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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1answer
61 views

What does “this is a reach” mean?

In an answer on ELL it reads: Here - and this is a reach - but it could technically be understood to mean that my mother thinks this girl is the prettiest I can find, though there are prettier ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Meaning of the plural form of yarn

My dictionary defines the following: yarn: thread that has been spun, used for knitting, weaving, etc. I am unsure of the meaning of the plural form "yarns". To illustrate, I'll use two examples: ...
0
votes
4answers
50 views

What word is this?

In the film Gangs of New York, what is this word spoken? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADmX9eMEV9U&t=1m38s It sounds like benay. What does it mean? The subtitles don't have anything for this ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Two kinds of “borrow”

In Hebrew there is a difference, although often overlooked in spoken Hebrew, between the word "to borrow" for something that is intended to be returned "as is" such as a tool or a vehicle, and the ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

Living out of one another's pockets

Neither Anastasia Alexandrovna nor he felt that they could live another minute out of one another's pockets. What does this mean? Does it mean they can't live without one another (because they ...
6
votes
4answers
923 views

Tennis jargon: why are some matches “not before” a given time instead of just “after” that time?

I've recently started to follow Tennis matches and championships more closely. Now I often hear schedules mention that a match will occurr not before a given time of day. That sounds odd to me. Below ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“Nuke the fridge”

I don't get what this phrase means. I tried googling it, but the answers weren't satisfactory. Could someone please tell me its meaning? I'm guessing it has something to do with TV shows (I first ...
3
votes
4answers
90 views

Is “has made it his business to” polite or impolite?

In this sentence: He has made it his business to reintroduce the theory to a new generation of activists. Is "has made it his business to" an impolite expression? Is it a radical expression? ...
6
votes
1answer
325 views

Why is something fried on a griddle called grilled?

To my understanding, to grill is cooking with a heat source located beneath an open slatted grate (or ribbed closed pan). (For example, using a barbecue grill on one's patio.) The word grill is ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Usage of “even when”

In my understanding, a sentence of the following form A requires B, something that may be difficult even when C means that A is difficult since a necessary condition B is difficult. While B ...
1
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2answers
47 views

The use of “'rat out on”

To leave or abandon. Can this expression be used to indicate an ordinary instance of leaving or abandoning like: I rat out on the party after midnight. I rat out on the city before noon. Or has ...
0
votes
3answers
93 views

What does “could use a friend” mean?

I heard this word on some TV show and i have been trying to find its meaning(but they weren't of help much). Could someone please tell me ?
0
votes
1answer
111 views

“Both of you” vs. “the both of you”

When we refer to two people, which is right — "both of you" or "the both of you"? Are both the same or is there any difference between them?
0
votes
1answer
59 views

What is the form of the word “passive” that ends in -ity? [closed]

According to my spell check "passivetivity" isn't a word. I also haven't been able to find it in any dictionaries. According to wordnik pacificity means "The quality of being peaceful or pacific". Is ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

What does “another” mean in this sentence?

If someone says “Tom broke another lamp,” does it imply that Tom already broke a lamp or that another lamp was previously broken by someone?
-1
votes
1answer
61 views

Phrases about a journey in BrE and AmE [closed]

What is the common phrases in BrE and AmE to say someone when he/she is beginning a journey? I know that in BrE we can say (according to ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Verb used with regret

Is there a difference between: She regrets telling him (that) she didn't like his mother. She regrets having told him (that) she didn't like his mother. To me, the first phrase sounds more ...
-4
votes
1answer
35 views

take the second road [closed]

Edit: I'm sorry for this question, it isn't correct question here. I haven't known about English Language Learners site. I can't understand what should I do in the next 'sentence'. 'If you take the ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “My duh on” mean?

What does "My duh on X" mean? Does it mean "I like X" or "I don't like X" or something else? What does "duh" mean in general?
0
votes
7answers
106 views

What do you call someone who's involved in a project (non-leading role)

We currently have two roles for our project, namely: project manager `someone who is involved', ie. regular worker/employee but I'm not really satisfied with worker. What do you usually call ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

What is the differences between these three words? [closed]

tell apart say apart speak apart please tell me about differences between these words. And also what do they mean? Are they expressions?
0
votes
2answers
53 views

How will people understand this “I am not in a/the good state"?

Suppose I participate in a basketball game with my friends. I do not play as well as usual. Can I explain to them: Sorry, I am not in the good state Will the audience naturally take it to ...
0
votes
4answers
57 views

7 years old and later

I am pretty confused with this statement "documents which are 7 years old and later should only be migrated" does it means "2007 to 2014" ,or "2007 to old"
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What does 'Moonshots' mean?

I read an article on TechCrunch titled, "Gates Foundation Picks Its Moonshots In India To Reinvent Toilets Globally" The 'Moonshots' is not familiar to me; it is not defined in the dictionary. ...
0
votes
4answers
60 views

Who “substitutes” whom? [duplicate]

Context: Equation 1 requires substituting A for B. Does this mean all "A" in equation 1 is replaced with "B" or vice versa?
4
votes
1answer
96 views

“Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost”? [closed]

Until today I believed that both terms are basically the same. But our English teacher told us that the correct term is Holy Spirit. Is there any difference between Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost? I ...
1
vote
3answers
123 views

Does milk toast, milk-toast, or milktoast mean the same as milquetoast?

So of late I've been hearing a lot of people call other people (or their actions) milk toast. I thought it was weird because those two words should conjure up breakfast food and not "spineless". So I ...
1
vote
2answers
45 views

The difference beetween 'nasty' and 'horrible' or 'terrible'

For the most situations adjectives 'horrible' and 'terrible' are synonyms. But I often come across with word 'nasty' with similar meaning like 'nasty cough', 'nasty smell'. Is there any difference or ...
1
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2answers
60 views

What does “through” mean here?

Through his sleek salesman talk I could discern duplicity.
1
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2answers
70 views

Using besides in a sentence

Besides gaining my career, the course will surely contribute to our country’s wealth. Is this use of besides correct?
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votes
3answers
50 views

What is the ranking of these synonms in terms of a sense of importance?

As far as I can tell "imperative", "critical" and "utmost importance" are synonyms. Are any stronger than the others in terms of conveying a greater sense of urgency or importance? I fond the ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

Stag party vs. Bachelor party

Do they mean the same "a men-only party" or are there differences in their specific usage?
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Correct expression for “time of the day” greetings?

What is the correct description of good morning/good evening/good afternoon, etc? Are they called greetings of the day, or time of the day greetings? If not, what are they called?
0
votes
2answers
70 views

What is Poetry? What does not count as Poetry? Help me get a grasp of it [closed]

Background: Yesterday afternoon I overheard two people chatting, I think one was reading or reciting a poem. It was quite emotional, and actually quite lovely. Later I saw several poems on TEDTalks ...
1
vote
4answers
80 views

Word for “growing in intelligence”

I'm looking for a word whose definition is something along the lines of "growing in intelligence". I'm trying to use it in a sentence like "the people are getting smarter and smarter throughout the ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

“Upright he held it, lords, that held it last”, meaning?

In Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus when asked to become emperor Titus refuses answering that the sceptre to control the world (i.e., power) "upright he held it, lords, that held it last". What is the ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Meaning of'By the month of April' [closed]

What is the meaning of 'by the month of April'? Does it mean full month of April?
1
vote
1answer
43 views

What the round is going on?

This is really annoying me. All over CBS/ESPN/EVERYWHERE I am hearing that today's NCAA basketball games are round 3 of the tournament. When did the definition of a round in a tournament change? I ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

What does "First Lad” mean?

In New York Times (March 22) article titled, “Palmy days for Jerry,” Maureen Dowd interviews former California governor, Jerry Brown who was once the rival of Bill Clinton, and quotes his latest ...
0
votes
1answer
75 views

The meaning of nailed in the conversation

From the below conversation what is the meaning of nailed: Summer: Tristan, stop. Tristan: You are making me chase around the party. Summer: Just trying to have fun. Tristan: You ...
0
votes
2answers
40 views

Pleased and satisfied. What's the difference?

What is the difference between 'pleased' and 'satisfied'? The dictionary says: 'She was very pleased with her exam results.' 'The boss should be pleased with you.' But I think I can say: 'She was ...
3
votes
1answer
30 views

Is it acceptable to use the noun “swing” for both a short round trip and an extensive circular tour in AmE?

I remember once coming across, while browsing some bilingual dictionary, the noun "swing" pointed up as an AmE equivalent for "circuit". But, sadly enough, what the bilingual dictionary didn't say ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Acoustic perfume

What is the exact meaning of "acoustic perfume" in the sentence: Let's get out of here - this acoustic perfume is too much for my ears.
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Words describing the traits of “a desert”? [closed]

In this sentence I have to fill in the correct word. Any idea what the correct word is? "The ghost town is in the middle of the desert, and the land around it looks ______ and uninviting." Choose ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Between 5 and 10 means: “5 and 10” or “6 and 9”? [closed]

Please enter between 5 and 10 characters.
0
votes
3answers
54 views

“To look down the road” [duplicate]

In this sentence He went outside. He looked down the road. What is meant by down? I don't think he's in higher place.
1
vote
2answers
51 views

What does “Are you sometimes swinging about the U.S?” mean?

In a conversation with a U.S colleague, he asked me if I'm sometimes swinging about the U.S (exact quote is in the title). What is the meaning of swinging in this context ?
0
votes
2answers
54 views

What does “occasional bowel movement” mean? [closed]

I am reading a new comics book about Geralt of Rivia and there is a phrase in the dialog about his horse: Some food, room to run and the occasional bowel movement, that's all she really needs. ...
0
votes
6answers
125 views

Is there a word or phrase (other than euphemism/innuendo) for using one word/phrase to mean another? [closed]

Recently, on an episode of a TV series I watch, one of the female characters asks a male character, "Do you want some bourbon?", when what she means is, "Do you want to have sex with me?". Is there ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

took the 12.15 train OR caught the 12.15 train [duplicate]

Please help me to understand these complicated verbs 'to take' an 'to catch'. I know the difference from the related topics, google e.g. "If you want to go over to Sixth Ave., you'd better take the ...