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

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-1
votes
1answer
13 views

Use “scope” to refer to a book's sections

I would like to know whether it is correct or not to use the word "scope" to refer to a book's section, subsection or paragraph. For instance We will address these matters in the next scope.
3
votes
2answers
173 views

“Lick on a trick for a Rolex” — meaning?

I heard this line in the rap song Ghetto Bird by Ice Cube (full lyrics here) and I'm completely puzzled by its meaning. My homey's here to lick on a trick for a Rolex And let me try the four ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

Difference between “intelligent” and “clever”

I know that dolphins are intelligent creatures, and young people can be intelligent as well. Students can be clever. But can a student be intelligent and a dolphin be clever? What's the difference ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Meaning of “In a medium” [closed]

What is the meaning of “in a medium” in the following sentence? A major objective in a heat transfer problem is to determine the temperature distribution in a medium resulting from imposed ...
7
votes
4answers
442 views

Usage of diffuse vs. defuse

I often hear phrases such as "infantry were sent in to diffuse/defuse the situation," and I am never quite sure which people are saying, and which is correct. Both seem to make sense. To me (a ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

Where does the word “button-down” come from?

I was wondering where the term 'button-down' comes from. I tried to do some research but I was not very successful... How was the word button-down formed? Is it a compound ? Does it originate from ...
0
votes
1answer
98 views

What is the real difference between dilation and dilatation?

In the medical profession we use the terms dilatation and dilation with great frequency. Dilatation is defined as a region of dilation, an area of abnormal enlargement, or the surgical enlargement of ...
12
votes
6answers
6k views

What does the term “86'd” relate to?

What does it mean when someone or something is referred to as being "86'd"?
-2
votes
3answers
42 views

What's the meaning of “spin-off”? [closed]

What's the meanining of spin-off? like the spin-off of a TV series.
3
votes
1answer
68 views

In publishing, what does the acronym “P/U” or “PU” mean?

I have come across this acronym in reference to a project I have been given to revise. Usually it is in a context such as "PU and modify."
2
votes
2answers
115 views

What does “Cultures are circular” mean?

There was the following sentence in the commentary of Joshua Rothman, the New Yorker’s archive editor on Amy Chua’s memoir, “Tiger Mom” under the title, “The Battle hymn of the Tiger Family” in the ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

doubling as a “door stop”? [closed]

With only a handful of commands, the SQL data statements look deceptively simple. In my opinion, many of the available SQL books help to foster this notion by only skimming the surface of what ...
3
votes
12answers
169 views

A word for reading something thoroughly until one understands it well?

I was wondering if there was one word in English for "to read something thoroughly until one understands it well"? I am trying to translate a word which has this meaning in Chinese. Thanks.
0
votes
2answers
110 views

Difference between “admit” and “accept”

Which of the options sounds correct? She has been accepted/admitted at York University.
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 ...
4
votes
6answers
33k views

What does the phrase “good for you” mean?

What does this phrase mean? And in what cases is it appropriate to use it?
-1
votes
1answer
36 views

what does “neediest” mean? [closed]

What does the word "neediest" mean? Is this word regularly used in academic writing? "Tying teacher evaluation and sanctions to test score results can discourage teachers from wanting to work in ...
0
votes
4answers
45 views

Touch an extension - meaning

Joe, the senior developer in a team of six, has a problem with his program. He studies it for hours, with increasing frustration, but cannot figure out the source of the bug. He wouldn’t think ...
1
vote
4answers
666 views

“Iterate” vs. “Reiterate”

Definition of iterate: to say or do again or again and again Definition of reiterate: to state or do over again or repeatedly sometimes with wearying effect The distinction seems to be ...
3
votes
1answer
285 views

what is the difference between “ Beware” and “Be Aware” ?

Can you please explain what is the difference between " Beware" and "Be Aware" ?
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Analyst vs analyzer/analyser?

What are the scenarios where the meanings of these differ? What is the difference between their meanings and if any, why? I have observed that the term 'analyst' is specifically used in cases of ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the difference between “special” and “especial”?

I can decide accurately which to use in a given context, but I can't make out the actual difference in definition between "special" and "especial". I have searched two authoritative dictionaries to no ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

What is “gilhooley”?

Reading Ellery Queen's The Murderer is a Fox, I came across this passage:- When Fox asked me on the phone to deliver a bottle of 100 aspirins, I said: "Say, Mr Fox, what do you do with that ...
7
votes
2answers
152 views

What does the enterprise to “feed the duck on Epsom Downs” mean?

There is the following sentence in the ending part of Jeffery Archer’s “The Forth Estate,” which I waded to after months. In the showdown of the media owner Dick Armstrong and Sir Paul Maitland, ...
5
votes
2answers
871 views

What does “envacuuming” mean?

Here's a passage from the novel, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: They picked their way among the mummied figures. The black skin stretched upon the bones and their faces split and shrunken on ...
-1
votes
1answer
42 views

Meaning of “but if one turns it thither ever so little” in context

I am reading the book Pensées, and I can't understand a paragraph. Please help me review it. The difference between the mathematical and the intuitive mind.—In the one, the principles are ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

Difference between “synopsis” and “plot”

After commenting on this question, I started wondering what the difference between a plot and a synopsis is, or if they are exactly the same. I'm mainly looking for common usage, but anything else ...
7
votes
6answers
11k views

Being in love with someone

Is there a difference between loving someone and being in love with them? I sort of think that being in love with someone might imply that there are reciprocal feelings, but I'm not sure. If someone ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

Comprehension - gave them the run of the base grounds still in Ukrainian hands

During the ordeal, the colonel gave reporters and TV crews the run of the base grounds still in Ukrainian hands, and held impromptu news conferences in front of brigade headquarters. First of ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Meaning: one Benghazi revelation away from impeachment

Spoiler alert: he's siding with his friend Vladimir Putin and not with President Obama, whom the action star believes is one Benghazi revelation away from impeachment. I can't get the meaning of ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

I can't get it: It will vary amongst database systems who has what function

It will vary amongst database systems who has what function, or even whether they use the same function name. Asked a native English speaker "does this sentence make sense to you?". His answers ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Meaning of “A Moment's Worth” [closed]

What is the meaning of the "a moment's worth" in the following Using this equation, we can generate the graph with a moment's worth of calculation and plotting. Is it equivalent to "more ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

is gentile used to signify people of indigenous origin?

While "gentile" is used to describe people of non-Jewish or pagan origin, can it be used as a synonym for "indigenous" (with regards to connotation?)
6
votes
3answers
5k views

how did the epithet “nigger” come into usage?

My research has resulted in theoretical reasons for the usage of the term "nigger", and I have failed to uncover any evidence as to how this nasty little epithet evolved into the usage and connotation ...
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
67 views

Difference between domain and dominion

Can anybody give me more examples on how to use these words? I know for sure than you should not use dominion as domain for the Internet but apart from that sight difference both words seem to be ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Does the electricity “go or cut” “off or out”? [closed]

Which of the following choices are correct? While I was reading a book last night, suddenly the electricity ______. cut off cut out went off went out What are the differences ...
1
vote
1answer
60 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
4answers
49 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 ...
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: ...
1
vote
6answers
2k views

Do “asymmetric” and “dissymmetric” have different meaning?

I get that usually a- (or un-) and di- prefixes mean different things, e.g. uninterested and disinterested. However, both asymmetric and dissymmetric refer to the lack of symmetry (which the NOAD ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
814 views

Why place a hand on the Bible instead of the Judge's genitals when taking an oath?

Etymonline gives the etymology of testify as ...from testis "a witness".. + root of facere "to make"... Biblical sense of "openly profess one's faith and devotion" is attested from 1520s. Related: ...
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? ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Why did Old Testament scholars choose to employ “to know” in a sexual sense?

For those of us not familiar, the verb to know once had an archaic sexual sense, often found in the Old Testament, and as illustrated in the following story found in Genesis 19: 4 But before they ...
8
votes
5answers
472 views

Religious sense of “minister”

Why would minister be a function name for both a member of the government and a clergyman? Is the religious usage of minister restricted to Protestantism or did it already occur in Latin? Are there ...
-1
votes
1answer
53 views

Which senses of “announce” and “indicate” are most appropriate here?

In tournament play, the chair umpire announces the end of the match with the well-known phrase "Game, set, match" followed by the winning person's or team's name. It is similarly used in other ...
8
votes
6answers
10k views

What's the difference between “adviser” and “advisor” — are both interchangeable?

I work for a financial services provider and we deal with "Financial Advisors" all the time. Increasingly, I'm seeing people send emails and so forth with the term "Financial Adviser" and the terms ...
1
vote
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 ...