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

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5
votes
2answers
472 views

Meaning of incentive

In the table published at this U.S. Postal Service Website, USPS compares different service classes in different aspects. One aspect is called "incentive". I wonder what it means? From Google, I guess ...
5
votes
2answers
472 views

Is this a valid sentence using “approbation” [closed]

I believe the word means to approve or praise. So can I use it as Are you looking for an approbation from your boss ? or Why are you still standing here ? Do you want me to approbate you ? ...
6
votes
2answers
169 views

Is Gorka’s remark “Is what’s good for the Heinz not good for the Gorka?” so preposterous enough to be deemed ‘never before rendered in English’?

In his 3 August 2012 Krathammer Kolumn, Mark Halperin characterized a remark by Charles Krauthammer about Rick Gorka (Mitt Romney’s aide), “Is what’s good for the Heinz not good for the Gorka?”, as a ...
7
votes
2answers
321 views

Meaning of “Multicultural Koolaid”

In a recent internet conversation, someone used the term multicultural Koolaid and I'm having trouble figuring out what it means. What does it mean and where did it come from? The context is a ...
4
votes
2answers
152 views

What is the meaning of “pole of time” here?

In the translation of a story by Daniil Kharms, I see the following sentence: Thirty-five poles of time elapsed and mine host brought Ivan Ivanovich his entrecote on a round wooden platter. Two ...
5
votes
2answers
328 views

What does the phrase “a fine one” mean in this context?

In one one Daniil Kharms' short stories, Tikakeyev “insults” Koratygin by saying: A fine one you are! This causes a fight between the two. When I first read this, I didn't see the “insult”, ...
1
vote
1answer
13k views

What are the differences between litigator, counsel, and attorney?

I'm watching a law and court related TV show and the following terms are being used. What are the differences between them? I'm interested in the differences in connotation if there are any. Or are ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

What does “down with homework” mean?

I was watching The Simpson series. In season 7, episode 12, Bart exposes a t-shirt on which the phrase "DOWN WITH HOMEWORK" is written. Then the entire students in the classroom start a riot all of a ...
7
votes
3answers
143 views

Does “until” convey certainty?

Consider this sentence, Until this is proven wrong, we will believe it to be true. Does it mean either; This will be proven wrong, and we will continue to believe it is true in the meantime If ...
4
votes
7answers
17k views

What is the difference between “anyone” and “everyone” in this context

What is the difference between "anyone" and "everyone" in the following context? For example, Anyone is welcome to do such and such. and Everyone is welcome to do such and such. mean ...
4
votes
2answers
299 views

What is a “wreckless careerism”? [closed]

I have come across the following sentence: The quickness of her ascent, and the fact that she revamped each orchestra’s administration before suddenly moving on, has led some in music business ...
3
votes
2answers
21k views

“Impact in” vs. “Impact on”

This change has no impact in the system's current behaviour. Is the preposition in grammatical here? I think we should have used on instead: This change has no impact on the system's current ...
-1
votes
2answers
8k views

Difference between “combination of ” and “combination between”

I have read both two uses: The combinations of a, b and c, taken two at a time, are ab, bc, ac. We can not help but noticing a harmonious combination between classic and contemporary. Are both ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Are all myths superstitions, or are all superstitions myths?

Are all myths superstitions, or is it the other way around, i.e. all superstition being myths? Or can these words basically be used interchangeably? The dictionary definitions of these words seem ...
2
votes
1answer
66k views

Usage / examples of “of which” [closed]

Could anyone give me some examples or rules of using ", of which"? I mean only ", of which", neither "which" nor ", xxx of which". Any idea is appreciated. p.s. She discovered so many spiders, of ...
6
votes
1answer
137 views

How can a wasteland be “washed in somewhat queasy-ugly bleached orange”?

I was very confused when I came across a sentence in “The body politic” in New York Times (June 28) Set in Tampa (but also shot in California), a palm-lined wasteland that Mr. Soderbergh has ...
10
votes
1answer
480 views

'flip bits not burgers' meaning

In Google Summer of Code, they use the phrase 'flip bits, not burgers': provide students in Computer Science and related fields the opportunity to do work related to their academic pursuits during ...
7
votes
4answers
382 views

How should I understand “Although” in this sentence?

The following is an excerpt from a passage in Scientific American: Paleoanthropology has come a long way since Georges Cuvier, the French natural historian and founder of vertebrate paleontology, ...
2
votes
2answers
201 views

Meaning of “roll”

What's the meaning of rollin in this context? Ridin They see me rollin They hatin Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty Tryin to catch me ridin dirty Tryin to ...
1
vote
5answers
801 views

Distinctive vs Distinguishing

Is there a difference between the two words when used for saying “that which distinguishes (something) from others”? For example … the distinctive patterns on the skin … or … the distinguishing ...
3
votes
7answers
7k views

What word is used to describe an event that will never occur?

If an event happens a lot in a small window of time, it is considered frequent. If it does not, it is considered rare. What about a possible event that has never happened and which is expected never ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

Meaning and origin of “rally peters out”

Positive reactions from stock markets can be described as the markets "rallying peters out". See this guardian article for an example of this usage. I don't quite understand this proverb. Where does ...
0
votes
1answer
666 views

“Whet your appetite?” as confirming question [closed]

As part of a header on a website, I'd like to say "Have we whet your appetite yet? " or something of similar meaning. Not being a native English speaker, I'm looking for a short/condensed way of ...
-1
votes
2answers
3k views

Complaint of vs Complaint for [closed]

Another one of vs for question, here for would be the right choice, because its use denotes the function of purpose as I think it's the case here, right ? When customers complaint of an error ...
1
vote
5answers
458 views

Are monkeys a subset of apes? [closed]

I wonder if "ape" is the generic, more general term than "monkey". Can one say that all primates (including monkeys) except lemurs, humans and some other few species are apes?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Can the verb “wish + that clause” express open possibility?

We often use "wish + that clause" to express a past/present counterfactual statement or a future unlikely event (i.e. remote possibility): I wish I hadn't quit my job. (But I quit my job.) I ...
15
votes
4answers
21k views

“Instable” or “unstable”?

From my experience, it seems that although unstable is more commonly used, instable is often preferred in engineering and scientific contexts, e.g. "aircraft instability", "instable algorithm". Are ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “envacuuming” mean?

Here's a passage from the novel, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: They picked their way among the mummied figures. The black skin stretched upon the bones and their faces split and shrunken on ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

“at hand” vs “at issue”

We can talk about "the matter at hand" or "the matter at issue" and they seem to mean just about the same thing: something along the lines of "the matter currently under discussion." Is there a ...
9
votes
2answers
905 views

Does “from the middle out” in Obama campaign ad mean ‘to start (growth) from,” or “to help out” the middle class?

In the recent ‘I believe’ campaign ad, President Obama talks to camera; “I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out. I believe in fighting for the middle class because if ...
1
vote
3answers
587 views

Meaning of “dip into”

What's the meaning of dip into? Anyways, the guy I was describing earlier was in the bathroom at the sink and saw me dip into one of the stalls with the laptop.
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “low” mean in this context? [closed]

That's some 3rd world begging skill right there. Obviously she isn't from here, but that's low as f***. The comment was made based on this video.
6
votes
1answer
402 views

What is an 'Iron Ring Event'

In a recent podcast of .Net rocks (at 45 minutes 29 seconds), regarding the future of software craftsmanship, it is postulated that there will be an 'Iron Ring Event' (if I heard it correctly). From ...
56
votes
11answers
24k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
4
votes
6answers
3k views

Does the word “Intellectual” imply intelligence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: intellectual and intelligent The word intellectual seems to be exclusively used to describe an intelligent person. However, my understanding of the word "intellectual" ...
4
votes
4answers
355 views

What does “credit card sized” mean?

Just about any site mentioning Raspberry Pi computer will say it's credit card sized. Yes, length and width of Raspberry Pi exactly match those of a credit card, but a creadit card is 0.76 millimeters ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Usage of “already” and “yet”

I want to know the difference between already and yet in this example: I was surprised that they had __ to decide what to do. My answer on this question was already and my teacher marked it as ...
2
votes
4answers
8k views

Difference between “synopsis” and “plot”

After commenting on this question, I started wondering what the difference between a plot and a synopsis is, or if they are exactly the same. I'm mainly looking for common usage, but anything else ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

“Communicate over” vs. “communicate through”

Also schemas can communicate over database links to schemas in other remote databases. Could one replace the preposition over with through? Will it change the meaning, and if so, when should we ...
4
votes
4answers
759 views

Is there a word for a personal or informal definition?

What's the correct way to say something such as "my definition of good C# code is etc.". I could say "I would describe good C# code as having the following attributes and adhering to the following ...
-1
votes
1answer
11k views

What is “left-hand driving” [closed]

What does left-hand driving mean? Does it mean the steering wheel is on the left side of the car? Sure that's not Britain? Look at the traffic flow and the direction of the lanes, it's not a ...
4
votes
6answers
325 views

Can “to escape” also mean “to go on holiday”?

The Macmillan Dictionary s.v. "escape (verb)" says that "to escape" can also mean to go away on holiday in informal contexts, e.g. "We're hoping to escape to the Algarve in May". I can't find ...
1
vote
3answers
217 views

What is a “Quickfire Auction”? [closed]

I see a lot of Google results for this term, but not a single one explaining it. The phrase search "What is a quickfire auction" returns zero result (and will soon return this question). What does it ...
7
votes
1answer
423 views

Does “tapall” or “tappies” mean “mail” in English?

I had been wondering about a non-native word in Tamil: Thabal, meaning post. This word has origins from elsewhere, and I had not been able to figure out the etymology. Searches in Internet had also ...
6
votes
4answers
486 views

If I say “The plot of that play stinks,” am I giving a spoiler alert?

The article of May 21 New York Times written by Stanley Fish under the title, “What Do Spoilers Spoil?” begins with the following lines: Over 10 percent of the comments on my ‘Hunger Games’ column ...
3
votes
0answers
109 views

What is the meaning of “O” in “7 O'Clock”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What phrase is “o'clock” contracting? In this string: 7 O'Clock What is O doing here? What is the meaning of O? Does it mean 7 of Clock? What is ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “Turn a lemon(s) into lemonade” exactly mean?

In association with my question about possibility of using Etch-a-Sketch as a verb, I found the expression “turn a lemon into lemonade” in the related article of Five Star. It says: Etch-a-Sketch ...
4
votes
2answers
603 views

“Has reported” as present perfect vs. “has” as present + “reported” as a noun

In the following sentence below, I want to use the word reported as a noun, but it looks like I’m using the present perfect form has reported. How can one be clear when constructions like this ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Woman front bits” meaning

Whats does "woman front bits" actually means? This question is surprisingly inspired by one of the answers to this question: "Is there any slang I should avoid in the UK or Ireland". It is ...
1
vote
5answers
5k views

Does 'virtual' mean real or fake? [closed]

Our deputy manager is the virtual head of the business. In this sentence the manager is the real person who in charge. There will be a virtual presenter and virtual guests who will help ...