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

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7
votes
2answers
1k views

'balls have dropped' what does it mean?

I am seeing an episode of a British sitcom, The Thin Blue Line, where an officer makes a remark Just once in a while, I'd like to nick someone whose balls have dropped! What does this sentence ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Different between 'effect' and 'impact'

Someone asks me this question: 'How much work is it to fix issue? then I'm trying to determine potential impact.' My answer is that 'very little work should to be done to fix this issue. And there is ...
4
votes
6answers
16k views

“Complement” or “supplement”?

On a site similar to this one I answered a question and the OP made a comment which prompted me to complete my answer in an edit. I called it "an example" but I originally wanted to call it ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Concentrated meaning [closed]

What does concentrated antioxidants or concentrated garlic mean? does it mean the same as garlic extract and antioxidants extract?
0
votes
0answers
27 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
-2
votes
1answer
44 views

What's the meaning of 'Polypropylene ear right/left' [closed]

What's the meaning of 'Polypropylene ear right/left'? Polypropylene is a kind of material. What does ear right, ear left mean?
3
votes
1answer
919 views

“Repetitive” vs. “repetitious”

I have heard both repetitive and repetitious used in everyday speech to describe something that repeats, and I'm wondering what the real difference between the words is. Does one have a different ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

What is the difference between “the door opened” and “the door was opened”? [duplicate]

What is the difference between "the door opened" and "the door was opened"? Are there subtle differences?
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Is there a word for 'religism'? [duplicate]

I'm searching for a word with a meaning similar to Racism or Sexism but within the context of religion. Is there a word for this meaning?
5
votes
1answer
356 views

Difference between 'oxymoron', 'paradox', 'contradiction' and 'misnomer' [closed]

What is the difference between the words oxymoron, paradox, contradiction and misnomer? For example, Benevolent dictator is an oxymoron. If I replace oxymoron with misnomer, paradox, or ...
11
votes
2answers
15k views

Use of “deadpool” as a verb

I recently came across this term while examining a set of properties in a JSON feed relating to a startup company: ... "deadpooled_year": null, "deadpooled_month": null, "deadpooled_day": null, ...
-1
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the phrase “crossing the streams” mean?

What does "crossing the stream" mean? I have been through "Cross the stream where it is shallowest" but I also sometimes see this phrase without the "where it is shallowest" part. For example, today ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Unless in third conditional sentences

"Jane wouldn't have found a job unless she had gone to London" is a natural-sounding sentence and has two different meanings, depending on whether Jane really did move to London or not: (1) "Jane ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What is a word for doing something that you don't want to do?

I am reading Of Mice and Men, and I am trying to come up with a word that describes how George manages to shoot Lennie at the end of the book. I have come up with Self Discipline, and Overcoming ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

What is the meaning of 'though'?

Okay, of course I've used different popular online dictionaries and the translation makes sense in the most cases. Sometimes I find usages of 'though' where I don't get the meaning of the word. ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Paradox ? I never understand this clearly

The sentence: I want to finish this game but wish it never ends. Also if possible can you explain what makes a sentence a paradox exactly ?
2
votes
4answers
1k 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
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of the expression “The take home is …”?

There is one expression I came across recently - 'The take home is ...'. The full sentence was “The take home is that regular use of caffeine produces no benefit to alertness, energy, or function”. ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Does “exotic” have any connotations of sexiness?

Part of a (possibly offensive or at least cringe-worthy) ad says "We have to go out accompanied and what is better than dating a beautiful exotic Latina woman here in Colombia, right?" From a ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Difference between inculcate and indoctrinate?

I was curious about the difference between to inculcate and to indoctrinate? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
4
votes
3answers
20k views

Difference between “pardon me” and “I beg your pardon”

What is the difference in meaning between "pardon me" and "I beg your pardon"?
0
votes
1answer
87 views

What does “straight out of [person]” mean?

I know the meaning of the straight out. But what does it mean with of? For example: It’s straight out of Alice Miller.
3
votes
1answer
79 views

What does “having the mad dumps” mean in this context?

one judge actually sat in judgment on his own case where the wife was accused, among other things, of having the mad dumps, silently, for three days This is taken from a piece voicing disapproval ...
33
votes
5answers
4k views

What does this mean: 'Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink'? Why is it funny?

Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water and make it drink. I read this on http://chucknorrisfacts.com. What I think this sentence means, is: Chuck Norris can take his horse to where the water is ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

'Preciseness' and 'Precision'

Ok, by my current understanding of the two words, the sentence: The preciseness of this precision is very definite Is grammatically correct. Correct me if I'm wrong, and if so; what is the ...
5
votes
3answers
316 views

Sieve vs filter? Are they opposites?

If I have a set of numbers, and I say I will filter the primes, that means to me that I will remove the primes, and return the remainder. If I have a set of numbers, and I say I will sieve the ...
5
votes
1answer
70 views

How do I interpret “emissions of car operated over” in this sentence?

I was trying to answer a question on skeptics.stackexchange.com, where we found this paragraph in a scientific report: This compares to 1,374 tons per day statewide for passenger cars. While ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

“Unavailable” vs. “not available” [duplicate]

What is the difference between unavailable and not available? In my opinion, unavailable is something that will never be available, while not available is something that is not available right now ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

What's the accurate meaning of “forget yourself”?

I was looking for a translation of the German expression "bevor ich mich vergesse" (lit. before I forget myself) and looked up if the literal translation could be used. In German this expression ...
1
vote
3answers
9k views

When we entered, he had been there

So I heard this sentence and also few contradictions about that. Does it mean that when they entered, he was already gone because he had there been before them? Or he just was there before them and ...
8
votes
6answers
8k views

Does “to err on the side of … ” indicate wrongdoing?

Does the phrase "to err on the side of ...," specifically "err on the side of caution," indicate that it is wrong to be "on the side of," the object? "Err" makes me think of "error," and is such the ...
7
votes
7answers
9k views

Difference between “socket” and “outlet”

While translating a technical document I began thinking about socket and outlet. It seems like they're mostly interchangeable. Is that correct? Or is there a difference between the two?
1
vote
2answers
104 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “this side of x”? And how do I use it?

Since I don't understand it in the first place, I better just give you an example: Cracked.com example, says otherwise known as "the pettiest hobo crime this side of aggressive panhandling." ...
9
votes
4answers
26k views

The expression “hands down.”

How did the expression "hands down" come to mean "without a doubt?"
1
vote
2answers
93 views

'computer programming is quite literally black and white'

I was thinking about this in the context of creating task requirements, having having to explicitly define how a program is to function. One might say: Law is often described as black and ...
29
votes
19answers
9k views

Single-word synonym for a “pedantic rule-follower”?

What do you call a person who always follows the rules, at the expense of everything else? I’m thinking there’s one word that can describe this, but I can’t place it.
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Barkeeper, or bartender? How to address them?

I dunno if I'm right about the meaning of these words. What do you call the person who owns a bar, or a pub? And the person who serves you with drinks at the counter? [As the two may not be ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

Meaning of “ask for” [closed]

I always wanted to understand the meaning of the word for when coming after ask, and I have two question about it: Let's say that I'm asking for a flower on behalf of my mother. If the flower man ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

What is the meaning of 'Oshkosh by Gosh'?

I was recently watching a TV series named suits where a character said "Oshkosh by Gosh". I googled it and all I could find was the meaning of bagash from this site. Urban Dictionary - Bagash What ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Epoch Making Canvasses

Hemingway said that "It's better to write about what you can write about and try to make it come off than have epoch making canvasses etc." Does this mean you should focus on what you can do instead ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning, origin, and usage of “cor lummy”

I came across an expression I’ve never seen before when reading a Kate Atkinson novel. A quick internet search netted little information apart from a possible cockney origin as a distorted form of ...
3
votes
0answers
44 views

Can you clarify usage of “all but…”? [duplicate]

Example sentence: "As the concert ended, the atmosphere was all but ecstatic." Replace words with synonyms: all = everything but = except The sentence would appear: "...the atmosphere was ...
18
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
80 views

Can I start a sentence with “Established in”? [closed]

So, I am proofreading a text which starts as follows: This is a bank established since 1900 with majority shareholding held by... and I feel like it can be improved. Can I change it to: ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Context to distinguish “we” inclusive versus exclusive [closed]

In English, "we" has no clusivity - context is needed to determine whether it means we-including-you or we-excluding-you. What context can a speaker provide to disambiguate without sounding awkward? ...
11
votes
5answers
36k views

What does 'condescending' exactly mean?

I'm really confused about the meaning of the word 'condescending'. Online dictionaries define it as bossy/disdainful, which fits with... One woman felt that I was a little condescending toward ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Is addendum synonymous to supplement?

What's the difference between addendum and supplement? The way I see it they both mean pretty much the same thing. It's something added to something else to complete it. I think supplement can be used ...
4
votes
4answers
996 views

What is the difference between complacency and condescension?

Sometimes I get confused between complacency and condescension, thinking they are the same thing. I am trying to understand the difference. Both seem to be attributes of a person who is more ...
2
votes
3answers
103 views

What does the expression “With a twist” means?

I would like to know the meaning of the expression "With a twist" and the context in which it can be used - examples are welcome. I have an understanding of it in the lines of "Traveling with a ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

What's the difference between “I'm happy” and “I have a happy heart”?

What's the difference? Could you say that romantically? About an infant?