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

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0
votes
2answers
22 views

“A mutual friend”, “A common friend” or “A friend in common”?

When I was a student of EFL, I was taught the word "mutual" implies a reciprocal relationship where X does to Y what Y does to X. If John admires Peter as much as Peter admires John, we can say their ...
-1
votes
3answers
87 views

What do you call a person who dies an honourable death?

What do you call someone who dies for a good cause or an honourable reason? An example would be a soldier who dies while saving his country.
6
votes
9answers
603 views

What do you call money earned through unethical sources?

Money/Assets/Property that is earned through unethical sources is called ? Money that is earned through bad sources like corrupted politics, corrupted business, ransom money, stolen or theft ...
0
votes
3answers
26 views

Logic: Interchangeability of Roles in Sentences

Do the changes in the following sentences change the meaning at all? He's my friend I'm his friend Or He's my co-worker I'm his co-worker Or he's my brother I'm his ...
3
votes
3answers
297 views

What do you call someone who's fascinated by machines?

See people who are fascinated by machines like computers, cars, bikes, robots. They adore engines, hardware the visual looks for them the smell of it, everything about it. Such people are hardware ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

What is the difference between desire and motivation?

The words 'desire' and 'motivation' often appear in different kind of sentences for (what I assume is) grammatical reasons, but I have a really hard time separating them as concepts. When we talk ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

What does this mean? “Pay and display or RingGo payments not valid in these bays” [on hold]

What does the following statement mean? "Pay and display or RingGo payments not valid in these bays"
9
votes
8answers
2k views

What do you call someone who can't keep secrets?

Some one who is not good at keeping secrets. In my native language it is called "chugalkhor" but it's a slang. So I can't translate it. What do you call such a person who can't keep secrets because ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

What does “Who does he think he is?" mean? [on hold]

I found the following sentences as an example from a dictionary. What does "Who does he think he is?" mean? (example) I can't believe he acted so rudely. Who does he think he is?
1
vote
1answer
32 views

“close behind” as in “time closes behind everyone and everything”

What does "close behind" mean in this sentence: "So life comes to an end and time closes behind everyone and everything." "life comes to an end" and "time closes behind everyone and everything" are ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Corresponding vs. appropriate

Let me give you some context first: Germans. We may have similar words with different meanings and use words just because they have a similar spelling. software company, writing software for ...
0
votes
5answers
167 views

One single word for honour killing

honour killing is a word that carries sentiments. But its Google synonym don't. Like assassination - is a more of a war machine word. butchery - is not right either. Do we have a single word fr ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

Confused by the British having “dinner” in the afternoon” and “tea” in the evening

I’m having problems with meal names in the UK. I’ve just learnt that dinner can refer to the afternoon meal, and that tea can refer to an early evening meal. Is this specific to a certain area in the ...
0
votes
2answers
25 views

What does “to have a difficult time doing something” mean? [on hold]

I came across the following sentence in a posting by blogger John Kenneth Muir: Sinister (2012) is the kind of horror movie I have a difficult time assessing, and I left a viewing of it deeply ...
0
votes
3answers
44 views

Paraphrase this sentence please [on hold]

It made her fear some conspiratorial, punishing power had carried her back home.
1
vote
3answers
753 views

What is the origin/meaning of “wheelbarrow full of frogs”

What is the origin/meaning of "wheelbarrow full of frogs" I've heard this phrase many times but am unsure as to exactly what it means.
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Can you distinguish the permission to do something from the license, an official document?

According to the dictionary, licence/license refers to an official document which proves you are permitted to do something. What, then, is the word for the permission itself? I'm from Korea, and in ...
10
votes
5answers
20k views

Is there a difference between “holiday” and “vacation”?

What is the difference, if any, between these two words?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What is the meaning of vice in “as in a vice”? [closed]

I'm having trouble finding a definition of vice that explains its usage in the following NYTimes article: The Monarch, no less boldly than her compeer, dashed among the rebel fleet, and singling ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

What is the meaning of “get a hold of” [on hold]

What does "I'm trying to get a hold of Mrs Who?" mean?
1
vote
2answers
31 views

About quality - “low”, “bad” and “poor”

I need two words to describe the quality of some items - one word describing items of worse quality than the other. I read this question, Bad or Poor more severe. I'm uncertain if I fully agree with ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

“It's reciprocal” similarity or contradiction? [on hold]

How would you understand the answer 'It's reciprocal', from someone you've told 'I love you.' : You'd understand it as : The answer means 'the contradiction of your feelings'. You'd understand it as ...
43
votes
5answers
7k views

Why do people say “to be honest”?

For quite some time, I've been hearing the phrase "to be honest" almost every day. I've heard friends say it, characters on TV shows, and even an NPR reporter said it in an interview. Example: ...
1
vote
2answers
38 views

Taking up Picadilly

Good day. I've been reading 'Short works of Lord Dunsany' for this morning. Among the short stories I've read one. Fortunately I found it through internet. it follows below. *George P. Landow created ...
1
vote
2answers
83 views

What is “Build We Won’t” in complete form?

New York Times (July 3) carries an article written by its Op-Ed columnist, Paul Krugman under the title, “Build We Won’t.” in which the author claims; “In prosperous times, public spending on ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

what's the difference between “Indispensable Amino Acid” and “Essential Amino Acid”?

As I have seen several times of the using of those two words in even the same book. But I don't know what's the difference meaning between those two words.
1
vote
4answers
101 views

Is there a word for people who emit positive vibes and negative vibes?

It's happened to me tons of times. See some people on Tv, live in office or anywhere, meet them and without their saying much you feel some positive energy oozing out of them. Although sometimes it is ...
-1
votes
1answer
53 views

What does “showered” mean? [on hold]

What does showered mean in this sentence? Netflix was showered with Emmy nominations for Orange and House of Cards.
5
votes
4answers
681 views

What's the meaning of the word “nerd-crush”?

This is the context: I’m just going to come right out and say it, I have a huge nerd-crush on jQuery. I have for several years. Actually, it may be more of a love affair.
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“Split in half” vs. “split in two” — which one is correct?

Does the "in" imply multiplication, in which case split in half is correct, or is it division? It sounds like the latter to me, but I've heard it used both ways.
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Does “clandestine ignorance” make sense? [on hold]

Does the following make sense, "clandestine ignorance"? I would like to see if anyone else is thinking the same way as to the meaning or definition as I do. Thanks.
10
votes
8answers
9k views

What's the difference between “cup” and “glass”?

Are "cup" and "glass" the same in English? Can I call a "glass" a cup made of plastic?
1
vote
4answers
187 views

Meaning of the word “snood”

What does actually snood mean when someone says, 'He is a snood arm wrestler. He eats more than he trains, but he's beaten some of our toughest guys.' Does it mean that person who's called snood arm ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Is “can exceed up to X” some form of colloquialism?

I ran into a sign that said "Fines can exceed up to $500". I have no idea what this means. Is the fine capped at $500? or can it exceed $500? In an attempt to understand what is going on I ran a ...
-2
votes
0answers
53 views

Difference between “lady” and “woman”? [migrated]

Are there differences between "lady" and "woman" ? Google say lady is a polite social woman. But we don't use them just as this. Do we? English isn't my native language so I am better clarifying ...
20
votes
7answers
5k views

Why are female wizards called “witches”?

I was looking up these two words in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: Wizard: Witch: It's mentioned in the Word Origin section that Wizard comes from "Wise", while for "Witch" it ...
12
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the meaning and etymology of “ruthless?”

A "standard" definition is something like "cruel," or "remorseless." But what does this have to do with "ruth" (or lack thereof)? Is this a reference to a kind person named Ruth? Perhaps a clue may ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Is “balanced literacy” a generic term, or elementary education specific?

“The Room for Debate Section” of New York Times (July 3rd) deals with “the Right Approach to Reading Instruction,” and throws the question; “The student-led approach to reading and writing known ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

What does the term “nonrecourse deduction” mean?

What does the term: nonrecourse deduction(s) mean? In legal documents I have seen the term nonrecourse deduction(s) used as it pertains to taxation and other economic factors. It is not clear to me ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

“An awful lot”: Any negative connotation?

Today was my first time I saw people use "an awful lot of" instead of "a lot of". It reminded me of "terribly good", which obviously has little negative connotation. But how about "an awful lot"? ...
12
votes
11answers
2k views

What word or phrase means “a loss of what was on your mind”?

Sometimes, in the middle of a conversation, a "loss of mind" can affect the speaker. What is the word for that situation and that person ? Are there more specific terms or phrases than: the loss ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

What do you call someone who doesn't believe in “ghost”? [on hold]

What do you call someone who doesn't believe in "ghost" neither in ghost stories ? web has it's answer as skeptics but that's not a dictionary answer. It is more or less conventional.
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Why is saying “cr@p” more socially acceptable than saying “sh!t” is?

I know shit is generally considered vulgar swearing in any context, while crap (though it's normally used as a swear word) is often used and allowed in decent contexts. How did this happen, since ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Chuffed - happy or unhappy?

I was looking into the word chuffed this morning, and came across this:- chuffed 1 /tʃʌft/ adjective British Informal. delighted; pleased; satisfied. Origin: 1855–60; see chuff2 , ...
1
vote
2answers
166 views

What is Name meaning for Belinda

My name is Belinda. In my locality, it is a rare name. So, everyone asks for its meaning. I know that it is the heroine name of "Rape of the lock". When i googled, I found that it has the meaning of a ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

English equivalent or Expression for “Who take care of a Pregnant Mother”

English is not my language and I need help with this... I need create a name for an mobile app that will help pregnant womens for 9 months giving tips about everything about she and her babe. So ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

Is there a term for the phenomenon of adding more words to a sentence makes it less clear?

This article ends with "Judicial races in Washtenaw County are nonpartisan ...". This is technically accurate, but is also misleading (or is it?) as it implies races elsewhere (such as Wayne County) ...
4
votes
4answers
25k views

Wholistic vs holistic

This reference states: The two words "wholistic" and "holistic" have very different meanings, but there is some confusion and they are often used in an incorrect manner. The two words have very ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

When to use “pending” vs. “impending” [duplicate]

Although someone has previously answered a question as to the difference between "pending" and impending", I'm still struggling on when to use which word, and if one is preferred in a more formal ...
1
vote
1answer
869 views

Correct pronunciation of the word “Mature”? [closed]

I need to know the correct pronunciation of the word "mature". Is it məˈtʃʊr, məˈtjʊə(r) or məˈtʊr? And which one is mostly used, across the globe.