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

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10
votes
4answers
996 views

Is vomit an excretion?

According to Merriam-Webster and other places, "excretion" is defined as waste products that are eliminated from the body (urine, sweat, CO2). Vomit is also leaving the body, but like bleeding, the ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

“1st Prize” or “1st Rank”? [closed]

I was just updating my CV when I noticed the following lines in the 'Interests and activities' section: ● 1st Prize for ‘Best Performance’ in State Drama Competition. ● 1st Rank in ...
1
vote
1answer
13k views

What does 'back-stopping' mean?

We have a tender document, and it lists how the offer should be proposed. Basically this is split into 3 sections: Rationale Strategy Details of Proposal Under section 2., there is this clause: ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Why is this wrong? I have become sick for 2 days

I am an Assistant English teacher and today my co-worker(main English teacher), asked me why this sentence is not ok; I have become sick for 2 days. I told him that you should use been instead of ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

What does it mean to “walk the wall?”

From the same people who brought us "ask" as a noun comes a new idiom that I haven't heard of before: to "walk the wall." I haven't heard this myself, but my sister (who is an IT consultant) asked me ...
0
votes
2answers
345 views

“The End of All Things to Come” — what does this mean?

"The End of All Things to Come" is an album title of heavy metal band Mudvayne. There are two points that I do not fully understand: (i) I suppose that "X to do Y" is a general construction that ...
-1
votes
6answers
179 views

A synonymous word for “wrong desire”

A man said to a girl "don't grow a wrong-desire about me in your mind". Thus, please let me know a single word for "wrong-desire"?
0
votes
3answers
3k views

To Be Used Of/For

Does "to be used OF" mean "to be used FOR": wikipedia The English term "empiric" derives from the Greek word ἐμπειρία, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Meaning of “Butter is Gold in the Morning, Silver at Noon, and Lead at Night.”

In his book A Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs: Explain'd and Made Intelligible to the English (1721), James Kelly offers this interesting saying (page 74, #138): "Butter is Gold in the ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

Difference between “now” and “right now”

Is there any difference between the two following sentences? We can't connect to Outlook right now. We can't connect to Outlook now.
-3
votes
1answer
6k views

Meaning of the phrase “I am all ears” [closed]

I was going through Stack Overflow and I noticed this phrase. I am all ears Is it some spelling error of "I am all yours" or does it mean something like "I am eager to listen"? What is meant by ...
1
vote
3answers
860 views

“On aisle two” vs. “in aisle two”

In supermarkets in the United States, I tend to hear this often: Cleanup on aisle two [or some other number]. Would in be as good as on? How is in different from on in this context?
4
votes
3answers
896 views

“Loosen up”, “tighten up”

"To loosen up" means "to become not nervous". Could the phrase "to tighten up" be a good opposite and mean "to become nervous"?
0
votes
3answers
423 views

“Make a score of”

Besides for telling the score on a test (as in "He made a score of 88 out of 100 on the test"), can the phrase "to make a score of" be used to describe the score in a soccer/association football ...
3
votes
4answers
301 views

Returning for the nth time

Suppose I went to the supermarket three times. Is my third trip considered my "second time returning there" or my "third time returning there?" Thanks. (I know this question sounds silly, but English ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Descent, Ancestry, Lineage

Please help me with the words 'descent', 'ancestry', and 'lineage'. Dictionaries show that they are loosely the same: 1a. He has German descent. 1b. He is of German descent. 2a. He has ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Does “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” always indicate partnership?

My usual understanding is that someone's girlfriend is their (female) partner in an exclusive romantic relationship. Same for boyfriend. Is this correct, or are there instances where girlfriend ...
-1
votes
2answers
171 views

Post Question To

If Craig wrote a question on an online forum and the question was intended for Larry: Craig posted a question to Larry. Should the part "to Larry" modify "a question", or "posted"? In ...
2
votes
1answer
408 views

What does “As red as ripe new blood” mean?

From Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, In the morning the dust hung like fog, and the sun was as red as ripe new blood. What does word "ripe" mean? Does it mean 1. Fully developed; mature: ripe ...
0
votes
2answers
404 views

What's the meaning of “troop on”?

What's the meaning of troop on in this comment? Troop on, brotato. Get well soon. The comment was made in response to someone who's suddenly gotten really sick and has to stay in the hospital. ...
1
vote
2answers
210 views

What is the proper interpretation of these two sentences? [closed]

There's little chance of rain. There's a slight chance of rain. Do these two sentences have the same meaning?
-1
votes
1answer
131 views

To Lay A Hit, Blow

Is 'to lay a hit/blow on' someone (as in cheap shot) a slang expression?
2
votes
3answers
299 views

“Child”/“kid” implies paternity/maternity relationship?

Do the words "child" and "kid" imply a paternity (or maternity) relationship, just like "son" or "daughter"? If true, how can I refer to a child without implying paternity? Example: if Anne is a ...
0
votes
2answers
644 views

Polite Compliments

Is a "polite compliment" necessarily a redundant statement when used in a group of people as opposed to a one-to-one situation?
0
votes
2answers
279 views

Assemble, Convene A Conference

Is the verb 'assemble' sloppily used as 'convene' here: link 1 "Mr. Husseini was speaking at a hastily assembled news conference in the mainly Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East ...
6
votes
5answers
989 views

Redneck and usage

I found something by Googling about roots and negative meaning but more than it I want to know if there is a positive or neutral usage too. Is it something like geek or nerd and the other slangy ...
2
votes
2answers
747 views

Is hypochondria always about oneself?

I read the definition of hypochondria, but it does not say: is it correct to use this word, for instance, about parents who worry too much about their kid(s) being sick?
0
votes
1answer
218 views

On His Post, At His Post

I have this: link On 21-22 April 1914, while leading three picket launches admist heavy enemy fire, McCloy was wounded but remained on his post, enabling cruisers to save American lives. For ...
2
votes
7answers
2k views

Ruining something for someone else (spoils of war?)

Lately I've been thinking of a saying that describes the following: Ruining something for someone else, for the sole purpose of it not being useful any more to the other party, even though you do ...
1
vote
2answers
229 views

Putting the sentence in the simpler form

Can somebody help me to understand what this sentence is trying to reveal? "So these photos are far more than proxies for a single moment, or even a specific trip. They're also ways for us to ...
5
votes
1answer
619 views

Why are 'preterite presents' called so?

While reading about 'defective verbs' on Wikipedia, I came across this term – preterite present verbs. The most commonly recognized defective verbs in English are auxiliary verbs — the class of ...
0
votes
3answers
149 views

December 15th to December 16th

In general, if I say: From December 15th to December 16th Would you expect the range to be from 12/15 00:00 to 12/16 23:59 or would you expect it to be from 12/15 00:00 to 12/15 23:59?
2
votes
4answers
142 views

help interpreting this line [closed]

I am translating a TED video and I came across this line. Would somebody help me putting this line in simpler expanded form? "You know, it's remarkable how universal the gesture is of handing your ...
1
vote
2answers
448 views

Talking “on behalf of Iranians” or “instead of Iranians”?

How do native English speakers use of them? Do they have different meanings? Positive or negative? For example, I want to use it in a sentence to send my negative feelings and idea about a person ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What does the expression “as bad as it is” mean?

What does the expression "as bad as it is" mean? Does it mean on top of that for e.g. as bad something (accident or something like that) is, something similarly bad? I have been sick all week. As ...
4
votes
3answers
573 views

Usage of “flavour” vs. “version”

Software systems undergo versioning when changes are made to them. E.g.: "Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows RT etc. are some popular versions of the Windows Operating System." Similarly, some software ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

What does “fiend angelical” stand for?

Juliet--"Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!" (Act III Scene ii Line 77) When Juliet refers to Romeo as a "beautiful tyrant," she is expressing an oxymoron because the acts of a tyrant will rarely ...
2
votes
1answer
339 views

The use of “troop” for “trooper” by the media

What led to this new usage? Are there any clues as to its origin (i.e., is there a particular journalist or political figure who introduced it)? Is it on the upswing as I suspect (are there any ...
1
vote
2answers
204 views

Meaning (and History?) of “back of”?

I've come across the term "back of" (meaning "behind" in a physical or metaphorical sense) in a number of different works from around the turn of the 20th century*. Was this a linguistic fad of some ...
5
votes
4answers
331 views

What does “new to the beat” mean?

“Today’s Quote” of Washington Times (February 1) picked up the answer of White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney to a reporter when he was asked by the reporter whether the White House was planning a ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “self-patronage”

Someone said he was not a fan of self-patronage. I was wondering, what does that mean? I have looked up the meaning of patronage.
-1
votes
1answer
388 views

The meaning of “parallel xxx products”? [closed]

In the following sentence, Parallel xxx products in the market will impact our sales. What is the definition or meaning of "parallel xxx products"?
4
votes
1answer
23k views

What does 'on-premises' mean?

Here is the example sentence. Windows Azure Caching was developed from an on-premises Caching solution that shipped with Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server. What does 'on-premises' ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Alternative definitions of wifebeater

I was a li'l nonplussed to find out that the word wifebeater can mean other things besides "a man who beats up his wife". Its definition reads: One who (usually as a repeated practice) beats ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does the word “no” mean before a noun-adjective word? [closed]

I see some examples : - No cheese - No errors - No good I understand how to use "any", but "no" before a noun is weird (especially "no" before an adjective). Can anyone explain them?
1
vote
3answers
169 views

When 'willing' is added, does this intensify or weaken the meaning of “I bet”?

Although I could not see it in the fog, I knew that Gibbet Wood lay not far ahead at the top of Gibbet Hill. It would be wet and soggy in among the trees, but I was willing to bet that the ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

“Optional machines to work with”

My point in the quoted sentence is to introduce a new section where I will list all the machines that are currently available for a given task. Optional machines to work with Is the sentence ...
-2
votes
2answers
739 views

What is the meaning of “get as far as doing something”?

What is the meaning of the expression or phrase "get as far as doing something"? For example, what does it mean in this sentence? They had got as far as painting the kitchen.
3
votes
3answers
353 views

“Vouchsafe” defined as to give in a gracious or condescending manner

NOAD defines *vouchsafe*as verb [ with two objs. ] give or grant (something) to (someone) in a gracious or condescending manner: it is a blessing vouchsafed him by heaven. • [ with obj. ] ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between “so much” and “quite so much”?

I was told that "so much" is more emphatic than "quite so much", but I am not sure. Could you explain the difference between the following pairs of sentences? Don't put so much emphasis on that ...