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

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2
votes
2answers
150 views

What does “low-growing” mean?

What does low-growing mean in the following sentence? She planted some "low-growing" stuff.
2
votes
3answers
521 views

“Survey” vs. “inquiry”

There are already some posts talking about inquiry, enquiry, and survey. However, a real sharp definition and distinction between survey and inquiry words is still missing and I'd like to be sure ...
2
votes
4answers
284 views

Use “get” or not? [closed]

What is the difference between these sentences? Your app may simply get lost Your app may simply lost
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What is meant by the phrase “Charlie Brown management”?

Recently I came to hear the term "Charlie Brown management" in a news article. I tried searching the net on this term, but didn't get anything useful. Please help me to decipher this idiom.
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “gold is where you find it” mean?

Gold is where you find it. Can someone please give me an example of how to use this expression?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a “paying gig”?

I was invited to do a project for someone, and she mentioned "Obviously this is a paying gig." What exactly would this mean?
32
votes
15answers
4k views

“True” is to “false” as “truth” is to… what?

If I were to reverse the sentence, "I care about the truth" I would want to say: I care about the false. Is that correct? It seems awkward at best: He speaks the truth! / He speaks the ...
5
votes
2answers
39k views

Meaning of “hail to the king”

I can't translate that sentence, “hail to the king”. I've found something like “greetings to the king” but is this correct?
2
votes
5answers
847 views

Synonyms for “Almighty”

What is a perfect synonym for Almighty? For whom we could we use Almighty? Can Almighty be used for God?
15
votes
10answers
5k views

How many of the “Top 10 favorite British words” are understood by Americans?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online shows “Top 10 Favorite British Words”. I’m interested in knowing how many of the listed words are understood or accepted by Americans as English, whichever British ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the sentence of “Don’t you …”? have a connotation of accusation?

“Don't you want to know how Ginny got hold of that diary, Mr. Malfoy?” said Harry. Lucius Malfoy rounded on him. “How should I know how the stupid little girl got hold of it?” he said. ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “Land Sakes”?

In a children's story I was reading the other day, one of the characters said "Land Sakes" ...from the context of the story, it must be to indicate they are surprised? It was completely ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Is “sb.” a commonly accepted abbreviation? What does it mean?

What does sb. mean? I keep seeing it certain posters' questions and I'm not sure what it's supposed to stand for — the word something, my initial guess, doesn't have a 'b' in it. So my questions ...
4
votes
2answers
632 views

Meaning of some sentences from sports pages of newspapers

I was studying some vocabulary about sports pages of the newspapers from a book. The book mentions that the sportswriters are masters of English language and states how well they attract readers to ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

Literal meaning of “to give a run for someone's money”

According to the Free Dictionary, the figurative meaning of to give a run for someone's money is "to be as good as someone." But what's the literal meaning of the sentence?
6
votes
6answers
21k views

What is the meaning of “Many a mickle makes a muckle”?

I've heard this phrase, and don't know what a "mickle" or a "muckle" is. Hence I have no idea at all what the phrase itself is supposed to mean.
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is considered a dystopia?

In the film The Book of Eli, the world is in state of disarray, with no government, weak or non-existent town and family structures, and widespread hunger, poverty, and regressed technologies. Is this ...
2
votes
4answers
496 views

“Innocent” vs. “immature”

I'm trying to decide how to describe someone. He is not very wise, but that is also due to his ignorance. Should I use "innocence" or "immature" and can someone please explain the difference between ...
4
votes
5answers
412 views

Is there a word that means “Refinement of knowledge over time”?

I am looking for a simple way to describe the occurrence when someone comes up with an idea based on observations (the world is flat and the middle of the universe), and then refines it over time and ...
2
votes
1answer
428 views

Why I remember a wrong sense of the word “moron”? [closed]

I thought that the word "moron" means a very smart person (a genius), but my English teacher has said it means the opposite (an idiot) and it was confirmed by lexicons. Where did I get this incorrect ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the term “delicate genius” refer to?

Do a Google search for delicate genius and you will get many results, none seem to be a definition though. I was referred to as a delicate genius today after making a mistake at work. I am not a ...
5
votes
4answers
499 views

Is “observant” exclusive to vision?

The word "observant" means "watchful" or "perceptive": A particularly observant child, he noticed even the slightest changes in the classroom. is the example given by M-W. Specifically ...
15
votes
9answers
6k views

What are the similarities and differences between “irony” and “sarcasm”?

This seems to be one the long-standing arguments between people on the internet. When is something "irony" and when is it "sarcasm"? And can a quip be both at the same time? Dictionary definitions ...
54
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the purpose of using the word “automagically” when we already have “automatically”?

Is there a difference between the two? I see it used regularly in the tech community to mean automatically. Has the word been adopted into any recognised dictionary? For example: That was the ...
11
votes
4answers
740 views

Meaning of “magazine” from 1845

My wife and I were reading Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, translated into English in 1845 by Henry Beveridge, and we came across this phrase in the first book, chapter 5, section ...
13
votes
4answers
26k views

How does one use the Latin word “cum” in a sentence?

I'm talking about the Latin cum, which I've seen used conjunctively, as in A-cum-B. What does it mean, and how do you use it?
3
votes
3answers
199 views

Does “decoration” have to be visual?

When I hear the word "decoration" I assume it must be visual. However various definitions don't really require this to be the case (such as "The process or art of decorating or adorning something"). ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the exact meaning of the “oh so <adjective>” idiom?

I routinely find this expression in newspaper, magazines, blogs... My guess is that it's used to report a widely shared opinion, but I couldn't find any confirmation of this. Or maybe it's just used ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

“Should” cannot replace “if?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Are “should” and “if” interchangeable at the beginning of a sentence? A special use of “should”? For sentences that begin with ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

“will be able to” vs. “can”

Consider the following: He will be able to do it. He can do it. They mean the same thing, right? Can "can" replace "will be able to" in any sentence? What is the difference, if anything? ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“Pretend to not” vs. “Pretend not to” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Order of “not” with infinitive The following are both accepted as grammatically correct, right? You pretend to not notice. You pretend not to ...
3
votes
3answers
826 views

Different ways to say “even if”

Are all of these grammatically correct and equivalent? Even if I fail Even should I fail Even if I should fail What are the differences, if any? Could the last example be ...
3
votes
5answers
322 views

“The place where we promised to meet”

This is talking about a promise to meet at a certain place. However, is it grammatically correct? Is it badly phrased? It seems that it can be misinterpreted to mean that at a certain place a promise ...
3
votes
9answers
17k views

The phrase “God willing.”

Does "God willing" have a religious connotation to it? What are some other phrases that mean the same thing but don't have this connotation?
2
votes
5answers
8k views

What does “In some ways” exactly mean?

What does the expression "in some ways" exactly mean, as in The English language is limited in some ways, and perhaps most limited in its ability to express love. Is it generic (like in many ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

When do you use what word to express that something consists of something else?

There are various ways of saying that something consists of something else: composed of comprised of contained in consist of Maybe there are more. Are there hard and fast rules when to use which ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of the “-th” suffix? What is the linguistic term for the meaning it adds to words?

I was teaching my young nephew some math the other day, and from discussing the typical sort of word problems he's encountering in class, I noticed that the "-th" suffix adds a distinct meaning to ...
13
votes
5answers
23k views

What does the suffix “-saurus” mean?

Is it the same meaning in tyrannosaurus as in thesaurus? I really can’t imagine what those two words could possibly have in common!
7
votes
7answers
16k views

Usage of the word “technically”

I use this word in my daily language even without knowing what it actually means. Technically speaking, there is no big difference between […] and […]. So what does this word imply, not in the ...
3
votes
9answers
24k views

Is the word “epic” being used correctly these days?

You know what I mean. The word "epic" has been overused for quite some time now. I was recently referred to Wiktionary as a trusted source, and I see this example in use: (colloquial) Extending ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Does “good” weigh a little bit more than “nice”?

I came across the descriptions of badges in this Q&A site, and was curious about which word weighs more, "good" or "nice"? Here are the two descriptions that interested me: "Good Answer": ...
4
votes
5answers
14k views

“Complement” or “supplement”?

On a site similar to this one I answered a question and the OP made a comment which prompted me to complete my answer in an edit. I called it "an example" but I originally wanted to call it ...
1
vote
1answer
397 views

What's a “consumer-tech weblog/website”, and why is it called that way?

When people say consumer-tech, what exactly do they mean? What's a "consumer-tech weblog" / "consumer-tech website" (and why is it called that way)?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “soundness of judgment” mean?

Could anyone explain what exactly does "soundness of judgment" mean? I understand this as when you can judge something and take in count all possible exceptions that are involved in the evaluation of ...
2
votes
3answers
871 views

What is the meaning of the word “savvy” in this context?

I'm not a native speaker of English. I wish to know what the word savvy means in this context: network-savvy
3
votes
1answer
292 views

meaning of “grapes in my mouth” [closed]

Lyrics from The National's Ada: Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth waiting for Ada I've not come across the phrase before, nor can I find an attributed meaning. One of the ...
7
votes
3answers
56k views

What does “Ms.” stand for?

In letter writing, there are four different titles to address: Mr. Mrs. Miss. Ms. What does Ms. stand for? Apparently as Mrs. and Miss already stand for female titles, Ms. stood for ...
2
votes
2answers
293 views

Is there a better / correct term for the de facto usage of ‘ironic’?

The word ‘ironic’ is known to be quite frequently misused, to the point that some dictionaries have actually started accepting the de facto usage as another definition, usually calling it situational ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What does it mean to be “in suspense”?

What does it actually mean to be "in suspense"? It's not a place, or a verb. How would you define "suspense"?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does the phrase “touch space” mean?

Recently some of my colleagues has started using the phrase "touch space" a lot, for example in sentences like "I just called you to touch space", or "I will touch space with him tomorrow". I can ...