding of [something] and here are my questions: Why is the indefinite article used for the uncountable noun "understanding"? What is the origin of ...
0
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1answer
58 views

Where did the term “gumshoe” come from? [duplicate]

When someone refers to a detective or police officer, they sometimes use the term 'gumshoe'. Where did this term originate from?
1
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2answers
69 views

Looking for a specific word for repentive action?

One possible usage of the word is As ____ for stealing the house, he made them chocolate cookies It's a word for something positive/good that you do to right a prior wrong you may have committed. ...
1
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0answers
63 views

“Late sleeper” meaning [closed]

I can't find the meaning of "late sleeper" in dictionary. Does it mean a person who goes to sleep late at night or a person who gets up late in the morning?
2
votes
4answers
69 views

word that means “to understand deeply on an intellectual level”

I often have trouble expressing when I understand something on an intellectual level vs. on an emotional level. Is there a word in English (or another language) that would allow me to differentiate ...
1
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1answer
73 views

Screaming darkness

What does "screaming darkness" mean? The context is as follows: Now the wind was rushing past him, carrying with it loose pieces of clothing, sheets of paper, food from the kitchen, anything ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

An easier way to describe the phrase “people relevant to my current situation”?

As if I was explaining it to a young child, I'm looking for a relatable way to describe the people that are relevant to my current situation. For example, the people I am talking about could be the ...
4
votes
2answers
488 views

What does “person dumb” mean in following sentence? [closed]

It was odd that Apple even offered him a job. During his eight years at Adobe, most recently as chief technology officer, he was best known as the only person dumb enough to publicly fight Steve ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

“Rush-hour” OR “Rush-hours”?

Many people call it "Rush-hour" when there is a lot of traffic on roads in the morning or evening. Should not it be called "Rush-hours" because the huge traffic continues for many hours during that ...
1
vote
2answers
93 views

What does the phrase “tip up” mean?

The following passage is taken from an article in the Financial Times, titled "Shinzo Abe will not revive Japan by rewriting history." When the Japanese prime minister tips up at the next month's ...
1
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2answers
220 views

What does “drone drop” mean?

There is the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Good riddance, Carrie Mathison” in April 4 New York Times: “The co-creator of “Homeland” on Showtime revealed recently that when ...
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votes
1answer
46 views

Can you be metaphorically abrasive to something?

I just made the statement: I’m abrasive to poetry. And I was told that it’s not grammatically correct. Does it make sense?
0
votes
1answer
59 views

“Inside” vs. “on the inside”

What is the difference between usage of inside and on the inside? For instance is there any difference in the following phrases: condensation on the  inside of the window condensation              ...
0
votes
0answers
33 views

They are going around you

I just very confused about the women's saying in below video, http://www.voanews.com/content/vendors-showcase-marijuana-products-washington-expo/2666893.html It appears in 2'30'', the women said " I ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

What does “wardrobe’s worth” mean in this sentence?

We sport an entire wardrobe’s worth of Live Strong bracelets advertising our moderately priced opposition to everything from breast cancer to global warming. The sentence is a quote from this ...
0
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1answer
58 views

“That strikes one for me”…what's it mean?

What's the "one" mean here? Is this taken from baseball? Can the idiom be grammatically used in other persons besides the first?
0
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0answers
40 views

What does “against the use of something” exactly mean in phrase [migrated]

What does "against the use of something" exactly mean in this phrase: Dell posted an advisory against the use of Raid5 in any configuration… Does it mean ‘not to use’ or ‘upon the use of?
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votes
0answers
42 views

Against usage in English [duplicate]

What does "against the use of something" exactly mean? It means "not to use of" or "upon the use of" ...which one? Here's an example sentence for some context: Dell posted an advisory against the ...
0
votes
3answers
97 views

An adjective with “knowledge”

I was translating into English when the dictionary gave me a list of synonyms for the translation of one word, and I'm not sure which one to choose. Which of the following synonyms would native ...
1
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2answers
39 views

What is the meaning of “ I was only to do that”? [closed]

I am a non-native English learner. Does the sentense "I was only to do that" mean "There was nothing I could do"? Gramatically what is "only" here? Is it an adjective or an adverb to modify " be ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

What is a “goon tie”?

On the first page of Nabokov's Pnin the eponymous hero's clothing is described and it includes a "flamboyant goon tie". What exactly is that?
0
votes
1answer
50 views

“Positives changes on the cards” — meaning?

Positives changes on the cards in Nigeria. What does it mean? Is this correct usage? Usually I have read "positive". I think it makes a lot of difference whether we use "positives" or ...
1
vote
3answers
54 views

Meaning of new sub-entry added to the Oxford English Dictionary: “to have off”

I checked out the recent updates to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) and noticed a new verb to have off that I couldn't figure out the exact meaning of. My questions are: Is to have off have the ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Writing Circles Around

Can someone tell me the meaning of 'writes circles around' in this sentence?: 'If I say that he writes circles around everyone else in Comics, it's not simply to put him in a rare class with Gilbert ...
0
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0answers
90 views

When and how to use “hasta luego”? [migrated]

One of my colleagues used this as their subject in the mail while leaving the office. Is there any other place it can be used, and is this wise to use this in general speech?
0
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1answer
23 views

“OHS supervision log” meaning

I got a document related to construction working and among various staff I got this term. There were some safety measures and health certificates stuff related. I've found that OHS stands for ...
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votes
0answers
28 views

What's the meaning of “down to go”? [duplicate]

I just sent a message like "I am already downstair" to my friend and he replied " I'm down to go". What the meaning of that?
0
votes
1answer
42 views

What does “curl up” mean [closed]

I can't understand a phrase "I see a curl up around your smile". Please someone explain me what it means? Thanks in advance!
1
vote
1answer
26 views

What does “potted history” mean?

An example for the use of "potted history": The potted history of P-values, at least when told by certain sorts of Bayesians, is that they were an invention of R. A. Fisher that set scientific ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

Is “Heaven and hell both reside in the details” a well-received English saying?

There is the following passage in the contribution written by Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister of Israel under the title, “Iran Has Escaped a Noose.” in Time magazine April 2nd issue: “The ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

'pescatarian': synonyms & etymology

Even if most Americans would take 'pescatarian' to be some odd Calvinist sect, according to MW it is a noun which means 'one whose diet includes fish but no other meat' and its derivation is 'probably ...