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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2answers
2k views

What does it mean when people ask 'Do you have a credit card, at all'?

There is a fashion in the UK, these days for adding the words 'at all' to the end of almost any inquiry that people make. For example you are likely to be asked by a ticket collector 'Have you got a ...
-1
votes
2answers
6k views

Meaning and origin of phrase “wear heart on sleeve” [closed]

What does the phrase "wear (one's) heart on (one's) sleeve" mean? I would appreciate if you could also tell me the origin of the same.
0
votes
2answers
2k views

How to say “along the way” when I mean it literally?

I wanted to help a foreigner looking for his guide. I said: Go towards the church, you will meet your guide along the way. I meant that he would meet him while going towards the church. What should ...
-2
votes
1answer
262 views

What does this whole paragraph mean? [closed]

Now, although I regard with a hushed and solemn fear, the mysteries, between which and this state of existence is interposed the barrier of the great trial and change that fall on all the things ...
-1
votes
3answers
299 views

What does Tutankhamen “died on his knees” mean?

Time magazine (November 4) carries an article titled, “Tutankhamen died on his knees, then his body spontaneously combusted,” which is followed with the following statement: Working together with ...
0
votes
1answer
431 views

What is the difference between these two types of negation?

What is the difference between:- Ali is rich,but he isn't happy. Ali is rich, but he is unhappy.
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the word that means a person has confused two terms with one another?

Is there a better verb than "confuse" in this passage: Joe has confused the terms A, B, and C. When describing B he used the attributes of A. Also, Joe used attributes of C when discussing A.
0
votes
3answers
181 views

Swim into the water [closed]

Is it correct to say "I swim into the water" as a synonym of "I dive"? Thank you
2
votes
2answers
120 views

A word for “nobody depends on me”

If I do not depend on anybody, I can say: I am independent And if nobody depends on me. Is there a monoword to describe that?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“As [adjective] as a [noun]” vs “as [adjective] a [noun] as there”

How does the meaning differ for the following two sentences? Even then, the subject seemed as fascinating a problem as there could be. Even then, the subject seemed as fascinating as a ...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

What does this text from The Haunted House by Charles Dickens mean?

"Who is--or who was--the hooded woman with the owl? Do you know?" "Well!" said Ikey, holding up his cap with one hand while he scratched his head with the other, "they say, in general, that ...
0
votes
2answers
152 views

“a truce to sport..” from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

From "A Lazy Day" by Paul Laurence Dunbar: No ripple stirs the placid pool, When my adventurous line is cast, A truce to sport, while clear and cool, The mirrored clouds slide ...
1
vote
2answers
134 views

What does the bolded part mean?

The call produced a high-shouldered young fellow, with a round red face, a short crop of sandy hair, a very broad humorous mouth, a turned-up nose, and a great sleeved waistcoat of purple bars, with ...
0
votes
3answers
425 views

What does 'high-shouldered' mean?

for example a quote from the haunted house: a high-shouldered young fellow.
1
vote
2answers
272 views

What does 'sanding a doorstep' mean?

What does "sanding a doorstep" mean? Does it mean polishing the doorstep? Or filling it in with sand? I read this expression in Charles Dickens' book, The Haunted House where it says, I found ...
0
votes
2answers
495 views

What does “red faces” in “There were a lot of red faces in the general staff” on inefficient wreck of Russian war machine mean?

There was the following sentence in Time magazine (September 16) titled “”America’s weak and waffling. Russia’s rich and resurgent”: “2008 summer also put Russia’s military to the test when a war ...
2
votes
4answers
436 views

Alternative to the idiomatic phrase “highway robbery”

I was wondering whether there were any other alternatives to the phrase "highway robbery". I am trying to say the same thing in a light-hearted, but not too casual way.
1
vote
1answer
156 views

“it would not be fair to everyone else for me to eat all the oranges.”

“it would not be fair to everyone else for me to eat all the oranges.” Is that correct? Why there is "FOR", would it not work simply with "WHEN"? “it would not be fair to everyone else ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “You might want to sit down for this”

And thanks, too, for contacting me, because you need to hear what I have to say. You might want to sit down for this. If you’re on anti-anxiety medication, all the better. What does the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “a day's work” mean?

What does "a day's work" mean? Does it mean a full day's work? The quote below is taken from Charles Dickens' The Haunted House In the summertime, I often rise very early, and repair to my room ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Etymology of the phrase “Twenty-three Skidoo” as used in “Hey Arnold!”

The phrase “Twenty-Three Skidoo” has a very interesting and mysterious history described very thoroughly by the wikipedia article on the phrase. However, this article seems to indicate it’s usually ...
2
votes
1answer
827 views

Does “housemate” imply a sexual relationship?

In a recent question, another user expressed concern that housemate has sexual connotations because of this definition at Dictionary.com: noun 1. a person with whom one shares a house or other ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What does “fig” mean in “showing the fig”?

From Etymonline "Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between two fingers, a display which vaguely resembles a fig, itself symbolic of a vagina (sykon also meant ...
0
votes
3answers
356 views

Use of couple and meaning

Couple - Can I say I have a couple of kids meaning that I have a girl and a boy, or it is only for number, not gender?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Does “a value between two values” imply the two values are included within the range?

For example, if a there is a validation message that specifies that a number "must be a value between 1 and 100" does that imply that 1 and 100 are part of the allowed set of values? I would suggest ...
2
votes
2answers
706 views

Is “knocking on” an idea an idiom for dismissing the idea? [closed]

For years, I thought I'd heard others say, "I don't mean to knock on your idea, but..."—and it was definitely on, not down, although I've heard knock down as well—but now that I'm looking ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Run me ragged/run me exhausted

Is it understandable if we say "run me ragged" or "run me exhausted" (in both of these expression "run" doesn't mean literal "running")?
1
vote
1answer
100 views

What does “good enough to lose” in “Red Sox were either good enough to lose, or just plain bad” in the World Series in the past”?

New York Times (October 31st) reported Red Sox’s victory in the World Series under the title, “Red Sox Rout Cardinals to Win World Series” It begins with the following sentence: For much of the ...
-1
votes
1answer
58 views

Is 'Homologous to ash' correct in a literature context? [duplicate]

All men are equal, they are all made of the same materials. lets say that material is ash. is it correct if you say 'homologous to ash' ? I am looking for a Persian to English translation of this ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

What does “Octotastic” mean?

I've seen people writing : "Have an Octotastic day!". I've tried to search online but no useful results. From the context I feel its a synonym for "fantastic". I couldn't see any details on usage of ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Words that mean the exact opposite to themselves [duplicate]

As I'm sure everyone is now aware, the OED has now acknowledged that "literally" can be used to mean both "figuratively" AND "actually" -- two words with the opposite definition. It got me wondering: ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

Meaning of “In 1995, Eric Cantona was at the height of his powers.” [closed]

"In 1995, Eric Cantona was at the height of his powers." Does it mean Cantona made great achievements in 1995? Or could it mean he possessed powers because it is his footballing heyday?
1
vote
1answer
993 views

How should a long sentence with multiple “or”s and commas be understood?

I'm trying to get a proper understanding of exactly what a long, run-on sentence really says. The actual text is from Michigan law, but I'm not seeking a legal interpretation rather a full ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

“be in at the end I cannot”, from G.M.Hopkins' poem

There's a great poem by G.M. Hopkins, in which I but vaguely get the meaning of the two last stanzas, stumbling at properly parsing the sentences in my mind. In particular, I don't understand the ...
5
votes
2answers
524 views

Does this parallel structure need coordinated prepositions to avoid being a faulty parallelism?

...on Finnis's view all distinct instances of basic goods are incommensurable — none is of more, less, or equal value with any other. — Source I expect to see more or less than any other, ...
0
votes
3answers
110 views

Meaning of “limbic system on two legs with waterfalls”

"it made me a limbic system on two legs with waterfalls pouring out from my armpits" Source : http://yourbrainonporn.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-excessive-porn-use lymbic system on LEGS? pouring ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Being mighty a master, being a father and fond: what “fond” is?

I'm not sure of the meaning of the last word in the last line of G.M. Hopkin's "In the valley of the Elwy": God, lover of souls, swaying considerate scales, Complete thy creature dear O where it ...
1
vote
2answers
512 views

Meaning of “I had just finished year 10 and summer break had begun”

I had just finished year 10 and summer break had begun. What's the meaning of that year 10? Does it mean his age is 10? Or does it mean it's his tenth year of his school?
1
vote
5answers
44k views

Word for “when somebody does something without realizing it”

I can't think of this word. It's when somebody is doing something but they don't realize they are doing it. For example: Suppose you're a girl and you are falling in love with a guy. When he ...
1
vote
2answers
256 views

Mixed Conditionals

This question is about conditionals If I had money, I would give it you conditional 2 (present tense) If I had money, I would have given it to you conditional 3 (Past tense) But I've ...
0
votes
3answers
662 views

Augmentation in Computer Science

How would you define augmentation in terms of Computer Science? I've heard it used as ‘strengthening’: “In jQuery, you design a page, and then you make it dynamic. This is ...
0
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between a “technologist” and a “technician”?

The dictionary offers the following: technologist — a person who specializes in technology technician — specialist in industrial techniques: somebody who is skilled in industrial ...
0
votes
1answer
795 views

What does “happy the man who changes Emma for Harriet” mean?

From Emma by Jane Austen, Chapter 31, the last paragraph: "There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart," said she afterwards to herself. "There is nothing to be compared to it. Warmth and ...
0
votes
1answer
143 views

Is there any difference between remembers everything and never forgets?

If we have the two sentences: John remembers everything. and John never forgets. Are there any nuances or tones that give different meaning to the two phrases.
0
votes
1answer
3k views

when should I use the following sentence. I am little bit confused

when should I use the following sentence. I am little bit confused: "May I help you?" "What can I do for you?" What is the difference between above two sentence and when I can use them? Please ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the meaning of “up and kicking”?

What is the meaning of "up and kicking"? Is it similar to "up and running", but with the former one describing people and the latter one describing machines? Thank you!
0
votes
1answer
439 views

What is the contemporary usage of the word “blouse”, namely in North America?

I've red some definitions of the word "blouse" and not all of them agree. From Wikipedia A blouse is a loose-fitting upper garment that was formerly worn by workmen, peasants, artists, women and ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Lady Chatterlay's Lover: “last crow” [closed]

I don't want to be vulgar here. But what does "crow" mean in their conversation: Connie: Then why are you so bitter? Mellors: I'm not! If my cock gives its last crow, I don't mind! When ...
2
votes
1answer
215 views

Is “on the side of” right here?

China’ government faces a lot of challenges in global politics and domestic politics. On the side of global politics, it is criticized for its lack of moral courage to take side in conflicts. ...
2
votes
1answer
165 views

Lady Chatterley's Lover: “as rotten as high game”

I came across the following sentence in Chapter 15 of Lady Chatterlay's Lover, when the keeper talks about the English middle class: ... full of conceit of themselves, frightened even if their ...