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

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17
votes
27answers
2k views
+200

A critical situation in which no trick works?

How could one describe a situation in which no trick, no approach, no magic, nothing at all works to change the outcome? One where you have no choice but to accept things as they are. For example, I ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “Ur-moment” a normal English expression?

The New York Times article of this past July 29th titled, “The D.O. Is In Now: Osteopathic Schools Turn Out Nearly a Third of All Med School Grads,” features the growing popularity of the Touro ...
11
votes
14answers
2k views
+50

A word for one who loves only one girl throughout his life

Just like one wife man is called : monogamous. Is there any word for one who loves just one girl throughout his life time. For him one life, one girl matters. History has seen such people. Are such ...
6
votes
9answers
2k views

What is the opposite of an Epiphany?

I think of an Epiphany as a "Eureka Moment" as in a goldminer crying out, "Eureka!" upon discovering a vein of gold (I'm a native Californian (and former resident of Eureka), so that example comes ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

meaning of “or”

is the word nuclear assumed after the "or" in the following sentence? "by nuclear action or radiation or radioactive contamination" In other words, does the "or" assume that the Nuclear applies to ...
0
votes
3answers
503 views

What does my coworker mean that our company doesn't support “Comp”?

I was talking to a coworker that said that our company doesn't support "Comp". We were talking about taking overtime to complete a project this weekend. I searched for comp in relation to jobs and ...
6
votes
3answers
320 views

Is “since-folded (TV network)” an accustomed English word?

Time magazine (August 29) reports that Sara Palin has launched her own Internet Television network in its Entertainment TV section. It says; “Palin’s not the first candidate to lose an election ...
0
votes
1answer
152 views

What’s the difference between “in” and “at” when used before a Location/Site/Country/County etc

We always were told that you could use the word in before a place which is a large space e.g. country/city etc. Whereas, before a smaller site or place you should use at. But actually I don’t know ...
1
vote
2answers
906 views

Is there a difference between “depressive” and “depressing”?

Is news depressing or depressive? In what situations would you use these two words? According to dicionary.com: depressive - tending to depress depressing - serving to depress; inducing a ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

What does this line mean : “The man's high tone spread throughout the spacious bar”

I am reading this light novel called GGO and in it I came across these lines: "AGI (Agility) being all powerful is just an illusion." The man's high tones spread throughout the spacious ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

Meaning - 'the sword and the purse'

Because it lacks the legitimacy and accountability that come with election and the power that derives from the sword and the purse, the Supreme Court’s authority rests on public acceptance of its ...
4
votes
4answers
108 views

What is the word used to describe the fear of the unknown?

I believe it is a recurring theme in "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" where the characters are scared of what they can't quite explain. Something like supernatural/transcendental. I can't ...
2
votes
2answers
50 views

Can I use “will” as non-auxiliary verb?

I was in England and I heard that some people use word "will" as non auxiliary verb, in meaning "wish". Have I misheard? If it is true, in which cases can I use "will" as non auxiliary verb?
0
votes
1answer
22 views

Geek vs Geek Out - beyond computers

I am struggling with new usages of the word "geek" or "geek out". In social media outlets, it's no longer confined to computers or technology, but can be related to other subjects including ...
2
votes
2answers
212 views

Is “chill” out of place to say to someone after a not so particularly good exam?

I am not a native speaker of English. Now, this was the conversation: A: How was today's exam? B: It was just okay. A: Well, you've got 2 more, right? You'll do well in those. Now when ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

Right meaning of the phrase [duplicate]

[man] makes himself the instrument of somebody or something outside of himself; he need not solve the problem of living by productive activity. Bold part means “a man doesn't need to solve ...
6
votes
5answers
857 views

How do I greet someone in a different timezone when my morning is his evening? [duplicate]

I am in Nepal and my father is in America. When we talk with him it is our morning and his evening. Now how can I greet him and how can he greet me saying, where one would typically say 'good morning' ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

“Mistaken as” vs. “mistaken for”

I heard someone use the words mistaken as rather than mistaken for. Is this correct? If it is correct then what is the difference between the two? Is it ever wrong to use mistaken as, and if so, why? ...
2
votes
0answers
72 views

The meaning of “hemorrhoidal sensations”

The Swede, like the Frenchman, prefers in Poetry the light, the clear and the transparent. The profound, indeed, he demands and values also; but it must be a depth that is pellucid. He wishes that ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

What's the difference between a “nook” and a “cranny”?

I think both words mean a sort of crevice or corner. Presumably there must be some significant difference. The words are almost always used together: e.g. She searched in every nook and cranny ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

What's the meaning of “ a blue berserk”?

Dis married Jokul Ironback, a blue berserk. From "The Saga of Thorstein Viking's Son" by R.B.Anderson. It's a norse saga that I'm reading. What's the meaning of "a blue berserk", I know the word ...
1
vote
0answers
41 views

What does “circumstantial consequence” mean?

How can of the phrase "circumstantial consequence" be explained? I vaguely understand the probable meaning, but it doesn't quite come into focus. Is it something like (unintended) side effect?
1
vote
1answer
32 views

the meaning of 'evil which seem blessings to the memory'?

Soon after this eventful day, I became the husband of Bertha. I ceased to be the scholar of Cornelius, but I continued his friend. I always felt grateful to him for having, unaware, procured me that ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

Is “mother tongue” exactly the same as “native language”?

Someone just told me "mother tongue" is exactly the same as "native language". I may be wrong, but I think the first one is not a good translation. Am I wrong?
4
votes
4answers
118 views

Can we authenticate the claim that “grungy” was used to mean “envious or jealous” in 1920s slang?

A recent question on EL&U asks "Where did the 1920s slang word "grungy" (meaning "envious") originate, if the modern word "grungy" (meaning "dingy") ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

What does “reclusion” mean specifically?

If we take a recluse, with their state of seclusion unknown, is their condition self-inflicted? Or is reclusion a punishment? For example, (from www.thefreedictionary.com) re·clu·sion (r-klzhn) ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

The word entropy [on hold]

Could someone define the word entropy for me in the context below. "I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness ...
12
votes
7answers
8k views

What does the term “86'd” relate to?

What does it mean when someone or something is referred to as being "86'd"?
0
votes
3answers
53 views

Precise meaning of “fourfold”

I got into a disagreement with someone about the meaning of the word "fourfold." His contention is that it means up to four times as many whereas my contention is that it means four times as many, no ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Does capitalization change the meaning of the word coke?

Does capitalization change the meaning of the word coke? Does Coke mean the soda and coke mean the drug? Is there a grammar term that denotes this behavior? Or is there no rule and it's simply the ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

What does “further embodiment” mean?

I am reading a legal paper and I see this "further embodiment" a lot. I wonder what it means? Thank you
7
votes
2answers
23k views

Meaning of “watch your six”

What does "watch your six" mean? Does it mean "watch your back", like in a dangerous area?
2
votes
1answer
37 views

What is the meaning of “cooling relations”?

Sometimes relations between nations can be considered to be "cooling"? What does this mean? I can't tell if it means: The relationship is getting better because it's "cooling-off" from "hot" ...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

Is [Its'] a word? (Note the apostrophe at the end.)

I just had a strange flashback to a conversation I had when I was in high school, with a man who was regarded by many members of a particular online community as having an impressive degree of ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

The meaning of “blue canoe” in the lyrics of “Where to Now, St. Peter” sung by Elton John

In his song Where to Now, St. Peter, Sir Elton John sings: I took myself a blue canoe, And I floated like a leaf Dazzling, dancing half enchanted In my Merlin sleep. Crazy was the ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

What's the difference betwen perhaps and maybe?

I would like to know how to use them are theres alike? or just two differents words that can be used in the same way?
8
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the origin, and correct spelling of, “shtook”?

I quite frequently use a word that sounds like "shtook", to mean, trouble with the law or other authorities, as in, "You'll be in dead shtook if you do that" or "you'll be in real shtook if you don't ...
15
votes
5answers
25k views

What's the difference between “Collaborate” and “Cooperate”?

Both of these words seem to mean much the same thing: working together to achieve some goal. I can instinctively feel a difference between them, but I can't easily put it into words. Can you help me? ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Is the usage of “forfeit” correct here?

«The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property.» ...
-3
votes
1answer
64 views

What's the difference between “hoover” and “hover”? [on hold]

I sometimes use "hoover" and sometimes "hover". What's the difference?
1
vote
2answers
56 views

Committee, Association and Assembly — What's the differrence?

I'm confused by these 3 words and I'm not quite sure what the differences are. I know how council, commission and committee differ, but I can't find it for Assembly and Association. I'm using it for a ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

Is “right hand of” means right hand of anybody else? [on hold]

Idiom meaning of "right hand of" Example. Right hand of GOD.
0
votes
2answers
11k views

Meaning of “about to [do something]” when it refers to somebody's action

I am about to launch a start-up company. Would the sentence be understood as I am intending to launch a start-up company, or I am close to launch a start-up company? In a sentence like the ...
-3
votes
3answers
65 views

“Evocative” vs. “provocative” [closed]

I am starting to use evocative and provocative interchangeably. I would like to understand the difference between these words and when one should be used instead of the other. although the ...
5
votes
3answers
248 views

Semantic shift in “around”

I'm interested in the use of "around" as a synomym for "about, concerning, related to", which doesn't seem to be recorded in current dictionaries. I'd call it an academic/pseudo-academic usage and ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

What are the most common ways to say “die”, i.e. pass away? [closed]

It seems like my question was too broad to answer. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I've edited my question a little. So, I would like to know what common terms I can use instead of the word "die." ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

What does “Our climate is indisposed to favour us even this once” mean?

Please help me to understand the meaning of this expression: Our climate is indisposed to favour us even this once. (The Cherry Orchard). What does "even this once" mean in this phrase?
4
votes
4answers
77 views

Is there a word for the status of a team being 'home' or 'away'

A team can be 'home' or 'away' - but what is this status called? At first I thought 'location' or 'venue' but this isn't right - the location is singular and the basis of what determines the 'home' ...
-1
votes
1answer
53 views

What's this word? [on hold]

I'm watching a video on youtube and just heard a new word/expression that I can't seem to spell "right enough" to have google correct me and bring me to its definition. I've included the context and ...
4
votes
1answer
290 views

Is there such a thing as “Injective Relief” (as a legal term)?

I was recently given a nondisclosure agreement to sign. On the form it stated that the company may seek "injective relief" as needed in order to enforce the agreement. Now, I'm quite familiar with ...