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

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6
votes
1answer
326 views

What is the definition of “cousin” when used as a verb?

What does the word cousin mean when used as a verb? By context I take it to mean that someone is putting someone else on or being difficult with someone else. For example, in The Dark Tower (Stephen ...
3
votes
5answers
976 views

Uniquate = Eliminate or replace duplicates, make unique?

I am not a native English speaker and I need a word means modifying a list/set to make it a unique-values list/set eliminating or replacing non-unique values with unique ones. For instance; "Dup", ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

“Code of Alabama” usage in this sentence

From Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus’s office in the courthouse contained little more than a hat rack, a spittoon, a checkerboard and an unsullied Code of Alabama. Isn’t ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Can you please explain what “Not to say” means here: [on hold]

Can you please explain what "Not to say" means in the context of the following sentence. "Not to say I might not be up for going tomorrow".
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Does this imply a mutually exclusive relationship?

"The process of successfully growing into the world requires negotiation between hard work and new pathways" are 'hard work' and 'pathways' implied to be mutually exclusive by this statement
7
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the definition of “hangry”?

Is hangry a real word? According to Collins Dictionary it means to be angry as a result of being hungry, but it seems far-fetched.
0
votes
1answer
140 views

What is the meaning of “ironically” in this passage?

A rocket launched and shortly afterward exploded, on Tuesday. Below is passage from a news article written about it: This was the second launch attempt for the mission. Monday evening's try was ...
-1
votes
1answer
22 views

Does this phrasing imply a mutually exclusive relationship?

'To grow into the world is to negotiate between x and y" Furthermore, can this statement be interpreted to mean "To grow into the world is to negotiate between x for y
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Meaning of should and would

Here's a text: 'I'm going out now. Is it cold out?' 'Yes, I should wear a coat.' It means 'If I were you, I would wear a coat'. So my question is can I just say 'Yes, I would wear a coat'?
0
votes
1answer
187 views

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing. The following sentences are what I've sent: I was wondering if you would be willing to write ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

What is the exact definition of “set off” in the expression “set off by (a pair of) commas?”

It seems to me that in English usage "set off" is almost irreplaceable in the collocation I refer to in the question and in similar phrases, e.g., "comma(s) set(s) off (this or that)." As if everyone ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Differences between: “prior”, “ precede”, “predate”, “in advance” and “former” [on hold]

I am struggling with the exact meanings of these words. In the dictionary they all seem to be connected to the idea of "previous". But I don't know which word I should use and in which context. ...
0
votes
4answers
86 views

A rare currency [on hold]

For example: When I am writing an article about friendship, and want to say it's difficult to find a good friend, it is possible to say it's like finding a rare currency today?
2
votes
3answers
186 views

Is there a difference between “dislike” and “don't like”?

A friend of mine for whom English is a second language told me that I am the only person he knows who uses the word "dislike", and asked me what the difference was from saying that I "don't like" ...
-1
votes
1answer
46 views

What do sharp-witted and quick-witted mean? [closed]

If you’re sharp-witted or quick-witted, does it mean you’re intelligent and bright?
1
vote
1answer
30 views

“Enjoin” vs “Adjure”

"Enjoin" means to direct someone with emphasis and authority. "Adjure" means to command in a serious manner. Are the two words used in different contexts?
-1
votes
0answers
35 views

What's the definition of the word “Striving” in this context? [closed]

What type of person would you find yourself striving alongside in a working environment? Really don't want to look stupid on my job application.
2
votes
2answers
394 views

Is 'Mochup' the same as 'Mock-up'?

I recently came across the word 'mochup'. I am unsure if this is simply a spelling mistake of the term 'mock-up', or if it is a technical neologism with a slightly different meaning. Searching on ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Use of 'write down' [closed]

Can the expression write down be used in a context where I will write down my opinion or statement so that we can remember it in the future? Like a promise or statement with weight? 'The United ...
2
votes
3answers
76 views

What is the meaning of this life quote?

I am trying (but failing) to understand the meaning of this life quote: Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you are afraid to try. Can you explain what it means?
7
votes
4answers
13k views

“Register” vs. “registry”

What's the difference in meaning between “register” and “registry”? Can both be used interchangeably when talking about an official (public) list of items, records?
-1
votes
0answers
30 views

Difference between “to enhance” and “to develop” [on hold]

what's Difference between “to enhance” and “to develop”?
2
votes
4answers
159 views

differentiating between all that and what

Original (extracted from the book The 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
47 views

Does 'sewer crabs' insinuate any other meaning?

The second old man threw his axe down pettishly, spat in the direction of the closed door and went off among the stacks of cordwood. The door of the shack opened, the man in the Mackinaw poked ...
0
votes
2answers
89 views

What kind of question-tag is this: “I was in the bath, wasn't I?” Is it polite? rude?

Context: (BrE) - a friend is complaining... a- "I phoned you three times this morning but you never answered." b- "I was in the bath, wasn't I? Why the question-tag, if the listener had no idea ...
0
votes
3answers
83 views

What's it called in english to be cautious about something you do?

Is there a term in english for where you want to describe the discreet or cautious approach you take, when you want to make sure you're not risking or jeopardizing anything in doing a routine job? ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Is the phrase 'increasely likely' acceptable? If so, what does it mean? [closed]

I like to read different newspapers and news websites to pick up some English words and phrases with which I'm unfamiliar. I found the two-word phrase increasely likely, which I found confusing.
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the difference between “It won't be soon” and “It won't be soon enough”?

I have heard this expression "It won't be soon enough" quite often, in fact more often than simply "It won't be soon". I wonder if the word "enough" in the first one adds some additional meaning to ...
1
vote
1answer
364 views

Irish folk song: Hunt the Hare, and played some funny rigs

I'm making a choral arrangement of the Irish folk song "Rocky Road to Dublin." One variation of the lyrics is here. I've been able to decipher the meaning of most of the words, many of which were ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Question about “The logic of this (preference p suffering) relation…”

I came across this construction in "Consider the Lobster" by David Foster Wallace. Any ideas about the "p"? To my lay mind, the lobster’s behavior in the kettle appears to be the expression of a ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

Tea for the Tillerman

In the song "Tea for the Tillerman", there are two things that baffle me. The pronunciation of the word "Tillerman". It sounds to me that he is saying /tilman/. Why is that? What does a tillerman do ...
4
votes
3answers
517 views

Meaning and origin of “hustle, score, use”

In a movie about drug addiction they used this combination of words: hustle, score, use They said it was always the same pattern - but what does it mean and where does it come from?
1
vote
0answers
88 views

What is the real meaning of “Speak English”? [migrated]

I am a non-native speaker of English so I am trying to get used to every phrase I come across while hearing and reading. As a result, I have watched many American movies and so I have heard the phrase ...
15
votes
1answer
8k views

Trapezium/trapezoid — why are the US/UK definitions swapped around?

These are the US definitions... Trapezoid — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides that has a pair of opposite sides parallel. Trapezium — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides and NO parallel ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

How can I say this in other words? [closed]

Recently I took a personality test and got some good results. However, there was a part of the full description that I didn't understand. I'd like to know how I can say this text in other words, must ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

infidelity. used only in regard to cheating/affair

When using the word infidelity which means unfaithfulness does it always mean cheating or can it also be used for not listening to your spouse or worse in murder as well.
3
votes
4answers
253 views

How did 'drone' come to mean both 'one who does no work' and 'one who spends most of his or her time doing menial work'?

Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) gives the following definitions for drone in senses derived from the word for male honeybee: drone \drōn\ n {ME fr. OE drān; akin to OHG ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of the ending “‑exia”?

If a word ends in -exia (such as dyslexia, anorexia, and pyrexia), does this imply anything about the word itself? For example, in electronics a word ending in ‑ance (such as impedance or ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

What is “thars” in Dr. Seuss poetry “The Sneetches”?

The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss: Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars. Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small. ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Bend someone with eye dropper?

He turned around in his chair and pointed out through the sleazy curtains at a distant hill. On top of the hill was a yellow and white house that shone in the sun. "Hell, that's where he lives. He's ...
1
vote
2answers
35 views

'Scenic box'… is it correct?

I would like to use an expression that refers to a theatre space, a stage space, or any space for performing theatre: the space for a 'scene' in general. The expression is 'scenic box'. Is it ...
-1
votes
2answers
52 views

Meaning of the phrase “without breaking down” [closed]

Computers are very reliable; they can work for a long time without breaking down. What does the phrase “without breaking down” mean in this sentence?
2
votes
2answers
44k views
4
votes
3answers
77 views

Does there exist a subset of words which can be used to define all others?

All words in the dictionary are defined by using other words. Has there been any research that has traced these definitions down to a subset of the English language which can define the rest of it? ...
-1
votes
0answers
23 views

Meaning of “X is 6 times less than Y” [duplicate]

I encountered a Physics Problem in which I can't understand the meaning of this sentence "X is 6 times less than Y". What does this expression mean?
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “soundness of judgment” mean?

Could anyone explain what exactly does "soundness of judgment" mean? I understand this as when you can judge something and take in count all possible exceptions that are involved in the evaluation of ...
0
votes
2answers
348 views

“The End of All Things to Come” — what does this mean?

"The End of All Things to Come" is an album title of heavy metal band Mudvayne. There are two points that I do not fully understand: (i) I suppose that "X to do Y" is a general construction that ...
3
votes
2answers
79 views

What limits are there to the word 'stepmother'?

The OED defines stepmother as: A woman who has married one's father after one's mother's death or divorce. In the case of a child such as Ruairi (Rory) Aldridge (character in the BBC radio soap ...