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

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35 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 ...
2
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52 views

What is the role/function and origin of “to” being used in the idiomatic phrases “there's something to him/her/it” & “there's nothing to him/her/it”?

"something to him/her/it" Google Books (to him): Google Books (to her): Google Books (to it): The phrase meaning "there's something (with respect to/about) him/her/it (that is observable/...
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54 views

What phrases exist which are apparently contradictory, but actually mean the same thing?

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 ...
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25 views

Meaning {Thing} “decided” to cave in

For example: "My laptop caved in" -> It means that my laptop got broken, right? And when: "My laptop decided to cave in" I wonder what does the "decided" mean or give expression to listeners. Of ...
2
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49 views

What does 'cover off' mean? 10067

10067 I have looked at 'cover off' threads but their answers don't fit my example. In James Titcombe's book about the Morecambe Bay baby scandal (where 30 babies died because of communication ...
2
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57 views

The origin of the verb “has” (the verb “have” for third-singular person)

From what I know, in Simple Present, all verbs are followed by -s/es if the subject is a third-singular person. Such as makes, matches, buys, and studies. I also know that if the verb is have, it ...
2
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61 views

Stress pattern changes with noun and verb homographs: exceptions to the rule

We all know that words that can be used both as nouns and verbs have a different stress pattern: http://www.wordstress.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Stress-Pattern-Change-noun-verb-pairs.pdf As a ...
2
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54 views

How did 'however it may be' ⟹ 'but'?

[ OED: ] Etymology:  < HOW adv. + EVER adv. 8e. In senses 2, 3, however is the relic of an original subordinate clause (like those of sense 1), such as ‘however this may be’. ...
2
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57 views

Connotation of a sentence in a listening material from TPO

(Here for the original audio source (MP3 file). The part in question begins approximately at 2'18'') This conversation is an excerpt from one listening material in a TPO (TOEFL Practice Online) test, ...
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39 views

How has pathetic fallacy's meaning changed?

When John Ruskin first coined the term pathetic fallacy he truly did mean that people were committing a fallacy when describing inanimate objects as having characteristics (or having pathos so were ...
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51 views

Difference between deterrent and hindrance?

I have this sentence: In India analysts attributed high cost of Apple's devices to be a major deterrent to sales of iPhone that completes with android based smartphones. My question is why ...
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61 views

How are “autopsy of a corpse” and “post-mortem of a corpse” different?

Autopsy is surgical examination of a corpse to find out the cause of the death. Post-mortem, used in isolation as in "Post-mortem was done", refers to surgical examination of a corpse. Now, the ...
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38 views

Non-phonetic words

I am looking for a word with the definition "a word that is not pronounced phonetically" I have tried many searches. I can't tell if there is no such word, or if I just can't find the correct way to ...
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15 views

Can I define our company's business as sell furnishings if we do not sell furniture?

Our company produces and sells rugs, throw pillows, decorative objects, cushions, lamps, wall decor products, curtains, candle holders and generally everything else which is decorative for the house, ...
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79 views

What does “ago” mean in this sentence?

She told me last year that she went to Europe two years ago. Did she go to Europe in 2014 (two years before today), or 2013 (two years before she spoke the sentence)? I checked Merriam-Webster, ...
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49 views

Regarding the use of the present perfect tense

What tense is being used in the following sentences? I have been here. How often have you been in love in your life? There has been an accident. I think these sentences use the ...
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97 views

What does “nine while nine” mean?

In "Nine While Nine" by The Sisters of Mercy there is this line: Nine while nine and I'm waiting for the train... What does "nine while nine" actually mean? I've never encountered anything ...
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0answers
30 views

The meaning of the sentence, “Nick grimaced, dealt trash for the sixth hand in a row”

"Nick grimaced, dealt trash for the sixth hand in a row" I got this sentence from my friend who is preparing an English language test. The question asks for the meaning of the sentence without any ...
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27 views

Should we use “esp not” or simply “esp” following a negation?

This occurred to me when I was having a conversation about sleep disorder with my friend. When I asked of tips to have a good sleep, he advised me to do a lot of workout and make myself as tired as ...
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25 views

Social Paradigm

It is come from the 7 habits of highly effective people book (2004) by Stephen Covey. He have mentioned Character Ethic & Personality Ethic are the examples of social paradigms. (Page 23) I ...
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25 views

“This assignment is for the full term of the assigned rights” - meaning

I try to understand what does "This assignment is for the full term of the assigned rights" mean in the following paragraph: The Consultant hereby assigns to the Client all of its ...
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34 views

Is “over” meaning “again” related to “over”'s other meanings?

In addition to the physical position meaning of "over" there are a number of nonphysical and temporal meanings in common usage, including "again". My own examples: I couldn't read your note. Write ...
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34 views

Expired - Non-Expired

I have to classify the users, like Expired users and not expired users. Shall I use the term Non-Expired to indicate that user is still valid and have enough validity period ? Is there a term ...
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28 views

How to communicate two elements of different syntactic/semantic type in the same sentence?

I have the following sentence, NAME is a community that helps each other code better by rating each other's efforts and helps managers pair with other fellow developers I was suggested by the ...
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37 views

Combining two sentence in one while ensuring grammar errors are not present

Since English is my second language, I have been trying to wrap my head around the subheading I am writing. I feel like it would be better written if it was divided into multiple sentence, but I was ...
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47 views

How would you understand meeting time availability?

If I ask someone, "what's your availability for a meeting" and this person replies: I am available Wed and Thurs 4pm-9pm. Does it mean he is available to start the meeting anytime during this ...
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59 views

“cross drafts ahoy” meaning

In the 4th episode of the 3rd season of Silicon Valley HBO show, the following dialog happens between the landlord and a guy who want to rent a room: Guy : Uh, this is not even a room. This is a ...
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53 views

“These kids I tell you” or “kids I tell you” expression meaning

I have read them in few disconnected articles and in conversations but could not understand them completely. "These kids I tell you" or "kids I tell you" expression meaning. What do they mean ?
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36 views

“ that was a classic money handshake”

I'm reading the play "Dumb Show" by Joe Penhall. (See on Google Books) almost in the begining of the play one of the characters uses this phrase" classic money handshake". What does it mean? " (...
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35 views

“Making use the assumption”?

Prove the statement P(k + 1) making use the assumption P(k). It's a part of Template for Proofs by Mathematical Induction. I'm not very familiar with the use of use in that sentence. What does it ...
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47 views

“Abstract nonsense” — does it have negative meaning?

Is the collocation "abstract nonsense" coloured somehow in negative way? I mean mostly the second word -- can it mean "something too strange to be good" or something like this, and in what context?
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76 views

For how long has “as” been synonymous with “because” in British English?

In British English, it seems that "because" can always be replaced with "as." Here is an example of "as" meaning "because" in British English: I popped down to the shops as we were out of loo roll....
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37 views

Is 'seeing' after 'open to' a correct sentence?

In a book that I'm reading, there is a sentence: We seem to be quite open to seeing others as people rather than coworkers or competitors. I just wonder I should be see not seeing in the above ...
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49 views

How does one determine when a comedian is also a humorist?

Wikipedia's list of humorists are categorised as people who write or perform humorous material, but the article also states: A humorist is usually distinct from a stand-up comedian. Woody Allen ...
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63 views

Came “into” fruition?

My friend wrote some copy, explaining that her "company came into fruition because she realized the opportunity..." I've never used "came into fruition" -- only "came to fruition". Is "came into ...
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111 views

What is the meaning when someone say “it doesn't get much weird than Lynda?”

Lynda made a dance performance, it's very weird and many audiences couldn't understand it. Then a guy made a comment "It doesn't get much weird than Lynda?". What does he mean ? Is that "Lynda is ...
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56 views

Countenance, as noun, versus appearance

Jane Austen seems to use them as separate things. Often the appearance of the face may be deduced from context. I no longer remember which book or what character I was reading when I encountered ...
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95 views

What is a “terrorist jacket”?

In Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, American archaeologist Lupe Montoya is described as wearing a "terrorist jacket" in several places: Kivrin’s tutor Latimer, looking older and even more infirm than ...
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52 views

Is “face-off” a misnomer?

In ice hockey, the face-off is the method of starting play. The two teams line up in opposition to each other, and two opposing skaters try to gain control of the puck after it is dropped between ...
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0answers
59 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “Signal Advance?”

I posted this question, “Signal Advance”: Unsure of meaning or contextual use, on Biology SE, as the phrase was used in a biology text that I am reading, Recombinant DNA; Genes and Genomes - A Short ...
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73 views

What does whole-animal mean?

Kindly explain the meaning of whole-animal The Country Cat (restaurant) is known for whole-animal, farm-to-table scratch cooking, and at PDX Sappington was determined to break down animals, smoke ...
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46 views

The relationship between and correct usage of the words Chronometry and Horology

Wikipedia for 'Chronometry' states: Chronometry applies to electronic devices, while Horology refers to mechanical devices. While on 'Horology', Wikipedia describes it in more detail, creating ...
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49 views

“To hear” meaning

I have a great deal of difficulty understanding the correct meaning of this dialogue from the Pink Panther animated series: "To hear Harry, you'd think (or you think, I'm not sure) you didn't have a ...
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96 views

What does 'if' mean in this sentences?

For similar reasons fragile natural states cannot support many, if any, private elite organizations. As the two world wars and the Cold War of the twentieth century illustrate, external violence is a ...
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72 views

What's the meaning of “run over”?

What's the meaning of "run over" in the following passage? Similar observations concerning the pitfalls associated with undertaking accounting research that operates on either center-margin ...
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25 views

unit as an adjective usage

the science dealing with the areal differentiation of the earth's surface, as shown in the character, arrangement, and interrelations over the world of such elements as climate, elevation, soil, ...
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123 views

Distinguishing among classification, typology, taxonomy, and ontology?

I recently wrote a thesis applying archaeological typology to art attribution. In the process, it became clear that disparate disciplines share analogous debates regarding classification. I'd like to ...
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41 views

Do these phrases have the same meaning?

Do the phrases 'within one week of the date of the request', and 'within one week after the date of the request' (i.e. the request is made 27th October, 28th Oct - 3rd Nov is the one week period after ...
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62 views

Destigmatise -usage, meaning

Could someone explain the meaning of the word "destigmatise" and how can I use it? Is it a colloquial word? Thank you in advance!
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341 views

What's the meaning of the idiom “to lie flat” when applied to a document or project?

I'm encountering this idiom in a government/business context. For example, someone will say that changes to Document A affect Person X's workload, so we'd like to get that document "lying flat" for a ...