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

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5
votes
1answer
11k views

Question tags — “did you” vs. “didn't you”

Typically, when we ask for confirmation/denial of a statement, we say something like the following: We turn left here, don't we? You have a cat, don't you? We've met before, haven't we? ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

have difficulty in understanding usage of being [migrated]

I have recently encountered some sentences relating to being while reading some books. However, the sentences don't make a sense for me because I can't understand them. Could you explain me the ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

What is “healthy” food? [closed]

Is it more common to use healthy to identify foods that are: Low in fat/calories/cholesterol etc. or High in nutrients/vitamins etc. I realize it's often a combination of both, but I encountered ...
-2
votes
1answer
51 views

What does “you’ve got cars on the brain” mean? [closed]

I was chatting with someone today and the person wrote this sentence, but I don't get the meaning of it under the context. A: I will be a little late today. My car does not start. B: You’ve got cars ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

What are other words for a collection of beautiful things?

I am looking for a word or term for a collection of beautiful things. Of either intrinsic value or even along the lines of 'a whole that is made of a sum of valuable parts'. Not necessarily in any ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Is there any difference between 'in the control of “ and ”in control of"

For example: the terrorist is in the control of the government the terrorist is in control of the goverment
10
votes
5answers
70k views

What is the origin and history of the word “motherf---er”?

I'm not a native English speaker, but I would like to know how and why people started using mother fucker. Today it seems it has lost its meaning because people use it all the time, but was there a ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Goal-driven vs. goal-oriented

What is differences between "goal-driven" and "goal-oriented"? E.g. This chapter proposes modeling perception as a goal-driven planning pro- cess and considers how to guide the application of ...
1
vote
4answers
94 views

Word meaning doing something just cause you can or have the abilitity to do it

I'm looking for a word that describes the act of doing something without a real logical reason but just because they can. A example of what I'm talking about would be like this: The boy hacked the ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Is being shameless the same as being confident

Could you say that one who is acting "shamelessly" or "brazenly" is acting "confidently"? The Oxford Dictionary doesn't list "confidently" as a synonym for either, but I've found the word to be ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Like a reflection from the aspect of an angel

I am reading the book "Jane Eyre" and there is a sentence which I can't understand: "like a reflection from the aspect of an angel" What does the word "aspect" mean in this case? This is the ...
-1
votes
1answer
28 views

Who are sales-wannabes?

I googled the word "wannabe" and found the following definitions "Someone who wants to be what they are not" and "someone who wants to be famous or successful". But how can it applied to sales? Here ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

“End-user” or “casual-user” is better for software application's user? [closed]

"End-user" is the widely accepted term, but a lot of scientific papers use "casual-user". Is there any difference between them?
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Is there sch a thing in English as “other payment for use of land” that is not, in the broad sense, “rent”?

I ask this as an inquiry into the validity of the logic behind the currently accepted answer to Do you still pay 10x the dice when getting the chance card that takes you to the nearest utility if the ...
11
votes
13answers
5k views

What does “from hunger” mean?

What is the meaning of the phrase "from hunger", as in, "This xyz is from hunger"? From the context I found it in, it appears to mean either very good, or very bad, but it's hard to tell which. The ...
1
vote
2answers
25 views

Meaning of “blatant plug”

In a blatant plug for the Reagent Guide, each Friday I profile a different reagent that is commonly encountered in Org 1/ Org 2. What is the meaning of "blatant plug". here ? I searched the ...
8
votes
2answers
26k views

Difference between “recently” and “lately”

I have posted a topic using this sentence: I have picked some fictions to read lately. RegDwight edited this sentence to: I have recently picked up several works of fiction and begun to read ...
3
votes
2answers
56 views

Meaning of the phrase “Relax Into The Pain”

Quite often I have come across this phrase - Relax into the pain. We can treat a pain but how does one relax into the pain, especially if it's an emotional pain, for example grief? Can anyone please ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

The meaning of inference conditional form

I'm studying conditional forms, and as I understood most of the time the if clause did not happen, for example in If I had prepared for the interview, I wouldn't be so nervous, so it means that I did ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What does “adept at turning circles” mean? [closed]

I just been given this response in an online, ahem, discussion: "you are very very adept at turning circles, i imagine if you were a dog you would catch your tail with great skill. have you ever ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views
7
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “The deck is stacked” in Hillary Clinton’s presidencial candidacy announcement mssage mean?

Washington Post’s (April 15) carries an article under the title, “Hillary Clinton sounded a little like Elizabeth Warren in 2008, too” accompanied with the following lead copy. “Hillary Clinton's ...
0
votes
1answer
10k views

Is “geisha girl” used to refer to actual geisha?

Wikipedia's article on Geisha states: "Geisha girls" were Japanese women who worked as prostitutes during the period of the Allied Occupation of Japan. They almost exclusively serviced ...
1
vote
2answers
28 views

What's the meaning of “is there any other way to see it?”

A: Are you saying accepting your help obligates me? B: ls there any other way to see it? A: No. I found this line from the movie, As Good As It Gets, and I'm curious about this phrase ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Please explain to me the meaning of the sentence below [closed]

From an Op-Ed piece by Bryce Covert in The New York Times (1/13/16) [But as president, Mr. Obama gets to take time to crow about what’s good in the economy, not just focus on fixing what’s bad, as ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

What does this quote mean in 4 sentences? [closed]

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." (Buddha)
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does common usage of “random” feel so incorrect?

I am bothered by the modern usage of the term "random", and am wondering if "it's just me" or if there is a reason for my being discomfited. Take for instance, this lovely bit: The column and table ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

What is the meaning, form and pronunciation for the items listed in bold? [closed]

Tide laundry detergent is meant to be used for household cleaning purposes, but thieves are turning it into something dirty. Authorities are reporting a spike in thefts of Tide, and in some cities ...
3
votes
5answers
9k views

Using “champion” as a verb [closed]

John McCarthy, Father of Artificial Intelligence, just passed away. I just read an article about him, which stated that he championed mathematical logic for Artificial Intelligence. I am not ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

What does “customized website” mean? [closed]

What does customized website mean? 1) a website with unique design and features. or 2) a website that I can change, for example, add new page without writing a code. Update with the ...
1
vote
4answers
10k views

Difference Between “Plot” and “Storyline”

What is the difference in story writing between a "plot," and a "storyline"? Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition) says a story line is: the plot of a story or drama Collin's ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

What does the word “cinemaddict” mean?

Please explain to me (non-native speaker) what the word "cinemaddict" means. What synonyms does it have?
0
votes
4answers
65 views

One word synonymous to display of power

I need one single word that is synonymous to "bold display of power/might/hold/domination in some place" .It would be much appreciated if someone can provide me a noun otherwise a verb will also do ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

The use of “random” to mean “arbitrary”, “unidentified”, “unknown”, etc

I'm seeing the use of "random" instead of "arbitrary", etc., with increasing frequency. To me, "random" has a specific meaning and is not synonymous with these other words. Is it correct to use it in ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

What does “a composer of no ordinary merit” mean? [closed]

I'm not sure I'm grasping the meaning of the last two words. My friend was an enthusiastic musician, being himself not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit.
0
votes
1answer
52 views

“Down by a point” meaning [closed]

What does 'The Foxes are up to bat and down by a point' mean? Does this mean the Foxes are behind their opponent by one point?
3
votes
3answers
110 views

How did “squarely” come to mean “in a straight or straightforward manner”?

Squarely is the adv. of Square. Its meaning is in a square shape, form, which means the shape has 90 degree. However, it has other meanings: directly; without evasion; in a straight or ...
1
vote
3answers
77 views

Why do we say “plant a kiss”?

The term plant means a living organism; a thing with roots, shoots and leaves that needs water and sun in order to grow. So why do we say "to plant a kiss"? She planted a kiss...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

A word for “approaching a subject from an original angle”

Example sentence: Zoism.co.uk Zoism - 'Approaching a subject from an original angle' However Collins Online Dictionary defines it as: zoism noun 1. a reverence for animal life or a ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

What is change of billing?

Below is a diagram from Brian Krebbs, a security researcher, which shows that our email is more valuable than we think. What is change of billing and how this could be dangerous? Does it mean ...
4
votes
4answers
428 views

‘pescatarian’: synonyms & etymology

Even if most Americans would take ‘pescatarian’ to be some odd Calvinist sect, according to Merriam-Webster it is a noun which means “one whose diet includes fish but no other meat” and its derivation ...
2
votes
9answers
10k views

What is the difference between a scenario and situation?

Based on a survey done globally I have been tasked with writing a help guide to cover scenarios and situations - for a cloud app I created. But I don't understand what the difference is between a ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Meaning of “chosen markets”

I have been reviewing view proposals and I came across: We state that the Company has been trading successfully in its chosen markets for over twenty years. What is the meaning of the above ...
4
votes
4answers
178 views

complicated sentence in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

I am from China. I tries to read the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. I met a question in a sentence. The sentence is in the paragraph below. Being Southerners, it was a source of shame to some ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

When should you use regardless and irregardless?

Does anybody working with words ever experience synesthesia?
1
vote
2answers
35 views

Meaning of “a certain air of”

What does "a certain air of" mean? I met it in the Chapter 3 of "A Study in Scarlet" by sir A. C. Doyle: He was a man with some amount of self-importance and a certain air of command.
0
votes
3answers
88 views

'Must' & probability

Sometimes I notice that there is a difference in opinions regarding the use of 'must' relating to probability. These three sentences look to me correct: He must be in the library (He and the key ...
0
votes
3answers
55 views

Meaning of phrase “to close the loop on this”?

I recently received an email from my colleague saying that "he wanted to close the loop on a task". I didn't quite get the context. It would be great if you could let me know.
16
votes
10answers
21k views

Is there a word for a “promise breaker”?

I'm somewhat vexed in that I cannot think of a word that means a "promise breaker" or "person who breaks a promise". There are words that may subsume that, such as "miscreant" or "liar", but I cannot ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Meaning, in context, of the idiom 'whole cloth' [closed]

I want to ask a question which is oft-repeated question. And it might lead you to imagine that I am asking it again. Even, in this website, it has proposed before. But, as a matter of fact, I haven't ...