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

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21
votes
4answers
5k views

Is the adjective “abject” ever found with any word other than “poverty”? Does it mean something other than “very” or “utterly”?

Reading over an answer at the Skeptics StackExchange, it occurred to me that I had never really seen the adjective abject used with any other word other than poverty. Has abject become inexorably ...
8
votes
3answers
950 views

Obama's use of “bemused”

I generally see the definition of "bemused" to be synonymous with "confused" or "puzzled", and that it is wrong to use it as a synonym of "amused". However I tend to see it used — as Obama did ...
1
vote
0answers
13 views

bleed inside out/got-have got

I've been wondering if there is the expression "I bleed inside out" or if it is correct. For example "someone or something makes me bleed inside out" - as we say "it breaks my heart". And actually I ...
1
vote
3answers
48 views

What does “drive a spike” mean? [on hold]

what does drive a spike mean in this sentence : It's like driving a spike through my heart
3
votes
2answers
130 views

Is there a word or term for one who is obsessed with names?

This is for a piece I am currently writing. Since I could not find anything from a Google search, I figured it would be wise to enlist the knowledge of the smart cohort of Stack Exchange. My question ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

What does “too on the nose” mean?

What does "too on the nose" mean, especially as applied to art? I use the expression but struggle to explicitly articulate what I mean. My best attempt is that I use it to refer to film, music, etc. ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

deep roll of blue at the tops

I want some help with my question about the meaning of “deep roll of blue at the tops”: "The men were dressed in blue, of the same shade as their hats, and wore well-polished boots with a deep ...
-1
votes
2answers
34 views

“You look good. The last time I seen you, you looked terrible, your head was busted in and —” [on hold]

“You look good. The last time I seen you, you looked terrible, your head was busted in and —” What's a "busted in" hairstyle? Research I've done ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

The meaning of a noun phase which is modified by an adjective clause

(1)Vin is the smartest guy that can play a piano. (2)Vin is the smartest guy in the class that can play a piano. (3)Vin is the smartest guy in the class that can understand every kind of ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

Is 'metacogniscent' a word?

I was watching this video and around the 1:05 minute mark the girl said 'metacogniscent', but I'm wondering whether or not that actually is a word, and if so; did she use it correctly (from what I've ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What does “Picadillo” mean

I've heard expressions such as "He's had his picadillos" or "The Picadillos of his youth". But I can't seem to find any definitions on google (Maybe I'm just spelling it wrong? haha), only examples ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Outdoors vs in the outdoors [on hold]

If somebody likes sleeping in the open, which of the following sentences is correct? And if both are correct, what is the difference (if any) between them? He likes sleeping outdoors. He ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

What's meaning of “follow the argument through to its conclusion”?

In "But many of those countries have failed to follow the argument through to its conclusion", I don't understand what "follow the argument through to its conclusion" means. Can anybody help me ...
13
votes
5answers
52k views

“To be subject to” vs. “to be subjected to”

I read an article from Toronto Star today which stated: TTC workers are subject to alcohol and drug testing. A later paragraph of the same article repeated it, except it used subjected to ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Synonyms for “big deal”

I have read on The Free Dictionary that the expression big deal may be used as an interjection to answer ironically "to indicate that something is unimportant or unimpressive". If it is the case, what ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between “pulse” and “impulse”?

Let's say you have a title to write, I wrote something like "the [adjective] pulse". Here what I mean by "pulse" is the noun to describe a "will" that "comes suddently in you" and makes you feel like ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Dropped the pen and threw up the sponge

This was said by one of my mates while retelling a story. The story runs that there was a court being held, and there was a recording-clerk as well. But this was a humor story, and the story continued ...
3
votes
5answers
55 views

What does “to have something to them” mean?

I've been reading god is not Great by Christopher Hitchens which is from time to time hard to understand for me. I came across a sentence majority of which makes sense to me, but I lose the track at ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

Be going to have to

I have encountered this phrase on a forum. It was an answer to an unclear question. What does it exactly mean? In particular, what is the function of be going to in this case? You're going to have ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the metaphorical meaning of “Tone-deaf”?

I understand the literal meaning of "Tone-deaf". As Wiktionary puts it: Unable to clearly distinguish the difference in pitch between different notes. But what's the metaphorical meaning? As ...
4
votes
2answers
957 views

Formal way to say “I believe”

I am writing a chapter in a book and I want to say that "I believe that this researcher is right ....", in a more formal way. Can I say "The present author believes ....."
-1
votes
0answers
48 views

Can't remember the word for indicating different options

The word I am trying to find sounds like "weather" and I think it is used on some sentences like "I have to decide {weather} I use this or this other thing", I can't remember how it is written. ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

What does it mean to be the Louis Kirstein Professor?

I have to do a dissertation on William Jay Lorsch and Paul R. Lawrence, so I was looking for information, but I found a term of which I don't know the meaning. The complete sentence is: Jay W. ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

What's the meaning of “I can't imagine why.”? [on hold]

Does it mean "The answer is obvious to me." in a sarcastic way, or does it mean "I really don't know the reason."? I am inclined to go with the former. Surprisingly googling doesn't help. Secondly, ...
2
votes
1answer
34 views

“manufacturing time” vs. “manufacture time”

Why is the term "manufacturing time" used instead of "manufacture time"? Just like one would say "production time" and not "producing time".
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between “lore” and “folklore”

What is the difference between lore and folklore? What are the best examples where to use one and not the other?
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Fever Dream Out of Something Meaning

What is the exact meaning of the second part of the sentence below? This underground bomb shelter, built by Tito, seemed as large and as crazy as a small country, not to mention a fever dream ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Can you give a clearer definition of “powerhouse” in food industry like dessert powerhouse?

I read an article and the article writer uses the word "dessert powerhouse". I guess "dessert powerhouse" like a big manufacture that makes a lot of dessert and whole-sales to other smaller cake shop ...
2
votes
3answers
604 views

Is there a word that means “to hate beauty”?

For example, to love beauty is called "philocaly". Does this have an opposite?
1
vote
1answer
36 views

What's the origin/etymology of the phrase “regular old”? Does it have a clearly defined meaning?

It seems to me that the adjective phrase "regular old" seems to have a few distinct usages, but a confusing conversation and some fruitless searches as to a specific definition have me coming to ...
1
vote
0answers
96 views

Is “cause” instead of “because” becoming Standard English?

Nowadays, I'm seeing a drastic increase in usage of cause in place of because, especially in written English. People are in such a hurry, that a statement like below passes off like Standard English: ...
-1
votes
2answers
38 views

meaning of “Operation Stork”

What are the meanings of "Operation Stork"? I know the common meanings of the word "Operation" and "Stork", but putting the meanings together doesn't make sense to me. PS:I saw this phase as the name ...
0
votes
1answer
465 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
-1
votes
1answer
38 views

“Back at his house in…” vs “back in his house in…”

What's the correct form? Or at least the most commonly used? I found both instances in Google Books: On the journey home and back in his house in Scy Chazelles Schuman gave the plan his ...
-1
votes
1answer
31 views

Defintion of Gilead in The Handmaid's Tale [on hold]

In The Handmaid's Tale written by Margaret Atwood the military government is called Gilead. What is the definition of Gilead? Googling gave me the following definition: Gilead was a mountainous ...
0
votes
1answer
18 views

which is all they need in [on hold]

In the week since Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo declared a war on corruption in business circles, prosecutors have launched an investigation into Posco Engineering and Construction (E&C) for ...
-1
votes
1answer
29 views

The meaning of this sentence [on hold]

"Time is what you want the most, but what you use worst." what should be the meaning of this sentence , I am unable to comprehend.
4
votes
1answer
109 views

What does “a Kosher ham” signify in the line, “Stone described himself as a kosher ham ready to go to the opening of door.”?

I found the article titled, How Jackie O played matchmaker to two of America’s greatest minds appearing in Vanity Fair (May 18) very interesting and informative, but am curious to know what the ...
6
votes
5answers
7k views

Difference between “purpose” and “goal”

What does this sentence from Star Trek: The Alternative Factor mean? Jim, madness has no purpose ... or reason ... but it may have a goal. As far as I know purpose and goal are synonyms. How ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

the phrase: Word of hand

I've heard somewhere: "word of hand" What does "word of hand" mean? Can it mean something like: word of advice | help | aid? Like it does in: "to give hand to smb". UPDATE: (what I could find in ...
0
votes
3answers
57 views

Word to describe someone who makes you feel uncomfortable [on hold]

It's more like unsettling and discomforting but not threatening like daunting or menacing.
9
votes
6answers
783 views

What's the meaning of the “shed” in “watershed”?

It seems like a kind of house, if it is. I cannot grasp the meaning of watershed.
4
votes
5answers
753 views

“Group” vs. “community” usage

Question 1 When we have a certain number of people that share the same interest, do we refer to them as: interest group or community [sharing same interest]? What would be preferred and more ...
-1
votes
1answer
67 views

What “order in advance” means?

I am buying somethings from one site and I aways see this phase: "Order in Advance". Order in advance for your specific needs! This mean that I need to order (or buy) a lot of things to have my ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

What does “stage-cutch” mean?

I would like to ask about the meaning of "stage-cutch" in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. it appeared in my translation test this afternoon and I didn't find any definition of it. In my opinion, ...
3
votes
1answer
255 views

Living out of one another's pockets

Neither Anastasia Alexandrovna nor he felt that they could live another minute out of one another's pockets. What does this mean? Does it mean they can't live without one another (because they ...
-3
votes
2answers
48 views

The experts in the field and the dictionary give the definition of words (such as Wisdom, etc). Which one is more precise?

Ok, the Philosopher defines "Wisdom" as the "the use of knowledge" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom) whereas the dictionary defines "Wisdom" as "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and ...
0
votes
2answers
86 views

meaning of “mask out” in screen printing

I'm having a hard time translating a passage about screen printing. For screen prints, mesh (originally silk) is stretched tautly across a frame. An image is glued or otherwise affixed onto the ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

What does “case” mean in the following context? [on hold]

I firmly believe that imagination is coming from knowledge, experience, and most of all, reading. Reading things in our sphere, say, blogging and SEO (if I am the case) there is nothing ...