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

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0
votes
2answers
4k views

Is “by the second” a correct phrase?

I heard it many times and I could infer that it means "all the time" or "without pause", "constantly". (Am I right?) But when trying to look it up, none of the dictionaries define it. Is this a ...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

Are words “Sophisticated” and “Sophism” logically connected?

I am not a native English speaker. The other day, I've had a conversation with an American, who claims my assumption to be wrong. I still think I am correct, so here it is: According to Wikipedia, ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the meaning of 'sorry lot' in Albert Einstein's quote?

I just came across this quote by Albert Einstein when I was leafing through the book 'Super Cooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other To Succeed': If people are good only ...
9
votes
3answers
17k views

Why do we say “by all means” when we mean “by any means”?

The common expression by all means seems to advocate the use of all means possible in order to accomplish a certain object, when in fact it expresses the use of any means to do it. I realize that all ...
4
votes
3answers
124 views

Does the term “avoid” leave room for exceptions?

For instance, this sentence: Avoid the "Reply All" option. Which of the following paragraphs better describes the above sentence? Paragraph 1: Don't use the "Reply All" option. ...
12
votes
6answers
29k views

“I can't seem to” vs “I can't”

I am wondering why would someone say "I can't seem to" instead of simply saying "I can't". Is there any specific difference between the two? Is the former usage informal? Is it correct to say that the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“file content” vs. “file contents”

I am aware of the difference between content and contents and usually the distinction is clear to me. However I am wondering whether file content or file contents is more correct. On the one hand, the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Is using “I don't know that” instead of “I don't know if” grammatically correct?

When asked whether he recognized equal rights of atheists, George H. W. Bush said1: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This ...
-2
votes
2answers
294 views

Is there any difference in meaning between “cannot afford to + verb” and “cannot + verb”? [closed]

Is there any difference in meaning between the 2 patterns: "cannot afford to + verb" and "cannot + verb"? For example: I cannot afford to wait forever versus I cannot wait forever. I cannot afford ...
9
votes
6answers
6k views

Is “IMHO” a rude thing to say (or type)?

The initialism1 IMHO stands for "in my humble opinion". It's commonly used in text-based communication (chat clients, forums, popular Q&A platforms). Here's an example: Person A: What do you ...
-2
votes
3answers
127 views

Is there a word that has the following meaning: to distribute a portion of funds [closed]

I am interested in a single word, if such a word exists.
2
votes
1answer
353 views

Distinguish contraction of “ain't”

I know the contraction of am not, is not, are not, has not, have not, do not, does not, and did not can be represented as ain't. How can I understand correctly which contraction the speaker meant?
0
votes
2answers
281 views

Meaning of “sniped in” [closed]

What is the meaning of sniped in? Can I use it in the following sentence to replace bought? John has bought/sniped in a new BMW.
0
votes
3answers
800 views

What's your first impression of “in front of TV”? [closed]

If you saw the phrase in front of TV, what kind of impression will you get? To me, I will suppose someone is watching TV. But if so, how do you express the meaning that someone is just in front of TV ...
-2
votes
3answers
612 views

What is the deeper meaning of the phrase “as I was just saying to X”? [closed]

This is the scenario I'm thinking of. Person A talks to person B about something. Then person C joins them. For some reason Person A says something to Person C that they were just talking about with ...
1
vote
2answers
394 views

Must “nominate” be applied to an object other than the subject itself?

If you declare yourself as a candidate for office, can that declaration be considered a nomination? Or, is the verb nominate only applicable when it is applied to someone other than the nominator? ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

“Accounts for last year” or “Accounts of last year”?

The accounts for last year showed a profit of $2 million. or The accounts of last year showed a profit of $2 million. Which one is correct? My idea is that both of them is OK, anybody can ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Difference between “uncompress” and “decompress”

What is the difference between decompress and uncompress? Is there any? Context: The receiving node has to uncompress/decompress the data.
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Difference between “huge”, “enormous” and “gigantic”

Among the words huge, enormous and gigantic, does one word refer to something bigger than another does, or do they all refer to the same size?
8
votes
3answers
436 views

“Posting in all its branches” in the nineteenth century: travel, mail, other?

"Posting in all its branches" is a phrase I've seen a number of times in 19th century British sources. A google search (regular and books) gives context mostly in reference to traveling or ...
2
votes
4answers
427 views

What is the etymology of the names for the number 0 in English [closed]

I was always wondering what is the etymology of the different names of number 0 .In sports like tennis, cricket, and football, the number 0 has the very specialized names "love", "duck", and "nil".
2
votes
1answer
10k views

What's the difference between “rise” and “arise”

What is the difference between rise and arise? When and how should I use each one? Note: similar question
6
votes
3answers
668 views

You are waking up the whole house

My wife used the expression "you are waking up the house" when my son was making a lot of noise. Now that is actually wrong, I think - that would imply that the house as an entity was being woken, ...
7
votes
2answers
30k views

“Convenient for you” vs “convenient to you”

Is there a difference between "convenient for you" and "convenient to you"? And if it is, could you explain it?
0
votes
3answers
3k views

What does it mean by “get out there”?

I'm watching a program from VOA from here. In the 48th second of the video, there is a sentence: I can't wait to get out there! I'm confused about this sentence. Does it mean "I will get out ...
1
vote
4answers
642 views

Does a claim have to be explicit?

I have heard the claim that a claim must be explicit by definition, but do not see any definition that supports this. An example of how "implicit claim" is used from this Wikipedia page on ...
2
votes
4answers
217 views

Word meaning for phenomenon where one issue is incorrectly believed to be tied to another

I work in IT and we run into a common issue where whenever we announce that we have done something like adding a new feature to a program, updating servers or what have you... users start coming ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Meaning of 'up/down' after a verb [closed]

There are lots of instances of using 'up' or 'down' after verbs. Instances: eat up, drink up, meet up, finish up, start up, fill up, clean up, wipe up, tie up, etc. What do they add as meaning to a ...
2
votes
1answer
834 views

What is a “visual metaphor”?

I recently completed some pseudoscience based team training designed to define each team members personality. I've been asked to provide a “visual metaphor” with a blank page to do so on the feedback ...
6
votes
2answers
517 views

Meaning of “patronage” in the 1700s

When the Constitution was written in the late 1700s, Daniel Webster wrote the following regarding the Constitution. I am committed against any attempt to rule the free people of this country by ...
7
votes
5answers
12k views

“Must Not” or “May Not” - which is the most correct

I work in the IT industry and often read software and standards specifications that start with a section with definitions for certain words used in the document. Recently I came across the following ...
4
votes
2answers
197 views

Meaning of “the waft of”

Now he was beginning to have the waft of an old man who hadn't bathed for several days. The meaning of the sentence is absolutely clear to me, since the second part of the sentence explains the ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does “pre-” change the meaning of “dominantly” to mean “for the most part; mainly”?

Consider the following two sentences: People in North America are predominantly English speakers. People in North America are dominantly English speakers. Merriam-Webster defines ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Is “most” equivalent to “a majority of”?

In sentences such as the following, how is most best understood? 1) Most children do not like cauliflower. 2) Most of the balls in the bucket are red. I suppose there are three or more ...
-3
votes
1answer
148 views

Meaning of sentence with “vercingetorism” [closed]

This remark was made on an online forum. Preliminary online search was of not much help. (D)id you intend to deal with all this vercingetorism? This is certainly not a word from one of ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“all but at most one” - What does it mean?

I came around this one just now and I can't tell the meaning of this sentence by the context. no new vehicle is used unless all but at most one other vehicle has at least 50% of its time ...
-1
votes
1answer
255 views

what is the meaning of these in an academic paper? [closed]

I was searching some academic publishes on a site. And their search result are like below. I want to know what the numbers means. For example what is the published date ? What does 2010 ...
2
votes
0answers
497 views

Whats' wrong with the following sentence? [closed]

One thing that despise me is when people cannot look me in eye. I believe that the statement is grammatically wrong since we are using passive voice in the sentence so it should be 'despises' ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Interchangeability of idiomatic “wavelength” and “frequency” [closed]

Do these sentences mean the same? We don't have the same wavelength. We are not in the same frequency.
3
votes
2answers
729 views

What does “like being drowned in Skittles” mean?

From here: http://www.loper-os.org/?p=568 Using Squeak is “like being drowned in Skittles.” I understand that it is a monumentally great thing if one is able to see past that, but I suspect that ...
2
votes
2answers
956 views

Meaning of “needful”

I am trying to find alternative ways to refer to a very necessary thing or thing that someone must have. Can I use the word needful for this purpose? A person said that needful means the thing needs ...
-1
votes
1answer
586 views

co-living and co-evolving [closed]

Today I had a thought a problem I couldn't resolve it on my own. I just can't realize what people will think right after they hear others using the word "co-living" and "co-evolving". I mean a ...
1
vote
5answers
5k views

How to say that you are going to do something really soon? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Do it very quickly” vs “do it ASAP” Quite often I need to say that I will do something really soon - e.g. in a few hours, but not sure how much ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Do you know the term “She is a people's person”?

Do you know the term "She is a people's person."? I cannot find it in a dictionary. My husband says he knows it from Washington, D.C.
3
votes
3answers
792 views

What does “whip-snap” mean?

What does whip-snap mean? Lured by its splashy fight scenes and whip-snap dialogue
2
votes
2answers
354 views

“there are still a few administrative i's to dot and t's to cross” [closed]

We're very excited for the forthcoming launch of Technology Entrepreneurship. We're sorry not to have gotten in touch lately - we've been busy generating lots of content, and the system is ...
2
votes
4answers
342 views

Shorthand label

I can't find a definition, synonym or an alternative way, to say "shorthand label" in the following text: The Unit describes social exclusion as a shorthand label for what can happen when ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Is 'petrichor' the only noun in English that means a specific scent?

I heard that 'petrichor', which is defined as a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather, is the only noun in English that means a specific ...
4
votes
2answers
774 views

Is there any difference between “a … sense of purpose” and “a sense of … purpose”?

There’s an English-Japanese dictionary giving identical Japanese words for “a common sense of purpose” and “a sense of common purpose.” I’m wondering if both of the expressions are the same in ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Does “What Have You Say” Mean the same as “What Have You”?

I have been listening to the commentaries to "Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers". I've just heard Grant Major say, The horses were acquired, other than our own stable of horses, en masse, from ...