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

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3answers
44 views

Can we use this expression [closed]

Is this OK to use the below usage. Looking into the photograph the girl said, "It's me before 5 years."
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1answer
132 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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3answers
119 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
83 views

The meaning of “that” in this case? [closed]

"He was given no direction or no influence, other than that of fair chance." Here, what meaning does that have?
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4answers
835 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
103 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
129 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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5answers
201 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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2answers
378 views

“Say for someone to do something” in colloquial AE

In colloquial prose, is the idiomatic "say for" an appropriate substitute for "tell" in "tell someone to do something" whatever the context? E.g. Have I ever said for you to pretend to be someone ...
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2answers
57 views

“Flash (one's attention/eyes)” for “focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)”, and “flash one's eyes at” for “stare with lust or passion at”

As far as your English variety goes, is it acceptable in every which register of speech and writing, and rather common usage, to say "flash" for "focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)", but also for ...
3
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1answer
110 views

“Trace” as a synonym for “trail” in AE

As far as AE is concerned, does "trace" mean just about the same as "trail" in "break/blaze a trace", and -- if indeed it does -- can "trace" be used pretty much interchangeably in every which literal ...
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2answers
73 views

“Put over” for “put off” in AE

In AE, can "put over" interchange with "put off" in the sense "postpone" in all contexts, or only in some specific ones? I'm all the more anxious to know the answer as I didn't get any hits searching ...
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1answer
46 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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2answers
471 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 ...
2
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4answers
161 views

Which is appropriate while addressing in-laws?

Which is appropriate while addressing in-laws? My mother-in-law and father-in-law are visiting us this weekend. Or: My mother and father-in-law are visiting us this weekend.
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1answer
81 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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4answers
184 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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1answer
79 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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3answers
80 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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2answers
126 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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4answers
701 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
63 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
42 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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3answers
1k 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
62 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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1answer
725 views

“Decide/Intend on [gerund]” vs. “decide/intend to [infinitive]”

In analogy with "plan on [gerund]", do the gerund constructions above have any currency in AE, or are these chiefly dialectal and might sound folksy to most ears? E.g. We decided on taking our ...
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2answers
68 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
151 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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2answers
46 views

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

Where does the saying " pay through the nose" originate?
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1answer
45 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
272 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
540 views

“Sport”, “sports”, and “sporting” as modifiers

Is there a difference between a "sports jacket", a "sport jacket", and a "sporting jacket"? Or are these merely dialectal differences? For instance, why do various outerwear and sportswear brands ...
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4answers
362 views

“Shag” for “chase and bring back, fetch” in AE

Does "shag" have any currency in modern day AE to mean "chase and bring back, fetch (an escaped animal/prisoner)"? Is its use limited to the pursuit of runaways, or can it be extended to a broader ...
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2answers
366 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 ...
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1answer
48 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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2answers
61 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
86 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
98 views

“Associate with [someone]” for “socialize with [someone]” in colloquial AE

What's the difference in AE between saying "I like to associate with new folks" and "I like to socialize with new folks"? E.g. I am a positive person and I like to associate with other positive ...
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4answers
233 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
3
votes
1answer
254 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
100 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
139 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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3answers
280 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
201 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
92 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
97 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 ...
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1answer
166 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 ...
3
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1answer
48 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 ...
2
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1answer
123 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 ...
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1answer
444 views

“As long as” for “since” in AE

Some of you might have noticed that I oftentimes use the conjunction "as long as" in my questions and my posts. I was just wondering -- does "as long as" in the sense "since" [=in view of the fact ...