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

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3
votes
3answers
17k views

Is it “close the door” or “shut the door”? [closed]

I am confused about which one to use. Do the phrases have the same meanings or different meanings? Close the door. Shut the door.
1
vote
1answer
148 views

What does “Chinese theater” mean?

In a 1904 review of a piece by Maurice Ravel, one critic used the phrase Chinese theater Two years later, a critic in the New York Tribune wrote, "In his String Quartet M. Ravel is content with ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

I want to use a definition from dictionary.com but I can't find it anywhere else.

My essay is about the Greek Tragedy "Oedipus the king". I want to use the term cosmic irony in a paraphrase but I am unsure whether or not it would weaken my argument. Since I can not find support for ...
7
votes
6answers
8k views

What does “cyber-” actually mean?

I'm heading into the postgraduate phase of my Computer Science-oriented studies, and I can't put my finger on what this root means. According to Etymology Online it comes from Cybernetics, which in ...
0
votes
2answers
644 views

What do you call a manager that can't hire or fire personnel? [closed]

Jon Taffer calls him a Stupidvisor. But I'd like to think that's what you call a phony supervisor. But is there a more direct word to refer to a phony manager? I mean my work has phony supervisors ...
0
votes
3answers
995 views

Word for word meaning of “to beard a lion in his den” [closed]

I'm going to illustrate a word for word meaning of some English idioms. Just a fun drawing. Get stuck with the phrase “to beard a lion in his own den”. I understand the meaning “to confront someone on ...
5
votes
8answers
7k views

Distinction between pagan and heathen?

I'm trying to understand the precise distinction between pagan and heathen. My immediate motivation is that I'm reading Sir Frank Stenton's Anglo-Saxon England. Online dictionaries have been imprecise,...
-1
votes
2answers
231 views

coming to the shops or going to the shops? [closed]

Which of the following sentences are correct? Do you mind COMING to the shops with me? Do you mind GOING to the shops with me?
-1
votes
1answer
415 views

present continuous, be going to, or both? [duplicate]

In Grammar and Vocabulary for First Certificate (Prodromou, 2005), Chapter 2 covers "the future", "be going to", "present continuous", and "present simple". I put three of the End-Of-Chapter questions ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

What does it mean that sea turtles get a smaller ''salary premium''?

For starters a bit of background about sea turtles to give some context to the question: The terms "sea turtle" (a pun on "hai gui") and "seaweed" (a pun on "hai dai") are homonyms for "return ...
0
votes
1answer
7k views

Difference between “at that time” / “that time”

What's the difference between at that time / that time? When I faced the issue previously, at that time John helped us to resolve it. When I faced the issue previously, that time John helped us ...
0
votes
1answer
360 views

What is a bromide?

I just finished reading Ayn Rand's wonderful Fountainhead, but one point that escaped me was Rand's near-constant use of the word bromide to refer to something disappointing, or a "bummer" in the ...
1
vote
4answers
776 views

what is the difference between a spy and an informer?

Is a "spy" different from an "informer"? If the answer is yes, what differences are there?
0
votes
2answers
566 views

What's the shortest length of time an “era” can be?

In day to day usage (by which I mean non-scientifically specific), what would you say is the shortest period of time an era could be? Definitions of the word state: ...a long and distinct period ...
-2
votes
1answer
55 views

one 'serving' of sugar - a person serving sugar? [closed]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_packet A sugar packet is a delivery method for one 'serving' of sugar. Does one there mean a person?
0
votes
1answer
1k views

meaning and use of “gotta” [closed]

I often heard people say the word "gotta". I have read in this web site that gotta is a contraction of "I have got to" and that that phrase means "must", is my understanding correct? Regarding the ...
2
votes
2answers
288 views

What does a “talking-head-and-flapping-gums” sector of TV/Radio mean?

New York Times (May 6) reports that Mike Rogers (Mich.), the House Intelligence Committee Chairman decided to leave the House for a media gig as the radio host of Cumulus under the title, “Radio ...
13
votes
11answers
3k views

“School Students” — what, like there's any other kind of student?

I think this might be a Pennsylvania thing: every so often, you'll see a van or small bus labeled, not "School Bus" or anything sane normal like that, but "School Students". Whenever I see a van ...
2
votes
0answers
241 views

Is language inherently circular? [closed]

I looked up "Hallelujah" in etymonline.com today, and the result, as often happens with etymological research, ended in following a rabbit warren of possibilities. Take the word "Hallelujah" for ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

What does “candid” mean besides being honest?

According to various unnamed dictionaries, candid means "being honest, telling the truth". However, when I googled the word, a lot of pictures of women in bikinis popped up! Can someone tell me why ...
0
votes
4answers
146 views

What's the atonym for related information?

I can't remember this word, it's been on the tip of my tongue for days. I am sure that this word exists but there's no synonym results I could find on Google. It means something like the inverse of ...
0
votes
1answer
242 views

present continuous or be going to?

In his book, Grammar and Vocabulary for First Certificate, Luck Prodromou has ruled out the possibility of using 'be going to' to complete the following sentence : 'What .......... you .......... ...
1
vote
2answers
11k views

What's the difference between “Conference” and “Meeting”?

See:The meeting will be held in a conference room at 10:00 am. Is there any problem if I change the position of these two words in the sentence like "The conference will be held in a meeting room at ...
-3
votes
2answers
100 views

Meaning of 'fastidious' [closed]

Can this term be used to indicate a 'complainer', someone who is never satisfied with anything.
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there any difference in meaning if at all between “to write IN pen” and “to write WITH a pen”?

I would like to know whether there is any difference in meaning if at all between "to write IN pen" and "to write WITH a pen"
3
votes
6answers
7k views

Difference between “funny” and “strange”/“weird”

I noticed that in English the word funny is sometimes used in the meaning of strange or weird. What's the exact difference? What is interesting for me is that you have a single word meaning at the ...
2
votes
2answers
761 views

Pit as a past tense verb

The violence pit pro-Russian separatists against Ukrainian forces and those who support the government in Kiev. A friend of mine says pit is used as a past tense verb in this sentence. What is the ...
4
votes
3answers
9k views

Why are middlemen called “Junkets”?

Why is this definition used to refer to the specific business shown in the extract below, and what is its literal meaning? The island's idiosyncratic “junket” system helps to bring rich Chinese ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Underlying vs. Overarching

In a physical sense, "underlying" and "overarching" have very different definitions, but if we use these words in a more abstract way, their meanings seem to intersect. For example, is there a ...
1
vote
2answers
651 views

“retain the title” in legal terms [closed]

Here is another question from me while making efforts to translate a wordy document. Please read the paragraph as follows: Mr. Justice Holmes stated in dissent: "If [the manufacturer] should make the ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Whistle-stop tour

I came across this phrase 'Whistle-stop tour' while reading an article. Please throw a light on it's origin and meaning.
5
votes
3answers
16k views

What's the difference between the words “journey”, “travel” and “trip”?

As they always were interchangeable in an article, I just want to know the difference.
18
votes
13answers
59k views

Is there a male equivalent of 'bitch'?

While I know you can attribute 'bitch' to a male, I feel there is a sense of femininity. I was wondering if there is a colloquial equivalent that describes someone with the qualities of a 'bitch' ...
1
vote
2answers
838 views

What is differences between “level” and “degree”?

When we can use degree? And also when we can use level? Are they similar or not? For example in this sentence The way to tell a true unit from a degree of something is to look at the zero point....
1
vote
2answers
119 views

Meaning of 'his bled'

This is an extract from 'The Sheltering Sky' by Paul Bowles: One day a Targui comes, he is tall and handsome, on a beautiful mehari. He talks to Outka, Minouna, and Aicha, he tells them about the ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Difference between mug, jug, jar, etc [closed]

When I try to translate the German word "Krug" into English, LEO shows me without further distinction: flagon jar jug mug tankard pitcher But as far as I know, they cannot always used ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “love me do” mean?

As many of you know, there is a famous song by the Beatles entitled Love Me Do. Nevertheless, I have some doubts about the correctness of such a title. Does "love me do" mean the same as "love me" or ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

Differences between vertical restraints and vertical restrictions in Antitrust Law [closed]

I've read a lawsuit (link:https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/433/433.US.36.76-15.html) that uses both "vertical restraints" and "vertical restrictions", I'm translating this document so I ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “garn” in My Fair Lady

At the beginning of the My Fair Lady movie, there is a monologue of prof. Higgins like this: Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse Hear a Cornishman converse I'd rather hear a choir singing flat Chickens ...
6
votes
2answers
764 views

Is “release one’s butt cheeks” a euphemism?

It was interesting to learn the English language (any language would be) is spoken or heard differently by the person in the following sentence of Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” describing the scene in ...
1
vote
1answer
592 views

Changing the meaning of sentence by grammar

I would like to ask for meaning of the two following sentence, and whether or not is the grammar correct. Please check my suggestions both "sentences" and meanings. "I wish I never met you." - I met ...
0
votes
2answers
90 views

meaning of the “meant by”? [closed]

I often see questions started with "what is meant by...". What is "meant by"? Any trying to Google it returns nothing helpful. Thanks in advance.
1
vote
4answers
643 views

Vans or cars which sell breakfast, what is this called?

I was doing some translating from Chinese to English. I don't know what English native speakers call them. Please give me a hand.
2
votes
2answers
659 views

Tower of Babel, what is the meaning of the following verse?

What is the meaning of the following verse from Bernie Taupin's Tower of Babel as sung by Elton John on the album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy? Those hungry hunters Tracking down the ...
0
votes
1answer
132 views

Difference between the words of violent criticisms

What is the exact difference between: revile castigate inveigh asperse culminate vituperate vilify In what context are these words used?
2
votes
1answer
292 views

What's the meaning of “perceived distance”? [closed]

What's the meaning of perceived distance in the sentence below? Border perceptions vary depending on proximity to the border, nationality, and the respective lenses through which the border is ...
3
votes
2answers
27k views

What is my highest level of qualification if I have graduated with a bachelors degree?

An undergraduate is quite clearly: a student at a college or university who has not yet earned a bachelor's or equivalent degree. But now that I have received a bachelor's degree what am I? I ...
1
vote
3answers
515 views

Wondering if the use of the word “gotta” is correct here

You gotta be very angry. From an American movie. My intuation is that is to say you are really very angry or it seems you are angry. Why the guy used gotta here. gotta implies force, like saying ...
2
votes
3answers
383 views

Meaning of the phrase “Four pounds if he's an ounce” [duplicate]

In The Thirty-Nine Steps, Sir Walter is describing a fish and says "Look at that big fellow. Four pounds if he's an ounce." I've heard similar phrases before but never understood what is being said ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

“Witness to” vs. “witness of”

What is the difference in meaning between "a witness to" and "a witness for"? E.g., Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God... ...