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

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-1
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1answer
15 views

Expression of 'in other quarters'

Of course, Percival Brooks, the eldest son, would inherit the bulk of the old man's property and also probably the larger share in the business; he, too, was good-looking, more so than his brother; ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Why do people in the scientific community use terminology such as renal, hepatic, and cardiac instead of kidney, liver, and heart?

Why is there the need to map these everyday words onto another set of words when it seems to complicate matters? Is it just done out of tradition, or is there some underlying logic to it?
11
votes
9answers
3k views

Does “is potentially faster” imply “is not slower”?

Someone said to me, "X is potentially faster than Y". Without any clarification at that point, I immediately assumed that the speaker thought that X was at least not slower than Y. It was revealed in ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

Why do programmers say: “Did you meet the Spartans?” [on hold]

English is not my maternal language and on development/IT forums, I've found the expressions "Did you meet the spartans?" or "I've met the spartans?". To set the context, they are speaking about a new ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

What is the correct visualization of “first left down the hallway”?

I hear a lot of native speakers say something like this: Once in the arena take first left down the hallway Take your first left down the hallway. When you come to the second floor, make a left and ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

“Being” or “to be”? [duplicate]

Which is better structured? "She loves to be herself instead of showing off" or "She loves being herself instead of showing off" or "She loves being and not appearing"
1
vote
3answers
102 views

“A friar's hand”?

I'm reading "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" by Joshua Ferris, and the narrator/author talks about looking over the shoulder of someone studying the Bible on the subway, and noticing that there are ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

When advertisers say product X has N times less 'thing' than product Y, what do they mean [duplicate]

Here is an example: NESTLÉ a+ SLIM Milk has 15 times less fat than regular toned milk. Source:http://www.nestle.in/brands/nestleaplusslim So the question is this: say regular toned milk has 100 ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Does a phrase, “something authentic” make sense?

I'm a non-native English speaker recently trying to launch my own company named "Origin Authentic" And I'm also planning to launch a brand named "Honey Authentic" which is to be a name of a dessert ...
2
votes
7answers
12k views

What's the origin and reasoning behind the phrase, “I've got a monkey on my back”?

900lb Gorilla I can appreciate, but "I've got a monkey on my back" - two opposable thumbs down...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Can someone explain this quote from 'The Tempest'?

I was reading a Russian translation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, when the queer word choice by the translator made me open the original work to see what the author actually wrote. And here it is: ...
14
votes
5answers
19k views

Difference between “should” and “ought to”

What is the difference between You should go and You ought to go? I rarely use the latter.
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “The deck is stacked” in Hillary Clinton’s presidencial candidacy announcement mssage mean?

Washington Post’s (April 15) carries an article under the title, “Hillary Clinton sounded a little like Elizabeth Warren in 2008, too” accompanied with the following lead copy. “Hillary Clinton's ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

a “piece” vs. an “item” of clothing

What is the difference between an item of clothing and a piece of clothing? Can I say "three pieces of clothing" or "three items of clothing"? Are they used identically?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Using “wish” to express regret in the present and in the past

I wish I have been there for the baby kicking for the first time? Could I change the sentence to I wish I was there for the baby kicking for the first time? What are the differences ...
0
votes
2answers
242 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Can the verb “wish + that clause” express open possibility?

We often use "wish + that clause" to express a past/present counterfactual statement or a future unlikely event (i.e. remote possibility): I wish I hadn't quit my job. (But I quit my job.) I ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

What does “the must of dried leaves” mean? [closed]

Can I say "must" here, means smell? . . . the smell of the air that day: piñon burning somewhere in the distance, the must of dried leaves, the lingering smoke of a campfire clinging to his ...
1
vote
1answer
359 views

Changing the meaning of sentence by grammar

I would like to ask for meaning of the two following sentence, and whether or not is the grammar correct. Please check my suggestions both "sentences" and meanings. "I wish I never met you." - I met ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “I would there were…”?

What is the meaning of "I would there were", as in this quote from Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale"? I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

What is the difference between 'finished' and 'completed'?

What is the difference between 'finished' and 'completed', As both words gives the same meaning. Ex 1: He finished his homework. Ex 2: He completed his homework. And also how to use or ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

What does “Octotastic” mean?

I've seen people writing : "Have an Octotastic day!". I've tried to search online but no useful results. From the context I feel its a synonym for "fantastic". I couldn't see any details on usage of ...
-2
votes
4answers
75 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

What does ramiculated mean?

In the introduction to his 1956 paper A plea for excuses, John Austin writes The subject of this paper, Excuses, is one not to be treated, but only to be introduced, within such limits. It is, or ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Meaning of “flip the script”

I’ve heard the phrase “flip your script” or “flip the script” in various hip-hop songs. What does it mean?
2
votes
2answers
459 views

Difference between logs, timber, and lumber

I'm interested in the distinctions between these three terms. Here's what I already know: timber is wood that is still attached to the ground, and still has its bark on. Lumber is already felled, and ...
1
vote
4answers
89 views

What does this sentence mean: “You watched his face crack open and your world shifted, …”?

quoted from: To Forget: The look on your son’s face when you accused him of taking fifty dollars out of your purse. You were so certain; nothing he said could sway you. You watched his face crack ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Meaning of no more likely

A is no more likely than B. Does this mean 1) A is either as likely or less likely than B 2) A and B occur with the same likelihood.
-1
votes
2answers
43 views

Is there a word which describes the feeling of wishing you were in an alternative timeline?

This one stems from a conversation with a few friends this morning via Telegram, in which one participant posed that question, netting them a few slightly sarcastic responses (chronodysphoria being my ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

What does “get the effect of” mean?

I quoted this paragraph from internet which is about what is MVC(the pattern of Model-View-Controller). I don't find it terribly useful to think of MVC as a pattern because it contains quite a ...
0
votes
2answers
37 views

“Down in my boots”

May Sarton, an early 20th century poet, wrote in a letter: "Politically I am down in my boots." What could she mean? Angry? Frustrated? Disheartened?
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Meaning of vitative(ness)

I've seen the word vitativeness used in a book about the history of writing, referring to a list of descriptive words written in 1900. Vitative(ness) is not in my Oxford dictionary, nor ...
1
vote
4answers
251 views

How would you describe an operator which has no fixity? [closed]

Traditionally mathematical operators are either prefix, postfix or infix. All the three forms of notation are equivalent and can be converted from one to another. Formal systems such as programming ...
1
vote
3answers
550 views

Word describing one who is not aware of their own actions?

I'm reading a book and writing an essay where I need to describe the main character's personality traits, but I can't quite find the word for "unaware of one's actions."
-1
votes
3answers
119 views

What do people normally call a glass walled lab or room? [closed]

I remember reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol and coming across a word that was used to call one of Katherine lab/research rooms. I can't remember what it is, and this really bugs me. Does anyone ...
8
votes
1answer
70 views

The use of possessive pronouns in phrases like “I don't know my geography” or “He certainly knows his Star Wars”

There's a rather peculiar use of possessive pronouns. In my experience, it normally occurs in the context of referring to someone's familiarity with a particular subject (or lack therof), e.g. You ...
11
votes
7answers
6k views

Meaning of the phrase “the wrong side of history”

I've just realized I don't understand what this phrase means. What does "Gaddafi is on the wrong side of history" mean? Does it mean he's about to die, or something else? Here's the relevant ...
5
votes
6answers
210 views

Is there a word for the status of a team being 'home' or 'away'

A team can be 'home' or 'away' - but what is this status called? At first I thought 'location' or 'venue' but this isn't right - the location is singular and the basis of what determines the 'home' ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

What does “Have fun with 'em homies” mean? [duplicate]

I come across these sorts of sentences frequently. I'd like to give more examples to be more precise. Kill 'em homies. Look at 'em idiots. What do they really mean? I mean why add them in ...
0
votes
0answers
78 views

Is there a proper name for saying something like “stack'em”?

Is there a proper name for saying something like stack'em instead of stack them or any other "'em" in place of "them"? Is it slang or something to do with dialect? UPDATE It is a ...
4
votes
3answers
127 views

What does “in the name of…” actually mean?

Whats the meaning of the phrase; "In the name of"? For example : whatever you ask in my name, Ask in my name. Oxford actually has an entry for the phrase, but it doesn't seem to match how it's used ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

‘Imbibe’ — What does it look like?

I’m trying to determine the visual expression of ‘imbibing,’ with the presumption it describes a particular attitude or energy in the act of drinking. (I make this presumption because it gives reason ...
2
votes
3answers
121 views

A word for series of unintentional events that lead up to a blunder?

Unintentional or human error all coming together to cause an unfortunate incident? What's a good word that best describes this?
15
votes
7answers
1k views

What would be the word equivalent of paperwork in the digital age?

The classic definition for paperwork says Routine work involving written documents such as forms, records, or letters. Now, given that we are in the digital age and computers have taken many ...
0
votes
2answers
132 views

“To this end” or “To that end”

Is there a usage note for choosing between these two phrases? Nothing in Garner. And I've seen it both ways. Example: To that end, we propose the following compromise. or To this end, we ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

“much too [something]” vs “too much [something]”

Which are the differences in meaning and usage between the two expressions "much too [something]" and the most common "too much [something]"? Are they completely interchangeable? i.e.: "much too ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

What does “make something stick” mean?

There was the following passage in New York Times (April 13) article titled, “Philosophy returns to the real world”: “It was in one of Fish’s seminars that I first read arch-postmodernist, ...
1
vote
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
71 views

differentiating between all that and what

Original-- extracted from the book Scarlet Letter: Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. My own rephrased sentences: Like whatever that pertains to crime, ...
3
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the word to describe something that has hidden meaning?

I'm writing an essay (yay) on I'm the King of the Castle, by Susan Hill. I am trying to explain how the description of the atmosphere may have hidden meanings (e.g. the fact that Warings is a ...