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

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5
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1answer
182 views

“Tommyknockers”: why the “tommy” prefix in AmE?

From The Tommyknockers by Stephen King: Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to run, don't know if I can, 'cause I'm so afraid of ...
1
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1answer
38 views

“Financier” in British and American English

I am teaching English to a group of university students whose major is Finance, and whose native language is not English. I have no background in economics in general or finance in particular. I am ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Meaning and use of “would have to be” in this sentence

I'm a beginner of English and really appreciate that you can help me learn more. I noticed a sentence: I think all the girls in the anime are awesome, but my favorites would have to be Nozomi and ...
1
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1answer
43 views

Is it correct to use the phrase - “he / she fights on”?

Is it correct to use the phrase "he / she fights on" to say that a person is fighting / struggling for a cause?
1
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1answer
97 views

Help understanding a sentence/reference

The introductory paragraph of the book An Introduction to Mathematics, written for general audience by the great British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead goes like this: Chapter 1: THE ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

Use of 'late' for resurrected people

My question concerns the use of the word late when referring to someone who has died. Numerous fictional characters die and return to life again. Would it be correct to refer to them as the late ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

“if and as” - Does it mean what I think it means and is it even grammatically sound?

Very infrequently, I'll use the fragment "if and as" in a sentence. For instance: Having it be double fudge chocolate cake in both cases comes off as needless frippery if and as the recipe is ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

'Preciseness' and 'Precision'

Ok, by my current understanding of the two words, the sentence: The preciseness of this precision is very definite Is grammatically correct. Correct me if I'm wrong, and if so; what is the ...
1
vote
1answer
129 views

be intended to vs intend to

I see a lot of examples of be intended to and intend to. Both of them mean plan to do. Some examples: Selling was my game and I intended to be a winner. The ban is intended to be permanent. ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

Is this usage of “account for” correct?

Can "account for" mean "take into consideration", such as in the sentence "I forgot to account for the time it would take to drive here, so I'm late"? Oddly, I couldn't find such usage in any ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

“I don't agree totally” vs. “I don't totally agree” vs. “I totally don't agree”

What is the difference between the following? I don't agree with him totally. I don't totally agree with him. I totally don't agree with him. I'm puzzled at the meaning of negative ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

what does “ attention whore” mean?

I heard "attention whore" from a radio,my finding in this case is that whore means somebody who does anything in order to achieve what they want,so they do anything to get attention of others, how do ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

The meaning and etymology of the exclamation “Lawdy me!”

What does a speaker mean if he/she exclaims "Lawdy me!"? I noticed this exclamation when I was reading a short story "the Conscience of the Court" by Zora Neale Hurston. There was one brown-skinned ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Difference between logs, timber, and lumber

I'm interested in the distinctions between these three terms. Here's what I already know: timber is wood that is still attached to the ground, and still has its bark on. Lumber is already felled, and ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Is this correct usage of “latter”?

I'm looking through some text in a software application I work on. We give the user several options for when they want to calculate their social security. One of these options is "Retirement or 62 ...
0
votes
1answer
36 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
1answer
66 views

Meaning of 'Some nose puts the bulls on me tomorrow..'

"It don't make any difference," he said. "I'm washed up anyway. Some nose puts the bulls on me tomorrow, next week, what the hell? I just didn't like your map, pal. A nose means a person, I ...
0
votes
1answer
142 views

Meaning of “broken” in a phrase “broken hallelujah”

What does "broken" mean in a phrase "broken hallelujah"? E.g. in Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah song? "it's cold and it's a broken hallelujah" In my opinion, the best match from the dictionary is ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

What does “mainstream pop music” mean? And is it singular or plural?

Is "mainstream pop music" just a genre or genres? Whatever it means, can I use it as below? What kind of mainstream pop music do you like? What kinds of mainstream pop music do you like?
0
votes
1answer
34 views

How to describe this fact with a independent clause?

In fact, with more time being left to myself, I started to read books I had aspired to read when I was in high school. I mean I had more time for leisure, so I spent them on books. My usage ...
1
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0answers
55 views

Does name + “boss” mean something?

One of my colleagues in Britain keeps addressing me as "Armen boss" in mails and skype. Like, Hi, Armen boss. Can you please verify...? I am in no conceivable way his boss and our relationship ...
1
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0answers
72 views

Descry, Espy, Spot, Spy

I know as a general rule that no two words are identical in meaning and use. I was wondering if I could get help in understanding the different meanings and uses of descry, espy, spot and spy. I know ...
1
vote
0answers
138 views

What's the meaning of the word “spitters” in The Chemical Worker's Song?

Amongst the different versions of this song (Known by various names including "The Chemical Worker's Song", "Process Man" and "The ICI Song") that are floating around, there seem to be two variations ...
0
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0answers
23 views

What does “ceremonial” mean in this context?

What does "ceremonial" mean in this context? Thus, it was for freedom (legitimate moral and ceremonial freedom) that Christ set us free. Definitions of "ceremonial": 1. relating to or used for ...
0
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0answers
21 views

What does “size availability” mean in the following context?

It's about woods, more precisely about the tree called "Thuya Burr" : USES: Mostly used for decorative veneers as size availability is limited. Many thanks for your help
0
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0answers
26 views

Do you still “know” something you have temporarily forgotten?

Sometimes people say, for example I know it, but I can't think of it at the moment. But if you can't think of it at the moment, then can you truthfully state that you "know" it? Dictionary ...
0
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0answers
32 views

Midnight at the Halls or Midnight in the Halls

I was writing a title for an article and I was curious which version of the title would be more grammatically proper: "Midnight at the Halls" or "Midnight in the Halls" It's trying express the fact ...
0
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0answers
21 views

Make in-roads - meaning

At Marina Polliack's jewelry stand, Bennett was making in-roads. I am not sure how to understand in-roads. The sentence appears here ...
0
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0answers
50 views

Is it possible to 'claim' a concession?

Underlying most OED definitions of the word claim, both noun and verb, is some notion of right or entitlement. ( An exception arises in the case of meaning 2c - the loosely used he claimed to be ...
0
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0answers
34 views

Electronic module or unit?

I make circuit boards with micro controllers that I mount inside plastic cases. I've always referred to them as electronic control modules. But what is really the best word for these? Electronic ...
0
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0answers
34 views

Difference between discourses and worldviews

I wondered if any one could help me to differentiate between worldviews (see the Cultural Theory of Risk for further information) and discourses (and their interrelation, if applicable). Thanks in ...
0
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0answers
38 views

What's the difference between Earthed Line and the Earth Line?

What's the difference between Earthed Line and the Earth Line? Are they same meaning?
0
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0answers
42 views

Sift and Sieve definition

Recently, while reading a novel, I stumbled upon the word 'sifted'. This immediately got me questioning the difference between the verb 'sift' and the verb 'sieve'. Some dictionaries say 'sieve' is ...
0
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0answers
36 views

It is to the feminine as the hug of a bear is to the scratch of--well;--anything with claws

"A man's sense of humor is a barbarous and a cruel thing, Miss Innes," he admitted. "It is to the feminine as the hug of a bear is to the scratch of--well;--anything with claws. Is that you, Thomas? ...
0
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0answers
48 views

I'll just toss it out again

Every moment of the day feels like a race against the clock. To borrow a phrase from Carrie Fisher, which is in my bio there; I'll just toss it out again -- "These days even instant gratification ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

On a certain usage of the word “only”

Some documents such as medical prescriptions and cheques employ the word "only" in an interesting manner: (Dpbsmith via Wikipedia) On cheques the usage is something like "Three hundred dollars ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

“relaxed flying fingers” associated with ergonomic keyboard computer interface?

I want to start an open source software project and call it "relaxed flying fingers". The project is about a better keyboard interface, especially for touch typers (people typing with ten fingers). ...
0
votes
0answers
70 views

Meaning of “well” in full and meaningful sentences

In everyday English, people use "well" in their speech very loosely. "Well, I don't know." "Well yeah!" "Oh well..." ...etc. I know "well" has different meanings and emotions attached to them, ...
0
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0answers
477 views

Far more … than meaning

Theft of an idea is far more difficult for proving in court than word-for-word plagiarism. Can far more be used in that sentence? What does it mean?
0
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0answers
77 views

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

A rocket launched and shortly 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 thwarted by a ...
0
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0answers
192 views

Is there a difference between: “The coming year” and “next year”?

If it were now January, would "the coming year" be taken to mean this year? If it were November would "the coming year" refer to the next calendar year or a period running from November to November?
0
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0answers
161 views

What does “trabacaloes” refer to?

The book I'm reading contains the following excerpt: He thought of men he knew, junior to him but with better luck or better interest, who were now lieutenants in command of brigs or cutters, or ...
0
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0answers
66 views

“Comfort me in accomplishing my task”

In a formal letter, can one say comfort me in accomplishing my task as in Your presence will significantly enhance this scientific event and comfort me in accomplishing my task. ...
0
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0answers
127 views

Morpheme Division

I just have a short question regarding the morpheme contextualizes. When I divide it into morphemes, is it: 1. contextual ize s lexical derivational inflectional ...
0
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0answers
69 views

Is there a proper name for saying something like “stack'em”?

Is there a proper name for saying something like stack'em instead of stack them or any other "'em" in place of "them"? Is it slang or something to do with dialect? UPDATE It is a ...
0
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0answers
59 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. ...
0
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0answers
80 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 ...
0
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0answers
67 views

The meaning of “Alexis” in Pope's Second Pastoral

"Alexis" comes from Greek, meaning "to help, defend." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_(given_name) Alexander Pope seems to use it in a different sense. His Second Pastoral is entitled Summer ...
0
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0answers
72 views

meaning of “Winner quote” - best “saying” or best “offer”?

Since the word "quote" can be understood as "saying" and also as "offer" I have the following question. If you hear someone saying "that's a winner quote", what would you understand? Would most people ...
-1
votes
0answers
31 views

Clarification on sarcasm/type of personality-stumped

I am hoping to get some help. I have always been told that I am the most sarcastic person people have ever met. After 20 years, I decided to dive a little deeper to see if I fit the definition. It ...