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

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1k views

What is a “temporary mental apparition”? [closed]

From The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry: It was, as Bill afterward expressed it, "during a moment of temporary mental apparition;" but we didn't find that out till later. What is meant by it?
1
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1answer
57 views

Meaning of “seething breeding”?

I try to translate this phrase into another language, and I am confused. Is this an idiomatic expression which refers to enthusiasm or abundance? This is the name of a chapter in a book that I am ...
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2answers
4k views

Meaning of “pcm” [closed]

I'm trying to rent an apartment and the price is written as: £1,000 pcm. What does that mean?
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2answers
3k views

Appropriate preposition to go with “concerned”

He is deeply concerned for vulnerable children. Is this correct? Or is there a better preposition to use instead of for? What exactly does this phrase mean? What about "He is deeply concerned ...
1
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1answer
225 views

How should I understand this inversion?

I'm confused with the following sentence: In this section, we look at how the shuffle works, as a basic understanding would be helpful, should you need to optimize a Map-Reduce program. How do ...
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2answers
4k views

Difference between “Coming weekend” and “This weekend”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Next Friday” vs. “This Friday” Consider the following statements: I'll meet you coming wednesday I'll meet you next wednesday I'll ...
2
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2answers
148 views

Meta Information in Conversations

The following is from the 12th chapter of Psalms in the King James Bible: 5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety ...
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5answers
2k views

What does “a sock full of pennies” mean?

I watched Seinfeld S09E12 The Reverse Pipehole, there are lines like this: KRAMER: Newman and I are reversing the peepholes on our door. So you can see in. ELAINE: Why? NEWMAN: To ...
2
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2answers
1k views

What does “subtle” mean as a single-word reply?

I am watching US Open these days on its website. There are advertisements by a company called "esurance", where a man showed to a woman a huge check and started to introduce "esurance", and then the ...
2
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1answer
161 views

Fashionable photographers

I saw somewhere this quote from Wodehouse's Meet Mr. Mulliner (1927): "Statistics show that the two classes of the community which least often marry are milkmen and fashionable photographers – ...
3
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3answers
327 views

Can you use “say” to refer to things on the internet?

When referring to something you read on the internet, can you use "say?" For example, can you say, "he said it on a forum" when speaking about a message someone posted. Or does say only refer to ...
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2answers
135 views

Having trouble understanding this text

The text runs: If your front door is directly opposite your back door the Qi will just charge straight through your house and out the back without stopping for a cup of tea. If you stand in the ...
3
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4answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of “the grind of my day”

Somebody told me today in chat: before i get into the grind of my day... is there anything you are waiting on from us or need asap? What does the expression the grind of my day mean? Where does ...
2
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4answers
361 views

What does “draft” mean in “draft a cyclist”?

I would like to be able to understand this question. Also, in British English, would this be named "draughting"?
8
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4answers
645 views

“Back up data” or “back data up”?

Which is correct? To back up data. To back data up. The context is the following: He was careful enough to perform tests and [back up data | back data up] to avoid any problems.
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3answers
5k views

What does “wax lyrical” mean in this context? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there any other way you can "wax" as you do when you "wax philosophical"? What does "waxed rhapsodic" mean? Sorry to keep this ...
4
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2answers
3k views

What is “o-matic”? [closed]

I found "o-matic" in my dashboard of wordpress.com. There is "Read-o-Matic". And there are some news from staff. What does it mean? I feel it's "recommended to read", isn't it?
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6answers
14k views

“Consumable” and “non-consumable” in reference to electronic items

How do you describe the difference between consumable and non-consumable electronic items?
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3answers
2k views

What does regression mean here? [closed]

Quoted from here: green gfx bugs while playing avi file encoded with ultimotion codec most likely libavfilter-caused regression Can someone here explain in more detail?
1
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2answers
3k views

Meaning of “What gave it away”

I came across a phrase in Seinfeld, it wrotes: (Claire passes the table; George stops her and writes something on his notepad.) GEORGE: Claire, Claire, you’re a woman, right? CLAIRE: ...
2
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6answers
1k views

“Optimal” vs. “ideal”

I was wondering when to use which because both optimal and ideal convey the same meaning to me. For e.g., comparing these two usages: This is the optimal temperature for the machine to work ...
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3answers
4k views

What’s the meaning of “if that” at the end of a sentence?

I find it often after a number. What does it mean and what is that? It’d be nice if you could help me. (from Google search) Some books that are more than 100 years old still won't sell for more ...
1
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2answers
578 views

What does “pocketbook” mean here?

Does pocketbook in the following paragraph mean 3. Also, pocket book . a book, usually paperback, that is small enough to carry in one's coat pocket. ...
0
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3answers
4k views

What does “dragged along” mean here?

What is meant by along? This is taken from an article at NY Times. Ms. Markel also was the most reluctant participant in the bailouts first of Greece and then of Ireland, as she tried to calm ...
4
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4answers
87k views

Meaning of “let bygones be bygones”

What is the exact meaning of the phrase let bygones be bygones? If I had a fight with my best friend and then say it, which of the following does it mean? I want to forget the past and reconcile ...
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3answers
1k views

“Salty” in place of expensive?

Someone I know was talking about 600gb hard drives and his description of the cost was "salty". When I asked him to clarify, he told me it meant that they were expensive. I have searched and can't ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Meaning of the idiom “keeping my head out of the oven”

What does the idiom "to keep one's head out of the oven" mean? I heard the phrase in this context: "Hey John, how's it goin'?" "Oh, you know... keeping my head out of the oven."
2
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4answers
410 views

What is the proper substitute for “Batmanning”?

After planking, owling and leisure dive, now there is the trend which is called "Batmanning". Obviously it is a made-up word. Is there a proper substitute for it? What is the verb that defines the act ...
2
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1answer
461 views

What are differences between a “panel” a “board” and a “think tank”?

I am sorry if my question is stupid, but I can't figure out the difference between these three.
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1answer
294 views

Let English English you [closed]

Today I saw an advertisement saying, "Let English English you." Near the second English, there were own. What does this phrase really mean? Is it just a slogan? (This is an advertisement of an ...
1
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2answers
280 views

What does “come away” mean here, in reference to a memorial?

Does come away here mean "you come away from home"? From a CNN article: Robert Henry, a former U.S. appeals judge whose office was across the street from the federal building, says the memorial ...
4
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4answers
861 views

Is “since I'm” now an acceptable alternative to “since I was”?

In a recent episode of the television show Entourage, Ari Gold (a 40 year old man) says: I've known her since I'm 19. In an episode of Sex and the City, a character, who is 15, tells Carrie: ...
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5answers
7k views

What does “left for dead” mean?

I'm not a native speaker. Also, I play video games. :P When the video game Left 4 Dead came out I thought the phrase was just a cool but largely meaningless title that hinted at the game being about ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Was the word for the BDSM costume “gimp suit” coined by Tarantino in Pulp Fiction?

I recently read the opening chapter of Middlemarch and was surprised by the appearance of the word gimp in relation to articles of clothing. In this context it meant twisted silk, worsted, or ...
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5answers
5k views

What does “Stick it up one’s jumper” mean? Why is it funny?

I saw the phrase “Stick something up one’s jumper” in Jeffery Archer’s short story titled “Member’s Only,” in which Robin Chapman, the hero was kept waiting for 5 years and has to wait for another ...
2
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1answer
406 views

Meaning of “higher thought”

Can anyone explain to the the meaning of "higher thought" in this context? As the studies of Wilder Penfield shows us, the cerebral cortex— which resembles a crumpled-up sweaty T-shirt— is ...
4
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4answers
1k views

Arguable (“susceptible to doubt”) vs arguable (“susceptible to being supported”)

According to dictionary.com, the adjective arguable has two definitions susceptible to debate, challenge, or doubt; questionable: Whether this is the best plan of action or not is arguable. ...
3
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3answers
248 views

Meaning of “take imprints”

What does take imprints mean in the following passage taken from CNN? People who approach the Wall have been known to break down in tears. They touch the engraved names delicately, as if the ...
2
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1answer
4k views

What does the phrase “smiling to beat the band” mean?

What does the phrase "smiling to beat the band" mean? In Vera Farmiga's new film Higher Ground, a character describes her uneasiness with door-to-door religious solicitors in this way: "Really nice, ...
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2answers
871 views

Meaning of passage [closed]

What is the meaning of the following passage? I don’t know what your odds are in the world as a whole, but as far as the population of this car goes? You’re a veritable Mack Daddy.
3
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1answer
626 views

Join with all nature in manifold witness

In the song Great is Thy faithfulness there is a line that reads Join with all nature in manifold witness What does that mean? What is manifold witness?
5
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1answer
393 views

Meaning of “a wisp in the ether”?

What is the meaning of the phrase a wisp in the ether? Here is the whole paragraph: But Descartes believed Galen's explanation for humans as similar to sheep could not be reconciled with the ...
5
votes
2answers
99k views

What does “Many, many happy returns of the day” mean in context of a birthday?

Today I saw a birthday card which says: Many, many happy returns of the day. Can you help me understand what it means?
3
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5answers
421 views

Word for arms “outstretched, overhead, in y-shape”?

Just as "arms akimbo" has a very specific meaning, is there an "arms __" that specifically means what I described in the title?
1
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1answer
605 views

What does “what's the hangup?!” mean? [closed]

On this page: http://bugs.mysql.com/bug.php?id=27645 There is a sentence: All these database servers allow this, so what's the hangup?! What does what's the hangup mean?
3
votes
3answers
27k views

Symposium vs Conference?

I am unable get a clear idea about the difference between a conference and a symposium. The folllowing are the meanings of symposium and conference from www.dictionary.com. As we can see below there ...
0
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2answers
175 views

What does “From Twitter came” mean? [closed]

Is this sentence in italics correct grammatically? Is it written in inverted order? If we rewrite this sentence, is it Came from Twitter? From Twitter came, "@dannyhakim Pictures of flooded ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What does “hardline phone” mean?

What is meant by hardline? A commenter named Ed asked, "I am very concerned as that was definitely our garage that slid into the Batavia. My mom has a hardline phone in the house but probally ...
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4answers
1k views

Should a second definition for a word be used over the first definition of another word? (Both appropriate words)

Say we have two words that essentially mean the same thing that can fit in a sentence. One of the words has a "primary" or first definition that allows it to fit in this sentence. The other word is a ...
0
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2answers
359 views

Use “Plumb it down” instead of “Track it down”

Can we use these two sentences in place of another: I've tracked the problem down and found something blocking our way. I've plumbed the problem down and found something blocking our way. I am ...