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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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
213 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
128 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
134 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
92 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
284 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

difference between “teacher's monitoring” and “teacher monitoring”?

What is the difference between "teacher's monitoring in classroom learning activities" and "teacher monitoring in classroom learning activities?
0
votes
1answer
60 views

“That strikes one for me”…what's it mean?

What's the "one" mean here? Is this taken from baseball? Can the idiom be grammatically used in other persons besides the first?
-1
votes
1answer
188 views

Meaning of “broken” in a phrase “broken hallelujah”

What does "broken" mean in a phrase "broken hallelujah"? E.g. in Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah song? "it's cold and it's a broken hallelujah" In my opinion, the best match from the dictionary is ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

What does “ leadups and outs” mean in following content?

What does "leadups and outs" mean in this quote? The best way to approach learning how to play "Flight of the Bumblebee" is to work on memorizing bits of it at a time. A lot of the piece is ...
0
votes
5answers
79 views

A word that can mean the “outsider” [closed]

I'm looking for words that can meaning the "outsider" social group but not in context of "loser". Not an "opposition" group but just different; a group that stay aside of mainstream and popular ...
1
vote
3answers
56 views

The fierce side of things?

Red flowers in their season and scarlet berries in the winter-time were offered at his shrine, for he was a god who laid some special stress on the fierce impatient side of things, as opposed to the ...
0
votes
3answers
43 views

How and in which situation can the word “meditate” be used?

Meditate has 2 meanings: To think calm thoughts in order to relax or as a religious activity: To think seriously about something for a long time: Cambridge definition I can understand ...
42
votes
10answers
18k views

Is it “alright” or “allright”?

In practice I find both spellings being used. From a logical point of view, "allright" (as in: "all's right — everything is fine") seems correct. However, I recall hearing that "alright" is the ...
1
vote
2answers
126 views

Meaning of liquor and leverage

Please tell me the meaning of "liquor and leverage" Just I read Warren Buffett Ideas there I got this sentence. I've seen more people fail because of liquor and leverage.
4
votes
4answers
366 views

Is 'keep someone across' a new phrasal verb?

How common is the expression 'to keep someone across' the news. Is this a new phrasal verb? I've noticed it mostly in the last four years on British news programmes, such as the BBC. It seems to mean ...
-3
votes
1answer
33 views

Are the two statements equivalent?

"I will refuse nothing to a soul that makes a request of me in virtue of my passion. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for asking" - statement (i) I tried to ...
1
vote
3answers
39 views

Hyperbolic vs Hyperbolical

I just looked up the word "hyperbolic" in the 3rd edition of "The New Oxford American Dictionary", and the second definition says "(of language) exaggerated; hyperbolical." When I go to hyperbolical, ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

What is the meaning of “State-of-the-art closed-loop com gear”?

I`m just reading JET (by Russell Blake) and there I can read: Still watching the alley, she reached her throbbing hand down and quickly went through the fallen attacker’s pockets, noting the telltale ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

“I will refuse nothing to a soul that makes a request of me in virtue of my passion” - meaning?

"I will refuse nothing to a soul that makes a request of me in virtue of my passion" I am having trouble understanding this sentence because of the statement "in virtue of my passion" that follows ...
0
votes
0answers
68 views

How to identify if a word is positive, negative, or neutral?

I am studying for SAT and English is not my first language. I really struggle with vocabulary. I memorized about 1000 words for the test, but only a few showed up on the test. I am planning on taking ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

What do these two figures of speech mean? Embrace the grind and lower your shoulder

I came across these two figures of speech:(a) Embrace the grind and (b) Lower your shoulder in one of the Instagram posts of Dwayne Johnson(The Rock) Since I am not a native English speaker I just ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

What does “To join in marriage by me” mean?

Right now I'm translating a marriage license and I'm not sure how to translate the phrase "To join in marriage by me". Fuller context: I hereby certify that, in accordance with the above license, ...
4
votes
5answers
179 views

It got you paralysed vs It paralysed you

I know "get" has a lot of meanings. But what is this one - to cause something to happen? I do not think it is "have sth done" but not sure of course. It got you paralysed. What is the difference ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

Along gender, race and ethnicity, and social class lines

Inequality in life expectancy exists within a given society along gender, race and ethnicity, and social class lines. What does along gender, race and ethnicity, and social class lines mean in ...
10
votes
3answers
726 views

If a “tittle” sits atop an “i” or a “j” (“ı” or “ȷ”), then where do “jots” sit?

In the KJV translation of Matthew 5:18, it reads: For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. If a ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

What is the difference between “extended from” and “extending from”?

Scenario 1: part A is extended from part B Scenario 2: part A is extending from part B Is there any difference between these two descriptions? Would any one so kind to help me about this? Thanks in ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

Can you use the word “bearing” to mean causing?

Can you use the word "bearing" to mean when smething causes something? For example, I'm trying to write a poem thing and I'm using the sentence "the bleak bearing blanket of fog" to describe how a ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

Night-threaders

In 'The Sandman - Vol.3 - The Dream Country' by Neil Gaiman chapter 2, a cat says to another cat: 'Well-met, fellow night-threaders' Do you know what does 'night-threaders' mean in this context?
0
votes
2answers
51 views

What is the origin of the phrase “hot take”?

I've been seeing this phrase pop up more and more in social media. I wasn't sure of what it meant, so of course I googled it: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/29/7417055/best-worst-words-2014 ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Can the adjective “sexist” be replaced by “chauvinistic” in this context?

Can chauvinistic denote the same meaning as sexist in this sentence? The nature of these rituals generates a sexist mentality among the new members.
0
votes
5answers
54 views

“far from” versus “away from” [closed]

What word should be used when referring to a metaphorical state of two concepts that do not relate to each other? For example: Love is far from hate, Art is far from commercial interests, Artists ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do you call it “the produce aisle”?

I came across the word, “the produce aisle” for the first time in NPR’s news introducing 'Eating on the Wild Side – A field guide to nutritious food,” writen by Jo Robinson. It goes: “Our modern ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What’s the word for somebody you know (sometimes well) but who isn’t your friend?

What is the English word for somebody who is not your friend, but you’ve know them even for years. For example, this might be a neighbor or somebody from school whom you see often enough but whom ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Connotations of “quixotic”

Would you say quixotic has more of a positive connotation or more of a negative connotation? The definition for quixotic given by Merriam-Webster is: hopeful or romantic in a way that is not ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Is “man” the opposite of “woman”?

I heard someone today say that lad is the opposite of lass. And we picked up a debate on whether woman is actually the opposite of man, which led me to question whether nouns can have opposites at ...
1
vote
3answers
402 views

How often do people call friends “chum” so that you know they are not actually calling you “chump”?

I am not a native English speaker. If my schoolmate yells at me "Hey chum!", I wonder if they are actually calling me chum or chump. How often is chum being used to refer to friends instead of "Hey ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Are "out of the box“ and “(right) off the bat” interchangeable”?

I came across with two idioms associated with immediacy in different context recently: (1) Anyone who was hoping that the Watch would flop out of the box and fall short of the high standard that ...