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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

2
votes
4answers
15k views

Difference between “synopsis” and “plot”

After commenting on this question, I started wondering what the difference between a plot and a synopsis is, or if they are exactly the same. I'm mainly looking for common usage, but anything else ...
2
votes
1answer
233 views

Have vs. get in the causative

In causative constructions, for example: I'll have him do it for me. I'll get him to do it for me. What is the difference in meaning between them? Obviously, there's a difference in ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

“cross drafts ahoy” meaning

In the 4th episode of the 3rd season of Silicon Valley HBO show, the following dialog happens between the landlord and a guy who want to rent a room: Guy : Uh, this is not even a room. This is a ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

“These kids I tell you” or “kids I tell you” expression meaning

I have read them in few disconnected articles and in conversations but could not understand them completely. "These kids I tell you" or "kids I tell you" expression meaning. What do they mean ?
4
votes
4answers
36k views

“Can have” vs. “could have”

One often hears primarily people from the UK using the phrase can have in certain past tenses. What exactly is the difference between using could have and can have? I used to believe that can turns ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Difference in the usage? ; It “can / could / must” be something serious

I'm teaching English in Japan. I'm using "Grammar In Use Intermediate Workbook" (Cambridge). The following is the question in the workbook: Complete the sentence. Use can, could, must or (be) ...
-1
votes
1answer
36 views

The usage of “could” and “can” in questions [duplicate]

Which of the following is more appropriate? Can you go? Could you go? Is there anything wrong in asking like this "Could you go?"
8
votes
3answers
7k views

Is the opposite of 'within', 'without'?

Typically without is used to mean not having something. E.g. He went to work without his pants on. However, I'm wondering if it can be used for outside the bounds of. We do this with within. ...
-1
votes
1answer
47 views

When did ‘swipe’ change from meaning “to steal” to being used in transactions?

If I had said, "He swiped my card!" long ago, everyone would have been looking for a thief. Now it is synonymous with a sale transaction. (Can you swipe your own card? Yes, in fact you do!) I guess if ...
4
votes
6answers
26k views

Difference between “taxi” and “cab”

Definition of taxi: To ride or travel in a taxicab Definition of cab: A taxicab. Since the definitions don't show many differences, is it okay to assume that there is no difference ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Meaning of “still” in “still others”

I frequently see the expression "still others." I guess here still means "another" or "again." Am I correct? Example sentence : Other animals avoid predators by running, swimming, or flying away ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“No less than” vs. “None less than”

Is the expression none less than similar to the idiom no less than? Which form is preferable to use in the following example: None less than the country's president attended today's meeting. OR ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

“ that was a classic money handshake”

I'm reading the play "Dumb Show" by Joe Penhall. (See on Google Books) almost in the begining of the play one of the characters uses this phrase" classic money handshake". What does it mean? " ...
3
votes
2answers
94 views

Are any senses of the word 'candidate' acceptable for attributive-noun usage?

I've just used 'candidate' attributively to mean '[worth considering as] a real possibility [for the purpose stated, or implied by context] (eg a candidate term or construction). I've not been able ...
30
votes
9answers
40k views

If someone is electrocuted, do they have to die or can they just be injured?

Is it correct to say I electrocuted my friend if he was only injured by electricity?
0
votes
1answer
10k views

Difference between 'meant by' and 'meant with'?

Is there a difference in meaning or usage between 'meant by' and 'meant with'? Many questions about meanings with this tag have the wording 'What is meant by...?'. In the text I am currently reading ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

Is listen-hear parallel with read-understand?

I'm trying to speak about the nature of music; I want to say that the very nature of the medium of sound, a kind of universal language, makes it impossible not to interpret what is presented to us. ...
1
vote
2answers
66 views

What does “racking in cash” mean? [on hold]

What does it mean to "rack in some serious cash"? Does it mean to make money quickly and making loads of cash?
0
votes
1answer
24 views

what it looks like with the media

1) No matter what it looks like with the media and their quasi-toughness on Hilary, no, I've said it all along that the skids are greased for her. Sarah Palin. Here: ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Heady - Does this word mean what I think it means?

When I look up the word "heady" in the dictionary, it seems that the main definition is "tending to intoxicate." Farther down, "having an exhilarating effect" and "intellectually demanding" are also ...
1
vote
1answer
19 views

What is a co-pay card?

What is a co-pay card? It's out only used with respect to pharmaceutical matters? The Wikipedia says so, but I need your comments to find the answer.
0
votes
2answers
58 views

What did H.L. Mencken mean when he wrote this? [closed]

Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Grammar of “so long as S+V, S is otherwise [adjective]”

So long as the receiving market is financially open and deep enough, which many emerging countries now are, that money is otherwise pretty indifferent to the merits of the economies it is ...
0
votes
2answers
30 views

Meaning of “for good and often for ill”

I came across this statement: "Both Plato and Aristotle speak of music as "imitating" or "representing" the characters and passionate tones of men, but seem to suggest that the end for which this ...
0
votes
2answers
181 views

what does “to which it is a party” mean in this setence?

I have a statement here and I dont get the meaning exactly "Each of the Members agrees to make an annual report to the International Labour Office on the measures which it has taken to give effect to ...
2
votes
2answers
39 views

How restrictive should be the use of “start-up”? [closed]

What newly created companies are "start-ups"? According to the dictionary definition it is "A business or undertaking that has recently begun operation." But, shouldn't we restrict the use to ...
-1
votes
2answers
59 views

monochromatic personality

Who exactly has a monochromatic personality? I haven't got a reasonable explanation using Google, therefore I am asking the community. The best one I got was from Urban Dictionary, but this isn't a ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

What is the meaning of “modulo”? [duplicate]

What is the meaning of “modulo” in this context sent by my supervisor. "The section (of a research paper in linguistics) is Okay, modulo few mistakes"?
1
vote
2answers
96 views

What does it mean to say “For all [name] says…”?

What precisely does the first few words of this sentence mean? "For all Clark says, mental items that have Euler circles as their content could mean what they do by some naturalistic theory of ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

“Unless” at the end of the sentence

I was just wondering what does it mean when people use of the word "unless" at the end of the sentence. As far as I know, I only hear people say something like "Unless you work hard, you will fail." ...
-2
votes
3answers
39 views

What is the meaning(s) of the verb “black box” in this tweet [closed]

Loving the word/idea “mathwash” to describe the use of algorithm to blackbox human accountability (LRT) https://twitter.com/cgbrooke/status/730580278729711616
0
votes
1answer
30 views

achieve a contract vs win a contract

I am wondering if my understanding of these two phrases is correct. Could you confirm this? make a contract = create a contract achieve a contract = win a contract Thank you.
2
votes
2answers
48 views

The “infelicities of language” means?

What does "the infelicities of language" mean ? Infelicities means "inappropriate and unpleasing manner or style". So, is the phrase "infelicities of language" a euphemism for curse words ? Or is the ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

The meaning of the 'enclosure' word

I can't understand the meaning of the word 'enclosure' in the context: "This client reads one or more RSS feeds, queues up the enclosures for download, and processes several downloads in parallel ...
-1
votes
0answers
24 views

Where quality matters vs Where quality is of the essence [closed]

Hello English language gurus. I just established a new company here in the U.S. named Peter's Building Services. I have been working on a tagline for a few days and have come up with a couple of them. ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Where does “at any rate” come from?

People say at any rate to revert to a previous topic. But what kind of rate is it referring to? Like at any rate of exchange? at any speed?
1
vote
3answers
942 views

Meaning of 'Cornered Tiger'?

I have listen a lot of time that Pakistan are cornered tigers in cricket commentary. What does that really mean ?
3
votes
5answers
10k views

Difference between “larder” and “pantry”

What is the difference between larder and pantry? Is it size? Or content? I found very similar definitions for both terms, something like a room/place in which food is stored. Which of the ...
5
votes
7answers
5k views

What is it called when something is described by what it isn't?

I'm not looking for a particular part of speech. A corollary to this idea, and in some ways the opposite, is when something is defined by/as itself. A lot of times you will find this in bad ...
6
votes
18answers
4k views

A word that means that when two elements are mixed they become stronger

I need it to use it in a speech as a metaphor for synergy or the ability to actually be stronger when using the capabilities of both sides.
0
votes
3answers
69 views

Meaning of profane phrase. “S don't mean s.”

I'm reading Finders Keepers by Stephen King. Does anyone know what "Shit don't mean shit" means?
-2
votes
0answers
21 views

the difference between ( plunge dive submerge immerse sink drown and founder )? [closed]

as you can see in the title the difference between these words has puzzled me because they all suggest almost the same meaning which is going under the water i hope you guys help me to differentiate ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Use of “eclectic” when referencing objects in a set

I have often referred to my music tastes as being eclectic, until I recently encountered a possible aspect to the definition I had not previously considered. In referencing musical tastes, there are ...
1
vote
2answers
24 views

meaning of traceurs [closed]

According to dictionaries the exponents of parkour are called traceurs, meaning tracers of urban textures and contours. But, does "tracer" here mean "drawer, plotter, and designer" or "follower and ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

What does “The apple never falls far from the tree” mean?

What does this saying, "The apple never falls far from the tree," mean?
1
vote
0answers
42 views

Why does House Speaker Paul Ryan keep saying he's encouraged? [closed]

“We are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified,” Mr. Ryan said. “I was very encouraged with this meeting, but this is a process. It takes a little time.” What information Paul Ryan ...
2
votes
6answers
8k views

What is the difference between trash, garbage, litter, rubbish, waste?

Could somebody please explain the differences in usage of those words? The only difference I could find is that garbage and trash is AmE, rubbish BrE and litter / waste seem to be used in BrE and AmE. ...
2
votes
0answers
23 views

What is the word for accepting help from someone else, not by merit, but because they know you? [duplicate]

So, say that someone is about to start at a new school, and your sister says "Oh, I aced that class! Let me introduce you to the teacher; maybe he'll give you less homework/give you more ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Must you die to have been electrocuted? [duplicate]

While most sources seem to agree that death is an important part of being electrocuted, some believe that injuries caused by electricity also fit the definition. Electrocute: to kill (a person ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

How to use “Come true”

I'm from Italy and my mother-tongue is not English,so sorry in advance for my mistakes. This is my question: I know the sentence "Wish my dreams come true", but can I use "come true" in other ...