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

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5
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3answers
2k views

Meaning of a quote in movie Casino Royale (2006)

Vesper Lynd: There are dinner jackets and dinner jackets; this is the latter. And I need you looking like a man who belongs at that table. Here what does the line "There are dinner jackets ...
3
votes
2answers
370 views

Does the end of this sentence convey what I want it to mean?

My sentence: "It is quite a remarkable piece of prose because intuitive, humanities related metaphors are often used to explain difficult mathematical ideas (à la Blueman), not the other way ...
4
votes
3answers
688 views

“Never mind” in AmE and BrE

Reading some forum pages about the meaning of this phrase, I realized that there's a difference in usage of it, between American and British English. What's the difference in meaning of "never mind" ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

“Dead, and never called me mother!”

I was watching the Secret Service Dentists sketch by Monty Python, and in the video, The Big Cheese says the following after shooting his pet rabbit: There -- poor Flopsy's dead, and never ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

What does “somebody plays things close to the vest” mean?

I heard this phrase in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and also found it online by googling it. What does the phrase mean?
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Meaning of “What's shaking?”

I can guess it probably means "what's happening", or "what's up". Am I right? I am curious where this phrase comes from and how to use it properly.
3
votes
1answer
8k views

What does “get some life” mean?

I made a comment and received the following reply: Ha ha! Go get some life you stupid. I know that this is some kind of insult. But what does "get some life" exactly mean?
4
votes
2answers
8k views

“Referrer” versus “referral” versus “referer”

Which word is correct and what do they mean? I've seen $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] (PHP), but I have also seen referrer in can I forward “referrer” information to other address? and referral on the ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the meaning of “large hug” in definition of “bearhug”?

Context: I have an uncle who is huge and any time he hugs anyone in the family, it's so tight that they are almost choked. We call this the bearhug among the family. Researching ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “ain't” mean?

What does the contraction ain't mean? Is it appropriate to use it in formal settings?
13
votes
4answers
3k views

What does “She was young and blithe, 22 going on 16” mean?

I found the phrase ““She was young and blithe, 22 going on 16” in the article of the Time magazine (July 6 issue) dealing with the Casey Anthony Verdict, under the title, “The Casey Anthony Verdict ...
1
vote
1answer
695 views

What does “cavernous room” mean or look like?

I saw this phrase used in this New Yorker article. I think I understand it intuitively, especially with the help of google images, but I'd like to know for sure.
2
votes
7answers
3k views

Better than premium

Is there something higher (better) than the word premium, or does it mean the best? Also, is there something in between premium and deluxe? Graphically: Does any word fit here? > Premium > Does any ...
37
votes
5answers
14k views

What is the difference between “illicit” and “illegal”?

What is the difference between "illicit" and "illegal"? Are they just synonymous? Used in different contexts?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

Difference between “invest in” and “invest into” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Difference between “in” and “into” When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa? Since solar ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “chewing the carpet”?

I was digging about Load-Balancers (computer networking stuff) and came across this expression: Sometimes it (Load-Balancer) sits down chewing the carpet while backends go idle ... I guess "chewing ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

“Baggage” versus “luggage”

I have the feeling that luggage is more closely associated with vacation travel, whereas baggage is for general transportation. Or... are they just exact synonyms?
3
votes
5answers
8k views

What does the saying “any time now” really mean?

Any time now Nana will show up with the cookies. What is the meaning of "any time now"? Should "any time" be one word or two? The words seem to conflict and are sort of nebulous because now ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference: Meanwhile vs meantime

Meanwhile vs. meantime Are they really the same? I've been using them interchangeably...
0
votes
1answer
673 views

What is the meaning behind “bloody jerry”

I've heard this term in a pirate movie or video game, not sure where. Since, I've been wondering what real meaning this sentence have.
6
votes
3answers
6k views

What does this mean: To be thus is nothing; But to be safely thus

This is taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth, and I am having difficulty comprehending what this means. Can someone please put it into normal English, with all explanations?
4
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the difference between “job” and “work”?

When is it better to use "job" and when "work"? For instance I am writing text on the logo saying "Still do your job manually? Then ask us to help you." Is it correct to use "job" here or "work" is ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

New verb: “to verbal”

I seem to be noticing this one entering the popular lexicon lately, but cannot find a good definition. Examples: No, you're just verballing... Leakegate: Leake verballed Richard Dawkins ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What is the difference among ‘In you come’, ‘Come on in’, and ‘Do come in’?

Bagman suddenly spotted Harry, got up quickly, and bounded forward. “Ah, here he is! Champion number four! In you come, Harry, in you come … nothing to worry about, it's just the wand weighing ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What color does ‘pale thing’ have?

I'd like to focus in on the meaning of 'pale' which is used in color description. My dictionary, OALD, says 'pale' in such case means "light in colour; containing a lot of white". It shows me some ...
1
vote
4answers
259 views

“He is to resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades ever to barbarism”

In the quote, "He is to resist the vulgar prosperity that retrogrades ever to barbarism" What does resist mean? to tolerate to protest What does vulgar prosperity mean? obscene prosperity ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Distinctions between “Goods” and “Commodities”

I was wondering what differences and relations are between goods and commodities, from economics perspective? From good: In economics and accounting, a good is a product that can be used to ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Where did the phrase “used to” come from?

I used to wonder about these usages a lot: Why does "used to" mean "accustomed to"? Why is "used to" used to indicate a recurring past event? I used to be used to using it. In that example, ...
2
votes
2answers
12k views

“Anything” vs. “any thing”

This is not a duplicate of "anymore" vs. "any more". I made sure. In that case, the two terms being compared were noun phrase (any more) vs. adverb (anymore). In this case, the two are both noun ...
2
votes
2answers
521 views

Is ‘beetle-black eyes’ expressing their owner’s character?

Hagrid's real intention, however, was to talk to Harry away from the rest of the class. He waited until everyone else had set off with their skrewts, then turned to Harry and said, very seriously, ...
9
votes
6answers
22k views

What is the metaphoric meaning of silo?

Process-oriented organizations break down the barriers of structural departments and try to avoid functional silos. I was wondering what silo means here? Is it a metaphor?
15
votes
15answers
9k views

What do you call someone who chooses to stay single for life?

Not necessarily a virgin, but someone that has consciously chosen to stay single for life (and is content with that decision). Hopefully, there is a single word for it. Example: Ralph Nader UPDATE: ...
4
votes
3answers
426 views

What does “it tastes like horspy” mean?

I heard an expression today but I did not know how it is written or what it is. And I could not find it with Google. It's something like: it tastes like horspy Any pointers?
10
votes
1answer
477 views

Why do “prisoner” and “jailer” mean different things?

If jail and prison are (at least nearly) synonymous, why does jailer refer to the captor, and prisoner refer to the captive?
6
votes
2answers
11k views

Difference between “recently” and “lately”

I have posted a topic using this sentence: I have picked some fictions to read lately. RegDwight edited this sentence to: I have recently picked up several works of fiction and begun to read ...
11
votes
3answers
623 views

How much destruction should be in my mind's eye when I picture a city being “sacked”?

I've been reading some early medieval history lately, and much of the narrative, of course, encompasses warfare, which seems to have been almost ubiquitous in those times. Anyway, in these histories ...
2
votes
3answers
211 views

“The object that is sent the message is called the target”

Grammar check. Native speaker's opinion needed. The sentence "The object that is sent the message is called the target" seems incomplete at best. Could a native English speaker confirm this? It is ...
-2
votes
2answers
596 views

Meaning and origin of “dressed like a slob”

What does the expression "dressed like a slob" mean? Where does it come from?
7
votes
3answers
3k views

“He acted strange(ly?)”

It would make sense if both of these sentences were grammatically correct; but is anything different between them meaning-wise? He acted very strange when I told him about the missing amulet. ...
6
votes
4answers
16k views

Is there a feminine equivalent of “emasculate”?

e·mas·cu·late Deprive (a man) of his male role or identity Is there a female equivalent? I came up with efemulate but this sounds strange.
3
votes
4answers
8k views

Differences among expression and idiom, as well as colloquial and vernacular

Expression and idiom are used interchangeably, and so are colloquial and vernacular; albeit incorrectly. Please advise on differences in meaning and recommend a proper usage.
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What does 'knee-jerk reaction' mean?

What does knee-jerk reaction mean? From NYT article: Another senior Socialist, who declined to be identified, said the party could not afford knee-jerk reactions.
3
votes
3answers
322 views

Confused with Present Participle + Noun pattern, does the “copied file” refer to the “original file”?

Patterns: Past Participle + Noun In my understanding Past Participle + noun means the action applied to the noun as follows: He murdered a little girl = The little girl was murdered by him. The ...
4
votes
5answers
338 views

What could be an alternative word implying 'to endorse someone'?

On professional social network sites (like LinkedIn) there are terms like 'recommend someone' or 'endorse someone'. What could be an alternative term that is somewhat lighter in meaning as compared to ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “Five times over!” mean here?

I came across a sentence while reading Newspaper and I'm wondering what does the sentence mean in this context. This news article completed with the sentence Five times over!. What does it mean ...
10
votes
5answers
9k views

“If” vs “Only if” vs “If and only if”

If I said: Yell only if I fall. Would the person have to yell once I fell? Sources of confusion Wikipedia This guy
3
votes
2answers
244 views

What is “petrololine”?

I received an email today, which seems to well and truly have done the rounds. It begins with the following: "I don't know what you guys are paying for Petrololine", and goes on to mention both Petrol ...
0
votes
2answers
548 views

“No spark of constellation, No Vela no Orion”

Can anyone tell me the meaning of these two lines in the lyrics? I look up to the heavens But night has clouded over No spark of constellation No Vela no Orion
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a “cross over floor”?

While taking the stairs during a fire drill, I noticed that door to some floors were labelled cross over floor. Later I went to one of these floors, but didn't notice anything different. My searches ...
1
vote
1answer
373 views

How to understand “You don't get no coffee”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are double negatives ever appropriate in English? "You don't get no coffee" I feel like the above sentence is a bit confusing to understand. What's the exact ...