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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0answers
16 views

What does it mean for “turn over”

I was just looking up the word escrow in the dictionary. But for the explanation of it. I just can not understand the idiom turn overout there. which is a deed, a bond, money, or a piece of ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between “bracelet” and “strap” when talking about watches?

I talked to my friend about his watch. I used the word "strap" to refer to his watch's strap while he used the word "bracelet." Is there any difference between these words? Can I use them ...
15
votes
12answers
4k views

Does a “fact” have to be true? [duplicate]

I'm struggling to decide whether to jettison use of the word fact, because the definition appears to be not solid enough to support continued usage. What do I mean by that? Look at one "meaning ...
1
vote
3answers
150 views

What is the origin of the phrase “hot take”?

I've been seeing this phrase pop up more and more in social media. I wasn't sure of what it meant, so of course I googled it: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/29/7417055/best-worst-words-2014 ...
-1
votes
1answer
23 views

in / in the … of

Which one is preferred? Cola-Cola have a special interest in protecting local water sources that sustain communities in areas where their bottling plants are located. Cola-Cola have a special ...
1
vote
2answers
37 views

Is there any difference in certainty between “may be” and “maybe”?

In the song Tonight Again, there's a line going They may be right but only maybe I understand that "maybe" is an adverb, while "may be" is a combination of the verbs "may" and "be", as mentioned ...
1
vote
3answers
45 views

“single in a run off”

Kang Jung-jo of the Pittsburgh Pirates singles in a run off Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Urena during the first inning of their game Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Kang, who started at third base and hit ...
6
votes
9answers
761 views

Searching for a rare word for “something taken as truth due to having been repeated so much”

I'm searching for a certain single, rare, literary word meaning "something taken as truth due to having been repeated so much". This "something" could be either true or false. It is not necessarily ...
10
votes
7answers
808 views

What's the meaning of the “shed” in “watershed”?

It seems like a kind of house, if it is. I cannot grasp the meaning of watershed.
0
votes
2answers
43 views

Can “obviously” be used in a sentence which is related to past event?

Let's say there would be a sentence like this: I obviously still don't speak Danish and therefore I am having a hard time living here. Is it correct if you consider that, in the past, I had a ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Preposition for “Alternative”

I've found out that there are several prepositions for the word alternative that all seem to be correct, however, I think there should be a best choice. Do these prepositions affect the meaning in ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

The Hollies ´ song [on hold]

What´s the meaning of "the early bird´s been up all morning" second verse of I am down by The Hollies. Thank you
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “incorrect facts” an oxymoron?

I've seen this so many times and it drives me crazy. The latest was the actor Paul Giamatti setting some story straight in the press about him: "It's unfortunately an incorrect fact about me and it's ...
5
votes
4answers
18k views

“Flammable” versus “Combustible”

In Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2003), the first definition of combustible is "capable of combustion," the first definition of combustion is "an act or instance of ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What does wink and nod mean? In which context is it used?

Yesterday I read the word "wink and nod" in a newspaper. I didn't understand the meaning. Can anyone explain?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Definition of “Kissing Cousins”--Are the Dictionaries Wrong/Incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Do words for male animals include those which are castrated?

English has distinct words for the male and female of many common animal species. For example, we have bull / cow, rooster / hen, ram / ewe, stallion / mare, boar / sow, man / woman. However, we ...
13
votes
5answers
43k views
1
vote
1answer
32 views

what is the meaning of 'there are worse ways doing this than that'

what is the meaning of There are worse ways doing this than that. For example: There are worse ways spending this evening than coming to the meeting. Does this mean coming to the ...
0
votes
1answer
61 views

Hi! I was wondering: Nostalgia ? Wanderlust? [on hold]

How did these foreign terms for emotions get into English? They all describe a feeling of something imagined. Some examples: Nostalgia Wanderlust Fernweh This group of words amazes me and makes me ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

What doe Ev. followed by a number mean in a footnote?

I am reading a document with numerous footnotes providing references to the source of the information in the main text. However, some of the notes just give Ev. followed by a single digit number. All ...
0
votes
3answers
63 views

The most appropriate term for a noisy machine

I've written the following sentence: He had wanted to write a letter to Jimmy, an old comrade of his, but when the boisterous clipper started, he decided to have a second breakfast instead whilst ...
1
vote
3answers
986 views

What is the meaning of this quote?

I heard this in a movie. What does it mean? My time, as does most time, comes with a price. You make time.
13
votes
7answers
7k views

Something is “yay” big

I have heard expressions like "It was yay big" or "It was yay by yay." a couple of times now, always accompanied by a gesture indicating the size of something. Does anybody know where this word comes ...
-3
votes
2answers
43 views

“The largest being” [on hold]

I have gained insight into the challenges this city will face in the future, the largest being growing our business sectors and improving our infrastructure without sacrificing our community's ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

“Would rather [infinitive1] than [infinitive2]” vs. “would rather that [subjunctive]”"

I am aware of sentences like Beth would rather study at the library than go to parties. There is another type of using rather that: She would rather that the plane leave early in the ...
0
votes
3answers
69 views

How should I interpret “Be different like that”?

Be different like that! What does it mean? Is it grammatically correct? I don't think it has any problems, but I am not sure.
3
votes
4answers
14k views

The meaning of “Mid or feed”

What does the expression "Mid or feed" mean? I realized it was a quote from Einstein. In addition, what's the meaning of the "mid" and the "feed" in this semi-context? After a Google search, I see ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Which part of a cap is called the bill?

I came across this line There was only the New York Yankees baseball cap lying there, mold crusted on its bill. I was wondering what part of the cap is called its bill.
-1
votes
3answers
74 views

“Thanks, my lovelies!” [on hold]

I was looking for a phrase to thank multiple people. It's supposed to be an endearment for friends but not super close friends. Is this an appropriate reply to compliments or birthday wishes, e.g. on ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

What's the meaning of 'do bits'?

In a video, two people are describing a character from a fictional show and they say: 'he loves bits, he's always doing bits' and they move on to another topic. I don't understand the meaning of ...
1
vote
3answers
94 views

What does 'at that time there were only men on campus' mean in this quote?

I also think that what our students get out of the arts and humanities is critical for them to develop a sense that is much bigger than the quantitative aspects of a problem to understanding human ...
1
vote
1answer
25 views

bleed inside out/got-have got

I've been wondering if there is the expression "I bleed inside out" or if it is correct. For example "someone or something makes me bleed inside out" - as we say "it breaks my heart". And actually I ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

“Don't get to (a) vow” - is this construction possible (and natural) in English? [on hold]

I've found a song where the performer (rapper) says some text, but this fragment is very hard to understand, and I want to ask – can you get what he said? ...
4
votes
2answers
83 views

Whats is the proper definition of guard

While reading Villette, a 19th-century novel by Charlotte Brontë, I came across the word guard used in a different way than I had known hitherto: I was up the next morning an hour before daybreak, ...
15
votes
16answers
2k views

What's a good word for 'clear mindedness' and 'an ability to see something as a whole'?

I'm looking for a title for something I'm working on, so ideally it would have to flow and be attractive. The two best words I can think of is clarity, and panoptic. But I can't have the meanings ...
-2
votes
2answers
35 views

The difference between quarter and district [on hold]

What is the difference between district and quarter ? e.g. dwarven district and foreign quarter
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Can “they had it repaired” mean that they repaired it themselves?

Can "they had it repaired" mean that they repaired it themselves? Why? I've looked into this and can't find anything specific. Also, I've asked about a dozen people what they think and only one ...
-1
votes
0answers
46 views

BBC, Playtime: Picnic, don't understand certain parts from audio program [on hold]

The radio program is here: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio/playtime/playtime_20150519-1500a.mp3 Don't understand the following fragments: 08:20: …. You out? 09:40 Said nan …. ? 11:25: ...
-1
votes
0answers
30 views

Difference between often and random [on hold]

I want to know is there any difference between often and random. Are these words same and are used interchangeably.? Here I want to know random in terms of english and not math. Here is a sentence.. ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

meaning of: “Might be dated though!” [migrated]

Actually, I got a reply from the author of a blog. It is the following I am glad it's of help to someone! Might be dated though! However, I understand the meaning of the first part, that the ...
2
votes
4answers
577 views

What does “mertilize” mean?

I have been unable to find a definition, or a source for the word mertilize. I've seen it used on TV, in articles, and even in comic strips.
3
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the possible words for a task?

I am looking for similar words to task for a document on scheduling tasks in the context of a project. My goal would be to find words that would denote meanings for three things. A word for a small ...
10
votes
6answers
423 views

Is the word “yearling” appropriate for a recurring event?

The Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange sites all have a "yearling" badge. Active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation. This badge can be awarded multiple times. So each year, if ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the structure of the sentence 'const to the rescue'?

The following is the context: Despite my fastidious coding habits, I have made a silly mistake and typed += when I meant to type +. As a result, when concatUnsafe is called, it will modify ...
0
votes
3answers
87 views

Richard Feynman is certainly not mischievous!

In the introduction of Richard Feynmans book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, a colleague describes Feynman's character. The description makes sense to me - except for one word. The word ...
1
vote
2answers
65 views

What does “strip away all the sound and fury” means?

I have seen this quotation from Ed Miliband's current rhetoric: "Strip away all of the sound and fury and what people across England, Scotland and Wales, across every part of the UK, are saying is ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Did the CIA really introduce 'conspiracy theory' into popular usage after JFK?

I heard that after the JFK assassination the CIA, through assets in mass media, introduced the term 'conspiracy theory', with it connotations of something clearly ridiculous, and only believed by ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
0
votes
2answers
184 views

A meaning for a proverb?

what's the meaning of the proverb "No man is an island entire of itself" by john donne?