How and why certain words are used in varying ways within various contexts.

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123 views

Speak of the Devil [closed]

In native English people say "Speak of the devil and he doth appear" when someone walks in unexpectedly when they are speaking about him oblivion to his appearance in a short while. But the same ...
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4answers
784 views

What special implication does ‘totally’ have in “He’s totally going to call you”?

There was the following sentence in an article titled, “Like, Degrading the Language? No Way” in New York Times (April 5), in which the author says Americans are moving backward on language: ...
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3answers
77 views

Outlier - meaning [closed]

People are rarely interested in looking at raw data; instead, people engaging in data analysis will want to manipulate the raw data to better suit their needs. Examples of common data ...
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4answers
108 views

“woman” or “women” as a stand-in for the adjective “female”? [closed]

As in, Emily Dickinson was a great woman poet or Emily Dickinson was a great women poet in order to mean Emily Dickinson was a great female poet Think I may have seen this adjectival ...
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2answers
77 views

What website will give me the frequency of a word in the English language?

Is there a website that will give me a frequency of a word in the English language? I am looking for some thing like this: I would type in the word, and it would give me a frequency rating. I have ...
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5answers
160 views

Do readers think of the word “ejaculate” beyond its common sexual meaning? [closed]

I am an editor, and a poet whom I work with has included the expression "I ejaculated little prayers" in one of his stanzas, which we all know has the dictionary meaning of "intensely calling out." ...
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1answer
41 views

Better name for filter condition operators?

I’m developing a data filtering system and am a little confused regarding how to name the condition operators for this system. Which of these cases are preferable (or quite applicable) for filter ...
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1answer
65 views

“The meaning of this word” vs. “The meaning to this word” [closed]

Occasionally I observed that some native speakers will use preferably the construction "the meaning to (a word, phrase, etc.)" whereas others will go for the more common grammatical turn "the meaning ...
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2answers
286 views

“Baby is creeping” vs. “baby is crawling” in AmE

Years and years ago, I remember reading in a book on AmE usage that the phrasal turn a baby creeps before it walks was to some extent more common to AmE than to BrE, which preferred exclusively the ...
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1answer
50 views

What is free-form data entry?

If you are creating a column for free-form data entry, such as a notes column to hold data about customer interactions with your company’s customer service department, then varchar will probably be ...
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2answers
88 views

get the boot courtesy - idiom, meaning

It seems that William and Susan aren’t getting along very well together, so one of them has got to go. Since William was there first, Susan will get the boot courtesy of the delete statement... ...
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3answers
58 views

By the close, meaning

The Russian ruble strengthened the most since September 2012, adding 1.6 percent to 35.2230 per dollar by 6 p.m. in Moscow and trimming its quarterly decline to 6.8 percent. The Micex Index ...
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4answers
524 views

Usage of diffuse vs. defuse

I often hear phrases such as "infantry were sent in to diffuse/defuse the situation," and I am never quite sure which people are saying, and which is correct. Both seem to make sense. To me (a ...
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2answers
48 views

doubling as a “door stop”? [closed]

With only a handful of commands, the SQL data statements look deceptively simple. In my opinion, many of the available SQL books help to foster this notion by only skimming the surface of what ...
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2answers
41 views

What is the correct sentence? Please, help! [closed]

may I say: temperature was higher than average from May to October?
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13answers
252 views

A word for reading something thoroughly until one understands it well? [duplicate]

I was wondering if there was one word in English for "to read something thoroughly until one understands it well"? I am trying to translate a word which has this meaning in Chinese. Thanks.
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3answers
306 views

Can one use “much” as in the statement “I am looking forward to seeing you much”?

It would seem natural (to me) to say "I am very much looking forward to seeing you." Could you then get rid of the 'very' and put 'much' at the end to get "I am looking forward to seeing you much"? .. ...
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4answers
58 views

Touch an extension - meaning

Joe, the senior developer in a team of six, has a problem with his program. He studies it for hours, with increasing frustration, but cannot figure out the source of the bug. He wouldn’t think ...
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2answers
67 views

Meaning: one Benghazi revelation away from impeachment

Spoiler alert: he's siding with his friend Vladimir Putin and not with President Obama, whom the action star believes is one Benghazi revelation away from impeachment. I can't get the meaning of ...
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4answers
169 views

Adjectival “Anglican” for “English”, and “Anglicanism” for “Anglomania” in AmE

Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985 [Harrap's Shorter French Dictionary], points up adjectival "Anglican" as an Americanism for "English", and "Anglicanism" as an AmE ...
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2answers
45 views

Where does “pay through the nose” originate? [closed]

Where does the saying " pay through the nose" originate?
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1answer
38 views

“To take in” and “to catch” in the sense "to attend and visit (or see) [the sights of (a city, etc.)] in AmE

Do these terms share the same degree of informality in the sense "to attend and visit (or see)" as of someone taking in/catching the sights of a place, or taking in/catching a show or a movie? E.g. ...
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2answers
137 views

“Bakeshop” vs. “bake shop” vs. “bakery” vs. “bakery shop” vs. “bakehouse” for a baker's shop, and “bakeries” for “baked goods” in AmE

Are all four terms in current use in AmE today to refer to a bakery's shop where bread and other baked stuff like cakes and pastries are sold? As far as I know, "bakeshop", "bakehouse", and "bakery" ...
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1answer
388 views

Why is something fried on a griddle called grilled?

To my understanding, to grill is cooking with a heat source located beneath an open slatted grate (or ribbed closed pan). (For example, using a barbecue grill on one's patio.) The word grill is ...
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4answers
131 views

What adverb, typical of AmE, coincides the most with the BrE sense to “quite” [=to a noticeable or partial extent]?

As long as -- seemingly -- the adverb "quite" in AmE idiomatically carries an emphatic sense to it -- pretty much similar to saying "completely" or "absolutely" as in "That girl looks quite pretty!" ...
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3answers
144 views

Is writing “My English is not the best around” wrong?

I was wondering if I can use "is not the best around" in conjunction with language skills, but some mild googling gave me no results for languages like German or French (in a context where I'd ...
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1answer
42 views

“To charge (that…)” for “to claim/to assert” in AmE

While browsing my bilingual dictionary, Ed. 1985, I stumbled upon the verb "to charge" in a meaning defined as an Americanism [3(b) U.S.: to charge that... alléguer que...(to assert that)] without any ...
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3answers
104 views

“To tame” for “to cultivate [vegetables, a land, etc.]” and “to domesticate (or farm) [poultry, fish, etc.]” in AmE

The Harrap's New Shorter French and English dictionary Ed. 1985, defines both verbal and adjectival "tame" as Americanisms for respectively "to cultivate" and "cultivated", as of a plant or a land ...
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1answer
78 views

Idiomatic AmE term for “B&B”/“bed & breakfast”/“chambre d'hôte” and “table d'hôte”

Is there an idiomatic term or expression in modern day AmE for what in the UK is designated by the shared "B&B"/"bed & breakfast", and seemingly by the originally FrF expression "chambre ...
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2answers
49 views

“Knob” vs. “knoll” in AmE

The Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary Ed. 1985, defines one of the senses of "knob" as an AmE equivalent for "knoll", i.e. a small, rounded hill or eminence; hillock. Sadly enough, ...
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1answer
142 views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
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2answers
77 views

In/on for “into/onto” in colloquial and not so formal AmE

If the context is crystal clear and, as such, allows no risk of misunderstanding or ambiguity whatsoever, unlike "Paul jumps into the lake (= Paul jumps into the lake from a certain point)" vs. "Paul ...
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2answers
70 views

Dark vs Darkness

I have a usage related doubt about using 'Dark' in the following sentence: Each time, when he switches on the light, he is surprised how it vanishes ______ completely. 'Darkness' fits well here, ...
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2answers
256 views

Using besides in a sentence

Besides gaining my career, the course will surely contribute to our country’s wealth. Is this use of besides correct?
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3answers
151 views

Usage of the word suicide - validity of 'suiciding'

Is 'suiciding' a valid word by itself ? I have very rarely come across suicide being used in this form. Mostly, you see it being used with the prefix 'commit' as in 'committing suicide' rather than ...
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2answers
182 views

The phrase “never even” in spoken English - Bookish ? Old-fashioned ? Sophisticated?

"She never even said good-bye !" instead of "She didn't even say good-bye !" in informal conversation. Would someone using it sound bookish ? Old-fashioned ? Sophisticated ?
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1answer
54 views

Why might 'undelivered' be preferred to 'undeliverable' regarding mail?

In the UK, I have noticed that on envelopes, the text preceding the return address has changed from "If undeliverable, please return to:" to "If undelivered, please return to:". To me, the term ...
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2answers
71 views

“Bikeway” vs. “bike route” vs. “bike path” vs. “bike trail” vs. “bike track” vs. “bike lane” on US road signs

To proceed further on with the "cycling topic", which of these terms are most commonly found on US roads to designate respectively a path or part of a road in an urban area marked off or separated for ...
1
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1answer
105 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
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1answer
40 views

Is it acceptable to use the noun “swing” for both a short round trip and an extensive circular tour in AmE?

I remember once coming across, while browsing some bilingual dictionary, the noun "swing" pointed up as an AmE equivalent for "circuit". But, sadly enough, what the bilingual dictionary didn't say ...
1
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1answer
81 views

“To set up” for “to arrange/prepare” or “to organize” in colloquial AmE

I already heard and read on various occasions Americans use the expression "to set up" to seemingly mean "to arrange" as in "I'll set up reservations for you" or "I'll be more than happy to set up a ...
1
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2answers
172 views

Does the idiom “in lieu of” for “instead of” sound legalese or affected in modern day AmE [closed]

I once came across the idiomatic "in lieu of" in some bilingual dictionary I can't seem to put my hands on anymore, but I remember pretty well the phrase being defined as an Americanism. And so, I ...
2
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1answer
75 views

Cyclists, cyclers, bikers, and bike riders in modern day AmE

Almost by analogy with my previous OP, how do the terms "bike rider", cycler", and "cyclist" differ in current AmE usage to describe someone that rides or travels by bicycle? My impression is that ...
3
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1answer
138 views

Motorcycles, bikes, motorbikes, mopeds, motorcyclists, bikers, and motorbikers in AE

As far as I know, "motorcycle" is the formal term -- and "bike" the informal one -- for a powered two (and occasionally three) wheeled vehicle resembling a bike but larger, heavier, and a heap more ...
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4answers
787 views

the USA vs the US

I am writing an essay where I need to make a reference to the United States of America. Often I hear this shortened to the US, but sometimes people also say the USA. Are there any difference between ...
2
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1answer
118 views

Is the word “annotation” suitable to describe “underline, highlight, strikethrough” made by reader/user? (labels in computer application)

I am not a native speaker so I would like to know what terms are suitable to describe notes highlight underline strike-through to the user, in computer applications where user can annotate text ...
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3answers
73 views

Any reason why the collocation “the wound healed” is more common than “the injury healed”?

"The wound healed" gets 890,000 hits when googled, whereas "the injury healed" only gets 525,000. Is there any reason for the difference? Whether the damage to someone's body is deliberate – wound – ...
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1answer
166 views

Is the practice of calling others by initials acceptable? [closed]

The answers and comments on my question about English alternatives to “Senpai” reminded me of the odd feeling I used to have almost 25 years ago when I observed my client’s staffs were referring to ...
4
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3answers
509 views

You yourself - double pronoun

You have made it up yourself. This is obviously ok. But if the pronoun it should be repalced by a long noun-phrase: You have made up the illusory world in which you move yourself. It would ...
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3answers
74 views

Usage of Phrase 'Hit the Bricks'

Can we use the phrase 'Hit the bricks' at the context of asking people to work hard?