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

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1
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1answer
28 views

What's the meaning of “off line”?

The following is a verse from Daniel Powter's song Bad Day: You stand in the line just to hit a new low You're faking a smile with the coffee to go You tell me your life's been way off line ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

“Explain” versus “Explicate”

Is there a difference in meaning between the words 'explain' and 'explicate', or are they interchangeable? It seems that explicate is just a very formal (pretentious?) version of explain, that is ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “nine-to-five kind of person”?

What does "nine-to-five kind of person" mean? For example: The great thing about my job is just music, I get CDs constantly pushed into my hand, and I go to loads of gigs, so if you love music, ...
-1
votes
0answers
16 views

1 or 2 word synonym of “fill in the blank”

That is, to fill in a gap or blank. For instance, to fill a pothole. Patch comes to mind. Nothing else really.
1
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0answers
46 views

Information unavailable to the audience

What is it called when a character knows something the audience doesn't? For example, if the character was stating something obvious like "today is your birthday", saying it only to inform the ...
1
vote
7answers
8k views

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

Can someone explain the difference between legacy and inheritance?
3
votes
4answers
21k views

“In respect of” / “With respect to”

Is there a difference in meaning between, "in respect of" and "with respect to"? Is it grammatically correct to use, "in respect to...."? The full context I am concerned with currently reads: "My ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

What does 'sharp' mean as it relates to being physical? [on hold]

Someone told me "You are very sharp, though I will leave it up to you to decide if I mean mentally or physically". What does sharp mean in the 'physical' context?
0
votes
1answer
72 views

I was applying for a job and I don`t understand this question [on hold]

Are your former employment references or education listed under a name other than that stated above? Yes or No : If yes, please indicate former name : English is not my first ...
2
votes
4answers
2k 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) ...
11
votes
1answer
525 views

What does “amletic” mean?

Today I encountered this question on StackOverflow and saw the word amletic, which I've never come across before (as a native speaker). ...and I have an amletic doubt about one thing. I looked ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

What does “rachet” mean and when was it first used?

The word ratchet is all over Twitter. Some real examples from just now: "All these ghetto ass ratchet ass girls at mchi are wearing these Santa hats, and they all claim to be Santa..." "I was ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Words starting with “touch”

There are several words in English starting with touch, such as touchwood, touchstone, touchline, ect. (a list can be found here : http://www.scrabblefinder.com/starts-with/touch/ ) I would like to ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

What does “ be upon mental” mean?

What does " be upon mental" mean? For example in this sentence: "we Both must be upon our mental". Is it somehow about being crazy? It's a story in verse; it refers to Grimm's Fairy Tales. ...
1
vote
3answers
84 views

What is a word for comparing two things but suggesting one is better than the other?

What is a word for comparing two things but suggesting one is better than the other? For example: John verbally compares a and b but hints that a is superior. With what word would I replace compares ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

“As I go” expression

Could anyone please tell me what "as I go" means? Like in the following context: I will fill it out as I go.
1
vote
2answers
266 views

What does “Shall be” mean? [on hold]

What does Shall be mean? I find it in different context, sometimes it seems to me that is means is or Will be and more likely Must be, but sometimes I can't figure it out, so if it means Must be, what ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

What is the meaning of this expression “scream with sth”? [migrated]

What is the meaning of the expression scream with sth? I find this expression when I look up the word scream at Oxford learner's dictionary. This is the example the dictionary gives: The kids were ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

“Stop working” vs “stopped to work”

I want to know, is there any difference between "stop + v.(ing)" and "stopped to + v.". These are example sentences. I stop working for a month. vs I stopped to work for a month. I stop watching ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

made of vs made up of

I'd really value your thoughts on this one. I'm familiar with the following use of 'made of': The shirt is made of silk. But I'd like to know if anyone thinks using this phrasal verb as a ...
13
votes
2answers
380 views

Reversal of the meaning of the word “restive”

According to google etymology the word restive originally meant inclined to remain still. But then it changed the meaning to the opposite. I would like to know if such phenomenon of revresal ...
5
votes
3answers
29k views

What does “campy” mean?

I was reading this answer to another question and came across the word campy (towards the end of the answer). I’ve definitely seen it used before to describe science fiction movies and shows but have ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

What is the difference between “left/right side” and “left/right-hand side”?

This question arose in the context of referring to locations in a figure, e.g.: A dot is added to the left(-hand) side of the diagram. What is the difference in meaning (if there is one)? What ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

What does “soft bigotry of low expectations” mean?

There was the following question from a reader and the answer by Charles Blow under the headline, “Your Questions, Answered” in the Opinion Page of May 7 New York Times. I invited you to ask me ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

What does 'measurable life' mean?

what does 'measurable life' mean? I found this usage in the end of a sentence that criticized the youth of today. Update I saw its usage in this comment: Insensibility is wide spread today. Market ...
0
votes
2answers
31 views

Meaning of “playing of favorites”?

I am came across this phrase in a CR presentation (slide #19). What is its meaning? Equanimity – Less “playing of favorites” with people, compassion
1
vote
1answer
42 views

Connotation of “visceral”

I understand that "visceral" with respect to a reaction or feeling is a very intense one. But I haven't found an authoritative source that describes a visceral reaction as being an exclusively bad ...
2
votes
4answers
114 views

Context on using available vs accessible

Consider the following two sentences: 1) Please put the medicine in the living room so that it is available to everyone. 2) Please put the medicine in the living room so that it is accessible for ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Meaning of “a window to the world”

What does the phrase "a window to the world mean"? Is this the correct format of the phrase. How can I use it in a sentence? (e.g. The plants in this garden provide a window to the world of flora ...
7
votes
3answers
88 views

The usage of “banzai”

I started to reread a pretty old mystery of Thomas Harris, “The silence of the lambs,” which I once gave up reading because of difficulty of understanding the narrative studded with technical jargons ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

What is the difference between “matter-containing media” and “matter”?

I'm reading the english wikipedia entry titled "Radiation". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation you can find the word in the first paragraph, or by searching. so... What is the difference between ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

“Comportment” vs. “deportment”

What is the difference between comportment and deportment? I have tried looking up a comparison, but with very little results. The few discussions I found were contradictory. I also tried looking ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Meaning of “boroughs of New York City”

What does borough mean? Does the word have a different meaning when used in the five boroughs of New York City?
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Meaning of “to be responsible for being…” [migrated]

The external safety unit is therefore responsible for the functions and applications being correct. What is meant by the sentence above? The external safety unit is therefore responsible for ...
0
votes
1answer
952 views

What does 'fist bump' mean? [closed]

I have seen fist bump mentioned in some books, and would like to know what it means.
4
votes
2answers
49 views

What does “media (news) disruptor” mean?

There is the following passage in the article titled, “Why disruptors are always white guys” in New York Magazine September 10 issue: “It’s happening again. There’s a list of “media disruptors.” ...
12
votes
2answers
838 views

Why does common usage of “random” feel so incorrect?

I am bothered by the modern usage of the term "random", and am wondering if "it's just me" or if there is a reason for my being discomfited. Take for instance, this lovely bit: The column and table ...
1
vote
3answers
523 views

Difference Between “Plot” and “Storyline”

What is the difference in story writing between a "plot," and a "storyline"? Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition) says a "story line" is "the plot of a story or drama," and Collin's ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Origin and meaning of “every cloud has a silver lining”

Every cloud has a silver lining. Please provide some historical perspective and meaning of this expression.
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Why is “back” used here even though it is the first action?

I knew I must reach the body for the key, so I raised the lid, and laid it back against the wall. This is the first time he has laid the lid against the wall, but why is back used here?
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Marlin mate means [on hold]

Marlin is a type of swordfish, that's fine. But what does the marlin mate mean? Does the word "mate" have a similar meaning as in the "first mate" or something? Is a marlin mate someone who harpoons ...
0
votes
0answers
11 views

treated him as a child [duplicate]

1-His wife treats him like a child. 2-His wife treats him as a child. Is there a difference between the meanings of 1 and 2? 3-His wife talks to him like a child. 4-His wife talks to him as a ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Does “Each product is defined into final detail” have a meaning?

I was asked to proof-read an english text. The sentence "Each product is defined into final detail" caught my eyes, as I do not know if it is valid. I believe the client wants to say "Each product is ...
2
votes
6answers
231 views

What is “skat”?

I have been reading a report of a mining accident involving a skat conveyor. But I can't find out what the skat conveyor is conveying. I have found some references to a card game:- 1 : a ...
4
votes
4answers
389 views

What does “Lose the Drama” mean as one of 7 ways for women at work to negotiate?

In an interview of co-host of NBS Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski by Erin Skarda of Time magazine, Brzezinski gave 7 tips for women to take into their next career generation starting “Don’t act like a ...
-1
votes
0answers
36 views

the meaning of this 'knew' [on hold]

“Who was Miss Jennie?” “She was an angel straight out of Heaven,” breathed the man, fervently; “but the old master and missus knew her as their oldest daughter. She was twenty when she married ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

What is the usage of “in it fat” in this sentence?

I found this sentence: It has in it fat, which gives energy. I can't figure out the usage of the part "in it fat". Can anyone kindly explain it or maybe give some examples please?
4
votes
0answers
77 views

When did the word “intercourse” become sexual? [on hold]

When reading books written in the 1800's, the word intercourse is used without any sexual connotation. Example: during our intercourse with others. It is similar to relationship or dealings.
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “What gave it away”

I came across a phrase in Seinfeld, it wrotes: (Claire passes the table; George stops her and writes something on his notepad.) GEORGE: Claire, Claire, you’re a woman, right? CLAIRE: ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Exact meaning of “Tyranny of Distance”

In Australia, I often hear the phrase "the Tyranny of Distance", but I'm not exactly sure what it means. I know that the phrase originated from The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped ...