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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it considered offensive to describe someone as a Saracen? [closed]

Prior to the 17th century 'Saracen' was the name given to a Muslim, whether of Arab or Turkish origin. It originates from the Crusades, from a region called Sarakene in the northern Sinai peninsula. ...
3
votes
2answers
513 views

What does “sign the final flourish” mean?

There was the following sentence in Time magazine’s a bit old article (December 11, 2013) titled, “Pope Francis, the people’s Pope,” in which I was drawn to the phrase, “sign the final flourish”: ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

How to use “resulting” and “resultant” as qualifier properly?

If I say that "the resulting object A" and "the resultant object A", do the two statements mean the same thing always, sometimes, never?
0
votes
1answer
141 views

What does “blow a story” mean?

Ben Horowitz tweets, "These annotations have completely convinced me that Newsweek blew the story." Does this mean that Newsweek was correct, and was the first to the scoop? Or does this mean that ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

An easy way to differentiate between Compendium, Encyclopaedia, and Almanac?

Are there any tips/tricks for easily differentiating between Compendium, Encyclopaedia, and Almanac? To give you an idea—the question goes like this: Which reference would you use to find the ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a difference between “less ambiguous” and “more unambiguous”?

Relevant examples: If you make the following changes your sentence will be less ambiguous. If you make the following changes your sentence will be more unambiguous. Do these sentences have ...
1
vote
2answers
319 views

What does “…considered to be, well, school” mean here? Does “…, well, …” change it's meaning?

In Time magazine (March 5) article titled, “The New SAT: America treats its language like garbage,” John McWhorter, an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University ...
0
votes
1answer
186 views

What does pair done means? [closed]

I asked someone to reduce the amount of content that he provided to be included in a website and he suggested he can pair done the information. What does pair done mean?
1
vote
3answers
460 views

objectivization vs objectification

I'm in a bit of a trouble over the words objectivization objectification Which of the above would be correct in the context of making something objective (impersonal, unbiased). I suppose ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

I'd tick you in all safe at night [closed]

Want the meaning of the above sentence in US english langauge
30
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the difference between Ukraine and the Ukraine?

Time magazine (March 5th) carries the article titled, “Ukraine, not the Ukraine: The significance of three little letters,” in which the following comment of William Taylor, who served as the U.S. ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What does language-neutral mean?

Could anyone please tell me what is this word means? The ISO 8601 is not language-neutral for the DateTime datatype.
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What does “I'm all the wiser” means?

What is the meaning of this phrase? I'm all the wiser for the many wrongs I've done. This is from Armin Van Buuren's Take A Moment song. Wise - having or showing experience, knowledge, and ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between **timid** and **coward**

While I was reading one-word substitutions in R.S. Agarwal's General English book, I came across the following question: One who always runs away from danger a) escapist b) timid ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

“A and B both are” vs. “A and B are both” vs. “Both A and B are” vs. “Both of A and B are”?

A and B both are very good; A and B are both very good. Both A and B are very good. Both of A and B are very good. Are there subtle differences between the four sentences above?
11
votes
9answers
8k views

What does “America” mean? [duplicate]

Citizens of the USA naturally refer to themselves as Americans and refer to the country as America. When speaking to a person from Canada, he argued that it was incorrect to call the country America. ...
1
vote
2answers
289 views

I have questions about the paragraph I can't understand

Of groups of atoms collected together and able to think, to look out in wonder at the universe that made us, and build machines that can revisit our origins in the Big Bang. Question 1. What is ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

in an evolutionary light

My observations helped me see human behavior in an evolutionary light. My observations helped me see human behavior in the light of evolution. Do these two sentences have the same meaning? ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Why is “back” used here even though it is the first action?

I knew I must reach the body for the key, so I raised the lid, and laid it back against the wall. This is the first time he has laid the lid against the wall, but why is back used here?
0
votes
1answer
35 views

meaning of “A group of graduate students planned to picket a movie theater that would not show a sexually explicit foreign film”

meaning of: "A group of graduate students planned to picket a movie theater that would not show a sexually explicit foreign film" does it mean that students protested for showing a sexually film? or ...
0
votes
2answers
848 views

What's the meaning of “emotional stake”?

What does an "emotional stake" mean? E.g: to increase the emotional stakes, I had my favorites in both.
1
vote
2answers
550 views

Two imperative clauses joined by coordinating conjunction taken as a conditional

I would be inclined to parse the sentence "Nobody move and nobody get hurt" as two commands: Nobody move. Nobody get hurt. In other words, this is equivalent to "Nobody move or get hurt" (for ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“My goodness” expressed after hearing sad news? [duplicate]

Recently my cat died. He escaped my house and was attacked by a dog. Sadly he didn't survive. I emailed a male acquaintance ( were not close friends, live long distance, communication is not daily). ...
0
votes
1answer
405 views

What's the difference between “selfkill” and “suicide”?

I think selfkill is often used in games and suicide in real life. Is that correct?
2
votes
4answers
3k views

What does “no worse than …” mean?

What does the writer mean by saying "no worse than stealing?" It is thought the scam, which stores say is no worse than stealing, is a product of our ‘fast-fashion culture’, where trends are ...
0
votes
2answers
797 views

Please explain the meaning of the word “distance” in the sentence

Distance sometimes lets you know who's worth keeping and who's worth letting go Unless the distance is playing games with the vision and its all a mirage, a vagueness of a dream
2
votes
1answer
9k views

The meaning of “riddle me that”

In a course of philosophy I heard “I mean it’s not like you’re going to fall asleep already, riddle me that”. My dictionary gives me only the noun’s signification “mystery”. but I guess it is used her ...
3
votes
7answers
405 views

What's a good word for a category of non-technical blog posts?

I have a website mostly devoted to technical blog posts. In the main navigation there are links for JavaScript and CSS, which take you to a list of posts about those topics. My question is, what ...
4
votes
2answers
29k views

What is the meaning of “Body Electric”?

Actually it's the title of a song written by Lana Del Rey. So what does Body Electric really mean when Lana says "I sing the body electric"? And here is the link to the song lyrics.
0
votes
1answer
296 views

'See' and 'Hear' in the progressive?

I'd like you to go into details about the difference between 'see', 'hear' and 'seeing', 'hearing'. I'm not a native speaker, so it's a bit hard to understand this explanation that 'see' and 'hear' ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

When someone says, “I do not feel that good”, what does that mean?

I have heard it many times in movies and shows. I think it means "I do not feel very good" or "I do not feel as good as you think", but why do we use "that" here, and is it correct?
1
vote
2answers
906 views

Equivocal meaning of “Have a backlog of (something)”

Isn't there an equivocal sense to saying "I have a backlog of (something)"? I have a backlog of work and would be unable to help you out on that. I have a few outfits that I haven't shot yet ...
1
vote
1answer
466 views

What does “keeping someone in shoe leather” means?

In the following sentence: Unless your work is pro-bono, you should make sure that your customers keep you in shoe leather. What does "keeping someone in shoe leather" means?
0
votes
2answers
168 views

meaning of “consists of doing all that one ought to want to do and not being forced to do what one ought not want to do”

what's the meaning of this phrase "liberty consists of doing all that one ought to want to do and not being forced to do what one ought not want to do"
0
votes
1answer
80 views

meaning of: “necessity does not freedom make”

what's the meaning of this sentence: "necessity does not freedom make" in Freedom is possible only in society, not outside of it. But necessity does not freedom make. Rousseau’s promises ...
0
votes
3answers
186 views

the meaning of “need not be uniquely determined”

i don't understand the meaning of the "even" and "need not be uniquely determined" in this phrase: True, even the will of supporters of particular parties is still likely to be multidimensional, so ...
3
votes
4answers
377 views

Does “to cook leeks” imply anything about the method of preparing them?

This question is inspired by but unrelated to Is "Know how to cook leeks" an idiom. I'm Dutch and the English "to cook" is a bit confusing to me. The Dutch "koken" is used in a general way as in ...
0
votes
2answers
99 views

Proper usage for the word “obverse”

I believe "obverse" has several meanings, with one being "the flip side of something (coin)." I'm trying to cleverly contrast opposite approaches of a person's management duties. "From a wide ...
3
votes
2answers
242 views

How do you usually interpret “egregious”?

OED's entry about "egregious" indicates it can mean remarkable in both good and bad ways. Vocabulary.com's entry, in contrast, emphasizes to not use it for meaning positively outstanding. How do you ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

What are the meanings of the common verbs we use to mean change? [closed]

Having acknowledged that the meanings of these verbs overlap, how would describe the prototypical use of each of these verbs? Become It was becoming dark. He became a pilot. Get It was getting ...
1
vote
3answers
258 views

Are these called synonyms? What grammatical elements are constraining the meaning?

Consider the following sentence: Due to my low reputation on SE, I was tentative (okay, "fearful" is more _____) in posting to meta.SE. The context of the statement might the top of a post, as a ...
0
votes
1answer
375 views

Does using the word “idealist” to self-describe carry an air of arrogance?

Forgive me if this question is off-topic as POB. But, I believe there is a language usage/philosophical question here. My wife and I were having a discussion about politics this evening, and she ...
3
votes
4answers
184 views

What does a library mean other than a place for a collection of books?

Does the word "library" mean other than a place for a collection of books as in the following sentence? Instead of purchasing what they need like a normal customer, wardrobers turn retail stores ...
0
votes
1answer
613 views

Meaning of “… is king”

The word king alone is not an adjective. And since it is countable it should be either a king or the king. So the expressions like "money is king" or "the Lord is king" are ungrammatical. How would ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “Know how to cook leeks”an idiom? What does “Read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks” mean?

There was the following sentence in New York Times’ article (February 28) titled “What you learn at 40s.”: "Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” - - The conventional wisdom ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of this quote?

I heard this in a movie. What does it mean? My time, as does most time, comes with a price. You make time.
1
vote
2answers
65 views

Does “allows to + verb” imply that the corresponding event occured?

Example: Yahoo vulnerability allows hacker to delete 1.5 million records from database. Does this imply that the hacker did delete those records or just that he was in the position to delete the ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between a “movement” and a “campaign”

A campaign means: an organized course of action to achieve a goal A movement means: a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas Are ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Curtiosity and dretful

In The Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling he writes But there was one Elephant--a new Elephant--an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many ...
3
votes
3answers
17k views

“With the purpose of” vs. “With the intention of”

A private student of mine had to complete a gap fill text, which contained the following excerpt: Pronunciation isn't my strongest point, therefore I've decided to improve it. I've borrowed ...