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

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0
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2answers
2k views

A proper definition for “hogget”?

This is the meaning of hogget in the Collins English Dictionary: a sheep up to the age of one year that has yet to be sheared the meat of this sheep So, is a lamb a hogget? This ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

“Oblivion” as a state of forgetfulness?

I usually think of "oblivion" as referring to a state of being forgotten, as in the expression "consign to oblivion". Wiktionary includes this definition, but also gives "The state of forgetfulness ...
2
votes
11answers
837 views

Is the phrase “Infinitely more efficient” possible?

I've been having an argument with a colleague about the use of the phrase "infinitely more efficient". I use it sometimes when describing the proper way to implement some programming solutions, but ...
-1
votes
0answers
52 views

“For the sake of” versus “because of”

Somewhat related to this question, but with more subtlety. I've found some places that define "for the sake of" as "because of": Wiktionary Cambridge Dictionary I suppose in a four causal ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Difference between “ditch”, “trench” and “gutter” [closed]

I have been trying to understand the difference between the three, is this a usage difference between American English and British English? What is the difference?
-1
votes
2answers
4k views

“See you in the funny papers”: etymology and meaning

I've heard people saying that "See you in the funny papers" means "I'll see you later," as in "Good Bye," but I always thought that it means "Good bye," as in "I'll never see you again." I thought ...
6
votes
4answers
537 views

When and why did competence become “competency”?

I don't remember ever hearing "competency" until circa 1970. When I first heard that form it sounded very silly, as if someone was trying to sound lofty via the addition of superfluous syllables. Is ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “I gets mine” mean?

In the last episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" there was this dialogue between Larry and Leon (black guy who uses a lot of street slang): Larry: You think I'd go out with a guy wearing a green ...
1
vote
2answers
470 views

What is the meaning of this quote?

I heard this in a movie. What does it mean? My time, as does most time, comes with a price. You make time.
11
votes
8answers
4k views

Ambiguity of “quite”

The adverb "quite" has the following meanings according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: 1: wholly, completely ("not quite finished") 2: to an extreme : positively "quite sure" —often ...
-1
votes
2answers
63 views

“no hell” or “no hang”?

I think "NO HELL" can be used to describe something that isn't bad, or not very tasty. Like a meal that tastes so-so but looked good. I heard at the dinner table last night that my wife said the corn ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

What does “playus nigh” mean in Cockney?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). Refer to What does “him as writ plays” mean?
-1
votes
2answers
68 views

“She was not happy.” - Ambiguity of the 'to be' in English

I always think about this since in my language (Portuguese) the verb 'to be' has two meanings for which I will give two examples: "She was in the room." - here the verb to be has the meaning of ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

“Object of” vs. “subject of” — which one is correct? Does it depend on context?

(Tried to search to see if this question had already been asked, but could not find it amongst the many questions concerning pronoun declension and objects and subjects as parts of speech.) What, ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Is there any difference in meaning between “apt to” and “likely to”?

Just as there is a difference in meaning between "likely" and "liable" in terms of a desirable or undesirable outcome, is there any subtle diference between "apt" and "likely" ? Does the use of ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

difference between judicial situation and legal situation [closed]

Is there a difference between "judicial" situation and "legal" situation, or is it the same? Thanks!
3
votes
3answers
57 views

Meaning of “by some margin”

Could you please explain the meaning of this? I have it in a sentence - The speaker was, by some margin, the youngest person in the room. I am a translator from English to Czech and I can´t find it ...
1
vote
2answers
34 views

what does it mean to “betray contempt for” someone? [closed]

I came across this phrase in a quotation from Carl Sagan, "they betray contempt for the intelligence of their customers". From the context, it seems to mean "to show contempt", but I couldn't parse ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

What is the meaning “would have” in this sentence? [duplicate]

None of the days in March are the days that I would have gone to office,but for being on annual leave.
3
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the difference between a marque and a brand?

What is the difference between a marque and a brand? For example, why would one use the expression "car marques" instead of "car brands"?
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “educated” mean in “educated guess”?

Make an educated guess. What is the meaning of educated in the sentence?
1
vote
3answers
191 views

What does “It’s the loyalty (or the economy), stupid,” mean?

In the New York Time’s (August 12) article titled, “It’s the loyalty, stupid,” Maureen Dowds comments on Hillary Clinton’s calling President Obama a wimp just as he was preparing to order airstrikes ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

“Would have” and “would have no”

Could you describe about "would have ~ed" & "would have not ~ed". I know would has the several meanings. But when I was talking with one of my friend who is a native speaker and in this following ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a “numeric digit”?

I'm reading a technical documentation so every quirky detail, that a normal human being easily realizes to be a typo or just a less well chosen formulation, can, in fact, be a profound base for a ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “Ur-moment” a normal English expression?

The New York Times article of this past July 29th titled, “The D.O. Is In Now: Osteopathic Schools Turn Out Nearly a Third of All Med School Grads,” features the growing popularity of the Touro ...
3
votes
9answers
25k views

Is the word “epic” being used correctly these days?

You know what I mean. The word "epic" has been overused for quite some time now. I was recently referred to Wiktionary as a trusted source, and I see this example in use: (colloquial) Extending ...
3
votes
4answers
285 views

What is the history of the word “lobby”?

I would like to know if the word "lobby" would have been used in 1890s Georgia (United States) and to what exactly this word would have referred in that time.
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Can “crepuscular” and/or “twilight” apply to morning half-light as well as in the evening

I know that's "sorta" two questions in one, but I'm stuck in an argument with a guy who says both words can apply to morning half-light. I disagree and think both only apply in the evening. I think ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

What purpose does an '-o' serve?

I have been singing a lot of children’s songs lately, and this afternoon in the car I noticed three songs that add an ‑o to the end of words: “He had many a mile to go that night before he ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

“ameliorate” vs “alleviate”

The meanings for ameliorate and alleviate are quite similar, but I don’t think they are exact synonyms: what are the nuances behind choosing which one to use in a particular context? I’d like some ...
8
votes
5answers
444 views

What is the word for “a series of two related works”?

Here dilogy is defined as "a series of two related works". I can't shake off the feeling that there is a more commonly used word for this. Is there? If yes, what is it?
-2
votes
1answer
133 views

Can 'repercuss' be used as a verb?

Lord Owen, the former British Foreign Secretary, in a BBC interview tonight with Jeremy Paxman used the word 'repercuss' as a verb. It was with reference to President Obama's handshake with Raul ...
-1
votes
1answer
47 views

What do you call someone who decides to do something even though they know its wrong [closed]

Is there a word that described someone who decides to do something even though they know it's wrong?
1
vote
0answers
24 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
562 views

What is it called when you say something but it does not imply for the other?

I'm really lost for words... For example, I like people with short hair. But then someone could say, so you hate people with long hair? But, of course, I did not give any information on people with ...
1
vote
2answers
47 views

Can the adjective “squalid” be used to describe a person?

As the title states: Can squalid be used to describe a person that has really fallen on hard times (ragged clothing, worn-out, haggard etc.)? And if it can be used as such, how does it compare to ...
5
votes
1answer
45k views

What does “off to” mean?

There is a book titled Off to a Flying Start: Horsing Around the Language. What does off to mean? I did some research on it and I feel it means going to do, but I still need your confirmation.
0
votes
1answer
78 views

What does this passage from “Great Expectations” mean?

I was reading Great Expectations the other day, and came across this passage that I couldn't make any sense of whatsoever: Why should I loiter on my road to compare the state of mind in which I ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Right definition of “discursus."

I was puzzled to find out the definition of “discursus” incidentally in Readers Plus English Japanese Dictionary, one of the best-selling English Japanese dictionaries, which is published by ...
1
vote
2answers
61 views

If X was not part Y, I'd like it - meaning

I'm trying to fill out a survey that asks me about features that should or should not be included in a smartphone app. The actual questions are confidential, but it's in the style of a sentence like ...
4
votes
3answers
374 views

Term for someone asking “For a friend”

Is there a word that describes the phenomenon, often seen on SE sites, where someone says they are asking a question "for a friend", but actually mean themselves?
1
vote
1answer
36 views

What is the origin of the suffix: 'ship'? [duplicate]

What is the origin of the suffix: 'ship'? Why was it chosen to become as a suffix ? What made it special over other words like maybe 'cart' or 'rainbow' or something? ie friendSHIP might have ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “a man of the world”?

The name of one of the Ernest Hemingway's short stories is "A man of the world". It seems to me that I understand the meaning of this phrase out from the context of the short story. But all the same ...
0
votes
6answers
13k views

“Consumable” and “non-consumable” in reference to electronic items

How do you describe the difference between consumable and non-consumable electronic items?
19
votes
6answers
54k views

Difference between “résumé” and “CV”

What's the difference between résumé and CV? When is résumé used? And when is CV used? Are they equivalent?
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does “defenestrate” mean “throw someone out a window” and not “remove a window”?

When I fenestrate something I put a window into it. But when I defenestrate I throw someone out of a window. Why does defenestrate not mean "remove a window"? As examples - when someone has a ...
1
vote
2answers
444 views

Why do they say “may not” for things which people shouldn't do

I have seen in so many place where they would have mentioned "You may not.." etc for the things people shouldn't do. For eg: in companies where USB is not allowed, they will mention like this "You may ...
0
votes
2answers
61 views

What does “in-flight” mean in this context?

Below is the context. Do we need to create a table to catch any in-flight data during the cut-over? I looked the word in-flight up in several dictionaries and almost all of them state the ...
5
votes
5answers
791 views

Does “exotic” have racist connotation? [closed]

Sometimes you hear people use "exotic" to refer to something foreign to them. It can be a place, music, food, clothes, or even a person. Some people argue that the word exotic has racist connotation ...
3
votes
5answers
10k views

What does “shine on” mean?

I've seen some use "shine on" to close a letter. What does this mean?