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

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3
votes
1answer
84 views

Using “word” to mean “okay” [duplicate]

I tutored an American exchange student in Finland last year and occasionally he, on Facebook, would say something like "word thank you" or simply "word" and he said it means "okay". I was curious and ...
6
votes
3answers
22k views

What does “here's to someone/thing” mean?

I got an email from an instructor today. Towards the end of email she says: "Here is to finishing off the semester in a positive way." What does that mean?
8
votes
8answers
5k views

Is the verb “redouble” just a redundant way to say “double”?

A colleague and I were reading a corporate memo that contained the phrase 'redouble our efforts'. His claim was that the word redouble was equivalent to double and simply nonstandard. (Similar to, ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

What does “to put things into prospective” mean? [closed]

Note that it's prospective, not perspective. I'm reading a blog post and found below paragraph. It is impossible to resist the urge of exploring in-memory OLTP Engine (code name Hekaton) ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Meaning of 'Some nose puts the bulls on me tomorrow..'

"It don't make any difference," he said. "I'm washed up anyway. Some nose puts the bulls on me tomorrow, next week, what the hell? I just didn't like your map, pal. A nose means a person, I ...
1
vote
3answers
86 views

On the circuit - what does it mean?

What does on the circuit mean in the following sentence from Michael A. Stackpole's book 21 days to a novel? She wants to make it big in Hollywood or New York or on the circuit. Update 1 ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Word for belief or prejudice that is held, but it is not conscious

I remember reading about an idea of a belief or prejudice that is subconscious. It had a prefix, and it was something like: belief -> alief or prejudice -> ajudice But I can't remember the ...
7
votes
2answers
649 views

Meaning of 'stabs-sick eyes'

From "Red Wind" by Raymond Chandler: He lowered them slowly and looked at the man on the floor. The man's neck was twitching a little. His eyes moved in short stabs-sick eyes. "Sure it's the ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

What does “what has changed with” means here?

What has changed with this tragedy is people’s willingness to recognize that religion really does make people do terrible things. This is from the latest New Republic, the author means that as ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

When are operational definitions appropriate and when can one conclude that a poor word choice was made?

In the book Making is Creating the author, David Gauntlett, seems to use the word "creativity" to refer to the act of creating anything. The example is given that it is creative to make one's own ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Is there a difference between “predate” and “antedate”?

Collins defines predate (third meaning) as to be or occur at an earlier date than; precede in time The same dictionary defines antedate (first meaning) as to be or occur at an earlier date ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Meaning of 'steel picture racks'

"But we'll get a classification and teletype it to Washington some time tonight. If it don't click, you'll be in for a day on the steel picture racks downstairs." A conversation between police ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

The introduction of manmade structures in the etymology of harbor

In a Stackexchange post, a commenter offers a distinction between ports and harbors: Or to put it another way, "harbor" is a description of the natural geography, while "port" is something made ...
16
votes
4answers
940 views

Can I use “US-American” to disambiguate “American”? If not, what can I use?

Based on this question, I wonder: as an alternative to USAian (which is very nonstandard) is it OK to use US-American to more clearly indicate "inhabitant of the USA"? According to Google Ngram, this ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

Meaning of “See more of” [closed]

I wanted to ask what is the meaning of "see more of", or does it have few meanings? I've read that "see more of someone" equals "see someone more often", but I've also seen the phrase being used in ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

When is it right (and non-pretentious) to use the word “concomitant”?

The word concomitant is present in a lot of academic writing. I find myself wanting to use it frequently, but I usually find that other words like associated are just as suitable and are somewhat less ...
1
vote
5answers
109 views

what is a good word to describe a movie that left a strong feeling or impact in you?

For example what is a better word to replace "struck" in the following example. I watched the Movie ABC today and what John said about gossip really struck me. Update: The word I was looking ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

usage of the term “former” to apply to the dead

I've been told that is it wrong to call FDR a "former president" as "former" means someone who is still alive who was once President,
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Other uses of the word “politics”? [closed]

How can the word politic(s) used besides it's general meaning, that is " the activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries". For example, what does politics mean in ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

What is the meaning of “primarian”?

I'm translating an interview of two musicians. At certain moment, discussing jokes hidden in lyrics, one of the speakers says "I think there's always been a couple of jokes in my work. It's not a ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What does “by any stretch of the imagination” mean? [closed]

Example sentence would be: She was never a great player, not by any stretch of the imagination.
0
votes
1answer
31 views

What does “one of reinvention” mean?

My life in Japan has coincided with the start of my education as a writer. Although my ideal future as a novelist is one of reinvention, and although I won't be in this place for good, I think ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

What do you call someone who lives for himself?

What do you call someone who lives for himself? If someone lives his life solely to achieve his own life goals and not want to associate his life with others', what would you call him? I know some of ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “shortening” mean? Is it different from “abbreviation”?

What does shortening mean? Is it different from abbreviation? I checked the dictionary, but I don't get the difference clearly.
2
votes
3answers
254 views

What is the word for the movement you make when you give someone your hand?

When someone falls down and you give your hand to her but she doesn't hold your hand, what's the proper word for the gesture you've done. You extend your hand? Is "extending a hand" right usage as a ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

Use of the term “Cowardly Act” in regards to violence

I've noticed a trend for American leaders to use the word "cowardly" to describe acts of violence: Obama: Navy Yard Shootings “Cowardly Act” - in reference to the Sep 2013 DC Navy Yard shooting ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Meaning of “… for I bought him cheap of a man that was 'bliged to sell out?”

I'm reading Uncle Tom's Cabin now. It contains: He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. I can't understand ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views
5
votes
1answer
244 views

Does the phrase 'human race' allude to the idea of a relay?

Describing the history of humanity as a 'race' might seem odd to a listener who hadn't heard it before. Is the image behind this phrase alluding to the idea that human beings reproduce and pass on ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

Expression: Bag of hammers

I know that there's a film with this title, but is it also a common English expression with stable meaning?
0
votes
3answers
37 views

Can I say that someone creates a tendency?

The lectures on Big data have received positive responses not only from MIS students, but also from students of other majors, even triggering a tendency of technology learning. I have ...
0
votes
3answers
421 views

Is “Drop the big hammer” American slang?

In a trailer for the movie "Black Hat", one person says "The guy we're working with will drop the big hammer and not think twice about it" Is this some sort of American slang, possibly for a ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Is there a word like “compersion” that isn't just for romantic/sexual situations?

I just saw the word "compersion" for the first time, and love it: A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship. Is there a word ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What does “bupke” mean?

There was the following passage in the New Yorker's (August 27) article titled, “A scandal at the C.I.A. May be.” : In January I (David Shafer, novelist) filed a Freedom of Information Act request ...
0
votes
2answers
194 views

Do these sentences mean the same thing?

Do these sentences all mean the same thing? You are not great because you know many things. You are great not because you know many things. You are great for another reason. As another example, ...
4
votes
6answers
3k views

What connotation exactly does the word “noddy” have in British English?

I watched a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby the other day, and came across a bit of dialogue I couldn't quite decipher: A character named Squeers: ...
0
votes
1answer
418 views

What is the meaning of ''until the shine wears off''?

I love the songs Lost! and Lost? (well, it's the same song but in different versions) by Coldplay. In these songs, we can hear: I just got lost Every river that I tried to cross Every ...
-5
votes
1answer
57 views

Yirlelle im tryin [closed]

I'm wondering what this means: rhia because I found a pendant with this imprinted on it when my husband passed away. I'd appreciate it if anyone can help figure it out. Thanks
0
votes
1answer
53 views

What does “spurned” modify in “I am walking out of a room to the jeers of a woman spurned”

I am walking out of a room to the jeers of a woman spurned. Which word does the past participle modify in this context? Does it mean that I was spurned while walking out of the room, or am I out ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Another use of the word “given”? [closed]

This is a video from the content producer "JonTron". I noticed, at around 8:12, he says the following: "You get a barrel, you run with said barrel, you throw barrel at given thing, you run back, you ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

The meaning of phrase of “To wilf”

What does "to wilf" mean? Apparently it means to browse webs pointlessly but I can't confirm that anywhere. Is this even an English word?
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Difference between 'Redundant' and 'Superfluous'

(I made a search for this question on this forum but surprisingly did not find related questions. Which is odd because surely this question is asked often.) First, the sentence I'm trying to use ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

What is a “kitchen sink approach”?

What does "kitchen sink approach" mean in this context? Where some startups focus on the minimum viable product, (name of startup) has gone for a kitchen sink approach that approximates the ...
2
votes
4answers
102 views

What's it called when someone is trying to end a conversation?

Everyone does the thing where while speaking to someone you'll start inching away in order to end the conversation. Or you'll say something thats a conversation ender like "time to get back to work" ...
1
vote
2answers
28 views

Which definition of “franchise” fits in this context?

Which definition of "franchise" fits best in this context? Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet” a common or respectable English expression?

Today’s edition of the New York Times (December 16, 2014) carries an article written by Mark Bittman under the headline “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It begins with the following passage: “What’s ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Ontology” vs. “ontography”

I have yet to find a good description of the difference between ontology and ontography. Can anyone help clarify?
0
votes
2answers
80 views

“She likes to leave you hanging on a wire”

I've tried to find the exact meaning of this sentence but failed. Can someone kindly tell me what it means? "She likes to leave you hanging on a wire."
6
votes
6answers
16k views

“Told” vs. “said to” somebody

I told him that you hate him I said to him that you hate him I was choosing between these two options, and I can't help thinking about the subtle differences. For example, "I told him ...
0
votes
2answers
50 views

Use inland or foreign

If we want to let the world know about our country, Shall we say "To improve foreign trips" or "To improve inland trips"