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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

5
votes
3answers
209 views

should be always or should always be? [duplicate]

I am not a native speaker, I do not know how to say this properly: "It should be always on", or "It should always be on"? Is there any difference?
1
vote
3answers
76 views

Meaning of “an away”

There is a film called "plasticized"(http://www.plasticizedthemovie.com/about-the-film/). And one researcher on the sailing voyage explains as below.. The philosophy that there is, an away, that, you ...
3
votes
2answers
55 views

Deciphering of William Henley's “Bus-Driver”: put 'a bit on'?

This beautiful sonnet, "Bus-Driver" by William Henley, is studded with idioms, some of which are hard to understand. I've bolded one part (of the two) I don't understand: He’s called The General ...
7
votes
4answers
833 views

Word meaning “to sort again”

When you perform an action again, you can usually just put "re" in front of the existing verb - e.g. "shuffle" becomes "reshuffle". However, "resort" is its own word that doesn't mean "to sort again" ...
2
votes
2answers
53 views

How did “Draw” come to mean pull, as in draw drapes?

Common phrases are draw drapes or shades, draw a bath (pull water?), draw a conclusion (out of someone) and other uses of pull. Why does draw mean pull? It becomes confusing when something that had a ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

What is the difference between introspection and retrospection? [closed]

I want to know what is the exact difference between introspection and retrospection. I keep hearing words like self-introspection. What does that mean? Can someone clarify with examples?
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Are “embarassing” and “bewildering” synonyms?

The dictionary that I'm using says those meanings are synonyms. Is there no difference between them? I'd also like to know if perplexing could a be synonym of embarassing and bewildering.
0
votes
1answer
72 views

What is the meaning of “a winged victory”?

What is the meaning of "a winged victory"? Also, is this an idiom? Thank you
-1
votes
2answers
64 views

What do “To confide merrily” and “To take a skinny dip” mean? [closed]

Please explain what do these phrases ("To confide merrily" and "To take a skinny dip") mean.
-2
votes
2answers
43 views

Quantize vs Discrete

What is the difference in definition between the word "quantize" and "discrete"? For example, the Oxford definitions are: Quantize: ... restrict the number of possible values of (a quantity) or ...
-1
votes
0answers
63 views

Grammatical meaning of the profanity “MF”

I understand what the word means and I'm very clear on the usage pattern as well as the gravity anoted to it. However, we got into talking about the MF word's grammatical aspect and we couldn't agree. ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

what does it mean “I'm in up to my wrist” [closed]

In seinfeld "The pick" episode, GEORGE: So the minute I started up the steps to her apartment I knew I made a terrible mistake. Going back with her. So we're in her apartment she goes into the ...
1
vote
4answers
72 views

what is a word for when someone compliments another insincerely?

Like in an attempt to win you over for some reason or another, in that sense?.. What I mean here is not that one is wheedling, coaxing or sweet-talking, but rather complimenting hypocritically. I know ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

“Demophobia” & “demophilia”: the right word choice? [closed]

I'm writing my research on rather obscure research topics (or rather, research questions). Would you agree with the word choice for the following concepts? If not, what words would you choose instead? ...
3
votes
1answer
120 views

Who are “Security moms”?

I came across the word, “Security mom” and “Wal-Mart mom” in the following statement in my newspaper clippings, originally in Time: Can Obama Win Back Wal-Mart Moms? "The women that are different ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

What is the opposite of signee? [closed]

Signee is the person who signs the contract, but what is the word for the person who gave the signee the contract in order to have it signed. For instance, if someone asks you to sign a ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

“I won't be home for three hours.” [closed]

The sentence I won't be home for the next three hours means that I won't be staying at home for a period of time of three hours in a row (but I can be home, for example, for 2 hours, leave, and come ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Why does “with” exist in this sentence?

I can't understand why "with" is needed in this sentence. Are you through with your lunch? I think that This sentence means "Did you have your lunch? " And in second sentence, there is no "with". ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

Meaning of “exactly” in casual conversation

My question involves a group text conversation between friends whom are all native english speakers. Friend A began the conversation with a photograph of himself dressed up for a night on the town, ...
1
vote
2answers
36 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, ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

What is the meaning of “ironically” in this passage?

A rocket launched and shortly exploded on Tuesday. Below is passage from a news article written about it: This was the second launch attempt for the mission. Monday evening's try was thwarted by a ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

What's the meaning of “if anything else”?

I don't seem to understand the exact meaning of "if anything else" in the beginning portion of the sentence below. I think I could use your help to understand what it actually means. If anything ...
1
vote
3answers
132 views

Is there a difference between “tongue-tied” and “speechless”?

Earlier today, a student of mine was telling me a story about how his colleague, upon seeing him wearing an over-the-top jacket, was so surprised that she couldn't say anything. Question: Which ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Is “What the problem isn't, is that they're too attentive” an oxymoron?

This is a very slightly tongue in cheek question with some interesting, hopefully, grammatical side-effects: Is the following an oxymoron? What the problem isn't, is that they're too attentive. ...
2
votes
2answers
190 views

what does “our step family mash-up” mean? [closed]

in a movie, a girl describes her family new house as a place for her mother to write the next book, big enough for her and her brother and her step family mash-up. her mom is married a man who has ...
0
votes
0answers
58 views

Is there a difference between: “The coming year” and “next year”?

If it were now January, would "the coming year" be taken to mean this year? If it were November would "the coming year" refer to the next calendar year or a period running from November to November?
1
vote
1answer
37 views

“For three years” vs “in three years” [duplicate]

I haven't talked to my wife for three years. I haven't talked to my wife in three years. Are in and for interchangeable in these sentences?
0
votes
4answers
52 views

One word for “Besides knowing my advantages, I also know my drawbacks”?

I wish to point out some drawbacks on my own research work after I have praised it. As a _____, I am aware of my work's drawbacks, which could be fixed if I had more time. Is there an ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Definition relating to geometry [closed]

What word in geometry that describes angles has a meaning outside geometry that means strange or odd ?
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What does “the bulls” mean in this context? [closed]

I'm reading The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697 by John M. Taylor, (originally published in 1908, reprinted in 1971) and I'm not quite understanding what is meant by "the bulls" ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

“in these cases use is the best guide”

Please, explain the meaning of the phrase "in these cases use is the best guide". I can't find it in a dictionary. No context. thanks in advance)
-1
votes
2answers
49 views

How to find all forms of a word ? [duplicate]

How to find all forms of a word ? Given that you have a noun , a verb, an adjective or an adverb ? The forms i am referring to are : Noun Verb Adjective Adverb Thanks !
0
votes
3answers
72 views

Does 'invidious' imply hatred/malice for 'envy'? [closed]

invidious (adj) = (Of an action or situation) likely to arouse or incur resentment or anger in others Etymology: c.1600, from Latin invidiosus "full of envy, envious," from invidia "envy, ...
1
vote
3answers
262 views

Difference between floor and storey

I've read once about "x stories" .. Want to know if there is any difference between storey and floors. Or they are just alias for each other used in difference variations of english language ?
17
votes
9answers
4k views

Do submarines float?

Is it correct to say that a submarine floats if it is below the water surface? According to the dictionary definition, it seems to me that this is a correct way to refer to a submerged submarine. ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Contextual meaning of “privilege” [closed]

I am not a native English speaker and have some confusion on the word privilege. I checked its meaning from the dictionary: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a ...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

can I use “used to” for something is “used for” some objective?

I am curious about using "used to" which is used for expressing some habitual actions in the past. But how to use it for passive voices? Example 1: I used to eat chocolate too much when I was a baby ...
-1
votes
0answers
75 views

What is the meaning of “metaphysics” in terms of study/science beyond the physical?

I understand that metaphysics is a branch of philosophy and it's about explaining the fundamental nature of the world, etc. But it seems it has also another non-philosophical meaning. Based on the ...
-1
votes
1answer
40 views

What does “in my bones” mean? [closed]

I can't get the meaning of the phrase "in my bones". Help me make a suitable sentence using it. Does it have a positive connotation?
-1
votes
1answer
52 views

What does this quote from the book “1984” mean?

I'm having some trouble understanding what this quote means: The object of power is power The line is from 1984, by George Orwell. The more I read it, the more it doesn't make sense. Could ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Is it common to use “totally” in such a way as “Michelle Obama’ s totally running in California.” [duplicate]

Vanity Fair magazine (October 23 issue) carried an article titled, “A brief history of Michelle Obama career-goal rumors,” and wrote as follows under the caption, “She’s totally running in ...
2
votes
4answers
418 views

What does “mertilize” mean?

I have been unable to find a definition, or a source for the word mertilize. I've seen it used on TV, in articles, and even in comic strips.
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Use of decline for condition has got worse

I am trying to say that health difficulties have got worse - or the difficulties have increased: I have long term health difficulties that have declined and are significantly impacting on... Does ...
4
votes
1answer
348 views

What does “a turn-away crowd” mean?

When I watch some sports events, narrator says, "A turn-away crowd tonight, a sold-out American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX" (actually this one is from WWE ;-) What is the meaning of " a ...
2
votes
2answers
299 views

What word means to feel better by writing about what you feel?

What word means "to feel better by writing it down?" Usually speaking about your emotions.
0
votes
1answer
36 views

“polished surfaces reflect brutal efficiency” meaning?

This is the description of the location "The Ebony Barracks" in Act 3 of Path of Exile. I wasn't too sure whether to ask it here or in Gaming.SE since it is English related. What is the meaning of ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

What does the phrase “old Charlottes” refer to?

I'm reading the novel Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian at the moment. It has the following passage in it: '… it seemed to me there was an unnatural proportion of Lord Mayor's men among ...
-1
votes
2answers
29 views

Difference between Interoperability and Interaction [closed]

Is there any difference between those two terms: 'Interaction' and 'Interoperability'?
0
votes
4answers
51 views

Treatment vs Management

What is the difference in meaning between management and treatment? Is the word "treatment" just a medical term or can we use it in another situations? i.e in order to say "I want to relieve his ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Conclusion VS Summary [closed]

In the scientific papers it is very common to see words like abstract, summary and conclusion. What is the difference between those words and how we can use them correctly?