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

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0
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3answers
37 views

Word for a person who starts a project, then starts another one?

What do you call a person who starts projects, doesn't ever finish, then starts another project?
-1
votes
1answer
15 views

When you feel Grim Amusement

When one feels grimly amused, exactly what kind of emotion is described? It seems to me that grim and amused are mutually contradictory so they do not conjure any consistent image in my mind. Thanks ...
-2
votes
2answers
24 views

Whats does sharp as a tack and bright as a button mean? [on hold]

What does it exactly mean to be as sharp as a tack or a bright as a button?
0
votes
3answers
157 views
+50

Questions about meanings and usage of “deez nuts”

Please note, I did check the Urban Dictionary, and also Stack Exchange. What is meant in the line @JoeBlow wrote in What is the origin of “Best.Boyfriend.Ever”? “What can I say but :/ omg deez ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

I didn't come here for an argument

Is there any consensus on how the word for a heated discussion (which apparently comes from the same root as Silver/Argent) also came to mean a parameter passed to a function? Edit: ...
1
vote
3answers
154 views

What does “Deal with it [as Trump would say]” mean? [on hold]

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article in New York Times (August 22) under the title, “Donald Trump struts in his own pageant” starts with the following lines; “It’s ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Etymology of the phrase “Dependency injection” in computer science

It's my understanding that this used to be simply referred to as "reference passing" but later became formalized into a pattern that implemented a design principle and acquired the new name. Can you ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Can 'how easy something is' be used equally to 'how difficult something is' or are they already implying something?

I'm currently writing a text and I want to explain that I conducted some tests to see how easy/difficult it is do perform a certain process. Therefore I want to write: We now want to test how easy it ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Refined Definition of Missive

My grandmother 1883 - 1980 insisted that a "missive" was a HAND CARRIED message or letter. I don't find this distinction in modern thinking. Any ideas?
0
votes
1answer
40 views

What does it exactly mean to be sharp? [on hold]

Examples of being sharp, and what sharp people usually do?
5
votes
6answers
16k views

Meaning and usage of “to no end”

What does the phrase mean in "He annoys me to no end"? Literally, does it mean that he annoys me forever? Or does it mean that he annoys me to no result?
1
vote
2answers
64 views

On a shady street

I wonder what image does the expression'on a shady street'invoke in a native speaker if he or she comes upon following paragraph. "They were from a nice family in a nice house on a shady street. ...
-5
votes
0answers
31 views

Your misuse of the apostrophe [duplicate]

You profess to explain the correct use of grammar in the English language, yet you use the apostrophe incorrectly in the following extract on your own website example! from circa early 1990's up ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Can I use “US-American” to disambiguate “American”? If not, what can I use?

Based on this question, I wonder: as an alternative to USAian (which is very nonstandard) is it OK to use US-American to more clearly indicate "inhabitant of the USA"? According to Google Ngram, this ...
1
vote
0answers
15 views

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) UK - Meaning

My question is simple (hope not too simple): Why this organization has chosen this name? - DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disclosure_and_Barring_Service DBS enables ...
2
votes
1answer
26 views

How do you mean vs What do you mean?

What do people mean when they say How do you mean? Are they asking me to explain what I just said? Then how is it different from What do you mean?
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Meaning of “count in”

The German Fischer, the two Americans no longer count in the outcome of the race, the Hungarian alone is battling the three Japanese. I happened to read this sentence while browsing web and ...
4
votes
3answers
54 views

Is it “tomorrow” after midnight? Or is it still “today”?

Let me start with an observation: Let's say it's half past 12 and you're heading off to bed, I personally would say Tomorrow I have to get up early for work And as far as I know all my friends ...
6
votes
1answer
315 views

What is the definition of “cousin” when used as a verb?

What does the word cousin mean when used as a verb? By context I take it to mean that someone is putting someone else on or being difficult with someone else. For example, in The Dark Tower (Stephen ...
3
votes
5answers
968 views

Uniquate = Eliminate or replace duplicates, make unique?

I am not a native English speaker and I need a word means modifying a list/set to make it a unique-values list/set eliminating or replacing non-unique values with unique ones. For instance; "Dup", ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

“Code of Alabama” usage in this sentence

From Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus’s office in the courthouse contained little more than a hat rack, a spittoon, a checkerboard and an unsullied Code of Alabama. Isn’t ...
4
votes
2answers
79 views

For computer science, are the files corrupted or corrupt?

Computer files: Are they "corrupt" or "corrupted"? I feel they could be both. What is the standard?
0
votes
2answers
43 views

Can you please explain what “Not to say” means here:

Can you please explain what "Not to say" means in the context of the following sentence. "Not to say I might not be up for going tomorrow".
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Does this imply a mutually exclusive relationship?

"The process of successfully growing into the world requires negotiation between hard work and new pathways" are 'hard work' and 'pathways' implied to be mutually exclusive by this statement
14
votes
6answers
10k views

How do you get from the literal meaning of “all bets are off” to the idiom?

Most everyone knows what the common turn of phrase all bets are off means: "anything can happen." But all idioms have to start from somewhere, and the question I'm wondering is how did this one start. ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the definition of “hangry”?

Is hangry a real word? According to Collins Dictionary it means to be angry as a result of being hungry, but it seems far-fetched.
0
votes
1answer
139 views

What is the meaning of “ironically” in this passage?

A rocket launched and shortly afterward exploded, on Tuesday. Below is passage from a news article written about it: This was the second launch attempt for the mission. Monday evening's try was ...
-1
votes
1answer
17 views

Does this phrasing imply a mutually exclusive relationship?

'To grow into the world is to negotiate between x and y" Furthermore, can this statement be interpreted to mean "To grow into the world is to negotiate between x for y
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Meaning of should and would

Here's a text: 'I'm going out now. Is it cold out?' 'Yes, I should wear a coat.' It means 'If I were you, I would wear a coat'. So my question is can I just say 'Yes, I would wear a coat'?
0
votes
1answer
178 views

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing

I've sent an email asking for a reference from a professor, and got a reply which is a bit confusing. The following sentences are what I've sent: I was wondering if you would be willing to write ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

What is the exact definition of “set off” in the expression “set off by (a pair of) commas?”

It seems to me that in English usage "set off" is almost irreplaceable in the collocation I refer to in the question and in similar phrases, e.g., "comma(s) set(s) off (this or that)." As if everyone ...
1
vote
3answers
40 views

What does “Your team kicking serious butt” mean?

Some said "Your team kicking serious butt" to me in an email. Does that mean that he thinks my team is awesome? To me I feel it may have similar meaning to "kick ass" but I'm not sure and can't find ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Differences between: “prior”, “ precede”, “predate”, “in advance” and “former”

I am struggling with the exact meanings of these words. In the dictionary they all seem to be connected to the idea of "previous". But I don't know which word I should use and in which context. ...
0
votes
4answers
82 views

A rare currency

For example: When I am writing an article about friendship, and want to say it's difficult to find a good friend, it is possible to say it's like finding a rare currency today?
2
votes
3answers
159 views

Is there a difference between “dislike” and “don't like”?

A friend of mine for whom English is a second language told me that I am the only person he knows who uses the word "dislike", and asked me what the difference was from saying that I "don't like" ...
-1
votes
1answer
40 views

What do sharp-witted and quick-witted mean? [on hold]

If you’re sharp-witted or quick-witted, does it mean you’re intelligent and bright?
1
vote
1answer
28 views

“Enjoin” vs “Adjure”

"Enjoin" means to direct someone with emphasis and authority. "Adjure" means to command in a serious manner. Are the two words used in different contexts?
-1
votes
0answers
32 views

What's the definition of the word “Striving” in this context? [on hold]

What type of person would you find yourself striving alongside in a working environment? Really don't want to look stupid on my job application.
2
votes
2answers
393 views

Is 'Mochup' the same as 'Mock-up'?

I recently came across the word 'mochup'. I am unsure if this is simply a spelling mistake of the term 'mock-up', or if it is a technical neologism with a slightly different meaning. Searching on ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Use of 'write down' [on hold]

Can the expression write down be used in a context where I will write down my opinion or statement so that we can remember it in the future? Like a promise or statement with weight? 'The United ...
2
votes
3answers
73 views

What is the meaning of this life quote?

I am trying (but failing) to understand the meaning of this life quote: Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you are afraid to try. Can you explain what it means?
7
votes
4answers
13k views

“Register” vs. “registry”

What's the difference in meaning between “register” and “registry”? Can both be used interchangeably when talking about an official (public) list of items, records?
-1
votes
0answers
30 views

Difference between “to enhance” and “to develop”

what's Difference between “to enhance” and “to develop”?
2
votes
4answers
158 views

differentiating between all that and what

Original (extracted from the book The Scarlet Letter): Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. My own rephrased sentences: Like whatever that pertains ...
2
votes
2answers
45 views

Does 'sewer crabs' insinuate any other meaning?

The second old man threw his axe down pettishly, spat in the direction of the closed door and went off among the stacks of cordwood. The door of the shack opened, the man in the Mackinaw poked ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

“I never was” vs. “I was never”

What is the difference between "I never was" and "I was never"? It seems that there is a subtle difference, but I can't quite grasp it. Is one of them informal? For example: I never was a good ...
0
votes
2answers
88 views

What kind of question-tag is this: “I was in the bath, wasn't I?” Is it polite? rude?

Context: (BrE) - a friend is complaining... a- "I phoned you three times this morning but you never answered." b- "I was in the bath, wasn't I? Why the question-tag, if the listener had no idea ...
0
votes
3answers
72 views

What's it called in english to be cautious about something you do?

Is there a term in english for where you want to describe the discreet or cautious approach you take, when you want to make sure you're not risking or jeopardizing anything in doing a routine job? ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

What does this quote by Sun Tzu-The Art of War mean? [on hold]

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of 100 battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

Is the phrase 'increasely likely' acceptable? If so, what does it mean? [on hold]

I like to read different newspapers and news websites to pick up some English words and phrases with which I'm unfamiliar. I found the two-word phrase increasely likely, which I found confusing.