Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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3answers
32 views

Does it make sense to 'lift' an obligation?

I want to say that an obligation that was present previously has been removed in a new approach. Can I say that in the new approach, the obligation has been lifted?
4
votes
1answer
126 views

Definition of racism inconsistency?

For some dictionaries, such as the Oxford one, racism requires that prejudice/discrimination based on the belief that a race is superior/inferior. But I can't find this requirement anywhere for any ...
0
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2answers
51 views

What is wrong with “cotton field”?

The news is very sad. The guy, Vester Lee Flanagan, was very crazy. (Please see the news: ...
-1
votes
4answers
51 views

What is the precise meaning of “preliminary to”?

Clarification: The point of this question is this: does Event A being "preliminary to" Event B require that Event B has happened or will have happened? Consider the following sentence: "Slaughter ...
-1
votes
0answers
28 views

The right expression to give the semantics of “Creative, Brilliant, Innocent, Clever” [on hold]

I'm going to build up a videogames software house. I would like to choose a slogan, and I want to give the idea of "Creative, Brilliant, Innocent, Clever, Not too serious". So I'm searching the right ...
3
votes
4answers
440 views

Negative versions of extreme adjectives

If something positive is "too much", it becomes negative. For example, too much security could be perceived as being trapped. Is there a term for this relation? In other words, if a word with a ...
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0answers
30 views
0
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
151 views

Is there an opposite term for [sic]?

In academics, the note [sic] (for Source InCorrect) is used to make it clear that material lifted from a secondary source was incorrect as the author found it, as opposed to a mistake in the text. Is ...
-1
votes
2answers
87 views

“dick all” meaning nothing, AmE, slang [duplicate]

"dick" has developed a lot of meanings. Pons.eu lists five different meanings. The semantic development of most of them can be understood, but "dick all/dick" for nothing is a bit mysterious (AmE, ...
0
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2answers
58 views

Is the sentence “That guy will make fall in love all those girls” correct?

Is the sentence "That guy will make fall in love all those girls" correct, like "all those girls will fall in love with that guy", can I rewrite it like above? Thanks for the attention!
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Is the phrase “I will infatuate you” correct? [closed]

Can I say "I will infatuate that girl" or "I will infatuate you", meaning that I will do something to someone and then that someone will become infatuated with me? Does it make sense? Thanks for the ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

How to interpret confusing statements involving either/or/not? [duplicate]

I have a simple problem basically I am unable to understand the meaning of some questions involving or/not, and using comma with and. I have the following questions:- 1.Whats the meaning of, say , ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a term for ascribing acts of the human mind to non-human objects, and when is it appropriate to do this?

Nota bene: English isn't my native language, so when I say acts of the human mind, I attempt to generalize things such as making assumptions, drawing conclusions and (to some extent) to reject. To me ...
4
votes
3answers
141 views

Difference of “I am just an ABC” vs “I am but a XYZ”

As far as I (non-native speaker) can tell, these two sentences have the same meaning: I'm just a humble merchant I'm but a humble merchant However I wonder if there is some subtle ...
7
votes
4answers
968 views

Better than the next?

I've heard people using this idiom, such as "each day is better than the next", or "you hope that each experience you have is better than the next" (heard this one on a TV show not long ago), ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Looking for a word to semantically represent the input data to a template

I am trying to come up with a very specific semantically narrow term for the information/data that fed into a template to materialize an output. data, info, input and the like are to generic and ...
3
votes
8answers
9k views

I'll take you home / I'll bring you home

Being both non-natives, I had some discussion today about the following situation: suppose you're at a party and you want to take/bring your drunk buddy home. I believe that: "I'll take you home" ...
3
votes
5answers
7k views

What does “what for” mean and where did it come from?"

There is a fight scene in one of my favorite movies in which the main character says "Give them what for!" I've hear this term many times before (usually from old south-eastern Americans,) but no ...
0
votes
1answer
50 views

Verbal compounds such as come-to-be, come-to-know, come-to-X

Reading about intellectual history and the history of natural science, I have very often come across the expression to come-to-be as a synonym for to come into being, to start to exist, to originate, ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

What is the difference between 'ceremonial' and 'ceremonious'?

Even having looked in the OED I am still slightly unclear as to which contexts require the adjective ceremonious and which ceremonial. The OED treatment of ceremonious is as below with some of the ...
6
votes
3answers
151 views

“This page intentionally blank” … but it isn't!

We are all familiar with user manuals or documents with pages printed with "intentionally blank" ... but with those words on them, they are no longer blank! I'm pretty sure I saw a user manual once ...
0
votes
3answers
57 views

Hypernym for “query” and “report” [closed]

One hypernym for teacher and student is person. Vehicle is a hypernym of car and lorry.... Is there a hypernym for query and report?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Humans or people?

This is the sentence I've read: Freedom is something humans in all times have fought for. I am under the impression that the use of humans is not adequate here. Thus, my question is: when to ...
0
votes
6answers
904 views

Commutative, or “semantically palindromic” sentences

Being a mathematician with mathematician friends, my friends and I occasionally like to joke about the peculiarities of the English language. This one came up recently: Obviously, most English ...
17
votes
11answers
7k views

Idiom: in my neck of the woods, AmE

Idiom: in my neck of the woods (AmE) The meaning of this expression is: in the region where I live. I once tried to find out how a word that referred to a part of the body could later develop into ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Do we plan a strategy?

Is it grammatically correct to say : "He planned a strategy".
1
vote
2answers
78 views

How to distinguish “wherefore” from “therefore” [closed]

I'm aware that the word "wherefore" can be used in the same way as "why", as in classic Shakespeare: "Wherefore art thou Romeo" (NOT meaning where). However how else can it be properly used? Please ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Can “I'm springing” ever really have a present continuous meaning relating to a single spring?

As an homage to a certain kind of linguistico-philosophico question we see here now and then, I'm asking my own, since I have pressing things to do which I would like to do tomorrow, or the next day, ...
3
votes
3answers
195 views

Idiom: Bear with me

The sense of this formula is clear. It means be patient with me, be tolerant/lenient. Don't be too harsh on me. But how can a verb as "to bear" develop the meaning of to be tolerant? "To bear" is an ...
1
vote
3answers
102 views

How did 'estate' evolve to mean 'area of land or property'?

The following are definitions of the word 'estate': estate {noun} = 1. An area or amount of land or property, in particular = 3. {archaic or literary} A particular state, period, or condition ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

Do English speaking subcultures attach different meanings to the phrase “I'm sorry”? [duplicate]

On a recent trip the US, someone explained to me that saying "sorry" meant taking responsibility for causing the loss. Thus you should only say sorry if you intended to fix the situation. (And ...
2
votes
2answers
151 views

It was nice being here vs It was nice to be here

What is more appropriate to say: It was nice being here or It was nice to be here? I hear both constructions pretty often, and am aware of the slight difference, but it seems that people use them ...
1
vote
1answer
740 views

“I'll be sure to do something” vs “I'll for sure do something”

I'm not a native speaker but work in an English-speaking international environment. One American guy wrote me: I'll be sure to let you know We at our company usually say: I'll for sure let ...
1
vote
2answers
184 views

Formal definition of “nearly”

When google for "define nearly" the provided definition was: adverb very close to; almost. closely. Does this means, despite almost no one use it this way, It is semantically ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

A sentence with double negative [closed]

I came across the following sentence in Kurt Vonnegut's book Slaughterhouse Five. “Trout would have gone upstairs if Billy hadn't asked him not to.” If this sentence is considered independently, ...
0
votes
0answers
63 views

Does the word “writing” denote all forms of using characters to convey information?

In legal practices it is common to deliver a written notice to a defendant. This may be a physical letter or an email. This got me thinking about the meaning of written. The Oxford dictionary defines ...
6
votes
5answers
478 views

Can someone please explain the syntactic rules at work here?

I'll use an example statement that's currently being used in a radio commercial for American Family Insurance (paraphrased.) They all told me that I couldn't build my dream home by myself; but, I ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

“No longer could I wait”: Valid construction? [closed]

A lack of capital and experience had always kept me from pursuing this dream, but no longer could I wait. I'm unsure whether or not the no longer could I wait fragment is correct. I have just ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

How did we get ‘deft’ and ‘daffy’ from “daft”?

[ Etymonline for 'daft (adj.)'] Old English gedæfte "gentle, becoming," ... from PIE * dhabh- "to fit together" (see fabric). Sense of "mild, well-mannered" (c. 1200). [ Etymonline for ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Usage of the noun 'news'

I would like to ask you a question concerning the noun 'news'. I am aware that as an uncountable noun, it is, thus, not possible to use the indefinite article preceding it. I am a bit unsure, ...
-2
votes
1answer
55 views

Are these two sentences semantically identical? [closed]

Are these two sentences semantically identical? By using this website, you are certifying that you have read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, you are certifying that you understand our Terms of ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a semantic difference between “manipulable” and “manipulatable”?

In all the sources I can find, the terms "manipulable" and "manipulatable" are both defined as some form of "able to be manipulated". But depending on the source, one word seems to be related to ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How are pronouns resolved?

Are pronouns in English resolved syntactically or semantically? Do they always refer to the closest matching noun? A wikipedia article has these examples: We gave the bananas to the monkeys ...
0
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0answers
255 views

The difference between issue, matter, affair and question

I'm analyzing a text on marketing and I found this paragraph that has four lexemes which are synonymous and yet there seems to exist some difference between them. This is the text (the numbers ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Last, This, and Next (days of the week) [duplicate]

I (and my interlocutors) have often experienced confusion when communicating with others regarding "last [day-of-week]", "this [day-of-week]" and "next [day-of-week]" In my mind, what is logical is ...
1
vote
2answers
246 views

Starting a Sentence with a Conjunction [duplicate]

My high school English teacher taught us to never start a sentence with conjunctions, but throughout the years I have seen a lot of such usage in academic writings and novels. I have also read various ...
0
votes
2answers
121 views

“Any object in A and B”—What does it mean?

Does "any object in A and B" in English mean any object in A and any object in B; any object in A or any object in B; or any object in the intersection of A and B? Thanks a lot. Another ...
0
votes
1answer
92 views

The tiger VS. tigers [closed]

Using just 'species' (for the sake of simplicity and consistency), the author's judgments can be summarized as follows: • (39a) the species of the tiger = (marginally) OK • (39b) the species of ...