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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

2
votes
3answers
35 views

What does “thought of being bounded” mean?

The record books say that the extent of my domain is 120 acres. But it is obvious that, at every dawn, I am the owner of all the acres I can walk over. It is not only boundaries that disappear, but ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

Why do _some_ -phile words have sexual context if phileo means friendship love?

Lots of words ending with -phile have a sexual context, yet phileo is a friendship love which has nothing to do with sexual context. Why is that? Is there an innocent, pure, friendly suffix that can ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Help understanding a sentence from “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis

The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy's own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Is 'verbiage' still considered to be insulting?

All the references I'm finding says that 'verbiage' is used when trying to insult a work or person for being too wordy. My experience with the word (by my own usage and the usage of others around me) ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

What does “a fish in a never ending bowl” supposed to mean? [on hold]

What does "A fish in a never ending bowl" supposed to mean?
3
votes
4answers
272 views

What are the uses for 'quick'?

Is the word quick ever used in reference to candles eg the quick of the candle? I know about the quick of the nail and obviously about the wick of a candle but I have a memory of the quick too being ...
0
votes
2answers
29 views

What do sentences without adjectival complements refer to?

This event is very exciting. This event is very exciting to me. "To me" is an adjectival complement to "exciting," so the two sentences can't be the same. However, if that's the case, what ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

“Occurs to me” or “Occurred to me”?

The question is in the title. Which one is correct? And if they're both correct, how do they differ? Especially when you're teaching a concept and say: The first thing that "occurs to me" is... ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Did not get William Shakespeare's quote - “A fool thinks himself to be…”

A very well known quote by William Shakespeare A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. The first half is okay - a fool thinks himself to be wise (he's in ...
3
votes
0answers
136 views
+50

A question about “but not” as coordinating conjunction

So I was reading an article or something, and there was a sentence that quite intrigued me. a. You can turn everybody against you, but never your boss. "But never" is used as a coordinating ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

Is nationalism specifically secular?

Does the word nationalism specifically imply a feeling of kindred superiority in a secular sense? For instance, if country X opposes themselves to country Y based on religious practice or reasons, ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

Things have been crazy busy meaning? [on hold]

What is the meaning for this sentence "Things have been crazy busy" ?
0
votes
1answer
50 views

what is the meaning of this phrase?

I am not looking for a fact here, I know that this is highly debatable. My question is about the information mentioned here in the sentence: Many scientists believe that global warming and its ...
3
votes
2answers
95 views

Sleeping with one's eyes open [on hold]

I've once heard a person make a reference to another person as sleeping with their eyes open. I wonder if there is another way to take this expression other than literally. Thanks.
3
votes
1answer
9k views

“Decide on” vs. “decide for”

What's the difference between "decide on something" and "decide for something"? For example, which preposition would you use in the following passage? After more than a decade of disagreement, ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

How to analysis the statement's structure?(Dynamic SQL can be downright painful to deal with.) [on hold]

The statement, as put on the answer title, was cited from the mybatis office website.It puzzles me very much. As understood as me, it express that "Dynamic SQL can be to deal with painful downright",...
4
votes
2answers
65 views

What is a word for something that you desperately want and/or craved for, but NEVER GOT?

Take this situation; Everyone was given ice cream at the birthday party, except for Todd. After Todd got home, he felt very disheartened that he never got the chance to taste the ice-cream there. He ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Merchant of Venice [on hold]

I don not think i have a clear understanding of Portia's speech "the quality of mercy is not starin'd" Is her speech convincing?
1
vote
1answer
25 views

Definition of paradigm, abstraction and metaphor

UNIX based operating systems uses the concept of paradigm to identify everything from files, folders, hard drives, networking interfaces as files. Also it uses the concept of abstraction to reduce ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

The special meaning of “Cupcake”

Does "cupcake" has any other meaning pointing a kind of person? Please help me. I guess 2 cupcakes = 2 persons falling in love with each other? Is that right?
13
votes
10answers
2k views

Can a fact be 'biased'? [on hold]

Apropos of this baffling exchange I had with a right-wing 'Brexit' supporter on on Twitter yesterday I'd like to know if my definition of a fact ('a thing that is known or proven to be true') is ...
-1
votes
0answers
29 views

The rate will be paid once the job is completed to our acceptance level [on hold]

The rate will be paid once the job is completed to our acceptance level - is this sentence grammatically correct?
0
votes
5answers
671 views

What does “Eat Lunch or be lunch” mean in this context?

I came across this phrase: The problem facing companies today is that there are too many fishermen and not enough fish in the market. It’s a matter of eat lunch or be lunch — or, as stated by ...
16
votes
4answers
49k views

The expression “hands down.”

How did the expression "hands down" come to mean "without a doubt?"
3
votes
2answers
141 views
-1
votes
0answers
27 views

How to put emphasis on a chapter [on hold]

In one chapter I have been discussing previous work of my colleagues with one approach. Then, in the next one, I want to emphasize that a totally different approach is employed. My sentence is: ...
-1
votes
0answers
31 views

Difference between star (verb) and starring [migrated]

Definition from the dictionary: star - (of a movie, play, or other show) have (someone) as a principal performer. Ok, sometimes I meet this word, used as follows: The movie stars Dustin ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

What is a gift called that is given to you to possess and keep but can be taken back at any time?

I have this gift that was given to me as a present for my birthday, but was informed that is not mine permanently but to keep until my friend wants it back. What is that kind of gift called?
2
votes
5answers
15k views

What's the difference between “mirror” and “looking glass”? [closed]

I have read that a looking glass is a surface with sufficient reflection to form an image of an object... doesn't that sound like a mirror?
45
votes
5answers
7k views

Around how old is “a woman of a certain age”?

"A woman of a certain age" is a common saying. It means more than "a woman of a given age", "a woman who could be any age" or "female, without respect to age". It's usage instead seems to suggest a ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

What is the difference between error, mistake and fault? [on hold]

What is the difference between error, mistake and fault? When i hear error it always reminds me something related to computer maybe...
-1
votes
2answers
34 views

Meaning of “to campaign towards” [on hold]

What does "to campaign towards" mean? "to campaign against" "to campaign in support of" "to campaign regarding something (either against or in support of)"
1
vote
1answer
24 views

“Artists Take on Architecture”

"Psycho Buildings: Artists Take on Architecture" is the title of an exhibition. Does it mean "artists' understanding of architecture"? Thus, is "take" here a noun? If so, wasn't it better to say "...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Difference between “everlasting” and “eternal”

I know these two sentences are somehow different, but I don't know how: This is an everlasting love. This is an eternal love. I read here that there are a number of adjectives for ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Anyone helps me understand a sentence below?

In a recent article, I didn't fully understand the meaning of "on the books" in this context. Anyone with interests in ongoing presidential elections in the United States cares to enlighten me? ...
2
votes
3answers
64 views

Specifics of “occupy” (and alternatives)

I'm writing some game rules where players' in-game areas move around in cities. The different cities are divided by zones, which basically means that different tiles are put together to form a city. ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “rage,” in this exchange

Merriam-Webster (on line) offers no help with the meaning of "rage" (verb) in this context; "swage" is presumably 'assuage' (fade). Youthe speke to his selfe & sayd: With women me lyst ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

What word goes between anticlimax and climax?

From my undestanding of those two words : Climax : point of highest tension in a drama. Anticlimax : Something which might have seem like a climax at some point is finally very trivial. I am ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

What does “ we've as much” mean?

"So what we did, we got in touch with a nature reserve out in the country, and asked them what you could see there. And that's when we realised that we've as much, if not more wildlife than they do." ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

The usage of prepositions: in/at or at/in?

I've read an article (see the link below) and there's a sentence which confuses me: No matter if your delivery takes place in a home or at the hospital... If I rewrite it this way: No ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Is having sex a hobby? [on hold]

Wiktionary defines a hobby as An activity that one enjoys doing in one's spare time. Other dictionaries tend to have similar definitions. Viewpoint 1 Some people believe that the word hobby ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the meaning of “coming to the end of yourself”?

So, what does it mean to come to the end of yourself? Is is related to getting to the point where you are powerless? Or maybe to the fact that you are sick of yourself? Am I even close?
4
votes
4answers
863 views

Is the phrase, “Let ‘em up easy” Abraham Lincoln’s one-off phrase or an obsolete idiom?

I came across the phrase, “Let’em up easy,” in the following sentence in the section of “1864 Reelection” of “Abraham Lincoln” in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Reconstruction began during the ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Using the word "hypothetical' conditionally

Allow me to explain my question. So 'hypothetical', according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as follows: : involving or based on a suggested idea or theory : involving or based on a hypothesis :...
0
votes
2answers
64 views

Equal vs Equivalent: Finer differences in meaning and usage? in 4 distinct scenarios outlined?

Equal vs Equivalent: Finer differences in meaning and usage? What would be the subtler differences & similarities? Examples & scenarios where: Only one can be used Both can be used One ...
2
votes
0answers
46 views

The origin of the verb “has” (the verb “have” for third-singular person)

From what I know, in Simple Present, all verbs are followed by -s/es if the subject is a third-singular person. Such as makes, matches, buys, and studies. I also know that if the verb is have, it ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it “chalk it up to” or “chock it up to”?

Grammarist & Our beloved StackExchange both say that the phrase "Chalk it up to" dates back to, among other things, debts being tallied on a chalkboard. However, when I hear the phrase "chock it ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

The meaning of the word (outstretch) or (stretched out) [on hold]

I have been reading a book and these days I find this word many times. I couldn't find out the meaning of it. Could you please help me?
2
votes
1answer
325 views

Goal-driven vs. goal-oriented

What is differences between "goal-driven" and "goal-oriented"? E.g. This chapter proposes modeling perception as a goal-driven planning pro- cess and considers how to guide the application of ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Difference between undoubtably and undoubtedly? [on hold]

These two words are often used interchangeably, but I don't believe their meaning is identical. I think I generally know how to use them in context, but could someone explain what he difference is ...