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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (6)

1
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1answer
44 views

Less than in word length

I have a question regarding less than me and some colleges are bumping heads in trying to figure out a sentence. The Sentence is: The required words should not be less than 5. So what will the ...
0
votes
2answers
30 views

What is the difference between “to be a fake” and “to be faked”?

To give an example; "The body was discovered to be faked." "The body was discovered to be a fake." I really don't understand what difference is.
10
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference in usage between crenulate and crenelate?

I've long been familiar with crenulated edges, but until today I wasn't aware of crenelated. Looking at the definitions, they seem to describe the same kind of feature, that of notches on an edge that ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does “tangent” have multiple meanings that are in conflict with each other?

Perhaps it was just being misused, but the questions crossed my mind before and last night it came up again again. While talking with someone about job opportunities in NYC, a friend started to talk ...
5
votes
4answers
89 views

What are some less ambiguous words for “choice,” “decision,” “option,” etc.?

1) You come to a fork in the road. You need to make a choice between going left or right. You face a decision between the left path and the right path. You have the option to advance in either ...
-3
votes
0answers
22 views

meaning of “He takes all manner of pills and piles up analyst bills” [on hold]

what is the meaning of this part of Blur song " He takes all manner of pills and piles up analyst bills" ?
2
votes
3answers
63k views

Is it appropriate to use 'eagerly' while ending a formal e-mail

Nowadays, I always use the following phrase when I am ending formal email; I eagerly await for your response. Regards, I've seen this phrase somewhere, kind-of a formal e-mail and I am ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

What does “how to sell your way through life” mean?

I just came across this "how to sell your way through life" (the name of a book written by Napoleon Hill), but I don't really get what it means. Anyone please explains it in details, and please help ...
-3
votes
1answer
50 views

African American? [on hold]

Almost every country in America have black people even though, the United States of America considers that African American are black people born in that country, Why ?
4
votes
1answer
56 views

Usage of 'last June' in newspaper archive

I found a UK newspaper article from October 1918, which made reference to 'last June'. What's the likelihood of that meaning June 1917, as opposed to June 1918? I assume if it was 1917, they would ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Can anybody put this sentence in a simpler way, please?

"This is very powerful because one more app becomes one more contact in your address book," said Mittal. source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/31/bharti-airtel-chairman-sunil-mittals-son-kavin-betting-...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

what does “which is all he is” mean?

Could you please tell me what does "which is all he is" mean in this sentence: "This boy (which is all he is) does not act as you expect an 18 years old boy ..."
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Can “last” here mean newest?

Context: My word processor is the last of a series of instruments of self-expression that began with crayons and colored pencils held in my childish fist. My hands, somewhat grown, migrated to my ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

Can anyone help me about this phrase: “had I not + V_pII/V_ed”?

I'm learning English, but my English is very bad. I have a question about this sentence: The principal approached me and asked me that why had I not brought the book? When I translate the sentence I ...
0
votes
3answers
55 views

What is the meaning of these lyrics?

What is the meaning of the lyrics of well know song by Enya - May it be ? May it be an evening star shines down upon you. [...] May it be the shadow's call will fly away.
1
vote
4answers
3k views

What is the origin of “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”?

I hear this term everywhere I go and from almost everyone I meet. I know this means to be more empathetic. I wonder why this expression was even coined and what was its origin?
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Are there any pairs of words like “beloved”/“belovèd”, “learned”/“learnèd” that maintain a semantic difference to the present day?

When I first read Romeo and Juliet in high school, I remember being intrigued by pairs of words such as, beloved/belovèd and learned/learnèd where there's an accent grave on the 'e' of ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

What does it mean when a piece of clothing cinches you in?

I've recently heard a girl saying: "the shape (of a dress) cinches you in." So the next day, I tried to look up the meaning of it but I've only found the word a cinch which is supposed to be a ...
-2
votes
5answers
6k views

What does “He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon” mean?

I've recently read this quote somewhere in a book and I can't seem to comprehend it.
-1
votes
0answers
21 views

past participle or participle adjective

I want to know it's a correct sentence or not if yes then what it's meaning of this sentence and Is we use past participle here as a participle adjective or not and I took this sentence from a movie (...
4
votes
2answers
78 views

Meaning of “See that wet, see that dry!”

"You'd share and share alike with the rest, whether you'd been in that particular job or not. There's fifty members, and you'd get one-fiftieth, same as Number One and same as me." "Really? No ...
5
votes
3answers
637 views

What does “inspissated gloom” mean?

Is "inspissated" used to simply emphasize the unhappiness/darkness? Is it used in literary contexts only? All the examples I have seen are either Biblical or literary. Merriam-Webster thickened ...
-1
votes
1answer
60 views

please let me know the meaning of “Madam Secretary” dialogues

Whenever I cannot understand some English expression, I am getting big help from this site. Very useful website and good people. Anyway. I am watching American Drama "Madam Secretary" season1, episode ...
7
votes
6answers
10k views

Would anyone use “ramp down” as the opposite to “ramp up”

In the context, for example, of factory production I often read the phrase "ramp up production" or "a ramp-up in production". To me "ramp down" sounds a strange phrase to use as the opposite - does ...
-1
votes
1answer
75 views

In the context of Hillary saying she “owes penance” to L.F. de Rothschild, what does “owing penance” mean?

In this email leaked by Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton asks Rothschild to: Let me know what penance I owe you. The only definitions I can find for the word "penance" are religious terms that imply ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

What does Homer mean when he says, “her words had wings”?

In both The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer uses the phrase "words had wings" all over the place. Here's one quote of many: Then the shadow of the swift-footed son of Aeacus knew who I was, and with ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

“We can do this infinitely.” Is this correct?

I was told that it's not correct to say "We can do this infinitely", meaning that the process will last forever, without an end. Instead one should say "We can do this indefinitely" or "infinitely ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Are there any words without a meaning?

From Geoffrey Hunter's Metalogic, p.5: ... a thing is an English word only if it has meaning. It got me thinking: is this really so? Is it possible for there to be an English word that is ...
1
vote
4answers
141 views
+100

What is the 'office of call-boy'?

From the short story Percival Bland's Proxy, by Austin Freeman written in 1913; And thus was the curtain rung down on the first act. The second act opened only a couple of days later, the office ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Where does the meaning of 'underwater' come from?

When we say or hear the word 'underwater', we usually think of this Underwater refers to the region below the surface of water where the water exists in a natural feature such as an ocean, sea, ...
-1
votes
1answer
41 views

What does “premature clack” mean? [on hold]

Context: As a freelance writer, I invested in an electric typewriter that snatched the letters from my fingertips with a sharp, premature clack. (Link to the full article: http://absolutewrite.com/...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

What phrases exist which are apparently contradictory, but actually mean the same thing? [on hold]

I have several items of clothing for which their dark colours could run on washing. Some have a warning label in that says 'wash dark colours together'. Some have a label that says 'wash dark ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Which one better reflects “Industry 4.0” in meaning: “The Industry of Future” or “The Industry for Future”? [on hold]

In the context of "Industry 4.0" (the 4th revolution in industry: 1st: 1784; 2nd: 1870; 3rd: 1969; 4th: today), which one of the following best suits/reflects to express the "Industry 4.0" in meaning ?...
-2
votes
3answers
88 views

why are the words 'True Love' used together so much?

I've noticed that many old (often folk) songs use the terms 'true love' together (as opposed to just 'love')? Is it to differentiate it from 'false love', due to metric or syllabic reasons, for ...
0
votes
2answers
23 views

Am i getting my message across?

A solution is hypertonic to a cell if its concentration of nonpenetrating solutes is greater than that within the cell. A solution is hypertonic to a cell if its concentration of nonpenetrating ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

As between a and b [on hold]

Can anyone tell me the use of "As between " in sentences? I haven't found it anywhere . please help me.
0
votes
0answers
25 views

what they have in common [on hold]

a. What these two guys have in common is their fluffy pets. Does this sentence mean: They have the same pets (it would be a strange thing to say unless we were talking about members of the same ...
2
votes
2answers
36 views

difference between “lickspittle” and “sycophant”

Lickspittle is defined as: a person who behaves obsequiously to those in power. whereas Sycophant is defined as: a person who acts obsequiously towards someone important in order to gain ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

“Relationship to” vs. “Relationship with”

I found two different terms regarding relationship: "Relationship with the applicant" while filling the invitation form "Relationship to the applicant" while filling the application form Whether ...
-1
votes
0answers
43 views

In a factory, the products are 'performed' or 'made'? [on hold]

When you try to explain someone what you do in your factory you say "we perform specific glasses for wine" or you say "we make specific glasses for wine"?
18
votes
4answers
20k views

Difference between “spicy” and “hot”

I make a distinction between "hot" and "spicy" food ("hot" not referring to temperature). I consider "hot" food the kind that "burns" and "spicy" food that has lots of flavor, but that may or may not "...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

One word for “any way around it”

Let us say I frame a sentence as follows: Is there any way around this problem? I want to convey the feeling that bypass, or trick without actually using the problem, without actually dealing ...
1
vote
3answers
56 views

Is “do for” always inherently positive, compared to “do to”?

Compare the sentences: After all he has done for me, he needs my help. After all he has done to me, he needs my help. The first one implies that the subject has done good things for the speaker and ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Non-phonetic words

I am looking for a word with the definition "a word that is not spelled phonetically", that is, "a word that is pronounced very differently than the way it is spelled." For example, victuals (...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

The Subject of a Participial Construction

The following passage is quoted from the article in Newsweek by Leah McGrath Goodman, titled "Thomas Piketty Says He Was Ambushed": [Financial Times’s economics editor Chris] Giles, in his critque,...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

Is there any difference between “word-for-word translation” and “word-by-word translation” and is the latter actually valid?

First off, some data: According to COCA word-for-word has 60 usages, 3 of them are "word-for-word translation". Word-by-word has 26 usages, none of them are "word-by-word translation" (but some with "...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What does the word term mean when used in the following sentence?

So I have a boss from Ireland that works out of the UK. He tells me that he is on leave for a half term? What is he talking about?
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Does 'to prove' necessitate truth?

If I prove something, does it have to be true? I can structure the question more convolutedly: Does successfully proving something depend on the credulity of the audience, or the truth of the ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

What does 'knee-jerk reaction' mean?

What does knee-jerk reaction mean? From NYT article: Another senior Socialist, who declined to be identified, said the party could not afford knee-jerk reactions.
0
votes
2answers
647 views

Too many commas in Harry Potter

The book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" starts with the line - "Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. " ...