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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2answers
254 views

What is the difference between “cosmos”, “world”, “universe”?

Are these words different in meaning: cosmos, world, universe? Does world mean just the Earth and not other planets?
1
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1answer
49 views

Does “quite sorry” sound common to you?

Phrases like "so sorry", "very sorry" are commonly seen, but "quite sorry" sounds odd to me. At first I thought it might be because "quite" doesn't usually go with words representing negative ...
8
votes
2answers
286 views

“From a fourth-pair window”: what is fourth-pair?

The first section of William Henley's poem "Notes on the Firth" (1875) is named "From a fourth-pair window". What is (а?) fourth-pair, I wonder? A horse-driven carriage of some kind? Or is it an ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

can we say 'a pain' ? or 'a piece of pain'?

Here what I'm talking about is 'pain' as a noun, describing something that makes you uncomfortable either physically or mentally. As far as I know, it is countable when describing physical hurts. ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What construction does ‘A wise man is never less alone than when alone’ have?

I think this proverb roughly means that a wise man isn’t lonely even if he is without company. However, when considering its construction, my understanding is starting to get shaky. Let me explain ...
1
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4answers
62 views

Injective / injectional: mode of operation of a pump

What is the best matching word for the mode of operation of a pump doing injections into a pipe system? By "injections", individual short feedings with no (temporal or other) relation to each other ...
2
votes
4answers
173 views

I’ve an Italian degree in “engineering informatics”, so I am a what?

I studied Engineering Informatics in Italy, and I always have difficulty when trying to define my title (in several contexts, e.g. In my researchgate account, as well as in the subscription form to ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

“Do you want” vs “Do you not want”

I recently came across a funny picture with these questions: Do you want som drugs? No Do you not want some drugs? Presumably the answear is supposed to be "no" since you always say no to drugs, ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Using the word 'option' meaning 'a variable', not 'an alternative'

There are two meanings of the word 'option', that I have encountered: A variable that takes one of the multiple possible values. (e.g. "You should set the resolution option to 'default'") An ...
1
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1answer
29 views

Do “resolution” and “definition” differ? If so, how?

Particularly in the context of the usage of "high definition" and "resolution", as in quality of digital sound, picture, and/or video. My question is spurred by my description of and under an image, ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Can we use “workaround to this” instead of “solution to this”?

While searching for the meaning I got this. Wordkaround - a method for overcoming a problem or limitation in a program or system. Which means almost the same as "solution". So, can we use ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

The meaning of 'a black plunge of'

I can't catch the meaning of this sentence: 'I had a black plunge of shame.' Here is the passage from "The Magus" by John Fowles: Someone had knocked on the door. I was staring at a wall. I was in ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

“Inter-”, “multi-”, “cross-”, “trans-” in relation to disciplines

In academia the words inter-discipline, multi-discipline, trans-discipline, or cross-discipline are used to describe a type of combination between different disciplines or the uniqueness of a field. ...
0
votes
5answers
2k views

What does “What are you into?” mean?

I personally don't use this question in spoken language but I usually see it in written language. I also frequently see that when someone asks this question, it elicits in turn the question "What do ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

Entice and Persuade

Could someone provide insight into the following difference between entice and persuade
0
votes
3answers
56 views

Is “willfully disingenuous” a tautologism?

It seems to me that definitions of disingenuous such as the following might imply willfulness: adjective lacking in frankness, candour, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the exact meaning of the “oh so <adjective>” idiom?

I routinely find this expression in newspaper, magazines, blogs... My guess is that it's used to report a widely shared opinion, but I couldn't find any confirmation of this. Or maybe it's just used ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

What is a proper word for time slowing down

I've been trying to figure our a proper single word for the phenomenon of time slowing down . Is there any such word ?
1
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0answers
102 views

“With regard to” vs. “with regards to” vs. “in regards to” [closed]

I found the following usage notes in the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (emphasis mine): The phrases as regards, in regard to, and with regard to are standard and occur in all ...
0
votes
1answer
505 views

What’s the difference between “in” and “at” when used before a Location/Site/Country/County etc

We always were told that you could use the word in before a place which is a large space e.g. country/city etc. Whereas, before a smaller site or place you should use at. But actually I don’t know ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

what does over-ridden means?

I got a email from my lecturer saying You have over-ridden the design document with a progress report. What does this mean?? Cheers for your help.
12
votes
5answers
5k views

Never fail to disappoint

When you say "he doesn't fail to disappoint", to me it has a negative meaning as in he always disappoints. But I've heard some people using it as a compliment and in a positive way. So, am I wrong ...
1
vote
1answer
42 views

“Syndicate something to boot” Definition [closed]

What is the meaning of the bolded part? Fewer people seek critical opinion, especially when they’ve been bludgeoned by aggressive (and effective, as it turns out) viral marketing campaigns that ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

“Short of” meaning in “means of finding an audience short of landing a job as a critic.”

what does the bolded part means? An established New York critic admitted to me a certain amount of bitter envy, for when he was coming up in the ranks, there were no outlets in which to express ...
3
votes
7answers
2k views

Do “asymmetric” and “dissymmetric” have different meaning?

I get that usually a- (or un-) and di- prefixes mean different things, e.g. uninterested and disinterested. However, both asymmetric and dissymmetric refer to the lack of symmetry (which the NOAD ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Meaning of “niche” in “he knows the niches of this or that genre”

He knows the niches of this or that genre. Which meaning is intended here? He is a master at every genre and knows everything about them. He has a shallow knowledge about every genre.
1
vote
1answer
44 views

What does “to be of service” means? [closed]

I recently saw the following sentence: One is glad to be of service Could anyone please describe what does that means?
1
vote
3answers
80 views

Is the phrase “awaiting customer” bad English?

In customer support software, issue tracking systems and the like, I frequently see a state titled awaiting customer to signify no action is required until the person (customer) who raised the issue ...
1
vote
2answers
25 views

Hype-driven Definition

What does "hype-driven" means in this paragraph? There have been a few examples of Internet criticism making an impact on American film culture. It’s aided the rise of South Korean cinema and ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

What's a “political landscape”? [closed]

What were some of the distinguishing features of the Congresses and political landscapes in the 1965, 1981, 1993, and 2009 time periods? In what context is the phrase "Political landscapes" used ...
10
votes
4answers
32k views

Why do we say “as it were”?

In English we often add "as it were" to indicate that a phrase is not to be taken literally; for example: He's flown from the nest, as it were. ... would indicate that a boy has left his ...
4
votes
4answers
395 views

What does “Toff's error” mean?

"He's invited the wife and I" and other similar sentences are referred to as Toff's error. What is, precisely, the meaning of this term?
5
votes
7answers
12k views

What does “fine-grained” mean?

I always see "fine-grained" in technology articles. What does it mean?
2
votes
3answers
132 views

What does a patient and doctor “got off” to a rough start mean?

To a non-native English learner like me, understanding of, and familiarizing with the wide scope of usages of idioms associated with basic verbs such as “do, get, go, let, make, and have” are always a ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

A list with only one item

I have a document where someone is suggesting we have a bulleted list with only one item. That sounds absurd to me. Doesn't a "list" imply more than one item?
23
votes
5answers
12k views

Is there a difference between “treble” and “triple”?

I've been reading The Economist lately and noticed that the magazine uses both trebled and tripled. According to my dictionary, "treble" means "threefold; triple". Is there a subtle difference, not ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

How do you call a thing that raises something (e.g. an event)?

Let's say I want to describe event model in some software. Conceptually there are two sides: the one which raises an event and another which receives it. While I do know the difference between to ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

“I won't stay longer than I can help” or “longer than I can't help”?

I'm a non-native speaker of English and the following sentence makes me wonder: "I won't stay longer than I can help." I've heard similar uses of "can help" in other contexts and they all ...
0
votes
3answers
128 views

What does “biased in your favour” mean in this sentence?

I checked several dictionaries and googled and checked previous biased-related questions here including Is it "biased towards" or "biased against"?, Word for being biased ...
-3
votes
2answers
809 views

What does “run’n’gun” mean?

I found the term "run’n’gun" in an article about video games. What does it mean in that context?
3
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the meaning of “Body Electric”?

Actually it's title of a song written by Lana Del Rey. So what does Body Electric really mean when Lana says "I sing the body electric"? And here is a link the the lyrics.
-1
votes
2answers
68 views

What is the correct way to interpret the sentence “You can't have too many”?

It's like chef's in a kitchen for that part of a game's engine. You can't have too many. - Quoted from a conversation with a friend. When said in this context, my friend interpreted as "You ...
5
votes
5answers
770 views

Thrice or triple?

There is a fairly well known recipe for Triple Cooked Chips. It involves cooking chips three different ways / times. Is triple cooked correct or should it be called Thrice Cooked Chips as they have ...
0
votes
3answers
17k views

Is it rude to say “Thanks for asking”?

My manager recently asked me "How I was doing? Everything Ok?". I felt happy that he asked me that question, and felt that he was really concerned about me. I was doing good. So I told him that and ...
25
votes
9answers
27k views

“A few” vs. “few”

I have few friends. I have a few friends. I thought "few" means just one, two or even none. "A few" typically means more than two. However it seems to me some people say "few" when they ...
1
vote
4answers
110 views

Difference between “exercise” and “workout”

We can say: I will do exercise today or I will do workout today. Is there any difference between them?
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Rephrasing “the Lord's our Banner”

How to rephrase "the Lord's our Banner" for kids to understand referring to the story of Moses praying for Joshua to win the battle in Exodus 17:10-15. I am thinking of "God gives us victory" or "He ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

Present perfect vs present perfect continuous for past unfinished actions relevant to the present

John has stood there for 5 hours. vs John has been standing there for 5 hours. Is there any difference in meaning between the two sentences? Both actions are unfinished. Both are relevant to the ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between “noun”, “proper noun”, and “name”?

Do noun and name carry a different meaning? If there are any differences, are those differences specific to a context?
9
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4answers
3k views

Meaning of “ ‘Western’ world” and alternative terms

The discussion on the meaning and connotations of the world 'Oriental' got me thinking along similar lines on the usage of 'Western' world or 'the West' to denote North America and Europe. I find it ...