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

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0
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1answer
60 views

Word meaning: “by people/peers for people/peers” [closed]

I'm looking for a word that means something along the lines of "by people/peers for people/peers".
1
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2answers
2k views

What is the origin and scope of usage of the phrase “So long…” used to bid goodbye? [closed]

We often colloquially use the phrase so long to say goodbye. For eg. So long, we'll see you next week or He said so long and left. What is the origin of this phase? Rather, how did it come into ...
-3
votes
1answer
40k views

Phrase “I am off to …” [closed]

"I am off to Prague". What does it mean? Could you paraphrase it?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Does 'turn off (a person)' always have a sexual connotation?

I want to say something like "I hope saying xyz will not turn the interviewer off (from hiring me)" or "I don't want to turn off your interest in the project" but I am unsure if it is an awkward way ...
4
votes
3answers
441 views

Isn't “dummy” in “HTML Parser for Dummies” considered offensive?

What does "dummy" mean here (in the section Getting Started)? Getting Started For novice users, an introductory guide on how to set up your environment to use the HTML Parser is provided in ...
1
vote
2answers
599 views

Can “supposed to” be used to mean “considered to”?

I have a question regarding expressions like these: The new Al Pacino movie is supposed to be a good movie. Asians are not supposed to be good ball players. Whale is supposed to be the smartest ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

Meaning of “saved my sanity” [closed]

What is the meaning of the phrase saved my sanity? I attempted another sip and winced. He smiled and poured more water in my drink to dilute it. It ruined the scotch but saved my sanity. The ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

Meaning of “there are many and several” [closed]

What does the phrase "there are many and several" mean? ...which represent the highest quality properties in the market of which there are many and several.
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “Spoil Yourself Silly on a Shoestring”

What does Spoil Yourself Silly on a Shoestring mean? It is the title of a chapter of the book I'm reading.
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning of “I would there were…”?

What is the meaning of "I would there were", as in this quote from Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale"? I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“To [put a] boot in the ass to do something” — uncertain meaning

Could someone explain the meaning of the "to [put a] boot in the ass to do something" idiom? Cambridge Idioms Dictionary only mentions put the boot in as "to make a bad situation worse" and I'm not ...
11
votes
5answers
48k views

What is the difference between “rooster” vs. “cock” and “hen” vs. “chicken”?

When I was small and started to study English, I had pictures labelled cock, hen and chicken. Now when I search the net for pictures for showing to my children, I see the same pictures, but this ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Do words for male animals include those which are castrated?

English has distinct words for the male and female of many common animal species. For example, we have bull / cow, rooster / hen, ram / ewe, stallion / mare, boar / sow, man / woman. However, we ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

How do I explain the difference between these two sentences? She's worked… She worked [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “I am working” or “I have worked almost two months at this project”? I have a little dilemma since I can't come up with a good explanation to say in which way these two ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Can we use “Do your Button” for “Close your button”?

In an English movie, I saw one lady tell another Your button is undone! meaning Your button is unbuttoned. So can we say "Do your button" to mean Button your button?
5
votes
1answer
281 views

What is the exact meaning of the phrase “Cataract of rippling notes”?

I am reading the book "The story of my life" by Helen Keller. Many of the words, idioms and phrases are unfamiliar to me. I have come across the phrase "Cataract of rippling notes". What does it ...
15
votes
5answers
7k views

Origin of “Put up your dukes”

This link claims that one cannot be sure of origin of this phrase. Three explanations are given here, but they are not very convincing (I am not a native speaker). In one of our newspapers, ...
-2
votes
2answers
132 views

What does “Our Retail Destiny” mean? [closed]

I met the following sentence while reading "NoSQL Distilled" by Pramod Sadalage and Martin Fowler (technical book). ... And as Patriotic Americans, we know how vital it is to support Our Retail ...
0
votes
1answer
698 views

Does this sentence sound good? [closed]

Today a coworker wrote the following sentence: How are you think to handle this problem ? I cannot explain why but this sentence doesn't sound good, maybe because he used a verb - think - ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

“In” or “of” for a location? [closed]

Would I say “Human Services in New York” or “Human Services of New York” if the Human Services serves and is located in New York but is not actually owned or governed by New York?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the word “fixed” mean in this sentence? [closed]

I was reading feedback about the television show Survivor, and some people wrote that this show was "fixed". I could not understand or make a guess what they meant. I searched on the Internet but I ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

Is there any difference in meaning between “All these” and “All of these”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “all this” instead of “all of this”? Are they fully interchangeable, or do they have a somewhat different usage? Common sense suggests that "all ...
3
votes
3answers
19k views

“Gain/acquire/gather/get experience”

According to my Longman dictionary, gain experience and get experience seem to mean the same: gain/get experience: The programme enables pupils to gain some experience of the world of work. But ...
6
votes
1answer
371 views

Difference between “mark” and “marker”

In a diagram, I added small visual elements to identify specific objects. Should I call these things (visual) marks or (visual) markers? What is the difference? Is there a better term? According to ...
2
votes
4answers
516 views

“To latch in a recess/groove” vs. “to catch in a recess/groove”

Is there a difference in meaning when used in a technical context? For example, does a fork latch in a recess when pressed or does it catch in the recess?
4
votes
3answers
379 views

Is “Prewin” a well-received English word?

I find Maureen Dowd’s article in November 24 NY-Times titled “But can they eat 50 eggs?”amusing. She compares the leadership and charm of character between President Obama and Robert Griffin III, the ...
1
vote
3answers
415 views

additional local and domestic long distance minutes are $0.10 per minute [closed]

All airtime is billed by the second after the first minute, additional local and domestic long distance minutes are $0.10 per minute. My phone company and I are arguing over the use of the word ...
-1
votes
2answers
605 views

What is the meaning of transportation in the following paragraph? [closed]

What is the meaning of transportation in the following paragraph? "That," Donna announced, "is transportation!" A small caramel-colored cow sauntered toward us. Donna held out her hand and our ...
0
votes
2answers
581 views

What does “to be caught in a controversy” mean?

Can I use something like "I am caught in a controversy" to express that I am witnessing and confused by the controversy between other entities?
5
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the correct definition and usage of “for all I know”?

I saw some sentences using this phrase "for all I know" but wasn't quite sure what is its exact definition and also whether a modal verb such as "could, may or might" expressing uncertainty must be ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Can “zealot” have a positive connotation?

A zealot is a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals. I have never seen this word used with positive connotation, but could it (without ...
4
votes
1answer
327 views

“He said, X” vs. “X, he said” vs. “X, said he”

I’ve long wondered how in reported speech, what sort of change in nuance is produced by switching around the normal order of the subject (that is, the speaker) and the “speech-related” verb (such as ...
3
votes
2answers
15k views

What is “narrative nonfiction”, exactly? Isn't every nonfiction narrative?

I came across the term “narrative nonfiction” in the New York Times article titled “What should children read?” (November 22). It seems to be a journalist’s and book editors’ favorite jargon from the ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Usage of “matter” and “substance”

What is the difference between matter and substance? For example, are ice and water "the same matter" or "the same substance"? Dictionaries seem vague about the difference. For example, the Oxford ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Why can no-one say “no-one needs know”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why use “need not” instead of “do not need to”? In English, why could I say, "No-one need know" and not "No-one needs know". I would say, after all, "No-one needs to ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does the phrase “red rovering” mean? [closed]

What does the phrase "red rovering" mean? Here is the context: Over a decade ago, Billy Bob’s career began in the corporate world before red-rovering to agency life.
2
votes
1answer
223 views

“Accuse as” in comparison to “accuse of”

I stumbled upon this sentence: I accuse myself and others as having been irrational in the way we have been using statistics on a key notion of rationality. Is there a difference in ...
-1
votes
2answers
495 views

What does “Self-Sufficiency and Preparedness” mean? [closed]

When people talk about "Self-Sufficiency and Preparedness", I wonder what it mean specifically? I.e., in what aspects is self-sufficiency, and what is prepared? For example, this board at this ...
4
votes
1answer
26k views

Nerd vs. Geek vs. Dork [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy programming/technology: “geek” or “nerd”? I'm somewhat perplexed on the usages of these terms. Most references appear an ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “immoral” in the act or the person?

I am grading papers and came upon the following sentence: "Candide becomes immoral..." It bothers me -- I am of the sense that a person can become amoral, but I'm not sure what it would mean for a ...
3
votes
2answers
125 views

“stopping to refill his cup when she did”

Consider the following sentence: She got up to get some of the coffee he had made, stopping to refill his cup when she did. What does the subordinate clause in this sentence mean? Does it mean ...
2
votes
5answers
10k views

Meaning of “all retch and no vomit”

I heard of the expression "all retch and no vomit" for the first time, and the references I could find by googling it are not really clear to me. Here is the context where I found it: What we are ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Should titles of people be translated?

Should titles of persons like (Mr., Herr, Sr...) be translated into English? For example: Herr Albert or Mr. Albert ?
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Understanding “Mother of God!” or “Holy Mother of God!”

I have come across this term numerous times and this expression is well used when something unbelievable or shocking happens but I don't understand how Mother of God can imply its meaning. Does refer ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “cup” mean in “cup of cheese”? [closed]

I was reading a recipe of macaroni-and-cheese. In Brazil (Portuguese) cheese is sold only by weight. I understand the concept of cups to measure volume or weight of liquids and powders, but as far as ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of vice in “as in a vice”? [closed]

I'm having trouble finding a definition of vice that explains its usage in the following NYTimes article: The Monarch, no less boldly than her compeer, dashed among the rebel fleet, and singling ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “nothing means anything” mean? [closed]

Can someone explain me the meaning of this phrase? I heard it in a song like: "I can show you that nothing means anything". I get the context, but can anyone explain me the meaning?
2
votes
2answers
236 views

Can “quarry” mean “notebook”?

I am looking for this definition because of the book Quarry for Middlemarch, which my lit professor said was George Eliot's notebook for all her research for her novel, but all of the definitions I ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “sound approach” an accepted phrase?

English is not my first language, and in my language (Bosnian) we write just as we speak ; so from time to time, I encounter phrases which I know I have heard before, but am not sure if I am writing ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

What do you mean by “in production form”?

The contexts of the usage of this phrase is given below. SAP Business Suite customers can now run the software in production form on Amazon Web Services, the companies announced this week during the ...