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

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4
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1answer
622 views

What is the emoticon “:hsugh:”? [closed]

Some forums have this emoticon: :hsugh: that you could choose to post with your messages. The resulting graphic looks like this: What's the meaning of this emoticon? What emotion does it convey?
0
votes
1answer
270 views

Meaning of “fearless to a fault” [closed]

I found this phrase in the following excerpt from a novel (emphasis added): New York cabbies were a unique breed. Fearless to a fault, they sped and swerved through crowded streets with ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

Is it wrong to say “from whence”? [duplicate]

I've heard "from whence it came" said many times, often when the writer is attempting to be formal (or is in fact formal). But the definition of whence is "from what place, source, or cause" (with ...
0
votes
1answer
203 views

Usage of “extensive participation”

What exactly does 'extensive participation' mean? Can I use this phrase in a sentence like this: Due to her extensive participation she hardly got time for her studies.
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Deny him and measure out

I can't understand the meaning of this sentence - "But she knew it was unfair of her, given that she barely saw her father, given that she continued to measure out her contact with him, whether to ...
7
votes
4answers
136k views

Wholistic vs holistic

This reference states: The two words "wholistic" and "holistic" have very different meanings, but there is some confusion and they are often used in an incorrect manner. The two words have very ...
0
votes
1answer
297 views

Minutes from a meeting

In this sentence: Thanks, John; that's duly noted. what other word can you put instead of duly noted
12
votes
5answers
17k views

Never fail to disappoint

When you say "he doesn't fail to disappoint", to me it has a negative meaning as in he always disappoints. But I've heard some people using it as a compliment and in a positive way. So, am I wrong ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “What use is X” mean?

I've come across this construct on Stack Overflow, in the title of the question "What use is lambda in PHP?" To me this was an error, so I edited the question changing the title to "What is lambda ...
0
votes
1answer
429 views

Meaning of “about all…” and “hold on to the hand of…” in the sentence [closed]

What are the meanings of "about all..." and "hold on to the hand of" in the sentence "There are many times in life when about all we can do is to hold on to the hand of the Divine Guide until we have ...
0
votes
1answer
718 views

To whom does “British” refer?

I've seen from sources claim that the word "British" can be used to refer to different things. Some say Great Britian, some the UK, and some even the UK including her overseas territories. Which of ...
1
vote
1answer
219 views

Is “curate the market” common usage of “curate”?

I found New York Times (November 25) article titled “Helpful definition of modern author” intriguing. It provides humorous definitions of book-related terminologies such as authors, publishers, ...
0
votes
2answers
177 views

Who uses the term 'freehold'?

I am interested to discover in which countries, where English is used, the term 'freehold' and 'freeholder' is in everyday use. I know the question of 'freehold' has come up on this site before in ...
0
votes
2answers
11k views

What does adding quotes to an expression do to its meaning?

I always thought it meant sarcasm when someone wrapped quotation marks around a word. "Thank you" for coming over... That thank you now was said sarcastically and was a passive-aggressive way of ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Origins of round in “round of applause”

A round of applause is a short period or burst of applause. What are the origins of the meaning of round in this phrase, and indeed the phrase itself? Are there any other phrases that use round in ...
3
votes
2answers
218 views

Hope is good to .. “chase swallows with the salt”

From Virginibus Puerisque by Stevenson: Hope is the boy, a blind, headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man. I did ...
7
votes
1answer
439 views

In Grapes of Wrath, What does “I learned to write […] Birds an' stuff like that” mean?

In The Grapes of Wrath: I learned to write nice as hell. Birds an' stuff like that, too; not just word writin'. My ol' man'll be sore when he sees me whip out a bird in one stroke. (Tom Joad) ...
1
vote
1answer
394 views

white-eyed boys

From Virginibus Puerisque by Stevenson: I see women marrying indiscriminately with staring burgesses and ferret-faced, white-eyed boys, and men dwell in contentment with noisy scullions, or ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Lose Attendence Numbers

When some sport is "losing attendance numbers", what does "numbers" refer to? I can't find a good definition in dictionaries that would fit this usage.
4
votes
3answers
817 views

Meaning of “Discretion”

I saw this dictionary entry, and it says "discretion" could mean approximately either 1) the right to choose what to do or 2) the quality of being careful what you do. The dictionary has these two ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Meaning of “Would you value the ethics of consequence over means?” [closed]

I've been reading a book for a while and I've stumbled on the following sentence, which I didn't quite understand: Would you value the ethics of consequence over means? The context is the ...
2
votes
4answers
9k views

Meaning of “If gold rust what shall the iron do”

My teacher asked me to write an essay on this topic, but I have no clear understanding of this phrase. Can someone explain in more simple words? "If gold rust what shall the iron do." – The ...
-2
votes
2answers
329 views

Difference between “illusion” and “delusion” [closed]

Can somebody please elaborate on the difference between illusion and delusion? Especially in medical terms.
1
vote
1answer
222 views

What does the phrase “bounce the moon” mean?

What does the phrase "bounce the moon" as found in this song mean?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “excuse me” and “forgive me”?

I am hesitated when I use the sentence "forgive my fault, please." instead of "excuse me, please." because the word "forgive" has a religious theme and probably carries some additional meanings. Also ...
0
votes
1answer
173 views

what is the function of “have” in this sentence [closed]

I have a problem to recognize this sentence "I have it cuts every weeks". So, what's the function of "have", and also the name of grammar(if any) or any sentence pattern for similar sentence, and ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “Tell me if you love me” really mean? [closed]

What does "Tell me if you love me" really mean? I have two interpretations, please tell me which one is correct: 1) Tell me whether you are in love with me or not. 2) Tell me about XXX, to prove ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “top” in “to sleep as sound as a top”

From "The Early Bird", by George MacDonald. A little bird sat on the edge of her nest; Her yellow-beaks slept as sound as tops; Day-long she had worked almost without rest, And had ...
3
votes
2answers
935 views

Is “cut against sth” an idiom or just ‘cut’ followed by a preposition?

There was a phrase, ‘the governor cuts against his core argument” on the issue of how to handle undocumented immigrants in the following sentence in Time magazine’s (Nov 23) article titled, ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“Thou” or “You”? This is the problem!

In some eastern Indo-European languages like Persian specially in its northern accent Gilaki, the words "thou", "thee", "thy",... have a same meaning and pronunciation as English. But there is a ...
0
votes
1answer
180 views

the mean of “one's bearing” in the sentence [closed]

What is the mean of "one's bearing" in the sentence "To be a conqueror in appearance, in one's bearing, is the first step toward success."? I referred to dictionary and searched but I didn't ...
0
votes
1answer
685 views

Difference Between “View” and “Viewpoint”?

Suppose the context is people giving their opinions in a discussion. How are "view" and "viewpoint" different? Some dictionaries seem to say they are the same. What do native speakers think?
1
vote
3answers
2k views

difference between act and deed

I've been searching the internet, but have not quite found a satisfactory explanation between an act and a deed. Both seem to have kind of a meaning of something done, though through my google and ...
0
votes
4answers
616 views

What's the most common word refer to the after death letter?

I am confused between : Will, legacy, Commandment, Precept, Behest, Testament and more. Which word refer to the declaration or the message by which a person ask the world to do certain things after ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does ‘go nuclear’ mean in “Senate Democrats go ‘Nuclear’ to curb the filibuster”?

There was the following sentence in the article of Time magazine (November 21) titled, “Senate Democrats go ‘Nuclear’ to curb the filibuster”: “During the Bush Administration, Republicans ...
0
votes
3answers
120 views

Which word is better, damage or defile?

I think I look like Brad Peter. – Oh, you are damaging my idol. (He is far from Brad’s look). I mean my friend’s words made me feel uncomfortable because my idol was compared to something much ...
0
votes
1answer
149 views

Correct grammatical use of 'persona'?

Is the following the correct grammatical way to use 'persona'? I wonder what persona you have of me?
0
votes
1answer
305 views

What does “amortized” mean

In this link I see following: A recent talk about unordered_map in C++ made me realize, that I should use unordered_map for most cases where I used map before, because of the efficiency of lookup ...
1
vote
2answers
229 views

What is Mongolian Trait ? when referring to medical scores of a newborn child in USA [closed]

What is Mongolian Trait? I have been unable to find the meaning to this My Niece was classified as having Mongolian Trait ..
2
votes
1answer
327 views

Proper usage of the word “racism”?

It seems that historical definitions of the word "racism" use it to mean something similar to "racial prejudice" and "racial discrimination", without any reference to which race has power or doesn't ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

What is a “crippled serial flirt”? [closed]

I got this expression from the wikipedia article regarding the novel "Barchester Towers" by Anthony Trollope. The full sentence is: Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni is a crippled serial flirt with a ...
1
vote
4answers
11k views

What does “he is sorted” mean?

In her book Wedding Night, Sophie Kinsella writes: He's got a cushy number. Nice salary, cottage on the estate... he's sorted. I looked up the meaning of "sort" in [insert dictionary here] and ...
1
vote
4answers
425 views

Name a group of frequently used items or things

What name would you give to a grouping of items or things that you use frequently? I am preferrably looking for a one word answer please.
1
vote
1answer
212 views

How should this sentence be interpreted?

So I am reading the essay "On Some Verses of Virgil" by Michel de Montaigne (translation by Donald M. Frame) and I came across this particular sentence. Is there any ugliness in doing wrong that ...
1
vote
2answers
237 views

Definition clarification for “effervesce”

I was wondering about one of the meanings of effervesce, "give off bubbles". I wonder if you could use effervesce for a solid, and how it's used in a sentence.
-2
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the difference between chickens and birds? [closed]

I watched news about turkeys this morning and instead of calling them chickens the news anchor called them birds. In my opinion, turkeys are sub-type of chickens. They are not a bird because they ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What does “Not to be a dick, but—” mean? Is “Dickishness” an accepted, stand-alone English word?

There was a recommendation of a new book, How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide in www.Goodreads.com followed by this next sentence: “On the one hand, nobody wants to be a dick. On the ...
1
vote
3answers
108 views

What does “organizing a Trust that would skin the taxcollars off the whole herd” mean?

From A Dog's Tale by Mark Twain: He was a renowned scientist. I do not know what the word means, but my mother would know how to use it and get effects. She would know how to depress a rat-terrier ...
4
votes
2answers
581 views

What is a “mock euphemism?”

I have to make flashcards for my AP Lang class, but I can't find what a "mock euphemism" is anywhere. Can anyone help?
0
votes
2answers
640 views

What's the meaning of “Take me for my ride”?

"It's all right with me," she announced, "so long as Goodbody's is hanging the rap on me -- somebody I can sue for a million when it flops. I've got nothing to say. Take me for my ride." It's a ...