The meaning of phrases.

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what does “hold off” mean

I updated my colleague about a travel subscription confirmation. And he said "Great News! Hold off on arranging travel until I hear from Bill today." I got the point - Dont arrange any travel. But I ...
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25 views

What does it mean to say “The tie has got quite a lot”

Today, when I was making some tea for myself in the staff room, my colleague told me something that I didn't really understand. I would like to know what does this saying mean. I filled half my glass ...
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1answer
20 views

What does the phrase “it wouldn't take” mean in this context?

An episode of Seinfeld has the following dialogue: GEORGE: "What day is today? Oh... Tuesday! Damn it. I shouldn't have worked out today. Mr. Wilhem has called a big meeting and now I'm gonna ...
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1answer
59 views

What is the meaning of…“and as many centuries”? [on hold]

In the book Pinocchio in Venice by Robert Coover, there's this sentence: On a winter evening of the year 19—, after arduous travels across two continents and as many centuries... What does ...
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1answer
28 views

What is the meaning of “get held under the water”?

"You pull in the barrel and then you eat it and you just go spinning and get held under water forever" I read it but I didn't really get it. I mean does it means that he drowns? Please help me ...
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1answer
65 views

What does the phrase “He’s holding a cat” mean or does it only have a direct meaning? [on hold]

What does the phrase He’s holding a cat mean, or does it only have a direct meaning? This phrase hasn’t any context. Perhaps is it an idiom?
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2answers
54 views

Term for referring to someone with mediocre words to describe their greatness

What is the term for describing the following sort of phrases used to humoristically, and almost affectionately, describe someone who is obviously well known to be superb in their field? Referring ...
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47 views

What does 'a box-like plan' mean? I met this in '' This Side of Paradise''

In '' This Side of Paradise'' by F.Scott Fitzgerald there is a sentence As they stepped into the machine he hurriedly slapped the paint of diplomacy over a rather box-like plan he had conceived. ...
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2answers
37 views

Origin and meaning of “chaff before the wind”

I've usually encountered the phrase "chaff before the wind" in the context of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I would like to know where it originates from historically and what imagery should come ...
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34 views

What does “dolphins … get second billing” mean?

The dolphins had deduced, correctly, that they would get second billing. What does this sentence mean? Is "second billing" an idiom of some kind?
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1answer
42 views

I admired the theme to his theft

Hello everyone I am a non-native student of English. To improve my English I love reading books. Now I am reading a book "Second Hand" by Michael Zadoorian about a boy who owns a second hand store and ...
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3answers
58 views

Where does the phrase “flag it” come from [on hold]

Where does the phrase flag it come from, as in Oh, flag it, it's not working, I'm going to bed.
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1answer
38 views

“empirically ubiquitous”: what does “empirically” mean here?

I am translating an American article about a theatre production, and there's a phrase I can't understand. It uses the word "empirically" but if I'm not mistaken has nothing to do with ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “all the more impressive”?

Vestager has a reputation for toughness, stemming from her time as economics minister and deputy prime minister in Denmark. She managed to push through the Radikale Venstre party’s centrist agenda ...
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1answer
31 views

Does 'hook up' imply a superficial relationship?

I am a non-native speaker. I would like to express that something happened two years after a character has formed a relationship with a loved one. This is what I wrote: Two years after I hooked ...
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1answer
41 views

Say “you guys” to a group of people [duplicate]

Can we say "guys" to a group of people, that group possibly including women? Example sentence: I am looking forward to see you guys then!
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2answers
232 views

“to take someone to task” does not mean to make someone do something?

I just looked up the translation of the German expression jemanden zur Rede stellen. The one translation for that expression I found was to take someone to task. I use the German expression to ...
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3answers
58 views

Exact meaning of 'swallow thickly' [closed]

What does the phrase "swallow thickly" mean?
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4answers
44 views

What does “wont to suppose” mean? [closed]

Here is the source: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1910/06/medical-education-in-america/306088/#disqus_thread "Our teachers were men of fine character, devoted to the duties of their ...
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39 views

meaning of as - as in following sentence [duplicate]

"The Plaza hotel is as near as it gets to the best shopping along New York's famous Fifth Avenue." Whats the meaning of this sentence?and what does as-as means here?
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4answers
720 views

what does the preposition “up” mean in “He got beaten up by other kids in school”?

Many times I heard people say that "beat up someone". But on the internet, I can only found this definition which does not seem matching with the word beat up in the above sentence "beat-up:(of a ...
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1answer
31 views

What does 'For long, in need' mean? [closed]

What does the below mentioned phrase connote? "For long, in need"
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2answers
57 views

Does inscrutable mean “hard to figure out”?

To figure out usually means to find out.....although on Dictionary.com, it's defined as "hard to understand or solve" with none of its definition close to "to find out". What puzzles me more is the ...
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1answer
38 views

what do “free to change” and “but of all models” mean?

What do "free to change" and "but of all models" mean in this sentence "Topologists, for example, do not study the singularities structuring the possibility space of a model free to change in its ...
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36 views

a very strange sentence. please help to understand [duplicate]

There is a book by Galina Demykina "The lost girl and the scallywags" (a Russian one, translated into English, 1977) and there is a very strange sentence: "Zoya saw nothing save thick, ever so thick ...
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1answer
50 views

What's the meaning of the expression “without the presence of God and Jesus.” [closed]

When I was reading an article, I came across a particular phrase and couldn't figure it out. The secret formula of Coca-Cola is fiercely protected, so much so that only two people who work at ...
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1answer
63 views

Meaning of the phrase “cutting their noses to spite their faces”

What is the meaning of the phrase "cutting their noses to spite their faces"? I came across this phrase in the following context : As many as 22 states currently are cutting their noses to spite ...
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1answer
35 views

What does “nothing that” mean? [closed]

I read this article- Greeks take to the streets for dueling rallies that reflect a divided nation in Washington post. And I'm confused about what the "nothing that" means in this part : The ...
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3answers
197 views

Is there a word similar to Verbatim that means “Too many meaningless words used”? [duplicate]

Is there a word similar to Verbatim that means "Too many meaningless words used" ? I am looking for a word which describes the statement is meaningless with too many words.
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6answers
740 views

non-condecending term that has the meaning that is usually associated to 'first world'

I've always thought of the 'first world' as countries with modern technology and science, proper education, viable economies, and freedom from other social issues which allows individuals to enjoy a ...
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1answer
50 views

What is the meaning of this “go in and out”? [closed]

What is the meaning of this "go in and out": (from Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet) The chipmunk said in a pleased voice: "My day." He sat there and listened while the bat said: In and out the ...
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3answers
80 views

What does “bet-covering” mean in this context?

As always, I'm stuck in a Hitchens sentence from God Is Not Great. Here it is: If you believe in god and there is a god, you win. If you believe in him and you are wrong — so what? I once wrote a ...
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1answer
56 views

the switch went on (definition)

I heard this in a documentary. The speaker is some serial killer who claims he started his rampage after watching a video. He goes like this: "I put one of the videos in and what came on the ...
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1answer
53 views

'Head over heels' - why? [duplicate]

The phrase 'Head over heels' is quite often used when someone falls over: He fell head over heels But, in my mind it doesn't make much sense. If your head is over your heels (feet) then you're ...
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2answers
76 views

'I eat kittens before ponies' vs 'I eat kittens before I eat ponies'

Are either of the following sentences grammatically incorrect? Assuming they are both correct, is one preferred over the other? If so, in what situations is each preferred? I eat kittens before ...
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1answer
36 views

What “harbor deception” mean? [closed]

Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts harbor means 'a place of refuge', and deception means 'the action of deceiving ...
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3answers
363 views

What does “snooze factor eleven" mean?

In the opening of “An open letter to the White Walker Army” in The New Yorker (June 12), Sarah Larson exclaims: Dear White Walkers and Your Thousands of Undead Wights: I get it—you’re scary and ...
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3answers
241 views

Meaning of “rendition” in the phrase “rendition camp”

In the movie series XIII the main character was imprisoned in something they called "a rendition camp in Romania". In the movie it looked just like a prison. He was put there on the order of NSA or ...
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2answers
57 views

Fell from great heights

I was having lunch with some German and American friends discussing about the state of an industry, when one of my friends said: ...... Industry has fell from great heights. My German friends ...
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2answers
67 views

What is a “sing song soldier”?

What is the meaning of the phrase "a sing song soldier"? A teacher was helping a student in crisis and another teacher referred to her as a sing song soldier. I have not been able to find any ...
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105 views

Can I say “murdering thoughts” or should it be “murderous thoughts” and what is difference between these? [closed]

Is the phrase "murdering thoughts" correct, or should it be "murderous thoughts"? Could I use "murdering thoughts" in any other context. Could I use sentence like "I am murdering thoughts" or use ...
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1answer
46 views

Is “It’s not unheard-of to do” not-an-unusual expression in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article titled, “Hooray for Hillarywood” in New York Times May 30 issue: “You hear plenty of complaints about the president’s mingy care and ...
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2answers
49 views

Be going to have to [closed]

I have encountered this phrase on a forum. It was an answer to an unclear question. What does it exactly mean? In particular, what is the function of be going to in this case? You're going to have ...
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2answers
53 views

meaning of “Operation Stork” [closed]

What are the meanings of "Operation Stork"? I know the common meanings of the word "Operation" and "Stork", but putting the meanings together doesn't make sense to me. PS:I saw this phase as the name ...
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1answer
77 views

meaning of “linger in the shadows” [closed]

What does "linger in the shadows" mean in the interchange below? I heard it in a movie. I searched but I can't find it. A: Why do you linger in the shadows? B: I was coming to report to you.
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2answers
96 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 ...
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2answers
62 views

Near-universally vs nearly universally

Concerning style, usage, and correctness: what is the difference in meaning (and therefore usage & correctness) between these two phrases? A quick search reveals both are in use. Also, what ...
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1answer
60 views

What does “let her down” mean? [closed]

What does "let her down" mean in the song below: She knows, she knows That I never let her down before.
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1answer
59 views

What is “Navy Die”?

I saw a student allergy list, and it said "Sorbitol, Navy Die, Dust". Could someone tell me what is "Navy Die"? Thanks a lot!
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1answer
43 views

what does hard copy subscription mean?

I want to know what does "hard copy subscription" mean ? full sentence : where payment is primarily for physical goods or services (e.g., buying movie tickets, or buying a publication where the price ...