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

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2
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “95 percent Kabuki theater”

I assume conference goers are not usually performing Kabuki, so please explain this metaphor from The New York Times: [the financial conference at] Bretton Woods was itself 95 percent Kabuki ...
2
votes
0answers
1k views

What does it mean if you tell someone they have their name on their underwear? [closed]

What does it mean if you say to someone that they have their name on their underwear? If this is an insult what are they implying? I've heard this term in pop culture many times, usually in ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

The difference between “being with a company” and “being from a company”

Some people leave voice mail like: hi, this is John from ABC Systems... and sometimes I can hear people say Hi, that's John with ABC Systems... I'm curious which one is the right form to ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the meaning of “A is not as old as B”? [closed]

In my understanding, the following sentence A is not as old as B. may have 2 meanings, either A is older than B or A is newer than B . So what is the actual meaning of "A is ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

“If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.”

What does the following Jack Lemmon quote mean: If you think it's hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball. I guess picking up the wrong golf ball must be an idiom but I ...
1
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4answers
4k views

What is the difference between “stiff” and “rigid”?

Could an object be stiff but not rigid or vice versa? When is each one used? And what is the opposite of each of them?
2
votes
2answers
604 views

Plastic or rubber stretched too much is (hardly/strongly) stretched?

If you want to describe a stretched plastic cable, would you say that it was hardly stretched or strongly stretched?
4
votes
3answers
252 views

What is the meaning of the word “larriking”?

From “Holiday Memory” in Quite Early One Morning by Dylan Thomas Lolling or larriking that unsoiled, boiling beauty of a common day, great gods with their braces over their vests sang, spat pips, ...
0
votes
3answers
870 views

What is the difference between remember and remind [closed]

Could someone explain the difference between these two words? Here is an example of using each. Your hair and eyes remind me of your mother. I can remember people's faces, but not their names.
1
vote
1answer
977 views

“Pro-attitude” Definition

What does the word pro-attitude mean in the following sentence: Intentions are pro-attitudes, directed towards some future state of affairs. reference I couldn't find this word in the ...
2
votes
3answers
965 views

What is the role of “virtually” in this sentence?

It is virtually impossible to escape this place! I don't really understand what is virtually doing there. First, I can hardly tell what it means to be virtual, and second, I still don't see any ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What does the sentence “say hello to karma” mean?

It's a part of a Dilbert's strip you can find here: I understand every word. But not the joke as a whole. Can you explain the irony?
0
votes
2answers
731 views

Romney, “regards to”, and disfluency

This is kind of a follow up to "in regard to" or "in regards to". I have always considered that regards to means sending well wishes, while regard to means "concerning". Hence with regards to or in ...
0
votes
1answer
284 views

How to interpret a statement consisting of two ORs?

I found this statement on a newspaper that is the subject of a recent controversy: "no guarantee or loan shall be given or raised by the Government except under the authority of any resolution ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

“Access to…” or “access of…”?

Translating a title of a paper from another language, I’m debating between Remote Access to a Computer System Remote Access of a Computer System This is a title, so it should stand on its own, ...
6
votes
1answer
175 views

What do references like “Docc Rom.” and similar mean? [closed]

In the book Giordano Bruno: His Life and Thought, by Dorothea Waley Singer, references often have a form of 18 Doc. Ven. XV. or 49 Docc. Rom. XX, XXI. How to decipher them?
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Can I use “US-American” to disambiguate “American”? If not, what can I use?

Based on this question, I wonder: as an alternative to USAian (which is very nonstandard) is it OK to use US-American to more clearly indicate "inhabitant of the USA"? According to Google Ngram, this ...
1
vote
1answer
241 views

meaning and usage of “in order the more” [closed]

I have just come across a phrase I have never seen before: I do not so in order to undermine the status of xy but, on the contrary, in order the more securely to identify certain aspects. A ...
1
vote
1answer
352 views

What does “Blast” mean? [closed]

I'm having trouble understanding this word's meaning. On Google Translate, it means explosion or something like that. But when I see that word in a sentence, there's no relation, at least for me at ...
1
vote
3answers
195 views

“Have another think coming” vs. “have another thing coming” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of the phrase “you’ve got another thing/think coming”? If he thinks I'm going out with him, does he have another think or thing coming?
-3
votes
2answers
185 views

Implication of “there has to be a conspiracy” [closed]

I wonder what it means by "there has to be a larger and larger conspiracy among something or somebody to do something"? What is the implication? Does it imply that "something or somebody to do ...
-3
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “run’n’gun” mean?

I found the term "run’n’gun" in an article about video games. What does it mean in that context?
5
votes
4answers
162 views

Must you be successful to be labeled an “assassin”?

Query triggered by this Globe and Mail article: Headline: Malala Yousafzai assassin held, freed in 2009 by Pakistan military First Sentence: The would-be assassin who shot a Pakistani girl in the ...
-3
votes
2answers
3k views

Does “nothing better” really mean nothing better? [closed]

What does the expression, "nothing better to do" mean in a metaphorical sense? The definitions are clear enough. But the whole (phrase) seems to be greater than its parts (words).
5
votes
5answers
29k views

Which is higher — “hyper-”, “ultra-” or “super-”? [closed]

According to OED, hyper-: over, beyond, over much, above measure ultra-: beyond super-: over, above, higher than They all have the meaning "higher than", but what is the order of ...
1
vote
1answer
15k views

What does 'Something has got to give' mean? [closed]

I have heard this many times, with variations like "something's gotta give", but what exactly does it mean?
5
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between the adjectives “live” and “alive”?

What is the difference between "live" and "alive"? When would I better use the first and when the latter? EDIT Say, there are several players actively participating in a game and some others are ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “Best kept secret”? [closed]

Which is the most popular meaning of the commonly used phrase "Best kept secret"? "It's best if this is kept secret, though other options are viable"? "This is the secret that is kept best of all ...
1
vote
2answers
217 views

Is “exposure” used correctly here?

I was talking to a teenager and he told me that his eyes change colors a lot. And I asked him how's that? Why's it change? I questioned him saying "it's an illusion probably? from light exposure?" ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How to use the expression “you love it” [closed]

This question builds off of another question (Meaning of fck you) but my question pertains to the expression "you love it". Here are three examples of its usage. 1] From Youth in Revolt (Youth in ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Difference between “opacity” and “opaqueness”

What is the difference in the meaning und usage of the words opacity and opaqueness?
3
votes
2answers
376 views

Can “installation” be used to mean software installed in a computer?

Can "installation" be used to mean software installed in a computer? (e.g. portable or stand-alone USB installation) Example sentence: This feature works in my standard installation of the software, ...
2
votes
4answers
8k views

“Parishioner” vs. “congregant”

I've always thought that the words parishioner and congregant meant the same thing and could be used interchangeably within the context of someone who attends a place of worship. Are there any ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between 'framework curriculum' and 'curricular framework'?

I know that curricular is an adjective and curriculum a noun, but are they both used in exactly the same meaning? Or are there some differences concerning what they imply or apply to? Being a ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Exact definition of “vehemently” [closed]

My work mates and I are arguing about this term since none of us can comprehend its exact definition. Can I use the expression "I have been struggling vehemently to get this email sent since last ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

What do these verses mean?

Quotation from The Pastyme of Plasure Especially,I don't know "sprynge, ryall, chefe and orygynal". "O Mayster Lydgate! the most dulcet sprynge Of famous rethoryke, with balade ryall The ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

“Because you have more money than sense” [closed]

I saw an advertising poster on a Samsung shop that was saying "iPhone 5, because you have more money than sense". But I don't get it, is that even a correct sentence?
3
votes
4answers
20k views

What is the origin of “wake up and smell the roses”

Where did this saying come from, and what is its true meaning?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of “sex on the legs”

I'm currently listening to Casual Vacancy and heard an idiom/expression sex on the legs in this book. Is it some widely used expression or is context required to understand its meaning?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Difference between “Call into” and “Call” [closed]

I was reading a text in which the author used "call into" when explaining Templated Razor Delegates within the following sentence: Note that the delegate that’s generated is a Func. Also, the ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What are meant by “August pick, October pick, and January pick” in the Presidential running mate selection?

There were words, ‘August pick, October pick, and January pick” in the article titled “Biden’s Brief - Obama picked his running-mate to help him govern,” appearing in New Yorker magazine October 20 ...
1
vote
1answer
16k views

“Listen to music” vs. “listen to the music”

English is not my mother tongue. I once came across information that listening to music and listening to the music mean something different. Listening to the music would mean you put whole heart into ...
-5
votes
1answer
2k views

What does James Joyce in Ulysses mean by “blood and ouns”? [closed]

...body and soul and blood and ouns.
11
votes
3answers
996 views

What do “Yeep” and “Go yeep” mean?

Today’s New York Times carries the article titled “Veeps go yeep! Nation nods,” which is followed by the following statement: “Obama versus Romney on Tuesday! That will be far more important than ...
-3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “sex idiot” mean? [closed]

In this video clip from 30 Rock, the woman says Ryan is my sex idiot. I wonder what it means? Is it a general usage to add an adjective to "idiot" to give it some special meaning?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of the phrase “hacked by someone” — but not in context of computers

What does it mean when a girl says that she "hasn't been hacked [by a boy]"? Dictionaries give us only computer-related meanings of "hack"; does it have any other meaning?
4
votes
2answers
759 views

What do “wonk” as against performer and “Wonking out” mean?

Time magazine’s October 22nd issue carries the article titled “Paul Ryan on the campaign trail: More performer than wonk.” The article begins with the following lines: “Mitt Romney's running mate ...
1
vote
6answers
12k views

Does the sentence “I'm on my knees” mean “I'm down” or “I'm sad”? [closed]

I have seen this sentence in a few English songs. But I am not sure what it means. Does the sentence "I am on my knees" mean "I am down" or "I am sad"?
3
votes
1answer
425 views

Meaning of “nip”

Nip is defined differently in two different dictionaries. From OALD, nip is defined as “to give somebody or something a quick painful bite or pinch”, whereas in MWLD, it is defined as “to bite or ...
2
votes
0answers
465 views

What are the differences between “element” and “item” regarding a list [closed]

Does it make a difference if I use element instead of item in the context of a list (list-member)?