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

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8
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the origin of “Indian Summer” and is it offensive?

I am discussing San Francisco's "Indian Summer" and happen to be surrounded by people from India (the country). As I was speaking I got terribly uncomfortable thinking I was offending someone, (there ...
1
vote
2answers
29 views

On the Existence of the Word 'Grousily'

Is 'grousily' a word? I would like to use it in a sentence to mean 'grumpy, as if in imitation of a rumpled grouse' but don't think it's okay because of how I couldn't find it in either OS X's ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Subject of investigation vs. Object of investigation? [duplicate]

which of the following is better: "He is the subject of our current investigation." "He is the object of our current investigation."
1
vote
2answers
77 views

Rhetoric: 'Anyone that believes _____, must be _______.'

Is there a specific name for rhetoric that follows this general form? 'Anyone that _____, (is a, must be, etc.) _______.' I seem to recall that the above was a specific type of rhetoric pointed out ...
0
votes
2answers
37 views

Founder or co founder? [duplicate]

I created a website one year ago and a friend joined me on the project seven months later. So i worked one year on it and he worked four months. I searched on many website to understand the ...
1
vote
0answers
31 views

Movable Type vs. Word Press

I'm wondering, if the name of the blogging platform 'WordPress' is a game of words? Does it have any additional meaning for a native English speaker? As is the name of the blogging platform 'Movable ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Use of “Or”, inclusive or exclusive?

My wife and I are playing a game where you roll dice and move so many spaces in a grid "vertically or horizontally". In the use of English it is very common to say, this or the other when it comes ...
1
vote
4answers
54 views

“I'm dry” meaning “Would you buy me a drink?” What semantic or rhetorical term describes such usage?

Instead of saying "Could I have some water, please?" a visitor says "I am thirsty". The host understands it perfectly and says "Let me get you something to drink. What would you like?" or at a ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What is a self-contained, rhetoric phrase? (Brevity is soul of wit)

This related question touched on redundancy which appeared as a strict upgrade from an autological "word" to a "phrase" to me. It would be enlightening to find more instances that provokes a string ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Validate or Ratify?

Is there a clear difference between the "validation" or "ratification" of a document.? I came across a document that stated "Form for the Validation & Ratification of...." I thought that to ...
1
vote
3answers
149 views

What is the meaning of “it is to…”

What is the meaning of it is to in the following: It is to the Director [of Central Intelligence] that the assistant first turns to learn the facts in a crisis and for analysis of events, and ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

What's the meaning of “by string of” in logic

I don't know the meaning of "by string of" in following sentence Infer by string of IF-THEN statements found in the following Source: Knowledge Management in the Intelligence Enterprise
6
votes
6answers
24k 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.
0
votes
0answers
28 views

what's the meaning of “to accept H k” [on hold]

i don't know what stands for "k" in "to accept H k" D is a collection of data H1, H2, ... Hn explains D “best” Therefore, accepts H k
0
votes
4answers
109 views

what is it called when someone talks about something they dont know about [on hold]

What is it called when someone says something inaccurate about something they know nothing about??
12
votes
5answers
4k views

What is “the exception that proves the rule”?

I've heard the phrase, "the exception that proves the rule," but it's not clear to me what it means. It sounds self contradictory. What is a good example of "an exception that proves the rule?" Can ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” meaning and etymology

In my experience, referring to someone in an organization as "chief cook and bottle washer" has multiple possible meanings: person has a wide variety of duties in the organization person is very, ...
4
votes
2answers
241 views

The horribility of English language

Pretty much every adjective that ends in the suffix -able or -ible gives rise to a related noun: corruptible becomes corruptibility mutable becomes mutability respectable becomes respectability ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Curious words that make me suspicious

I'm curious about that curious object. I'm suspicious of that suspicious stranger. I'm dubious about that dubious plan. I can't think of any other words that allow this: using the same ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

“similarly to” in the sentence beginning

Similarly to the previous version of this product, this version contains the same feature and .... (a long description of the product) Is the usage of "similarly to" in the sentence beginning ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

Is there word for this, other than know-it-all? [duplicate]

Just wondering, if there's a word for: One who makes it appear as if they're an expert on a subject while there are also signals (subtly or blatantly noticeable) that this person doesn't know very ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

what's the meaning of “tree”?

what's the meaning of "tree" in the following sentence Pappus showed how both analysis and synthesis are used to solve problems by working in both directions to find a solution path (a tree or ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

industry problems or industrial problems

Should we say industry problems or industrial problems? Which is incorrect? or maybe each of them has specific meaning, then what is that meaning? I myself think the "industry problems" means the ...
6
votes
12answers
975 views

What would you call a person who shares every thought they have? [on hold]

What would you call a person who thinks they know everything and decides to share every little fact they can think of? For example, if a teacher or professor says something and a student decides to ...
1
vote
10answers
8k views

What is the difference between “legacy” and “inheritance”?

Can someone explain the difference between legacy and inheritance?
1
vote
4answers
210 views

What does “people of the concrete steppes” mean?

I read this on an economics blog (http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/02/in_the_1930s_it.html) and tried to google it, but the results seem to just be people using it, no one explaining it. ...
-2
votes
1answer
38 views

Androgenization refers to masculinity, but Androgynous refers to masculinity and femininity. Why? [on hold]

I recently came across the word "androgenization" which I have found to mean "possess male hormones". I found this rather strange, because to be androgynous is to have neither/both male and female ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Are camp followers prostitutes?

My own understanding of the term camp followers was that it was synonymous with prostitutes who followed armies around plying their trade. However, according to Wikipedia: Camp-follower is a term ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Relations between base level English words

A lot of dictionaries these days when they explain a word, they usually suppose that we know some base level words e.g, 'a', 'the', 'he', 'that' ,and 'be'. If I look up to their definitions in the ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

How can a poem be defined? [on hold]

Merriam webster says: A piece of writing that usually has figurative language and that is written in separate lines that often have a repeated rhythm and sometimes rhyme. Googling 'define: poem' ...
3
votes
1answer
21k views

Nerd vs. Geek vs. Dork [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy programming/technology: “geek” or “nerd”? I'm somewhat perplexed on the usages of these terms. Most references appear an ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

could you explain the below sentence about reporting?

"Half-yearly reporting included in overall project management costs" a report about the costs of the overall management of the project? or something else? thanks in advance
0
votes
2answers
77 views

Do these sentences mean the same thing?

Do these sentences all mean the same thing? You are not great because you know many things. You are great not because you know many things. You are great for another reason. As another example, ...
1
vote
1answer
231 views

what's the meaning of “country- years”

What's the meaning of "country- years"? Democratic legislatures approved only 76 percent of bills proposed by the executive branch during 783 country- years Democracy and the Limits of ...
6
votes
2answers
25k views

Why are “scaring” and “scarring” confused by some dictionaries? [closed]

Scaring is related to the word scare, while scarring is related to the word scar. Why is it that some dictionaries get these two words confused? For example, when you use Mac OS X Lion's lookup ...
1
vote
2answers
48 views

What is an appropriate antonym for “genesis”?

In my academic discipline (meteorology), I very occasionally see lysis used to refer to dissipation of a system where genesis has been used to describe its initial development. However, lysis seems ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

Are “a perfect fool”, “a proper fool” and “a precious fool” the same kind of “fool”?

Is there any (subtle) difference in meaning and usage when these adjectives qualify "a fool"? Are these adjectives perfectly interchangeable "A precious fool I would look, if I did that." "The ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

what is the meaning of “leaving messages on the fridge” [on hold]

In American English file 3 page 68 (chapter 5 ,topic is slow down, you move to fast) what as the meaning of “I communicate with my wife by leaving messages on the fridge”
30
votes
6answers
123k views

In sex talk, how many bases are there and what do they all mean?

I always hear people say "I hit the third base" or "I hit the second base" (sex related). I am not 100% sure what they all mean. Additionally, in one of the House MD episodes, there was a dialogue: ...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

What does the phrase “in you” mean in a Christian context? [on hold]

I have heard phrases such as "love in you" or "live in you" (with "you" meaning God) in Christian settings, such a prayers as well as Christian pop songs. What does this mean?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “paint it black” and when to use it?

I stumbled upon the phrase "paint it black" in a tv series (Elementary) and was wondering what does it exactly mean? Also, in which situations would you use it normally? Except when you tell the ...
4
votes
7answers
4k views

What does “mechanical” mean here?

The definition of fasteners as stated from Wikipedia is: a hardware device that mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together. Is the definition of mechanical here sense 10 from ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

What is a wheenydom?

What is a wheenydom? It's in the following context: (from a tech-related article) I know that PowerShell is cooler and such than TCSH and BASH, but this smells of Windows wheenydom to me. ...
0
votes
3answers
37 views

A single word that collectively means volume, shape and size

With regard to a hollow object (such as a room), is there a single word that captures the collective import of the terms 'volume', 'shape' and 'size'? (particularly in the fields of mathematics or ...
2
votes
2answers
70 views

The meaning of “yet” in “Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes”

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: I'm wondering about the ...
0
votes
2answers
36 views

Usage of the word terrorism

We read in the newspapers and watched on tv, many cases regarding students gunning down their classmates and teachers. Suppose a student brought a gun to his class and started pointing it to his ...
2
votes
2answers
66 views

Psychological term or phrase for experiencing the world via the senses

I am looking for a psychological term or phrase for experiencing the world via the senses. (I am particularly interested in visual, auditory and thermal stimuli.) I am not looking for the word ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Looking for a word for the act of being punished, by nature, for procrastinating [on hold]

I can not find a word for this anywhere. Does one exist?
0
votes
0answers
10 views

positive warrant - meaning [on hold]

I have a question perhaps for philosophers. What does “positive warrant” mean exactly? Is it closer to premise or to claim? Or neither of them? Are there any synonyms? Example of context: We ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Meaning of “to be hurting” [on hold]

What exactly does the phrase "he/she was hurting" mean? Is the person in question experiencing pain? Update: I am specifically looking for the phrase "to be hurting", not the individual words "hurt" ...