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

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0
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1answer
25 views

Interferences coming from/out of the grid/network (electricity)

I am trying to tell my colleagues that they need to run a device on batteries (not on charger) to rule out intereferences that could be caused by insufficient interference-shielding in their building, ...
1
vote
5answers
92 views

What does it mean to be “Streets ahead”?

I'm studying in the USA and have heard my friends use this phrase often. From the context it seems to mean something is exceptional or good. I think that it may be facetious, it's often accompanied by ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

What is “herself” or “himself” on IMDB, when you click on filmography of an actress or actor

What is "herself" or "himself" on the IMDB website, when you click on filmography of an actress or actor? Stephen Hawking Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor (TV Movie) Himself (as Professor ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the exclamation “have at you” actually saying?

I recently encountered the phrase "have at you". I know it's generally used as an exclamation, that is shouted when someone is about to attack someone else. Wiktionary seems to agree with me: ...
0
votes
3answers
55 views

Got to think we're due. - meaning?

I know "due" can mean expected, owed, deserved..but I do not get it in this context (subtitles for the Walking Dead): <i>We've made it 500 miles.</i> <i>Maybe this can be the easy ...
0
votes
1answer
119 views

Difference in tone between Regards, Best regards, Kind regards and Sincerely in emails [duplicate]

I often end my emails just with "Regards, FirstName". But I also often see "Best regards", "Kind regards" and "Sincerely". What is the difference in tone and meaning? Is one more formal than the ...
4
votes
2answers
233 views

Does “avail” make sense here?

My colleagues in India frequently use "avail" to mean "use" or "take advantage of" as in the following example: Avail our special offer for this event. I have never seen "avail" used in the manner; ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

What's the origin of the figure of speech “call the shots”?

I'm well aware that when someone says "he's the one who calls the shots" it means that that person is the one in charge, the one who takes all the relevant decisions. But what's the origin of this ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Word meaning 'enhance' or 'improve'

I heard a word meaning enhance and improve that sounded like horn, e.g. 'horn technical skills'. What is the spelling of this word? I unsuccessfully tried to Google it.
14
votes
2answers
960 views

What do “orange” and “spindle-shanked beaux” mean in this quote?

While looking up the word "bye" I found this 18th century quotation. Our present race of spindle-shanked beaux had rather close with an orange wench at the playhouse, than engage in a bye battle ...
1
vote
3answers
182 views

Run by stopwatch

what's the meaning of "run by a stopwatch"? I found it in this sentence : "The pressing problem for Blackmore was making a quick adjustment to the American lifestyle that felt like it was run by a ...
1
vote
3answers
97 views

Does plantation have a negative context outside the US?

In the United States, the word plantation almost always conjures up images of Southern slave plantations (sorry, Rhode Island). Is a similarly-negative context associated with the word in other ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Make in-roads - meaning

At Marina Polliack's jewelry stand, Bennett was making in-roads. I am not sure how to understand in-roads. The sentence appears here ...
11
votes
9answers
34k views

What is the difference between taking courses, classes or lessons?

Currently, I am preparing a letter of my study objectives for an university application. I ask myself what is the exact difference between the following terms? Or can I use them synonymously? taking ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

run one's length

The following passage is taken from a letter by Lord Chesterfield. Could the italic sentence be paraphrased as "Toleration, adoption and naturalization have gone unchanged." The English language is ...
3
votes
4answers
272 views

Analog vs Digital: Describing modes of note-taking

With regard to note-taking is it correct to call handwriting on paper the "analog" counterpart to digital "typing" on a computer?
1
vote
2answers
87 views

“A friar's hand”?

I'm reading "To Rise Again at a Decent Hour" by Joshua Ferris, and the narrator/author talks about looking over the shoulder of someone studying the Bible on the subway, and noticing that there are ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

What does “on a hiding to nothing” mean?

I watched a movie with English actors just the other day and came across this phrase in the dialogue. What does it mean, and who would typically use it? EDIT: What is the sense of the hide in ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

'In doing this' or 'by doing this'? Which is more common in this context? [closed]

In doing this or by doing this? Is the following sentence correct as is? In doing this, [the products] benefit from greater diversification and wider reach. ('In doing this' refers to the ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

Is it ok to use this sentence “something that speaks on my own terms” to express, a thing that speaks my mind? [closed]

"Thing that speaks on my own terms" Is this sentence correct? What does this sentence really mean?
1
vote
3answers
4k views

What does “popping bottle” symbolise?

I keep hearing the phrase "popping bottle" in contemporary music. Does it simply mean "opening an alcoholic drink"? Why do they keep using it? I invented swag, poppin bottles, putting supermodels ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

can I use “Bus rider” for “Bus passenger”?

I want to write something about bus public transit and I want to know weather it is common to use the term "Bus rider" for "bus passenger"?
2
votes
4answers
114 views

Is it appropriate to use “reunion” for meeting only one person after a long time? If not, what's the alternative?

I met a childhood friend after over 15 years. It was myself, my spouse (who had never met the friend), and this friend. Would I use reunion for this situation, as it always makes me feel it's for a ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “solidus” and “slash”?

I was reading a text, and I found the word solidus. What is a solidus? Is the word normally used in everyday language, or is there another word that replaces solidus even if it's not the completely ...
11
votes
2answers
34k views

Is “fair enough” the same as “OK”?

Is fair enough completely equivalent to OK? If not, under what circumstances should I say fair enough in my response? Any good examples will be most welcomed.
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Elide versus omit [closed]

Do "elide" and "omit" mean exactly the same thing? Are they completely interchangeable? Or is there some nuance that would indicate that you should use one over the other depending on the ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Does “a couple of” always mean exactly two? [duplicate]

As in the title. Does the expression a couple of always have to mean exactly two (like a pair of) or can it mean more (things/objects)? I know a couple, at least in one of its meanings, means a pair ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Is it possible to 'claim' a concession?

Underlying most OED definitions of the word claim, both noun and verb, is some notion of right or entitlement. ( An exception arises in the case of meaning 2c - the loosely used he claimed to be ...
1
vote
3answers
43 views

What is the difference between 'dimension', 'dimensional' and 'dimensionality'?

Could someone show me the difference? I do not know how to distinguish the usage of dimension and dimensionality when saying something is high-dimensional.
4
votes
1answer
272 views

The Yellow Wallpaper - What does *Smooch* mean?

I was reading a brilliant piece of Feminist Literature : The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman which uses the word smooch three times, all in reference to the yellow wallpaper: Then ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

“Choices” vs. “options”

Are the two words synonyms? Is it grammatically correct to say "you have two choices, this or that?" Isn't that one choice? Should it not be "you have one choice, this or that" or "you have two ...
0
votes
2answers
41 views

“concession” in “concession of something due”

I have trouble construing the meaning of this sentence: "claim implies a demand for the delivery or concession of something due as one's own or one's right" [[from Merriam-Webster Online ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

What is the correct usage of 'as to'?

I became curious about how to use 'as to.' I remember I've seen it several times in many sentences, but I cannot be quite sure of its correct usage. For example, am I using it right when I say "Would ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

What is meant by “we got a live one” in following context?

Here is the clip from "Finding Nemo" where "live one" was used. http://youtu.be/zycSnw5PP0g?t=2m19s
2
votes
3answers
88 views

Difference in usage between “with” and “in” when describing clothing

What is the difference between "in red uniform" and "with red uniform"? When are with and in used when describing someone's clothing?
2
votes
3answers
501 views

When did the alternative meanings of 'beard' start being used? [closed]

I read that beard can mean something like "confront someone".. When did a word that means a little facial hair turn into a hostile verb?
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Electronic module or unit?

I make circuit boards with micro controllers that I mount inside plastic cases. I've always referred to them as electronic control modules. But what is really the best word for these? Electronic ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

Use of 'late' for resurrected people

My question concerns the use of the word late when referring to someone who has died. Numerous fictional characters die and return to life again. Would it be correct to refer to them as the late ...
0
votes
2answers
102 views

What’s the difference between “for” and “to” in “for/to many people”?

Given these two versions of a sentence: For many people, dogs are the best friends. To many people, dogs are the best friends. I have following questions: What is the difference between ...
-1
votes
1answer
30 views

Does 'Digressing others' make sense? [closed]

One of my friends said the other day: 'Digressing others is a part of my job' Does this phrase make sense?
0
votes
1answer
83 views

What does “mainstream pop music” mean? And is it singular or plural?

Is "mainstream pop music" just a genre or genres? Whatever it means, can I use it as below? What kind of mainstream pop music do you like? What kinds of mainstream pop music do you like?
-1
votes
1answer
86 views

The meaning of “ haut to trot”?

What's the meaning of this expression " Modelling : She's haut to trot !"
2
votes
3answers
90 views

Fiscal versus Financial [closed]

I've never quite got the hang of this one. Money is the object, but what's the difference between for example 'fiscal policy' and' financial policy', or are they indeed merely synonyms?
0
votes
1answer
64 views

In this sentence, what parts of speech are the words 'next' and 'last'?

Could someone please tell me what the word 'next' and 'last' are? I mean the word class. 'it's your turn next ish' 'I read the letters last ish' Thank you!
0
votes
2answers
61 views

Is envy a theme or a motif? [closed]

I'm writing about a film - one of the events in the film is that I'm reminded of envy between two characters. Towards the end this re-appears. Which one is best? : With the previous motif of envy ...
1
vote
2answers
129 views

Can a sport team “clinch” a championship in the last regular season game?

This question gets into the subtle shades of meaning of the word clinch, in the context of sporting teams securing spots in the playoffs. My past experience hearing this term on television, or ...
-1
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon” mean?

I've recently read this quote somewhere in a book and I can't seem to comprehend it.
3
votes
4answers
105 views

what word means “to be exposed to new things”? [closed]

I need a word other than exposure to explain that the benefit of a college education has lead to "exposure" to different cultures.
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Difference between “garbage” and “trash”?

What's the difference between garbage and trash? Is the difference significant?
3
votes
4answers
2k views

'Upgradation' not universally accepted?

While copy-editing an article for a journal, I came across the word 'upgradation' underlined red by MS Word (It's underlined red even as I type it in Chrome). The publishers of the journal recommend ...