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

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3
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the possible words for a task?

I am looking for similar words to task for a document on scheduling tasks in the context of a project. My goal would be to find words that would denote meanings for three things. A word for a small ...
10
votes
6answers
421 views

Is the word “yearling” appropriate for a recurring event?

The Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange sites all have a "yearling" badge. Active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation. This badge can be awarded multiple times. So each year, if ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the structure of the sentence 'const to the rescue'?

The following is the context: Despite my fastidious coding habits, I have made a silly mistake and typed += when I meant to type +. As a result, when concatUnsafe is called, it will modify ...
-1
votes
3answers
71 views

Richard Feynman is certainly not mischievous!

In the introduction of Richard Feynmans book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, a colleague describes Feynman's character. The description makes sense to me - except for one word. The word ...
1
vote
2answers
61 views

What does “strip away all the sound and fury” means?

I have seen this quotation from Ed Miliband's current rhetoric: "Strip away all of the sound and fury and what people across England, Scotland and Wales, across every part of the UK, are saying is ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Did the CIA really introduce 'conspiracy theory' into popular usage after JFK?

I heard that after the JFK assassination the CIA, through assets in mass media, introduced the term 'conspiracy theory', with it connotations of something clearly ridiculous, and only believed by ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
0
votes
2answers
183 views

A meaning for a proverb?

what's the meaning of the proverb "No man is an island entire of itself" by john donne?
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What does the extra “e” mean in some names?

Many times, I saw an "e" on some names. For example: blackthorne Is this only for decoration, or is the extra "e" from old english? Or maybe spelling for certain cultures?
15
votes
5answers
7k views

Origin of “Put up your dukes”

This link claims that one cannot be sure of origin of this phrase. Three explanations are given here, but they are not very convincing (I am not a native speaker). In one of our newspapers, ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

What does 'lazy' mean in the sentence 'They bought the mansion for a lazy $10 million.'?

It seems to me that 'lazy' in this context suggests a humorous, off-hand attitude to a sum most would consider serious money. Is it a jocular minimisation of the amount, almost the opposite of the ...
-2
votes
1answer
23 views

The difference between quarter and district

What is the difference between district and quarter ? e.g. dwarven district and foreign quarter
1
vote
1answer
49 views

What does “looked every day of it” mean?

She was in her late fifties and looked every day of it. In this instance, what does looked every day of it mean?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Appropriate preposition to go with “concerned”

He is deeply concerned for vulnerable children. Is this correct? Or is there a better preposition to use instead of for? What exactly does this phrase mean? What about "He is deeply concerned ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

I'm looking for a word that defines a situation commonly used in TV/film writing

Is there a definition, or a set of categories that describe situations in tv shows, movies, etc. Example, When the protagonist is a social underdog and his love interest is that of the ...
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
953 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
17 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
56 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
138 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
35 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
37 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
64 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
37 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
40 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
56 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
41 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
959 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
50 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
84 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
36 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
37 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
100 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
467 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 ...