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

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4
votes
2answers
775 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
225 views

Pork and waste?

Is pork and waste an expression or an idiom? From the context where I picked it up, it seems to indicate that if something is "built with pork and waste" it means that some aspects of that built thing ...
1
vote
2answers
878 views

Is the word “encomprise” used in modern English? [closed]

If one googles the word encomprises, there are 5K+ pages, that have this word. I personally have heard people in the USA use it with a meaning of include. Official dictionaries, on the other hand, ...
0
votes
3answers
828 views

“Infantile” vs “puerile” vs “childish” vs “immature” [closed]

My understanding of these words is: Infantile indicates behavior of very small children (infants), in contrast to immature that says someone is unexperienced and callow. Childish and puerile sounds to ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Difference between “unlikeable” and “dislikeable”?

Is there a difference between unlikeable and dislikeable? It feels like there is, but I'm uncertain how to explain it.
3
votes
3answers
509 views

“water pool” vs “swimming pool”

Is it correct to use water pool instead of swimming pool? In some hotel descriptions I have found water pool, but it looks like it was a mistake.
5
votes
2answers
174 views

Difference between “to do as much for you as” and “to do for you as much as”

In Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary 3rd ed., one of the usage examples given for the entry much is: One day I hope I'll be able to do as much for you as you've done for me. Is the ...
2
votes
4answers
374 views

When should I say “post to” or “share with”?

I need to explain that an app can post/share images to social networks and blogs with up to 5 services at the same time and that it's managed through outh. Can anybody help me with some inspiration? ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

What does “the darkest of nights” mean?

Over at German.SE we have a question involving "the darkest of nights". I would like to know what this expression actually means, but I didn't find it in an online dictionary (e.g. leo.org, dict.cc, ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

The meaning of “Have been around”

In the following context (excerpt from this answer): They're examples of the double genitive/possessive, which is perfectly valid and has been around in English for centuries. The "of" already ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

What does “The weather naturally also matters” mean?

The weather naturally also matters. Fewer spectators will visit your arena in bad weather, but those who come will be more interested in buying more expensive tickets and sitting under aroof. It is ...
2
votes
1answer
629 views

What does “we were both clunks” mean?

I am reading a book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character" where an author wrote So I could never understand why Tamara always went to the trouble of introducing ...
2
votes
4answers
143 views

meaning and origin of “syndicated feeds”

How would you explain the meaning of the word syndicated in conjunction with feeds and the origin (etymology) of this? It's used quite often on the web. I already found a few definitions but need ...
0
votes
2answers
708 views

“put the idea out of my head” or “pull the idea out of my head”?

I want to know, what expression is more correct: "How can I put the idea out of my head?" "How can I pull the idea out of my head?" What I'm trying to say is, "how can I extract the idea from my ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What the definition for “Itsy Bitsy” term? [closed]

Like on the Itsy Bitsy Spider I heard it in some lyrics but I don't know what this mean indeed.
2
votes
3answers
592 views

“What is an idiom?” vs. “What are idioms?”

I often say What is an idiom? When I read Longman Pocket Idioms Dictionary Cased, I saw the sentence What are idioms? Are there any differences between the two forms? Which one is ...
6
votes
3answers
404 views

A blue-nosed automatic?

Take this passage from Agatha Christie's The Seven Dials Mystery. "Do you think you could go out and buy me a pistol, Stevens?" "A pistol, sir?" True to his training, Stevens betrayed no hint of ...
4
votes
4answers
500 views

What exactly is a “figure” in a scientific paper?

I'm writing a thesis and I would like to direct the user to an algorithm description. The description is in the form of numbered (and lettered) list. I would like to write that "the algorithm is ...
-2
votes
1answer
9k views

Is 'persona' similar to 'personality'? [closed]

Is there any difference between persona and personality, or do they have the same meaning? Are there any different way of using these words?
2
votes
1answer
220 views

Are “ectypes” inherently flawed?

While browsing the tvtropes.org entry for Archetypal Characters, this sentence jumped out at me: A related concept is the 'ectype', a distorted or flawed version of the archetype. Ectype does ...
2
votes
0answers
5k views

Why is “para” not used consistently? [closed]

I've been told that the prefix "para" means "against". Parachute (against falling) Paramilitary (against military) Paraply/umbrella (against raining) But, other words does not make much sense to ...
0
votes
3answers
10k views

Does “in particular” have the meaning of “for example”?

I have seen many textbooks and scientific literatures at least at college level, frequently using "in particular". I was wondering whether it (always) has the meaning of "for example"? If yes, does ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

“Whiz” and “wiz” in Wizard of Oz

In this famous song from The Wizard of Oz I do not completely understand the words whiz and wiz. I think it's probably a play on words. What is the meaning of each use of wiz or whiz? We're off ...
8
votes
3answers
331 views

What is a “magnetic shaped charge”

Just reading this article and in one of the first sentences it says: A few days ago, 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan died in his car, after two motorcyclists attached a magnetic shaped charge ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Usage of “more than” before a verb

In the Longman dictionary, there is an example for Compensate as follows: Her intelligence more than compensates for her lack of experience. I am wondering what the grammatical point of using ...
8
votes
4answers
471 views

Can word-hyphenation ever be semantically significant?

I was prompted by this question (difference between ecosystem and eco-system) to wonder whether word-hyphenation can ever be semantically significant. My gut instinct is to say that since hyphenation ...
3
votes
6answers
957 views

Can the word “dehydration” imply “thirsty”? [closed]

As far as I know, dehydration means the condition of a body from which the water has been removed. Can the same word imply that the body is thirsty? Simply put, is "I am thirsty" the same as "I am ...
0
votes
1answer
12k views

What does “not even close” mean? [closed]

I was watching a Matt Damon interview on YouTube. In it, the interviewer asked Matt Do you remember? Can you speak any of the languages you spoke? Matt replied Not even close What does ...
3
votes
2answers
231 views

Usage of the word “memory”

I came across this question, but I do not find the answer to what's bothering me. Can memory be used to refer to a particular piece of your past experience that you remember well? E.g.: I have a ...
0
votes
3answers
574 views

dedication: example usages

I want to be sure of the meaning to "dedication" and "dedicated to" phrases. I am sure about the inscription meaning, but I want to ask a specific question: Can someone be "dedicating their comments ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “sq” mean when referencing page or verse numbers? [closed]

In the book I am reading (Patrick Fairbairn, The Interpretation of Prophecy, 2nd ed., 1865), the abbreviation "sq." is used sometimes in referencing both Scripture and other books (as "Typology of ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “an A/B metaphor” mean?

I wonder what "an A/B metaphor" means, for example, in the following quote from Wikipedia about formal language: "In some applications, especially in logic, the alphabet is also known as the ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the word 'consort' still considered an insult in the modern usage?

In Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt says to Mercutio: 'Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo.' Mercutio replies 'consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels?... Zounds consorts!' Bloodshed followed shortly. ...
0
votes
1answer
425 views

What does pinboard mean? [closed]

I couldn't find anything in Longman dictionary about this word, but I heard it somewhere which by now I don't remember where and when. What does it mean?
1
vote
2answers
442 views

Is the word Concurrence synonymous with the word harmony

recently I sat for an exam where I was asked this question - Concurrence means all of the following except: A. Agreement B. Accord C. Consensus D. Coincidence E. Harmony What could be the correct ...
2
votes
3answers
592 views

Can I say this? “To spank my shoulder when needed” [closed]

Can I say this: "To spank my shoulder when needed" or "to spank on my shoulder when I'm down in life"? Is there a way instead not using spank? Is there any other way to express the same feeling?
4
votes
2answers
714 views

You are all “but” forced to do something instead of something else

What is the grammatical usage of "but" in this sentence? You are all but forced to use them instead of standard C++ Could we ignore "but" and yet convey the same meaning? You are all forced ...
8
votes
3answers
14k views

What is the origin of “when the chips are down”?

I can understand from context that "when the chips are down" means "when things go really badly." But where does the expression come from? Does it have anything to do with casino chips, and being on ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

What is an alternative to “Bless you” after sneezing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are alternative responses for when someone sneezes? I know the history/reason why people say bless you to you after you sneeze. My question is, is there an ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Distinction between “ambulate” and “perambulate”?

At a cursory glance, these two terms appear to be synonyms. But that would strike me as unusual since one is a prefixed form of the other. (Prefixes are used to modify a word in a specific and ...
8
votes
3answers
12k views

how did the epithet “nigger” come into usage?

My research has resulted in theoretical reasons for the usage of the term "nigger", and I have failed to uncover any evidence as to how this nasty little epithet evolved into the usage and connotation ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

“Despite the fact” implies knowledge of said facts

I had an argument about the phrase "despite the fact". The argument was around the headline: US Immigration officials deport 14 year old runaway to Colombia, despite the fact that she's American ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Using “actually” to talk about the present

The word "actually" is widely used more or less in the same context as "in fact": You're a doctor, right? Yes ... well, actually / in fact I haven't graduated yet. But, is "actually" also ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

I had waited until the rain stopped / I waited until the rain had stopped — any difference? [closed]

I don't understand the tense that is used with until. Here are some examples: I had waited until the rain stopped. I waited until the rain had stopped. Villagers had stayed indoors until ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “dress style”

Does dress style mean attire, or is it specifically a style of dress worn by women? For example: "What is the proper dress style for the interview?"
4
votes
2answers
165 views

Can the word “footing” be used in regards to an inanimate object?

For example The toolbox fell over because it didn't have a solid footing on the bench. Merriam-Webster has the definitions a stable position or placing of the feet a surface or its ...
7
votes
6answers
21k views

Is “I hear you” impatient or sympathetic?

I have several times come across the phrase "I hear you" (spoken in response to, e.g., someone relating an experience of theirs), but I haven't been able to figure out whether it signifies a polite ...
5
votes
2answers
617 views

Meaning of “panegoric”

What does panegoric mean? Yes, it’s panegoric and not panegyric. The word is given in my module with the meaning “medicine that allays pain”, but I can’t find any reference. Is it correct?
2
votes
3answers
445 views

Can a non-literary object have a “subtext”?

Dictionaries associate--with more or less affirmation--that subtext is "the implicit or metaphorical meaning (as of a literary text)". Can a subtext however apply to meaning conveyed by something ...