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

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2
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of 'an old hat'

I found the phrase “old hat” in the following sentence of The New York Times’ article (April 20) titled, “The Tech-Savvy Traveler.” AT 28 years old, Soraya Darabi is an old hat at staying on the ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Ontology” vs. “ontography”

I have yet to find a good description of the difference between ontology and ontography. Can anyone help clarify?
5
votes
3answers
808 views

What does “animal warmth” mean?

I'm trying to translate a video on TED into my native language (Latvian). At the very start there is an expression I'm unfamiliar with - "animal warmth". I think I kind of understand the idea ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“You are used to” vs. “you used to use”

I'm currently reading some boring programming book and have found this phrase: If you are used to C and printf(), you might think cout looks odd. If I wrote this phrase (supposing I understand ...
0
votes
2answers
497 views

What's the difference between “paltry” and “meager”?

What's the difference between "paltry" and "meager"? Any connotations?
0
votes
2answers
507 views

What's the difference between “umbrage”, “offense” and “affront”?

What's the difference between "umbrage", "offense" and "affront"? Is it like only the second word is now in use?
2
votes
5answers
13k views

What does 'beyond' mean in the following?

I know, beyond just means outside a limit or further away. E.g. when I say something is beyond compare, it means it cannot be compared to anything. But in the following, I'm not sure if I understand ...
2
votes
3answers
362 views

When 'business' means a 'company', how do I use the word? [closed]

Business can sometimes mean company or firm. However, can it be used in the way company or firm are used? For example, can I say:- "He is the CEO of the business." "It's a TV business." "A ...
1
vote
3answers
581 views

Can I also use 'outsource' to refer to goods, not just work or service?

I know to outsource is to subcontract work to another company. But for example if company A, a TV maker, wants to buy panels from a panel making company B instead of producing panels themselves, can ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “kept an ear out on the street” mean?

With this small story, Diana shocked the entire room. She always kept her past hidden away. Only a select few truly knew who she really was, and most of them were dead. Even Christian was ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

“After all 7 8 9” joke?

I know that it is very important to be aware of "hidden meanings" of words and phrases. (Especially if the meaning is sexual.) That is why I love Stephen Colbert's "The Word" segments and usually ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Why “buy authentic”?

Authentic means: “of undisputed origin, made or done in a traditional way”. But I’m confused because every product made had some origin from a previous product or idea. The way I see it, buy ...
3
votes
2answers
884 views

“How pacific do these errors have to be?”

I have just read this comic, and not quite sure what is the mistake in the last sentence "How pacific do these errors have to be?". Should it be peaceful instead of pacific? (English is my second ...
22
votes
4answers
9k views

What's the literal meaning of “Real Estate”?

Today I realized that the word "Real" in "Real Estate" might be about "royalty" instead of "reality". English is a foreign language to me, so I don't really know the literal meaning and origin of the ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between “she cut her hair” and “she cut her hair off”?

Why are we using off here? What additional meaning does it add? The meaning of off from http://tfd.com/off that suits this sentence is: "away (from a place, time etc.)".
4
votes
1answer
6k views

Is there a difference in meaning between “does not seem to” and “seems not to”?

Consider the following sentences: Try not to be alarmed if a rule doesn’t seem to work for a specific sentence. Try not to be alarmed if a rule seems not to work for a specific sentence. ...
-3
votes
2answers
771 views

Difference between “derogation” and “inferiorization”

If both derogation and inferiorization can be used to describe an insult, what is the difference between them?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Use of “ever” instead of “more and more” [closed]

I wonder if I can use "ever" in place of "more and more". For example, do the following two sentences have the same meaning? Software is getting more and more complex. Software is getting ...
2
votes
2answers
339 views

Usage of “certain” in these newspaper articles

Is the usage of "certain" in these newspaper articles correct? Excerpt from Mutual funds for P1,000 a month (Inquirer.net) (emphasis mine): "Because remember, you're acquiring shares. So it's ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

What does “stand to attention for somebody” mean?

I encountered this phrase in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esben_and_the_witch His brothers did not stand to attention for Sir Red...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

When did “crew” become a sport? When did “crew team” come into use?

When I was a child, there was a sport called rowing; if four or more people rowed together in the same boat, they would be known as a crew. At some point, either before or during my childhood, the ...
2
votes
3answers
134 views

A word for storing pre calculated-constructed data [closed]

I precalculate data and store it in a static table and call this process 'caching' but that doesn't seem correct based on a quick dictionary search (hiding, concealing) I'm just saving the data ...
2
votes
3answers
629 views

Usage of “elbowroom”

In German there is the word Spielraum which literally translated means "space available for limited movement" and is used for example to describe a limited location/angle tolerance in mechanical ...
46
votes
4answers
83k views

'Made of' vs. 'Made from'

What is the basic difference between "made of" and "made from." Both expressions are used in English. For instance, "This chair is made of wood," and "Cream is made from milk." Though the question is ...
9
votes
4answers
50k views

What does “I can't agree with you more” mean?

I've recently encountered three sentences: I can't agree with you more. I can't agree with you any more. I can't agree with you anymore. What do these three sentences mean? ...
0
votes
1answer
23k views

What is difference between implicit and explicit? [closed]

I have seen these words all the time in IT/Computer programming. Examples: "How to explicitly render a template" and "do not implicitly assign to the local variable". I am dyslexic and hard time to ...
2
votes
2answers
220 views

Are “now … any time” and “any time now” different meanings?

We know what "any time now" means, indeed: from now on it will happen soon. But in the sentence, which is quite informal, "Now yo'berths's ready any time, Miss" - said by the porter in the train (Pale ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

A word for intentionally losing a bet?

Is there a word, or phrase, to express when someone makes a bet with the intent to lose? I’m looking for one of two things (or both). Either a verb to express the action of making such a bet, or a ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it 'bye from now' or 'bye for now'?

I often hear it in the end of the radio programs. Are they saying 'bye from now' or 'bye for now'? Some times they say 'bye from/for me' if there are more than one person. What do they mean?
1
vote
1answer
31k views

How do I use 'refer to'? [closed]

You can use arithmetic to refer to the process of doing a particular sum or calculation. I don't quite understand what 'refer to' means – even after consulting the dictionary! Can somebody ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

What does ring-fenced mean?

I've been reading research. But I don't know word ring-fenced. Local, state and federal governments—will require “private” clouds, which are ring-fenced infrastructures that use cloud ...
6
votes
6answers
496 views

Can you exhume anything other than a body?

Synonyms for exhume include unearth and disentomb. The definition says "Dig out (something buried, esp. a corpse) from the ground". I've only ever heard it in context of a body, is it possible to ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

If an adjective is removed, what's the consequence?

OK. I am going to mess with the Constitution and remove the word "several." Would the meaning of the Commerce Clause be the same? The Commerce Clause refers to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of ...
6
votes
3answers
25k views

What does “here's to someone/thing” mean?

I got an email from an instructor today. Towards the end of email she says: "Here is to finishing off the semester in a positive way." What does that mean?
0
votes
2answers
181 views

Does the phrase “fully n percent” have real meaning?

For example: Fully 46 percent of the recipients polled in the social sciences had... Is this simply a way to avoid starting the sentence with a number? As in: Forty-six percent... I ...
1
vote
1answer
982 views

What is a Possessive Ending? [closed]

Can someone please explain what a Possessive Ending is and provide examples? I'm trying to get a deeper knowledge of the English language and this term came about.
-3
votes
2answers
141 views

What is the difference between 'the English King' and 'the England's King'? [closed]

Is there any differece between 'the English King' and 'the England's King'? Somehow I feel they are different...
2
votes
0answers
94 views

Is “do something by date X” inclusive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does “notified by [date]” include the end date? For example, if John says: Return it to me by March 24th. Does it mean that I need to return it to ...
5
votes
4answers
680 views

Is there a word for the mental state of laughter?

We speak of madness when someone is in a fit of anger, and being smitten when someone is in love(with someone), etc. But what about when someone just can't stop laughing? i.e, when someone is ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

The history and use of the term “moth hour”

I had never heard or read the term moth hour before, but am reading the American author Jan Karon's book "In the Company of Others" and she uses it several times. The book is set in Ireland, and there ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

British English - “In two hours time”

From users of British English, I have noticed the pattern of adding "time" after a unit of time, as in: He has class in 30 minutes time. My initial impression as an American is that this is ...
1
vote
2answers
126 views

Meaning of “a few lost beams of latent light” [closed]

What does a few lost beams of latent light mean? I think it's summer still outside A few lost beams of latent light – moi Caprice
2
votes
3answers
390 views

Hard real time in user space with preempt_rt patch [closed]

From: https://rt.wiki.kernel.org/articles/f/r/e/Frequently_Asked_Questions_7407.html Real-time only has impact on the kernel; Userspace does not notice the difference except for better real ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

How did “chopped liver” come to mean “of little value”?

Where did the phrase "chopped liver" originate? Why does it mean "of little value"?
16
votes
4answers
91k views

Money vs Monies

How would the meaning in the following phrase change if "monies" is replaced with "money"? universities would be diverted from basic research by the lure of new development monies from “the ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the noun for “implore”?

What is the noun form of the word "implore"? I saw some suggestions online for "imploration", but this seems awkward to me.
1
vote
1answer
103 views

when we should use to “inventory” and “list” [closed]

Can any one explain those conditions on which we have to use word 'list' and 'inventory'
14
votes
1answer
7k views

Trapezium/trapezoid — why are the US/UK definitions swapped around?

These are the US definitions... Trapezoid — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides that has a pair of opposite sides parallel. Trapezium — a 4-sided flat shape with straight sides and NO parallel ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Actual meaning of “abstract”

I see people often use abstract as a synonym of strange, but what does it actually mean? I've looked up a definition: thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual ...
0
votes
3answers
296 views

Use of “homeostasis” [closed]

I'm going to say what's on my mind and it just might affect your homeostasis. Is homeostasis correctly used?