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

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0
votes
2answers
101 views

Does “observed” entail existence? [closed]

In an experiment that includes checking for defects, the results are described as follows: Defects: A. None, B. Observed Does “observed” necessarily entail that a defect was present, or could ...
18
votes
4answers
130k views

How does “pussy” come to mean “coward”?

The word pussy is often used to mean "coward". This guy is a pussy. and I am wondering why. How are woman's genitals related to being a "coward"?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“Ridgy didge” — what's that mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another steak on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "ridgy didge". Flaming heck, what's that even mean, "ridgy didge"? I've ...
-1
votes
1answer
176 views

“In avoiding failure” vs. “For avoiding failure”?

1: In avoiding failure, we must be careful. 2: For avoiding failure, we must be careful. What are the subtle differences between the two sentences?
-2
votes
1answer
510 views

Meaning of “foregrounding” [closed]

The EU should stop talking about foregrounding conditionality. What does foregrounding mean here? Is it a gerund or an adjective?
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Meaning of “has its roots in”

The Movement has its roots in combating colonialism. What does the expression has its roots in mean? Does it indicate a reason or a time? That is, was the Movement started to combat colonialism ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What does the expression “to add another dimension to the situation” mean?

Does the expression "to add another dimension to the situation" imply that the situation has become more complex? In Arabic we would say something like "adds another dimension to the situation that ...
4
votes
1answer
415 views

What do film cameos and cameo brooches have in common?

Why are film cameos called cameos? In which sense do they resemble cameo brooches? In both meanings of the word we have a human figure. Are they similar in their brevity of appearance? In their ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

What does “Jimping” mean?

Jimping is a term used when describing knives, but I am unsure of what it really means. See for example this description of a keychain-sized tool where jimping is mentioned, and even lauded for ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

deep roll of blue at the tops

I want some help with my question about the meaning of “deep roll of blue at the tops”: "The men were dressed in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well-polished boots with a deep ...
1
vote
3answers
135 views

What's the meaning of “straight” here?

Thats some straight blockbuster movie sh-t. They deserve it if they pulled it off. What's the meaning of straight here? The comment was made in response to a news article on a bank robbery in ...
9
votes
3answers
646 views

Checked-out teenagers

From Threat Vector, by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney: He decided he would let off a little of the pressure Miss Melanie Kraft built up in him before heading back home to Chantilly to his bitchy wife ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What does this proverb mean and what is the origin [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does this mean: ‘Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink’? Why is it funny? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
4
votes
3answers
875 views

What is the difference between “carry out a crime” and “commit a crime”

Do these both have the same meaning? John carried out a crime. John committed a crime.
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“I love you for who you are” vs. “I love you as you are” vs. “I love you for what you are” [closed]

I love you for who you are. I came across the line from a BBC Radio’s drama, and wondered what’s the difference from saying “I love you as you are,” or “I love you for what you are.” Would you ...
0
votes
2answers
133 views

“This is a song by Lady Gaga” or “this is the song by Lady Gaga”? [closed]

Which article is appropriate in the blank below, a or the? — What are you singing? I've heard the song many times. — This is __ song by Lady Gaga.
4
votes
2answers
642 views

Is “titular” the appropriate word for a song that only uses the album title in its lyrics, not title?

Is a song on a music album considered to be the titular song if it doesn't share the title of the album, but incorporates it into the lyrics? If not, is there another appropriate term for this lyrical ...
2
votes
2answers
772 views

What/How is the time?

The farmyard was deserted. Dieter had gone down the lane with Rupert and Nialla to the river, and by now they had probably already made camp. If I was lucky, I might be just in time for a cup ...
5
votes
2answers
157 views

How to analyze lightly varying senses of adjective *very*

Use of very as an adjective is (in my experience) most frequently attested in phrases like ...the very person I was looking for. To use adjective very with the indefinite article sounds quite ...
13
votes
7answers
15k views

What's the difference between 'just' and 'fair'?

What's the difference between 'just' and 'fair'? OED gives slightly different definitions, but they are not distinct enough as to be clear (to me). Is the difference simply idiomatic, or is there a ...
1
vote
2answers
461 views

What is the difference between “nudge” and “push” [closed]

I am trying to nudge them towards a practical solution. What does nudge imply here? Can't we just use something like push? Is the word outdated or still in use? I'm not trying to avoid using ...
5
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the exclamation “have at you” actually saying?

I recently encountered the phrase "have at you". I know it's generally used as an exclamation, that is shouted when someone is about to attack someone else. Wiktionary seems to agree with me: ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Differences between “inasmuch as” vs “as much as”

Can anyone provide me with some examples illustrating the differences between mentioned adjectives. Is it possible to use them interchangeably on various occasions?
2
votes
3answers
883 views

Does “intellectual gymnastics” always have a negative connotation?

As far as I know, “intellectual gymnastics” is used in a negative sense. For example, the discipline of philosophy can be belittled as “intellectual gymnastics”. However, a university in Japan seems ...
2
votes
4answers
21k views

“Do you have” vs “Have you got”

I am studying English and I want to know the main difference between “Have you got?” and “Do you have?” questions. Are they the same? Is one more formal than the other?
4
votes
2answers
404 views

Meaning and etymology of “down with”

I've searched a lot and found out that down with as a slang phrase means "being in an agreement with something". On the other hand, I know that it also means "death upon something". So in a sentence ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it possible to use “extraordinaire” instead of “extraordinary”?

Since they are both adjectives, is it possible to use them interchangeably on various occasions? When is the right time to use extraordinaire?
11
votes
1answer
393 views

Meaning of “match Greek with Greek”

From Christmas Storms and Sunshine by Elizabeth Gaskell (4th paragraph): Jenkins had his wife too. Wives were wanting to finish the completeness of the quarrel, which existed one memorable ...
-1
votes
1answer
185 views

What does “a success” mean? [closed]

I was taught a success means a successful man and not achievement. Is that right?
11
votes
2answers
639 views

What does the term “kerplewy” mean?

What does the term mean and what is the best way to use it? And, I also wanted to know if there is any information about where it comes from. And by the way, how do we pronounce it?
1
vote
1answer
970 views

Is it correct to mix past, present and future tense in a sentence?

Is it correct to mix past, present and future tense in a sentence? Is the following sentence correct: Ask yourself continually, “If I was not doing this already, knowing what I now know, would I ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “farth” a word in any language?

Due to a misreading, a group including myself have searched for the definition of the word "farth" and come up with nothing. We now know that the original text did not actually use this word, but the ...
7
votes
1answer
432 views

“The proverbial wedding ring”?

In old books, I keep coming accross the saying, ...is so transparent it could pass through the proverbial wedding ring. What does this mean?
2
votes
3answers
37k views

“Repairable” vs. “reparable” vs. “irreparable” vs. “unrepairable”

I've been looking online at these three words, but I'm not able to determine their relationship and the rules surrounding their usage. I believe this is true: Repairable: Just what you'd think, ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

“Continuing” vs. “continued”

So, just a few minutes ago we had this question asking whether one could substitute ongoing availability with continuing availability and what the difference would be, if any. Apart from the question ...
5
votes
1answer
244 views

Equivalent for Dutch commode?

In Holland we use commode to indicate a dressing table or lowboy specifically for changing diapers and dressing a baby: The commode is usually ditched after the babies have grown out the diapers. ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Can we call something a “word” if it doesn't have a vowel? [closed]

It seems self-evident to me, but in the heat of a Scrabble game (no surprise), my opponent claimed that "sh" was a word. I think it's a diphthong, but the printed dictionary definition of "word" ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “the couple that boops noses together in between makeout sessions and sweet nothings”

This is a sentence I've come across while reading 7 Things About Love That Make No Sense If you’re the couple that just stands on the sidewalk for extended periods of time and boops noses ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the origin of the word “conk”?

Is it obsolete to use this word? Where does it come from? I couldn't find the origin of this term. Can I use the phrase "The machine conked out" or should I replace conked out with something else?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “principle” mean here?

What's the meaning of principle in this definition of soul from Dictionary.com as in body and soul? the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a difference between “ascendants” and “ancestors”?

Without noticing myself, I've mixed the use of "ascendants" and "ancestors" in some documentation I've written. In an arbitrary hierarchy (of either people or things), what would be the most correct ...
-1
votes
1answer
144 views

Meaning of “strike dread” [closed]

What is the meaning of the phrase strike dread? I've encountered it many times.
3
votes
2answers
339 views

Meaning of “ant-industry”

In the English translation of Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West that I'm reading, they use the word ant-industry. I tried to google it and also used online dictionaries but found no answer to the ...
0
votes
2answers
334 views

Usage of “against” in “progress against our strategic objectives”

I have one more question concerning Lucy Kellaway’s 2012 Golden flannel Award . The another contender of the Preposition Award was a usage of against. The first was shown to advantage recently in ...
0
votes
2answers
106 views

“Proxime” vs. “proximate”

When should proxime and proximate be used? Can they be used both to mean spatial as well as temporal nearness? Are they being used differently in British and American English?
3
votes
1answer
337 views

“Chance of [gerund]” vs. “chance at [gerund]”

Which is correct? If you tell me the cause, I will have a better chance at fixing the problem. If you tell me the cause, I will have a better chance of fixing the problem. A quick ...
0
votes
3answers
371 views

What does “half try” mean?

From Steinbeck's Cannery Row, Doc was almost supernaturally successful with a series of lady visitors. He didn’t half try. Does it mean that Doc did not do anything to win hearts of these ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

“I'm debating” instead of “I'm in a dilemma”

I have noticed many people say "I'm debating" when they mean they are in a dilemma between two choices. I always thought that to debate means discussing different view points between two individuals, ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

Practical meaning of “Sale”

Its not uncommon that you walk on the street you see there are big malls hanging big billboard containing only "Sale". Sometimes, Summer Sale, Winter Sale. In every case you get XX% price off there. ...
4
votes
4answers
487 views

Usage of “to” in “I've got some slides to talk to”

In Lucy Kellaway’s 2012 Golden flannel Award, the Preposition Award is given to a usage of to. But the winner is the innocuous word “to” as increasingly heard in presentations: “I’ve got some ...