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

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55
votes
11answers
22k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
4
votes
6answers
3k views

Does the word “Intellectual” imply intelligence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: intellectual and intelligent The word intellectual seems to be exclusively used to describe an intelligent person. However, my understanding of the word "intellectual" ...
4
votes
4answers
346 views

What does “credit card sized” mean?

Just about any site mentioning Raspberry Pi computer will say it's credit card sized. Yes, length and width of Raspberry Pi exactly match those of a credit card, but a creadit card is 0.76 millimeters ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Usage of “already” and “yet”

I want to know the difference between already and yet in this example: I was surprised that they had __ to decide what to do. My answer on this question was already and my teacher marked it as ...
2
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

“Communicate over” vs. “communicate through”

Also schemas can communicate over database links to schemas in other remote databases. Could one replace the preposition over with through? Will it change the meaning, and if so, when should we ...
4
votes
4answers
730 views

Is there a word for a personal or informal definition?

What's the correct way to say something such as "my definition of good C# code is etc.". I could say "I would describe good C# code as having the following attributes and adhering to the following ...
-1
votes
1answer
11k views

What is “left-hand driving” [closed]

What does left-hand driving mean? Does it mean the steering wheel is on the left side of the car? Sure that's not Britain? Look at the traffic flow and the direction of the lanes, it's not a ...
4
votes
6answers
302 views

Can “to escape” also mean “to go on holiday”?

The Macmillan Dictionary s.v. "escape (verb)" says that "to escape" can also mean to go away on holiday in informal contexts, e.g. "We're hoping to escape to the Algarve in May". I can't find ...
1
vote
3answers
213 views

What is a “Quickfire Auction”? [closed]

I see a lot of Google results for this term, but not a single one explaining it. The phrase search "What is a quickfire auction" returns zero result (and will soon return this question). What does it ...
7
votes
1answer
409 views

Does “tapall” or “tappies” mean “mail” in English?

I had been wondering about a non-native word in Tamil: Thabal, meaning post. This word has origins from elsewhere, and I had not been able to figure out the etymology. Searches in Internet had also ...
6
votes
4answers
474 views

If I say “The plot of that play stinks,” am I giving a spoiler alert?

The article of May 21 New York Times written by Stanley Fish under the title, “What Do Spoilers Spoil?” begins with the following lines: Over 10 percent of the comments on my ‘Hunger Games’ column ...
3
votes
0answers
109 views

What is the meaning of “O” in “7 O'Clock”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What phrase is “o'clock” contracting? In this string: 7 O'Clock What is O doing here? What is the meaning of O? Does it mean 7 of Clock? What is ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “Turn a lemon(s) into lemonade” exactly mean?

In association with my question about possibility of using Etch-a-Sketch as a verb, I found the expression “turn a lemon into lemonade” in the related article of Five Star. It says: Etch-a-Sketch ...
4
votes
2answers
588 views

“Has reported” as present perfect vs. “has” as present + “reported” as a noun

In the following sentence below, I want to use the word reported as a noun, but it looks like I’m using the present perfect form has reported. How can one be clear when constructions like this ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Woman front bits” meaning

Whats does "woman front bits" actually means? This question is surprisingly inspired by one of the answers to this question: "Is there any slang I should avoid in the UK or Ireland". It is ...
1
vote
5answers
5k views

Does 'virtual' mean real or fake? [closed]

Our deputy manager is the virtual head of the business. In this sentence the manager is the real person who in charge. There will be a virtual presenter and virtual guests who will help ...
10
votes
3answers
777 views

Very unusual meaning of “abortion”

The following use of the word "abortion" got my attention. It is from Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, published in 1951. Here is the context: "...Listen. I met a man on the Common today ...
10
votes
8answers
15k views

What's the difference between “cup” and “glass”?

Are "cup" and "glass" the same in English? Can I call a "glass" a cup made of plastic?
-1
votes
1answer
6k views

What's the difference between “intent”, “intention” and “purpose”? [closed]

As a noun, all three have the same meaning. What is the difference, especially between intent and intention?
5
votes
1answer
510 views

Need clarify the use of word “locates” in the sentence

My English teacher asked a quiz question: The dancing club ___ north of this district a. lays b. lies c. locates d. lain The answer was given as c. locates. I feel something ...
6
votes
2answers
34k views

Why are “scaring” and “scarring” confused by some dictionaries? [closed]

Scaring is related to the word scare, while scarring is related to the word scar. Why is it that some dictionaries get these two words confused? For example, when you use Mac OS X Lion's lookup ...
2
votes
1answer
194 views

How to translate: university application sentences

I would need to know whether the following is correct: I applied for study of mathematics and physics. or do I need to say it like that: I applied for admission to university to study ...
2
votes
2answers
780 views

“time and time over” meaning

What does "time and time over" mean ? I encountered this verse in a Philip Larkin poem. they come, they wake us time and time over.
5
votes
3answers
541 views

Why and when did “breast” become gender-specific?

In the past, "breast" used to be applicable to both male and female chests, but is generally only gender neutral nowadays when used in certain contexts, such as "breast meat" or "breastplate". Why and ...
4
votes
3answers
639 views

What is the meaning of “one must of necessity”?

I have read this sentence. But, I can not understand the meaning of "one must of necessity". To be a great leader and so always master of the situation, one must of necessity have been a great ...
4
votes
2answers
326 views

Are there rules for constructing portmanteaux?

Lewis Carroll popularized the use and creation of (what may be considered to be) a special form of compound or conjoined words. I propose that these are different than other compound words (e.g., per ...
2
votes
1answer
591 views

Meaning of 'save as regards'

The following line is from a passage that I was reading: If the Italian peninsula had been submerged in the Mediterranean after the fall of Rome, we would still have been in possession of much ...
2
votes
2answers
447 views

Meaning of “opps” and “come out of retirement” [closed]

What's the meaning of opps and come out of retirement? Whats the longest you've gone without having sex? 3 years. wo And get this, I've only slept with 2 women in my entire life. ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

how to use “especially”? can we use “especially” after the special object we want to mention about?

Can we use especially after the special object we want to mention? In the following, does especially apply just to Australia? First, the reading proves the significance of a mandatory voting ...
4
votes
2answers
203 views

Does this phrase mean what I want it to mean?

I want to say that "the value decreases at a rate at least x" (i.e. faster than or equal to x). Does the phrase "the value decreases at minimum rate x" mean the same thing? If not, is there any other ...
-3
votes
1answer
557 views

What's the difference between publisher, published, and published by? [closed]

As I understand, a publisher is an organization which prints a book. But I'm still confused between published and published by. Is publisher and published by the same thing? Does published mean the ...
2
votes
2answers
468 views

Unambiguous Way of Stating a Biconditional in Plain English

I am having a hard time understanding this section in Wikipedia's article on Logical biconditionals: Colloquial usage One unambiguous way of stating a biconditional in plain English is of the ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the definition and usage of “tids and bits”? [closed]

What is the correct definition and usage of the term "tids and bits"? I tried googling but nothing turns up, not even a definition.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “way” mean in “no way”?

Google dictionary shows 18 meanings for way. Among which, we have: A method, style, or manner of doing something A person's characteristic or habitual manner of behavior or expression The typical ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of “giddy” and “dizzy”

I pinged a friend saying that I am feeling giddy and dizzy. She mistook me for being happy and thought I was expressing a positive feeling, while I was actually feeling sick and disoriented. Do we use ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

What is the meaning of “is must to ”

I have read this sentence but I can not understand it. Under which circumstances is this type of sentence is? Also, please tell me which grammar rule has been applied. they will open our salary ...
-3
votes
2answers
575 views

What is the meaning of “a lot of sleep last night.”? [closed]

I have read this sentence but can not understand "a lot of sleep last night." I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. Can any one explain about it ?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “presently” (US vs. UK)

Citation: ‘Presently’ should be used with care until the Anglo-American difference of meaning has been resolved. What difference?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning of “to pivot to do something”

I found the use of the verb pivot in a context I can't quite understand: We will now pivot the company's effort to date and focus on becoming a comprehensive provider of ... What is the meaning ...
2
votes
2answers
239 views

Meaning of the word “congratufukinlation” [closed]

What does congratu-fukin-lations mean?
6
votes
2answers
15k views

What is the meaning of “every once in a while”? [closed]

I have read this sentence, but cannot understand the meaning of every once in a while: My dad, he's on Facebook every once in a while. Can anyone explain it?
0
votes
1answer
672 views

Usage of “on” in “fire on” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Fire (at, on, in, to) target I saw the following sentence on Guardian.co.uk: US navy fires on boat near Dubai port. Is on being used here as a preposition to make ...
1
vote
1answer
355 views

Does the word “facility” have a negative connotation?

When I hear about "facility" I immediately associate that with a building (like a company's headquarter, store, etc). However, some people say that it can be used to mean a "WC." Is this true? Does ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

“I remember the day where” vs. “I remember the day when”

What is the difference between "I remember the day where..." and "I remember the day when..."? I think both are used in both written and spoken English. Can we say that "when" makes more sense when ...
18
votes
9answers
22k views

Are “heterosexual” and “straight” exact synonyms?

Of course, heterosexual and straight are interchangeable in most contexts, but there are times when I find myself wanting to make the distinction of whether the attraction to the opposite sex is ...
0
votes
0answers
66 views

What is the exact syntax format of “substitute this for that”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Substitute X for Y Many times people say "You want to substitute this for that?" What are they talking about putting in and what are they taking out. Is it based on ...
12
votes
4answers
57k views

Does “renege” have any racial overtones, or is it otherwise offensive?

I used the word "renege" in a meeting the other day (something like, "the vendor decided to renege on their offer of shipping replacement SAN disks"), and got a few wide eyes. My supervisor sat me ...
1
vote
3answers
41k views

“I will do it by Monday”. Does it mean before the beginning or before the end of Monday? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does “notified by [date]” include the end date? When someone says "I will do it by Monday", does it mean that they will get it done before the beginning of ...
4
votes
6answers
821 views

What's the usage difference between 'quarter' and 'quadrant'?

Are these two words interchangeable in most usages? My specific example is: It smells bad in this [quarter/quadrant] of the building this morning. Could both words be used correctly in this ...