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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

4
votes
2answers
615 views

Meaning of “public affairs” and “public interest”

The definition of political from OALD is: connected with the state, government or public affairs Is the definition of public of public affairs definition 1 or 2 or neither? of, relating ...
3
votes
2answers
107 views

Can I say “peerless mission?”

My friends are telling me that calling a mission peerless - a unique mission - is not correct. Is that true? I thought that unique is very much equivalent to peerless.
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Where and when did the negative connotations of “manipulation” appear?

When we think of manipulating objects, we might think of a juggler, magician, chef, etc. When we think of manipulating people, however, it almost always comes with negative connotations. These ...
5
votes
3answers
476 views

Is the expression “quote you happy” accepted English grammar? What is its history?

I'm editing a document written by someone who grew up in the UK, which contains the phrase "We'll quote you happy". That doesn't parse for me (I grew up in New Zealand), but a quick search about the ...
1
vote
2answers
650 views

What does “and are they ever ” mean?

So this is the context taken from this post by Jeff who is a co-founder of Stack Exchange: With 46,656 paths to only 720 real world outputs, it's inevitable that some of those paths will be ...
-2
votes
2answers
74k views

Meaning of every other day/week [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the meaning of “every other time”? What does the phrase every other day/week mean? I got some hint from here. But, it is still not clear to me what ...
-3
votes
1answer
6k views

What's the difference between “teeter totter” and “seesaw”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the etymology of the word teeter totter? What's the difference between "teeter totter" and "seesaw"? is it like they are totally interchangeable?
3
votes
3answers
11k views

“Pupil” or “Student”, what is the correct use?

I'm German and we distinguish between "Schüler" (pupil) and "Student" (student). When reading English news articles, and I read the words "student" or "students", most of the time the articles seem ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it “the day is young”, not “still early”? What is the history of the phrase?

Mark Halperin’s article on the Missouri Congressman and Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin’s gaffe in August 20 Time magazine ends up with the lines: “So far, not publicly calling for Akin to ...
-2
votes
1answer
281 views

What does “Cowhide can take the man-hide” mean? [closed]

In the fourth episode of Sons of Anarchy's second season, there is a scene where Bobby is wearing chaps and all the guys are making fun of him. Then he says: Cowhide can take the man-hide. I ...
14
votes
5answers
639 views

The married man with an affinity

I was reading a book about events in the 1920's US south; and came across the phrase in a quote from a KKK spokes person. I can't figure out what the phrase means, and haven't been able to find any ...
2
votes
1answer
358 views

Meaning of “level” [closed]

A scale is a range of levels or numbers used for measuring something. How do you define level here?
2
votes
1answer
282 views

Is ‘a clip of’ (X % growth) an idiom, or just a set of words?

I came across the phrase, ‘a clip of’ in the following line of the article titled ‘A Man in Shadow’ appearing in Time magazine (July 16). In a capital full of bluster and backroom deals, the ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “believe it or not ” mean? [closed]

I often hear people saying something by starting their sentence with believe it or not. What does people mean when they say believe it or not ?. Does it mean that although the statement that the ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a jaffer?

I have been reading the cricket commentary today and came across an unfamiliar word: jaffer. Anderson continues, surely figuring that someone is going to get Morkel out soon and it bloody well ...
-1
votes
2answers
309 views

What is the meaning of “provably good”? [closed]

What does provably good mean ? Does it mean not good for practical scenario and only good theoretically ? None of the hash functions that we would be discussing in today's lecture are ...
-1
votes
1answer
4k views

“title” vs “appellation” vs “designation” vs “denomination” [closed]

I encountered these words and was trying to understand the subtle difference between them. From my understanding: Designation is used when anything 'official' is being referred to, e.g. He was ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of 'Much as' [closed]

Consider the use of "much as" in the following: Much as Jason needed money for a new car, he decided not to borrow it from the bank. Much as he needed money for a new car, Jason decided not ...
-1
votes
1answer
57 views

Which senses of “announce” and “indicate” are most appropriate here?

In tournament play, the chair umpire announces the end of the match with the well-known phrase "Game, set, match" followed by the winning person's or team's name. It is similarly used in other ...
1
vote
3answers
794 views

What does tight feedback loop mean? [closed]

What does creating a tight feedback loop mean ? I often see it in context of emails: You can also get feedback on your personal attempts, creating a tight feedback loop.
0
votes
1answer
884 views

example vs. exemplary

I am not a native speaker. Looking at the dictionary both sentences could be correct. I think in the below example "example feature" is the right choice. These two example features are both ...
5
votes
4answers
308 views

What does ‘Democratic sharpies’ mean? Is the usage of ‘sharpie’ as a political figure well-received?

Mark Helperin’s column titled ‘Snapshot’ in Time magazine (August 15) begins with the following sentence: “Here are the two data points most compelling to me: (1) Many Democratic sharpies now think ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of comment “Game. Set. Match.”

What's the meaning of p2's comment? P1: My gf is a doctor and she makes twice as much as I do. F-k I feel like a weird mother f-ker. She makes all the bling at home. I only make around 42k a year ...
1
vote
1answer
350 views

“Who cares [if/that] it [is/isn't] true” — which to use when?

Imagine the following scenario: Person A: I love this movie so much! The story is so beautiful! Person B: Well, the story isn't true. Now, person A has a few options in how to follow the ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What does “go pop” mean?

Here's an excerpt that I read: "This is my stop. Got to get off. I may go pop. Excuse me, excuse me" What does "go pop" mean in this context?
26
votes
3answers
1k views

What purpose does an '-o' serve?

I have been singing a lot of children’s songs lately, and this afternoon in the car I noticed three songs that add an ‑o to the end of words: “He had many a mile to go that night before he ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What does 'rare device' refer to?

What does rare device refer to in the line 'It was a miracle of rare device' of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, Kubla Khan?
4
votes
1answer
947 views

what is the difference between a “deverbal noun” and a “verbal noun” please [closed]

I am currently working on -ing nominalizations and I've noticed that some grammar books refer to verbal nouns as deverbal nouns. Do you (English native speakers) make the difference or do you consider ...
-3
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the meaning of “We went back and forth, but there was nothing we could do.” [closed]

Kindly let me know the meaning of this sentence (taken from this article): We went back and forth, but there was nothing we could do.
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between “unbeliever” and “disbeliever”

I am asking this question because of this http://islam.stackexchange.com/a/2158/44 It seems that "unbeliever" can be used for a person "who does not believe" whereas "disbeliever" can be used ...
4
votes
1answer
9k views

Why is “the ball of the foot” called as it is?

I understand the ball of a foot is where the toes join with the rest of the foot. But I don't think it looks like a ball. Why is it called a "ball"?
-1
votes
1answer
281 views

What does “emdash” mean here? [closed]

From a link for rain boots, Whole sizes emdash; half size buy next size up I am not sure what it means. Wikipedia says em dash is a version of dash, a punctuation mark. It doesn’t make sense ...
4
votes
4answers
407 views

What does “If women were a country…” mean?

If women were a country, the Japanese World Cup champion soccer team wouldn’t have flown coach The Washington Post’s (August 13) article titled “The Women’s Olympic success: a flood that began as ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“endure” vs “perdure” vs “persist”

perdure and endure both mean "to remain in existence", and persist means "continue to exist". So are there any differences among the three verbs?
6
votes
7answers
12k views

the difference between fast/quick/rapid

She is a karate coach. She is not very powerful, but she is very quick/fast/rapid. Can I use all three words quick, fast or rapid in the sentence? Could you tell me the different meanings ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

What does the term 'consequential seniority' mean?

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/devesh-kapur-the-honourable-men/483076/ The Supreme Court struck down the Uttar Pradesh Government Servants Seniority Rules – which provided for ...
-2
votes
1answer
427 views

Difference between “to flounce”, “to caper”, and “to gambol” [closed]

In a sentence describing some children having some fun in a playroom: They would flounce, caper, and gambol all the time. What are the differences between those three actions?
-3
votes
2answers
277 views

Difference between “to reel”, “to swivel”, “to whirl”, and “to spin” [closed]

In a sentence describing two people dancing in a room: And they reeled, and swiveled, and whirled, and spun ... What are the differences between those four actions?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a “tote”? [closed]

From http://www.sterilite.com/home.html?section=1, there are different kinds of storage boxes. One kind is called "tote". I wonder what it means and how it is different from others?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of backpacking as in “go backpacking”? [closed]

I'm not sure. Maybe I'll turn them all down and go backpacking round the world. What does "backpacking" exactly mean in this case? I do understand the whole sentence in general, but want to know ...
2
votes
2answers
813 views

What does the term 'fatal conceit' mean in this instance? [closed]

From Paul Ryan Is 'Not A Fan' Of Romneycare And Compared It To Obamacare: They see how this idea of having the government be the sole, single regulator of health insurance, defining what kind of ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “pillow-plumping romance with the press” mean?

I came across the phrase “pillow-plumping romance with the press” in Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Liability Index” in New York Times August 11 issue. It reads: The president survived a “raised ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any hidden meaning in “haircuts” in the analogy of Presidential election as “usual vague contest between competing slogans and haircuts”?

Time magazine introduced Paul Ryan as a very likely presidential runner up in the article titled “Paul Ryan: The Prophet” as early as in its December 14, 2011 issue, and I was interested in the ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

“Woman” is to “coquette” as “man” is to what?

Wiktionary reads: coquette: a woman who flirts or plays with men’s affections. Is there an English word which fits the following definition? ???: a man who flirts or plays with women’s ...
-1
votes
2answers
588 views

Meaning of “I am not for you to look into all issues” [closed]

A question asked by a team member to a party outside team.. In response to that.... Manager: (Addressing me) This is the area where we need to be self sufficient. Please think about this, how to ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

“Never saw” versus “didn't ever see”

Do these sentences have different meanings? I never saw such a thing. I didn't ever see such a thing. I never saw him dancing. I didn't ever see him dancing. My ...
5
votes
3answers
349 views

Meaning of “Toffy Circles”

I'm reading "The Demolished Man" by Alfred Bester, and came across a sentence I could not understand (in bold): "No you don't, Mr. Powell." Mary burst into laughter. "So that's it. You want me for ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Please tell me what does “harsh mistress” mean in this sentence

Please tell me what does "harsh mistress" mean in this sentence: Nostalgia can be a harsh mistress.
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

What does 'sphere of [something]' mean?

Reading a journal article, I encountered these terms: customer sphere of privacy customer sphere of security privacy sphere of implementation security sphere of implementation I know the rough ...
12
votes
7answers
45k views

What does “if you will” mean?

A TV program says, they started this accounting gimmick, if you will, and they... What does "if you will" mean? Is it a short form of "if you will [a certain verb]"?