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

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1
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2answers
111 views

And I didn't know kiwis had hair [closed]

What can this phrase possible mean? And I didn't know kiwis had hair I have parsed this as well as I can and cannot come up with anything that makes sense. Reference for context: comment under ...
3
votes
1answer
369 views

is onomatopoeia itself onomatopoeic? [closed]

As I note, is the word onomatopoeia itself onomatopoeic? Or does the use of the word not quite follow the rules? I recall being engaged in a spirited debate about this in my high school days—I cannot ...
2
votes
2answers
275 views

How do you define broke and broke into?

How do you define broke and broke into here? OP: "If you're not making six figures by the time you're 40, you fail at life." P1: "whew... I just made it... broke into 6 figures at 39." P2: "I broke ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the meaning of “sanity” in “sanity check”?

The phrase "sanity check" comes up often in programming, e.g. It's a good sanity check before attempting to decrypt the key. Usually, its context is one in which a commonly assumed state (e.g. ...
5
votes
1answer
88 views

What is a fund? [closed]

Google definition defines fund as A sum of money saved or made available for a particular purpose. However, while I was looking up the definition of a trust fund, Google definition states it is, ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

Correct order and terminology for meals in the day [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Lunch vs. dinner vs. supper — times and meanings? I know there are copious amounts of debates on this matter but is there actually one definitive answer for the order of ...
19
votes
7answers
14k views

“All that is gold does not glitter”

"All that is gold does not glitter" is the first line of a poem from the Lord of the Rings and it's supposed to mean "not all gold glitters" but I'm struggling to see how this can be deduced. If all ...
3
votes
2answers
315 views

“Sections X to Y” or “Sections X through Y”?

When referring to text that is in a set of consecutive sections, is there a difference in writing "Sections X to Y" compared to "Sections X through Y" ? My intended meaning is to include ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

What is the meaning of “testotum”? [closed]

In the novel A Day Among The Liars by Edward Page Mitchell, there is this sentence: "My rod creaked and bent double," a stout, red-faced gentleman was saying, "and the birch spun like a testotum." ...
1
vote
3answers
912 views

What is the meaning of “chikan”?

Here is an excerpt from Revolution 2020 Aarthi wore a mauve chikan salwar-kameez. Her father had bought for her from Lucknow. What is the meaning of the word chikan? I can't find this word in my ...
6
votes
2answers
793 views

Meaning of “we are poised on the brink of dramatic changes”

What does "we are poised on the brink of dramatic changes" mean? I thought it means we are calm and composed when it comes to making dramatic changes.
2
votes
1answer
184 views

Meaning of “If you go round to the side, you will see that I am” [closed]

From G.K. Chesterton's Wikipedia page, there is the following anecdote: Chesterton was a large man, standing 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and weighing around 21 stone (130 kg; 290 lb). His girth ...
7
votes
3answers
11k views

What is a trope, and how does it differ from a metaphor?

The synonym of trope is defined as metaphor, but there seem to be some other implications when using the word trope that metaphor does not have. Can anyone explain this simply and sensibly?
6
votes
2answers
521 views

Meaning of “Y-o-u-u Tom!”

In the opening chapter of Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom's aunt Polly calls out to him in a rather peculiar fashion: She went to the open door and stood in it, and looked out among the ...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

Is “august public official” considered an idiom, and has august always been used to refer to public officials? [closed]

Reading this article they referred to Justice Scalia as an "august public official." The phrase is also used in the book "Parade's End" by Ford Madox Ford on page 423. I can't seem to find the ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Origin of “Set on Its Ear”

I have seen both Set something on its ear and Turn something on its ear to mean make a surprising change in a certain area. I've been looking for its origins, which google ngram ...
-2
votes
1answer
62 views

“ground occupied..” meaning

I cannot figure out the meaning of this sentence: There is a ground in between the voluntary and the involuntary occupied by expressions that were once learned but come to operate ...
0
votes
1answer
8k 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
votes
1answer
174 views

Definition of “Run a gauntlet of raucous”

Can anybody please explain this expression and the reason "run" is there (and not for example run-into) and how this can be related to gauntlet? The expression has been used in sentences like these: ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

What's the meaning and origin of “Herp Derp”?

I have seen, usually in Internet meme jokes, the term "herp derp" being used in a derogatory sense, but I don't know what it means exactly — apart from the fact that it seems to be related to dumbness ...
3
votes
2answers
407 views

Is “default” used for “a value used when nothing has been explicitly set” outside of IT world?

In a discussion at another question, rajah9 mentioned that default is used to mean to fail to repay a loan, but that in the computer world we now use it to mean a value used when no value has been ...
-1
votes
1answer
6k views

Meaning of “to be” in the example

I cannot get the meaning of the following: The failure to include these actions, which could be easily performed, might by their absence betray an otherwise convincing claim to be feeling fear ...
2
votes
1answer
560 views

Verb or phrase meaning “to serve as evidence of one's character” [closed]

I want to know whether there might be an expression along the lines of "Convey X". Meaning, to serve as testament of X's character. I suspect that convey is not the correct verb, but I wonder if a ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

Meaning of the word “nonlesson” [closed]

I came across the word "nonlesson" used in a research paper which talks about lessons learned from some incidents. I searched on Google but I wasn't able to find a meaning or usage of this word. I'd ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Explanation for “them's”

Recently someone said to me: Them's the rules I thought he had the sentence wrong, but as it turns out it is slang. I am learning English as a second language and I would really appreciate if ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this expression correct “Don't worry about it; it is supposed be one of the features of this year's release”

I have always been little confused regarding the use of supposed to. One meaning I am clear on is "obligation," another one is "a theory/concept accepted by a group of people," as in This restaurant ...
0
votes
1answer
217 views

What is the exact meaning of “English”? Why this language identified as “English”? [closed]

It struck me while searching for the meaning of the word English: what could be the meaning of the word "English", and why is this language called "English"?
1
vote
3answers
961 views

Can I always use “unless” interchangeably with “if not”? [closed]

I have been bothered by the question whether 'unless' and 'if not' can be used interchangeably. I think they can have the opposite meaning, but I am not sure. Could you support my opinion with some ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Does “more or less” mean “almost”? [closed]

I checked out its meaning on the web and the common one I have found is "speaking imprecisely", but instinctively I thought it would be like "almost", for example: The task assigned is more or ...
3
votes
1answer
322 views

Framing with real evidence

Normally to frame somebody means 3 informal produce false evidence against (an innocent person) so that they appear guilty Now what in case of a cautious criminal who took care to hide/remove ...
1
vote
2answers
468 views

The “only…but” problem

In an effort to clarify my quandary, is it appropriate to use this statement to give condolence: I know you were only trying to help. Or, does only imply that you did more harm than good? It ...
1
vote
1answer
334 views

Symphonic vs. symphony

Is there any clear line between a symphony and symphonic? For long, I thought that a symphony was simply a "song" played by a symphonic orchestra. Then I realized that more often than not, the ...
0
votes
2answers
658 views

What does “premium” mean in “ten reasons to go premium”?

I have a requirement to translate a sentence to Farsi. It's a game that says: Go premium to receive some more options... I don't know what is the exact meaning of premium. Any details about the ...
9
votes
2answers
684 views

Origin of the expression 'hard by'?

There's an expression "hard by", which I understand to mean "nearby", "close by". I don't know if it could be called an idiom, but it baffled me when I first encountered it in the translation of ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there any differences between “I put the clothes on” and “I put on the clothes”?

I want to know the difference between "I put the clothes on" and "I put on the clothes". Is there any difference in meaning?
0
votes
1answer
275 views

What is the difference between “ I look him” and “ I look at him”? [closed]

I read some of the book my son was reading at home yesterday. It read "I look him." Afterwards, I felt curious about the difference between "I look him" and "I look at him" What is the difference ...
1
vote
1answer
279 views

Meaning of “mounting interest”

I'm not a native English speaker and I have trouble understanding this sentence from The Daily Telegraph. Does mounting interest mean paying the interest and then the actual loan? The burden of ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Which is bigger, “a lot” or “a ton”?

Maybe there’s no really well-defined answer, but I’m wondering which phrase is the more significant (meaning bigger) between these two: We’ve been doing a lot of work. We’ve been doing a ton of ...
4
votes
1answer
247 views

What does “count off” mean as a noun?

I looked up Webster, Oxford and some other sources and fund nothing for the meaning of "count off" in the followig sentence. Each track on the CDs that accompanies the book is presented with an ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin for meaning of “Wild-card”?

Please go through the below excerpt from "The tales of Kasi" by "Madhira Subbanna Deekshitulu" 'Kasyam maranam mukti', goes the sanskrit saying, which means dying in Kasi leads to liberation. ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

Belong to x one of

Is it possible to use he belongs to the greatest players to mean he is one of the greatest players? While I know that in other languages (including my own), these two are interchangeable, I feel that ...
-1
votes
1answer
18k views

The meaning of “What's she gonna look like with a chimney on her” [closed]

Title - Feel It Artist - The Tamperer ft. Maya You got it on the side A little one night thing I thought it over and this time I will forgive you Well I'm not letting go But don't forget ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Regress” vs. “retrogress”

What do each of them mean exactly? Is either (or both) the opposite of "progress"? Could someone please explain the difference? To add some context: When I look up the definitions I see the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Etymology and meaning of the word “snog”

Having looked to urban dictionary, witionary, online etymology, dictionary.com, Wikipedia and wordfreaks.tribe.net, I have found a wide variance in the etymology and definition of the word snog. I ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

Do “figure out” and “realize” mean the same? [closed]

Talking about noticing something, do both mean the same? For example: I just figured out that the ball is blue. I just realized that the ball is blue.
7
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the definition of “hangry”?

Is hangry a real word? According to Collins Dictionary it means to be angry as a result of being hungry, but it seems far-fetched.
-1
votes
2answers
333 views

What does “pre-delay” mean in this conversation?

This short piece of dialogue appears in the movie "Faces in the Crowd": Bryce: Shouldn't you be handing out gold stars instead of earning yellow ribbons on FarmVille? Anna: I was just ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the “Ocean Sea”?

I've come across the term "Ocean Sea" and wonder what it means, especially compared to simpler terms like "ocean" or "sea"? Is this a recognized term in English, either current or historical?
5
votes
3answers
205 views

Usage of the word “genocide”

I am wondering whether the word genocide can also be used for the killing of a group of people based on their religion, for example: 'the Sikh genocide'. I have never seen it used that way, I have ...
1
vote
2answers
332 views

“types of data” vs. “data types” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Data source types” vs. “types of data sources” Please can you tell me that what the difference is between "types of data" and "data types". Are they the same? For ...