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

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4
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “Land Sakes”?

In a children's story I was reading the other day, one of the characters said "Land Sakes" ...from the context of the story, it must be to indicate they are surprised? It was completely ...
2
votes
2answers
720 views

What do you call who writes comments? Commenter or commentator?

What should I call a person writing/adding comments (by pressing "add comment" link)? Commenter or commentator? From a deleted answer, I understand that there are commentators (like those ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

degrees of temperature and humidity [closed]

I am currently working on a game where the different areas of the map will have different climates. I wish to have 5 different levels of temperature and humidity for the different climates. I ...
1
vote
2answers
504 views

Does the word “umpty” have two different meanings?

I happened to learn the word “umpty” in association with “umpteen” appearing in the following sentence in the article titled “Obama’s Gitmo Problem” in May 24 New York Times: Late Wednesday ...
1
vote
2answers
101 views

In which context is “lignicolous” used?

Is lignicolous a word used in a specific context, or is it common to say "that is a lignicolous bug"?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What does voice in writing mean?

What does it mean when people talk about voice when referring to someone's writing? Is it his/her specific point of view? or Can two people have the same point of view and different writing voices?
1
vote
2answers
123 views

What does 'address an issue' mean? [closed]

I always understood 'address an issue' to mean fix or solve an issue. However, a colleague of mine questioned this today and after doing a web search it seems that the more correct or common meaning ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

'In order to' or 'to'

Which sentence is correct and why? What is the difference in meaning? I have already written to you, and I received your reply to submit my documents. I have already written to you, and I ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

What does “writing intentions” mean in the following context? [closed]

In the following line, I'm not sure what "writing intentions" means at the end. "Even if you've written 20 scripts before, perhaps you need help on dialogue, a clearer inciting incident, ...
18
votes
6answers
30k views

Why does “tell me about it” not mean “tell me about it”?

A commonly used American phrase, but one that still baffles me if I stop and think about it. Why does "tell me about" actually mean, "I understand what you're talking about as I have experienced it ...
1
vote
3answers
62 views

What is the difference between assumption and conjecture?

An assumption is a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. A conjecture is to form an opinion or supposition about (something) on the basis of incomplete information. ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

“Take the weight off your feet”: offensive?

I kind of have the impression that the phrase, "take the weight off your feet," is offensive towards fat people (sorry couldn't think of any PC terms). Is my impression correct? or have I just ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

“There was Minta, wreathed, tinted, garish on the stairs…”

This is part of a sentence in Woolf's To the lighthouse. Minta is in a different state of mind from her husband, she's back at 3am after a party while he went to bed early and sternly: There was ...
15
votes
10answers
5k views

How many of the “Top 10 favorite British words” are understood by Americans?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online shows “Top 10 Favorite British Words”. I’m interested in knowing how many of the listed words are understood or accepted by Americans as English, whichever British ...
2
votes
3answers
144 views

Name for the bumper at the end of a parking spot - is it a “turtarrier”? If so, why?

I was trying to find out if there was a single word to mean the bumper at the end of a parking spot. "Parking bumper" is a little unwieldy, and "wheel chock" seems to be more about airplanes or ...
2
votes
2answers
180 views

Optional 'of' in various phrases, especially with 'much/much of'

Yes, I know there is a related question here. But that doesn't answer my question. For each of the following phrases, are they correct? If not, why not? What is the OF doing? What part of speech ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Simple present or present perfect simple with “WHEN”?

From a native speaker's point of view, are these sentences both gramatically acceptable and equally common in spoken/written English? I'll call you when I get to the gym. I'll call you when I've got ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

meaning of “no earlier than x months from …” [duplicate]

Are the following two statements written in correct grammar? What do they mean? Can they be written in more easily understandable manner? If yes, how should they be re-written? The student's pass ...
3
votes
2answers
63 views

Intuition - short shrift

Would someone please explain the intuition or connection behind the definition of shrift and short shrift? How does the former imply the latter?
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Drinks Shirley - Slang for overhead dispenser? [closed]

In a TV series, a man from London (living in Canada) asked for the house bar using the word "Drinks Shirley". What does it mean exactly? Is it this kind of dispenser?
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Tidy up - put things in order

According to English WordNet, tidy up has a meaning: put (things or places) in order: "Tidy up your room!" I feel comfortable with the use of "Tidy up your room!" However, what is the exact ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Is “nerd” really an abusive or hurting word? [closed]

Calling someone a nerd turns them off, although they are geeky sticking to computers and books all the time. Is it right to call someone a nerd or should we just go with diligent/studious (the very ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What is the meaning of the word “along” in this context?

I am a bit confused with the usage of the word "along" in a sentence from some lecture slides "check if X lies on the path along existing neighbors" Does this mean that X is structured in this form: ...
7
votes
1answer
257 views

Meaning and usage of “Queens rules”

In one podcast I've stumbled upon the following dialog (two hosts discussing new version of software, one of them like it other - not, both of them males): xxx: Ok, we both have tried that version ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Meaning of “makeshift dias”? [closed]

What is the meaning of makeshift dias in this passage? He had invited over a hundred guests, including members of the press. He addressed everyone from a makeshift dias.
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Is Necrophagia The Act Of Eating Dead Animal Flesh Only?

Does necrophagia apply only to consuming animal flesh, or also human flesh?
0
votes
0answers
22 views

What is the term that describes a group of animals; gaggle of geese, murder of crows [duplicate]

I'm looking for the term, word and or phrase that describes groups of animals. I'd like to know all the words that refer to all groups of animals.
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Some problems in understanding a word in a sentence [closed]

I am translating the following text from English to Italian and it is not very clear for me the meanig of the phrase written in bold. Can somebody help me? Thank you in advance. Twitter is an ...
0
votes
0answers
14 views

Get or fetch when the object might not be there? [duplicate]

Upon doing some research I stumbled upon this answer: (...) Fetch means that you are going to get something, and bring it back. Get doesn't necessarily mean that you are bringing it ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Are “bunk” and “bunker” directly related?

When did the term bunk (in the sense of sleeping berth) arise, and what if any connection does it have to the noun bunker? Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) gives a first ...
3
votes
2answers
145 views

What does the term “night moves” mean?

There are a number of songs, films, and other cultural artefacts that use or reference this term, but I can't figure out if it has some kind of idiomatic meaning. Any ideas?
2
votes
3answers
212 views

What is the opposite of “down-home cooking”? [closed]

What is the opposite of down-home cooking? Somehow uptown gastronomy doesn’t sound right.
10
votes
7answers
21k views

Origin of “egg on my face”

Where does the phrase "egg on my face" come from, and what is its meaning?
3
votes
1answer
185 views

Why the “give” in “I don't give a flying f***”?

I’m not a native speaker. I know that I don't give a flying fuck means "I don’t care", but how did it come to mean that? Specifically, why does the verb give mean "don’t care" here?
2
votes
5answers
549 views

Uniquate = Eliminate or replace duplicates, make unique?

I am not a native English speaker and I need a word means modifying a list/set to make it a unique-values list/set eliminating or replacing non-unique values with unique ones. I am also aware of ...
1
vote
2answers
56 views

Does having a master's equal being a Master?

If an English major graduates from college, must one say, She has a Bachelor of Arts? May one instead say, She is a Bachelor of Arts? He has a master's is certainly correct, but might one say, ...
0
votes
2answers
77 views

What does “rooster tail”(ing) mean?

"The Winnebago galumphs across the landscape, scattering cows. It catches a wheel and sprays a rooster tail of red dirt." "catches a wheel"? And "rooster tail"? If "Catches a wheel" means the ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

to give someone until

I'm reading Women by Charles Bukowski and stumbled upon the following dialog: Dee Dee was standing next to me. "Please tell her," she said, "to give me until September." "Forget her," Lydia ...
0
votes
3answers
51 views

Meaning of “over them” [closed]

I took out the reports. He pored over them. In this sentence, what is the meaning of "over them"? I guess it would be "fully".
1
vote
3answers
83 views

Meaning of “for the day” [closed]

I Google'd "for the day" but it seems that it is not precisely an idiom. Does it mean during day time or for a whole day? Here is the sentence where I found that expression: Now I could take a ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

“Me being” versus “my being” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gerund preceded by possessive pronoun (e.g. “He resents your being more popular than he is”) Until a few months ago, I had always thought that sentences like ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

The Sand Scrunched Beneath My Feet [closed]

I was reading Ivan Klima's No Saints Or Angels and found the highlighted part in the following sentence not quite clear: When Karel1 left me, I tried to give her2 that love, but it’s impossible ...
1
vote
3answers
85 views

Why the use of 'clock' in the following sentence?

"Bob clocked Joe right in the nose." In this sentence, "clocked" indicates that Bob punched Joe directly in Joe's nose. How did 'clock' come to be used in such a way? Is it colloquial/vernacular to ...
1
vote
2answers
38 views

“No less than” when referring to non-quantities

I came across this answer to the question "Which of the following best summarizes the main points of the argument?" In an LSAT practice test: Balanced reporting requires impartially revealing ...
17
votes
1answer
32k views

Why use “need not” instead of “do not need to”?

The header of psyco.sourceforge.net states: High-level languages need not be slower than low-level ones. Why use need not instead of do not need? What does it mean? Also, why no to before be? ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

What is the difference between doctrine and dogma? [closed]

How exactly do the literal meanings of doctrine and dogma differ? Or do they? Are their definitions suitable in religious context only?
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Anchor the rear hand

Hi everyone what does "Anchor the rear hand"?. I just recently started watching the TV series Arrow and on one of the episodes someone said "Anchor the rear hand". Does it mean to attack the weaker ...
-1
votes
1answer
75 views

Difference between “at that time” / “that time”

What's the difference between at that time / that time? When I faced the issue previously, at that time John helped us to resolve it. When I faced the issue previously, that time John helped us ...
4
votes
4answers
28k views

What exactly does “sweep me off my feet” mean? (And why?)

Although the phrase "sweep me off my feet" probably means, "make me fall in love with you in a short time", what does it exactly mean, because "sweeping" can be difficult to be associated with "love". ...
12
votes
4answers
15k views

Is “redact” an acceptable substitute for “delete” or “omit?”

I am constantly reading comments and documents from people who use the verb redact to refer to the act of deleting or otherwise censoring content. This never seemed correct to me, but until today it ...