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
73 views

How do you reconcile these definitions of the word 'cynical'?

From the Google Search dictionary (similar definition at oxforddicationaries): 1.believing that people are motivated purely by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity. ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

What does 'For long, in need' mean? [closed]

What does the below mentioned phrase connote? "For long, in need"
0
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1answer
51 views

Does the word “plethora ” necessarily have a negative connotation?

"Plethora" is frequently used to express an abundance of something in a positive sense. My understanding of the word is an overabundance or "too-muchness" Is it a case that the word has changed ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

“ being off the stick”

What does " being off the stick" means in following sentence mean? " Robert: tell me the truth. Chris: How can I say it, in all honesty, without you thinking I'm off the stick?" How do I know it ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Meaning of Samuel Johnson quote on puns [on hold]

It seems like every article on puns written in the last 150 years (most recently in The Atlantic) includes this quote by Samuel Johnson, who compiled the 1755 Dictionary of the English Language and ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

Quote about windows

I'm not sure if this is where I should be asking this.. But it seemed to be the most appropriate community on StackExchange. Anyways, I'm setting up a Google+ page for a small business that does ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

A word for intentionally losing a bet?

Is there a word, or phrase, to express when someone makes a bet with the intent to lose? I’m looking for one of two things (or both). Either a verb to express the action of making such a bet, or a ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

Meaning of “reinforce that approach”

I want to rephrase the following sentence: "Reinforce that approach with the language you use." The sentence is taken from a guide for facilitators.
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Meaning of “By the time”

Graduating with a bachelor's or master's degree from a college or university located in a country where the primary language is English by the time you would start the Ph.D. Program would qualify for ...
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 ...
6
votes
5answers
18k views

Does “turning down the air conditioning” make it warmer or colder?

As the title says, I've heard two possible meanings for turning down the air conditioning: It could mean set the target temperature lower (i.e. colder) or make it work less (i.e. warmer). Turning ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

is 'how-being' correct or acceptable? [closed]

I heard "how-being" on international media and was wondering if it is correct. I asked about his health and how-being.
-2
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2answers
2k views

What does “A mile wide, an inch deep” mean? [closed]

I read the phrase "USA intellectualism: a mile wide, an inch deep". What does it mean?
6
votes
4answers
16k views

What's the difference between a cathedral and a basilica?

The references I've seen so far have alternated primacy between one and the other.
0
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0answers
35 views

what is the difference between 'what is connected' and 'things that are connected'?

Could you please explain to me the difference between the following 3 terms? what is connected should be taken as one. things that are connected should be taken as one connected things should be ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

What is a term for the “first” meaning of a word?

Words have lots of meanings/denotations/dictionary definitions, many connotations and contexts and they have literal meanings and metaphorical ones. For example, consider the word 'trash'. Literally ...
1
vote
3answers
420 views

Is there a word like “compersion” that isn't just for romantic/sexual situations?

I just saw the word "compersion" for the first time, and love it: A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship. Is there a word ...
1
vote
2answers
193 views

What is the difference between “extended from” and “extending from”?

Scenario 1: part A is extended from part B Scenario 2: part A is extending from part B Is there any difference between these two descriptions? Would any one so kind to help me about this? Thanks in ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

The meaning of on the way

"Anything of interest?" "No." He tossed a magazine on her desk and said,"This one is on the way. Could be fun." The expression "on the way" baffles me. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
2
votes
8answers
13k views

What's the origin and reasoning behind the phrase, “I've got a monkey on my back”?

900lb Gorilla I can appreciate, but "I've got a monkey on my back" - two opposable thumbs down...
9
votes
3answers
371 views

Why is a “Mystery in the Alley” a side of hash?

American 'Diner Lingo' seems to consist largely of humorous crossword-style references (Noah's boy = Slice of Ham, Mother and child reunion = chicken and egg sandwich, Dog soup = water, etc). Most ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

Can you use the word “bearing” to mean causing?

Can you use the word "bearing" to mean when smething causes something? For example, I'm trying to write a poem thing and I'm using the sentence "the bleak bearing blanket of fog" to describe how a ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Night-threaders

In 'The Sandman - Vol.3 - The Dream Country' by Neil Gaiman chapter 2, a cat says to another cat: 'Well-met, fellow night-threaders' Do you know what does 'night-threaders' mean in this context?
3
votes
5answers
6k views

What does “what for” mean and where did it come from?"

There is a fight scene in one of my favorite movies in which the main character says "Give them what for!" I've hear this term many times before (usually from old south-eastern Americans,) but no ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

what does “I am not feeling up for it” mean? when can you use this?

What does actually "I am not feeling up for it" mean? Is it ok to use this phrase when somebody ask you to do lunch sometime and you actually do not want to go but want to be polite? If you ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

subjective or objective role of “let alone…”

A Navaho sand painting ritual for a sick child is a mystery – we literally cannot read the signs nor subscribe to the belief, let alone the science, that she can be made better this way. Does ...
-1
votes
0answers
10 views

whats difference between nerd and geek [duplicate]

Does nerd and geek were same?Is it just the terminology or does the words have inner meaning?
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Do 'stay on the list', 'make the list' and 'make the cut' all have the same meaning?

Today’s New York Times reported a flamboyant dinner party hosted by President Obama to welcome President of China, Hu Jintao. According to the article, many outstanding figures of politics, business, ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Meaning of “To all whom these presents come, greetings”

You see this a lot on formal government and institutional documents such as declarations and diplomas. What, exactly, is being said?
0
votes
3answers
52 views

How do you properly define and use the phrase, “buy into”?

I found this line while I was reading: That commercial said that this product would help me lose weight in one week. I’m not buying into that idea. While I somehow understood the meaning of the ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Improving temper, good or bad?

If something improves your temper, does it do a good thing or a bad one? I mean, is improving temper good or bad?
4
votes
3answers
18k views

Does “within an hour” mean before, after, or both?

Does within mean before or after? Or does it mean both? For example, Do not drink or eat within an hour of these pills.
-1
votes
0answers
43 views

What's the difference between the words: prison & jail? [duplicate]

How the f**k are you going to jail tomorrow. Prison. Not jail. This is a dialog from 1 episode of "Orange Is The New Black". And I thought, what's the difference between these words?
0
votes
2answers
41 views

What is the usual meaning of “nutritious”? [closed]

What does "nutritious" (as in "nutritious meal") generally implies? Mostly something with enough (or even a lot of) calories? or more something that has a good variety of the nutrients necessary for a ...
0
votes
2answers
220 views

“That strikes one for me”…what's it mean?

What's the "one" mean here? Is this taken from baseball? Can the idiom be grammatically used in other persons besides the first?
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Does inscrutable mean “hard to figure out”?

To figure out usually means to find out.....although on Dictionary.com, it's defined as "hard to understand or solve" with none of its definition close to "to find out". What puzzles me more is the ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

meaning of “a descent of night”

What does "a descent of night" man here? Does it mean the dominance of night? "It is the very event of observing, a descent of night, an invasion of shadow." 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
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
1answer
293 views

I was able to re-introduce the process that had not been done anymore. Past perfect?

I am not sure whether or not there should be past simple or past perfect: I was able to re-introduce the procedure that had not been being followed anymore. I was able to re-introduce the ...
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 ...
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
81 views

“Positives changes on the cards” — meaning?

Positives changes on the cards in Nigeria. What does it mean? Is this correct usage? Usually I have read "positive". I think it makes a lot of difference whether we use "positives" or ...
13
votes
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?
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 ...
0
votes
5answers
120 views

Noun or Adjective for someone who is good in managing resources and/or money

I am looking to describe someone who is good at keeping track of hir resource use and goods usage behaviour. This can be either for monetary currencies, but also for food, material or other ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What is this type of idiom called: “I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but…”

Basically, when someone says something along the lines of "I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but he should at least pass first grade math." It's peculiar because they are ...
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
85 views

Usage of the word “Happen” or Happens"?

"Everybody has an addiction ,Mine just happens to be you" in this sentence can anyone tell me how "happens" is used? and other usage of word "happens"?