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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

0
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2answers
76 views

Does it make sense to say “plummets upward”?

According to Google, the word "plummet" means "fall or drop straight down at high speed." So, if I want to say that something quickly shoots upward, would "plummet upward" make sense, or sound normal ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Meaning of an excerpt from Seneca [closed]

I am having trouble understanding the sense of the sentences in bold type (below) from Seneca's essay "Of Benefits": It is a common saying, "I gave such or such a man so much money; I would I had ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Since when and how did the word “virgin” have connotations of purity?

This is what my Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary says on the noun: 1 a : an unmarried woman devoted to religion b capitalized : VIRGO 2 a : an absolutely chaste young woman b ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Does anyone still use “skyrocket” in the original sense?

In US English, I can't recall having heard this word used to describe a reaction-drive pyrotechnic or vehicle in many years. Almost invariably, the word as used describes a rapid or exponential ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Usage of “put a bottle on the fence”

Where I work there is a common saying thrown around, to "put a bottle on the fence" or the deliverable was a "bottle on the fence". It generally indicates the creation of an example or starting point ...
13
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4answers
3k views

What does “2007 - date” mean?

I saw an example of someone's résumé through a Google search, in the 'work experience' section she wrote: 2007 - date 2008 - date 2007 - 2010 2008 - date What does " ... - date" mean?
2
votes
2answers
66 views

“invent” and “orders”

He also recognised that through the very process of perceiving and acquiring knowledge, we partly invent the world by our means of measuring it – in space and time and by the ‘orders’ he ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why doesn't it go like “him and his wife”?

Please take a look at this excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye: I think I probably woke he and his wife up, because it took them a helluva long time to answer the phone. This phrase confused me. ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

To give/receive credit against

The verb 'to give credit against' is used widely in legal texts. For example, As a preliminary matter, the court considered whether a Non-defaulting Party who wishes to enforce the payment ...
-1
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3answers
68 views

What does this mean: “Why would that be the case?” [closed]

What does a person mean when they ask this question: "Why would that be the case?"
0
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3answers
68 views

What does “very notion” mean? [closed]

What does "very notion" mean in this sentence "The second epistemological consequence derives from the very notion ...
1
vote
1answer
94 views

Does the verb 'to tank' meaning to lose deliberately, or fail to finish, only apply to lawn tennis?

The Australian tennis star, Nick Kyrgios, is proposed in the Australian press to have tanked in his second set at Wimbledon, yesterday. According to the OED sense 6 of tank when used as a verb ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

If I were to have or If I should have [duplicate]

I am not native English. My question regards the conditional form of the verb have to, must. I was wondering if I could use in interchangeable way the expressions "If I were to have" and "If I should ...
0
votes
3answers
76 views

What does “rally behind one another” mean? [closed]

Can someone explain to me what this expression means? Also if possible, how can I translate it to a Romantic language, such as Spanish? Below are some sentences that make use of this expression: ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

First name vs. Forename [closed]

I really don't understand why others are using "forename" instead of "first name". Can someone explain the difference to me?
1
vote
1answer
51 views

What does thunderous silence mean? Shouldn't it 'deafening silence'? [closed]

I encountered this in an article..., English is my second language so I am very curious..
2
votes
2answers
334 views

What does the phrase “woman who does” mean?

I've first heard the phrase on QI (season 3 episode 6) where Stephen Fry uses it as rhyming slang for "buzz" Bill: "Woman"? Stephen: "Woman who does": buzz. Bill: Buzz. Phill: ...
2
votes
10answers
513 views

Can shoving someone be nonviolent?

I'm trying to express a situation were someone is being forced/persuaded to move in a certain direction by another person, not in a violent, but rather a humorous, way. The word I'm thinking of ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

Does “A guy named Tony” mean the same as “A guy who's called Tony”? [duplicate]

I know the passive structure and I know its application. But I've always noticed that a few sentences which have a structure similar to the passive, although they are not exactly passive. For example: ...
1
vote
3answers
56 views

“squeamish” and “relishing in” [closed]

"It looks at the somewhat squeamish work being produced by artists relishing in new gene technologies." What type of artworks are "squeamish works"? What does "relishing in" mean here? Does it mean ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

In the context of tertiary education in nursing, what does “traditional” mean?

Someone described themselves as doing a traditional nursing university degree. In this context, what does "traditional" mean? Nursing using traditional medicine? Nursing involving traditional ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

mom-husband-wife thing [closed]

I heard this one on TV, too. Here is the quote: Narrator: Sara is isolated geographically and emotionally from her family and friends. A friend: Five years had gone by where we were doing ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

hit the road (meaning in context)

I was watching a show on TV (I escaped my killer) and Lisa Noland is dropped off after being raped several times by her attacker and to her surprise he doesn't kill her, drops her off at her ...
38
votes
11answers
5k views

What is it called when a highly respected person commits an immoral act but people don't believe that he committed the act?

I was wondering. It just came up. It has no real world relevancy. An example: A highly respected businessman commits child abuse and one day his wife finds out about it. She shares what she had ...
1
vote
1answer
18 views

What does “a media splash” mean? [closed]

What does the expression "a media splash" mean? Is it something like a reference or mention appearing in the media?
2
votes
0answers
72 views

What is the meaning of 'Austenian'? [closed]

Yesterday evening the other half and I took a delightful drive into the countryside about 30 miles away, and sat for a while in the Hampshire village of Chawton (whilst listening on the car radio to ...
1
vote
4answers
156 views

What is the difference of lavatory from toilet?

I was so far in understanding that lavatory and toilet are synonyms. But they are different in the following passage of Jeffery Archer’s “Be careful what you wish for.” A mastermind of IRA related ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

Can “fainted” and “lost consciousness” be interchanged?

Fainted (dictionary.com): A temporary loss of consciousness resulting from a decreased flow of blood to the brain It says that "fainted" is a loss of consciousness from a decreased flow of ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the difference between 'ceremonial' and 'ceremonious'?

Even having looked in the OED I am still slightly unclear as to which contexts require the adjective ceremonious and which ceremonial. The OED treatment of ceremonious is as below with some of the ...
3
votes
3answers
188 views

Is there a word similar to Verbatim that means “Too many meaningless words used”? [duplicate]

Is there a word similar to Verbatim that means "Too many meaningless words used" ? I am looking for a word which describes the statement is meaningless with too many words.
1
vote
1answer
55 views

What word describes a self -created word/expression with an intuitive meaning?

Otherwise, the Court says, there would be no qualified individuals on federal Exchanges, contradicting (for example) the provision requiring every Exchange to take the "'interests of qualified ...
2
votes
1answer
472 views

Pure Applesauce: What does it mean and when/how was it created?

I could find out what jiggery–pokery means (dishonest or suspicious activity), but what does "pure applesauce" mean? And when, where, by whom, and how was this expression created? Context: ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

What is 'understanding' involving learning?

It appears the word "understanding" is nebulous when used in an educational setting. What's the most rigorous definition you've found for "understanding" when used for learning? Background: Every ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

meaning of a paragraph!

Can any one help me with the meaning of this paragraph: "We have insights into reality, we continually reshape them, putting oppositions together, arguing, reconciling on different systems of ...
2
votes
2answers
79 views

Does the phrase “Do you want a hand in this” make sense?

From someone, somewhere, I remember hearing the phrase do you want a hand in this? I was told that it meant do you want to be a part of this? However, when I googled this phrase, nothing turned up. ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Is there a single word or phrase for something that looks/sounds wrong, but is right?

Is there a single word or phrase for something that is so commonly spelt or said incorrectly, that when said properly looks or sounds odd? E.g. "Company staff is expert in management..." Saying the ...
1
vote
2answers
33 views

History and meaning of the word “clientelist” as in “clientelist politics”

In relation to news reports about modern Greece I see the term "clientelist politics" which I assume to refer to some sort of corruption. In order to learn more I looked up clientelist in the OED only ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Why are the buttons on computer keyboards called “keys”? [closed]

A computer keyboard is a board of keys. Why are these buttons called keys? Is it related to the usage of piano "keys"?
2
votes
1answer
52 views

What is proverbial town pump?

"Patrick Wethered was as well known as the proverbial town pump; his mysterious and tragic death filled all Dublin with dismay. The lawyer, who was a man sixty years of age, had been struck on the ...
-1
votes
1answer
42 views

Meaning of disposition

Is it correct to say "My disposition and dedication have become more rooted in this field"? What does disposition mean here? I looked it up in a dictionary, but still can't completely feel the ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

What does Sovereign mean in this context?

How would you explain what "Sovereign General Insurance Company" means to a child? Does it literally mean: The ultimate/ruler general insurance company EDIT: Or is it just a name? Just like Joe's ...
1
vote
3answers
68 views

I'm stuck on finding a word to say “you can try anything” or “anything goes” [closed]

I'm stuck on finding a word to say "you can try anything" or "anything goes" - Thanks in advance homies :) For context, I mean a word to tell a street kid or poor child who goes to a grand buffet ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Is it common to refer to the person steering a ship as 'pilot'? [closed]

According to its M-W entry (supported by some other dictionaries), a pilot (used of a person) can mean, among other things: a : one employed to steer a ship : helmsman b : a person who is ...
2
votes
3answers
232 views

What is the meaning of “cop” in: “if London cops it, he'll cop it”?

What is the meaning of the text in bold: He says if London cops it, he'll cop it. And not to worry, Dad. I have found these meanings for cop in The Free Dictionary, but none of them seem ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Is “a-blink” an adjective form of “blink” in old days?

Under his breath, with a furtive exultation, he began once again the paean of victory and devastation. And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, ...
-1
votes
2answers
63 views

How do i know if the word is step or glide in English [closed]

today I have a lesson in school about steps and glides and i didn't understand it. My first question what are steps and glides? My second question is how do i know if the sentence ends with steps or ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

what is the difference between verbal and oral? [closed]

what is the difference between verbal and oral ? I am looking forward to the answer and I appreciate your effort
1
vote
1answer
63 views

When do you use the plural of “medicine”?

Or in other words, I am asking: How do you "count" medicine? Is the word "medicine" like "gas" where a collection of gas is still called gas: The air was filled with nitrogen gas. Instead of: ...
5
votes
3answers
151 views

Using 'tedious' to mean 'annoying'

Some of my British friends use the word 'tedious' to mean 'annoying.' A recent example: The museums in Oslo aren't open on Mondays. That's a bit tedious. I'm a native American English speaker ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

What is the meaning of “constituent” in this phrase?

Site Location : This is a process that organizations use to identify retail locations most suitable to the "constituent customer profiles ".