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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

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168 views

meaning of “consists of doing all that one ought to want to do and not being forced to do what one ought not want to do”

what's the meaning of this phrase "liberty consists of doing all that one ought to want to do and not being forced to do what one ought not want to do"
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1answer
80 views

meaning of: “necessity does not freedom make”

what's the meaning of this sentence: "necessity does not freedom make" in Freedom is possible only in society, not outside of it. But necessity does not freedom make. Rousseau’s promises ...
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3answers
186 views

the meaning of “need not be uniquely determined”

i don't understand the meaning of the "even" and "need not be uniquely determined" in this phrase: True, even the will of supporters of particular parties is still likely to be multidimensional, so ...
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4answers
377 views

Does “to cook leeks” imply anything about the method of preparing them?

This question is inspired by but unrelated to Is "Know how to cook leeks" an idiom. I'm Dutch and the English "to cook" is a bit confusing to me. The Dutch "koken" is used in a general way as in ...
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2answers
99 views

Proper usage for the word “obverse”

I believe "obverse" has several meanings, with one being "the flip side of something (coin)." I'm trying to cleverly contrast opposite approaches of a person's management duties. "From a wide ...
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2answers
242 views

How do you usually interpret “egregious”?

OED's entry about "egregious" indicates it can mean remarkable in both good and bad ways. Vocabulary.com's entry, in contrast, emphasizes to not use it for meaning positively outstanding. How do you ...
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2answers
72 views

What are the meanings of the common verbs we use to mean change? [closed]

Having acknowledged that the meanings of these verbs overlap, how would describe the prototypical use of each of these verbs? Become It was becoming dark. He became a pilot. Get It was getting ...
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3answers
258 views

Are these called synonyms? What grammatical elements are constraining the meaning?

Consider the following sentence: Due to my low reputation on SE, I was tentative (okay, "fearful" is more _____) in posting to meta.SE. The context of the statement might the top of a post, as a ...
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1answer
376 views

Does using the word “idealist” to self-describe carry an air of arrogance?

Forgive me if this question is off-topic as POB. But, I believe there is a language usage/philosophical question here. My wife and I were having a discussion about politics this evening, and she ...
3
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4answers
184 views

What does a library mean other than a place for a collection of books?

Does the word "library" mean other than a place for a collection of books as in the following sentence? Instead of purchasing what they need like a normal customer, wardrobers turn retail stores ...
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1answer
614 views

Meaning of “… is king”

The word king alone is not an adjective. And since it is countable it should be either a king or the king. So the expressions like "money is king" or "the Lord is king" are ungrammatical. How would ...
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4answers
1k views

Is “Know how to cook leeks”an idiom? What does “Read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks” mean?

There was the following sentence in New York Times’ article (February 28) titled “What you learn at 40s.”: "Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” - - The conventional wisdom ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of this quote?

I heard this in a movie. What does it mean? My time, as does most time, comes with a price. You make time.
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2answers
65 views

Does “allows to + verb” imply that the corresponding event occured?

Example: Yahoo vulnerability allows hacker to delete 1.5 million records from database. Does this imply that the hacker did delete those records or just that he was in the position to delete the ...
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1answer
2k views

Difference between a “movement” and a “campaign”

A campaign means: an organized course of action to achieve a goal A movement means: a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas Are ...
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2answers
2k views

Curtiosity and dretful

In The Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling he writes But there was one Elephant--a new Elephant--an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many ...
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3answers
17k views

“With the purpose of” vs. “With the intention of”

A private student of mine had to complete a gap fill text, which contained the following excerpt: Pronunciation isn't my strongest point, therefore I've decided to improve it. I've borrowed ...
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2answers
313 views

When the waitress at a diner calls her male customer a ''good girl'' after getting tipped, is it meant to be offensive?

My friend got called that and since neither of us are American, it just sounded offensive to us.
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2answers
1k views

Origin and Impact of “Blown” Meaning “Bloom”

According to MW, full-blown means having all of the qualities that are associated with a particular thing or type of person : fully developed Having used it in this sense recently and noting its ...
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1answer
226 views

Heterogeneous. Is there a verb for this word?

I am writing a scientific article in which the word heterogeneous is used frequently to indicate to the (CPU + GPU computing). However, several occasions I need to express the idea using verb like: ...
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4answers
465 views

Can “beefcake” serve as a verb to mean showing off big muscles?

I was confused by the ending line of the following sentence from the article titled, “The last, disposable action hero” in the February 28th edition of Time magazine: “American movie market now ...
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3answers
86 views

Who's "Her' in Joseph Addison's Cato's Soliloquy?

This is a Soliloquy from Joseph Addison's Cato, also known as Edgar Allan Poe’s Cryptographic Challenge, the whole play could be found here. The soul, secured in her existence, smiles at the ...
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2answers
2k views

On a certain level

What does " On a certain level " in " I am looking for my sister ... on a certain level" mean ? I have read it in a play.I checked it in some dictionaries but coulden't find its meaning.
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2answers
400 views

How should I understand “He was a wise man who invented beer”?

I love beer, and I recently saw a magnet with this phrase on it: He was a wise man who invented beer My knowledge in English is limited, and I'm not sure if I understand correctly this phrase. ...
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2answers
793 views

What is the difference between a chest and a trunk?

Is a "trunk" more likely to have a "flat top" and a "chest" more likely to have a "rounded top"?
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1answer
308 views

Is “further” now used for both physical and metaphorical distances?

Is it true that 'further' and 'farther' are becoming interchangeable? He drove further north. His furthest destination to travel is 167 miles. This link says that further is now widely ...
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2answers
458 views

“archival” versus “archivable”/“archiveable”

What is the difference between archival and archivable? Archival appears to be an acceptable word among official sources, whereas archivable/archiveable does not appear to be a valid entry. Is the ...
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1answer
201 views

meaning of “on bequest of ”

What's the meaning of "on bequest of" in this phrase Context: Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government By Adam Przeworski We are ruled by others, and the only authority that justifies this ...
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1answer
198 views

what does 'the roll of duck tape' mean? [closed]

what does 'the roll of duck tape' mean ? Would you please give me some examples to know how to use it?
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1answer
2k views

what does “To err is human; to err humble is divine” mean? [closed]

Read this in an article referring to "the best way to introduce yourself" and wanted more clarity on this statement "To err is human; to err humble is divine"
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2answers
163 views

The meaning of the sentence about relative clause and the word usage

A manuscript that lay unnoticed by scientists for decades has revealed that Albert Einstein once dabbled with an alternative to the Big Bang theory, proposing instead that the Universe expanded ...
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2answers
326 views

Could anyone explain the meaning of the following sentence

In my offer letter there is one section named "End of Contract". In this section there is one item which I don't understand clearly. This is as follows: Your service could be ended by giving ...
2
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2answers
247 views

bank cards: the same as debit card, or catch-all for debit and credit card

I've been asked by a student whether 'bank card' is a common synonym for debit card. I started by checking wikipedia whose article on bank cards (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_card) points ...
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1answer
58 views

meaning of “à la Weber”

what's the meaning of: à la Weber in this phrase "Democracy has become, à la Weber, synonymous with equal treatment by bureaucracy"
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2answers
1k views

“I live on beans and rice” vs. “I live off beans and rice”

I wanted to refocus a related question on ell.se. towards a possible deeper and direct relationship to "on vs. off". Consider the following two phrases: I live off beans and rice. (Approx 94,000 ...
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1answer
4k views

What does it mean when you say “you, there” in English? [closed]

I was watching Titanic the movie today. In the movie, someone came out of a room and saw another person and said with anger : "You there? " Does it mean "I am happy you are here" or "I am surprised ...
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2answers
53 views

Meaning of the phrase “survived the Constitution”

What's the meaning of "survived the Constitution" in the following phrase? Moreover, of this list only “the never-ending appeals to the people by competing public officials” survived the ...
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4answers
139 views

Does the word “God” in English imply that there is only one?

I know the word Allah in Arabic implies that there is only one. That's because Allah is either a name or a short form of Al Illah, literally meaning "the God". That depends on which muslim you ask, ...
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1answer
435 views

What does the word “pass” really mean in this context?

Philanderer is someone who makes love insincerely, someone who engages in passing love affairs. NB I looked it up in dictionaries but there was no thing such as "pass love affair" in non of them. ...
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3answers
8k views

The term “My best to you” at the end of an email

What does the above mean? A form of goodbye? Or the best to you until we speak or communicate again? Best wishes? A male acquaintance wrote this at the end of his email when responding to my ...
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2answers
76 views

“in pretence” and “lordship”

There was no doubt that a man, in succeeding to a lordship in right of his wife, would wish to bear the arms associated therewith. He placed them, therefore, upon his own, and arms exclusively ...
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1answer
56 views

what's the meaning of “However touching may be an interest so tender”

what's the meaning of "However touching may be an interest so tender" in this passage Authorities . . . will tell us: ‘What is at the bottom the goal of your efforts, the motive of your work, the ...
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1answer
2k views

What is meant by “the fifth estate”?

I've found several definitions that seem to be incompatible From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fifth+estate A class or group in society other than the nobility, the clergy, the middle ...
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2answers
409 views

What to call an object that inspires aspirations?

Take this building. I find it particularly inspires in me aspirations – aspirations of social prestige and material success. So I am then aspirational. Is there a word that describes the building, ...
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1answer
131 views

Meaning of “For, as to their own happiness, it is but trash”

What is the meaning of the sentence in bold? I don't think happiness is important. For, as to their own happiness, it is but trash. To what end is happiness?, I say. Henry Jacobson (Happiness) ...
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4answers
571 views

Meaning of the word “snood”

What does actually snood mean when someone says, 'He is a snood arm wrestler. He eats more than he trains, but he's beaten some of our toughest guys.' Does it mean that person who's called snood arm ...
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1answer
64 views

The meaning of “lot” in “pragmatic lot”?

I'm watching the movie The Counselor and Brad Pitt character say this : "They are a pragmatic lot". What is the meaning of "lot" in this sentence.
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1answer
721 views

Usage of the word “curious” in the meaning of peculiar: always correct or only as 'artistic' form? [closed]

To me the word "curious" would be something you can be i.e. I am curious what tomorrow will bring I recently read a text of a student I was supervising which used it as follows A curious ...
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2answers
1k views

What is a cock-feeder?

I've been reading Tyburn Tales, a Victorian book about the malefactors who suffered on the gallows at York. This includes potted biographies of some of the more flagitious criminals, including a ...
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1answer
395 views

Is there difference between acne and pimples?

As title says: Is there difference between acne and pimples? As far as I know "acne" is skin condition, meaning that there are number of various "pimple" types on and under the skin.