5
votes
2answers
3k views

What does “get wound” mean?

In the sixth panel of this web comic the character says, "Get wound, Sturmvoraus*! I do not need your help." So, what does "get wound" mean in this context? I googled it, but only got "getting wound ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

User: She, He, She or He, or They? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender neutral, singular pronoun (his vs. her vs. their)? I would like to know if when I'm writing about a "user" (in the broad sense), what do I use? ...
27
votes
12answers
43k views

Proverb or expression for a situation with two choices, both leading to a different kind of trouble

I'm searching for a proverb or expression that describes a situation which has two choices or two ways out (that is, somewhat of a forced choice) where both lead to some kind of trouble (but not the ...
0
votes
5answers
6k views

What does “since he was so high” mean?

I came across this sentence in a Wodehouse book (talking about spots on skin) ...he knows his spots from A to Z and has been treating them since he was so high. What does the phrase since __ was ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage of 'z' in the word serialized in English?

Is it correct to use 'z' or 's' in the word "seriali z ed" when writing correct English? (I.e. not a variant of English like "American") Or should it be spelled like "seriali s ed" ?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What does ‘Move the bar on somebody’ mean?

According to Maureen Dawd’s article titled “Field of Dashed Dream’ appearing on August 16 New York Times, President Obama took a strong verbal punch on the chin from a woman supporter at a town hall ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

How can I learn to speak with various accents? [closed]

How can I learn to speak with appropriate English accents when reading books aloud? For example, are there simple rules for each accent? My question is general question, but my application is ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Using “a/an” with uncountable nouns in exclamation sentences

I work with Chinese children to practice some English. I have a sentence like this: "What an useful advice you gave me!" However, on most Chinese materials I have with me, it is said that the ...
2
votes
1answer
744 views

Executing a plan

To execute a plan is to carry it out. However, isn't this wording strange? Why doesn't executing a plan mean the same thing as shooting it down?
2
votes
3answers
5k views

What does “message to the main” mean?

I have been listening to the song Written in the Stars by Tinie Tempah and the lyrics go like this: Oh written in the stars A million miles away A message to the main Oh Seasons come and ...
-1
votes
2answers
826 views

What is the difference between “dissoluble” and “soluble”?

I noticed that there are words "dissoluble", "dissolute", and "soluble", "solute". In one word, the terms with "dis-" and without "dis-". What is the difference between them?
49
votes
7answers
263k views

“The Dude abides” — what does “abide” mean in that context?

I'm unfamilar with the word "abide" which is famously used the the movie quote "The Dude abides" (The Big Lebowski). Looking it up in a German/English dictionary makes me believe it's "The Dude lives ...
3
votes
2answers
12k views

Why do we say “This is ” instead of “This's”?

It is => It's I am => I'm That is => That's Why do we say "This is " instead of "This's"?
10
votes
3answers
10k views

Is “very less” correct English?

Is using very less correct English? My friend suggests it should be very little. Are they both correct, or is there a difference?
7
votes
2answers
964 views

Is “for true” valid English?

I have an English-language version of my Finnish birth certificate. It is called an "extract from the population system". The last paragraph, showing the name of the issuing autority, the place, date ...
10
votes
4answers
922 views

Minimum and maximum age of “guy”

Guy has pretty much the same meaning as the German counterpart Kerl. There is the progression of age in the sequence child, teenager, adolescent, (young) fellow, guy, old man/guy (?), senior. But ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the origin of “stack” meaning $1000?

I just read this lovely quote from MSN about an ex-girlfriend putting out a hit on her ex-boyfriend: "I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father," Eley wrote in a post this spring, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

History of the phrase “olden days”

When and where was the phrase olden days coined?
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How did kool-aid come to be the drink of fanboys?

Why does Kool-Aid relate to being something's fanboy/fangirl?
3
votes
8answers
36k views

Does “until [date]” mean “before that date”?

What does until mean in the following? You need to deliver this product within 2 days (until August 18, 2011) to meet your deadline and get paid. Does this mean that I have to deliver the ...
17
votes
8answers
7k views

Is the phrase “for free” correct?

A friend claims that the phrase for free is incorrect. Should we only say at no cost instead?
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is “pull my finger” a joke? [closed]

I've heard of this joke in the TV show "Friends" several times, and I don't understand why it's funny. Could someone give me a hint? It's hard to get Chandler's joke for non-English speakers.
11
votes
8answers
20k views

Does British English use the term “heel” for the end slice of bread?

I'm Irish, and hence speak Hiberno-English. Here is a photograph of some sliced bread: The topmost slice of this (that's crust on the end), is called "the heel". Is this meaning for "heel" ...
2
votes
5answers
273 views

Should there be a comma or a colon here?

His latest album is Foo featuring his band, Bar. His latest album is Foo featuring his band: Bar. Which is the more appropriate way to punctuate the sentence?
4
votes
5answers
28k views

Meaning and correct use of “as to why”

I don't know why I love you, even when you are homeless. I don't know as to why I love you, even when you are homeless. I am crazy because I don't know what the difference between these two ...
2
votes
4answers
9k views

Meaning of “ask of”

What is the meaning of the phrase ask of in the following sentence? Trust and security are important for any application; before we move on to the meat of accessing data, let’s make sure the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Acronym or abbreviation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between an acronym and abbreviation? My question refers to the term/word ET. Some dictionaries define it as acronym standing for "extra terrestrial" and others ...
5
votes
7answers
16k views

What is a synonym for “most frequently occurring”

I'm trying to succinctly describe something that occurs most frequently, and the only single-word adjective I can think of is "commonest", but that sounds ridiculous. Are there any other good ...
0
votes
2answers
549 views

What is the meaning of the part in bold in the following sentence

The Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's ombudsman Bill) is a draft anti-corruption bill drawn up by prominent civil society activists seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body that would ...
4
votes
3answers
534 views

Translation of Soccer term: disarm

I'm looking for the translation of the soccer term that in Portuguese we use as "disarm". It is the action of taking the ball from the opponent player or when the player with the ball attempts to ...
-3
votes
4answers
263 views

Number that should be used here

Ok, this question came from another question, in which my answer has a "problem". In this question, three conditions were given. In my answer to this question, I stated: You have listed a very ...
10
votes
8answers
9k views

Proverb or expression for someone taking on too much

What is an appropriate proverb or expression that means one has: Taken on too many tasks Set out to do something that one isn't qualified to do and hence probably will fail Set out to do something ...
2
votes
3answers
342 views

Usage of “break off one's plans”

I have heard the expression break off one's plans in the context of breaking off one's holidays due to an emergency. He had to break off his holidays to come back for the meeting. What are other ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Name of castle part

What do you call these? Please provide a reliable source with your answer.
6
votes
5answers
606 views

Word or phrase for hogging the left lane

Frequently on two-lane freeways, at least in the US, people drive in the left lane at exactly the same speed next to a car in the right lane, thus blocking the road. Cars tend to back up behind these ...
5
votes
5answers
769 views

Is the word “all” implied by this question?

I saw a post on Programmers.StackExchange in which someone asks the question: Why do programmers [or anyone] give the "dead fish" hand shake in an interview? The responses to that question say ...
2
votes
4answers
996 views

Meaning of “rallying call”

I searched for an English translation of the German term Durchhalteparole, meaning to appeal to a group of followers to hold out (especially in politics), but having the connotation of being a ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the origin of “rock” meaning “utilize”?

Urban Dictionary example: "you can have the bed, I'll rock the couch" Earliest example I can think of: RUN D.M.C. "It's Tricky" -- "It's tricky to rock a rhyme . . . " Now it seems ...
4
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the opposite of “green”? [closed]

What best completes this sentence? Joe, in opposition to environment-friendly sentiments, has decided to go ____.
4
votes
2answers
29k views

“Interfere in” vs. “interfere with”

I was taught that when interfere is followed by in, it means to get involved in something that doesn't concern you; when followed by with, it means to prevent something from being done. And this is ...
54
votes
9answers
3k views

Is the term 'String' too jargony to use in a user interface?

Having worked as a software developer for a long time, I'm out of touch sometimes with whether a word would be considered jargon. I am adding something to a user interface where a name is given, and ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of “for grins”

What does for grins mean in the following? If the web service says the values are valid, the underlying fields are updated. If it says the values are invalid, it sets up error messages for the ...
13
votes
3answers
25k views

How to pronounce “Linux” [closed]

A co-worker and I are fairly strongly divided on how to pronounce Linux. For a northern Midwest American (Milwaukee area, Wisconsin, to be exact), should it be pronounced lin-uh ks or li'nuks? ...
77
votes
28answers
14k views

Is there an American English equivalent of the British idiom “carrying coals to Newcastle”?

I'm an American living in the Netherlands who is learning Dutch. There's an idiom in Dutch that describes performing a needless/futile activity, "water naar de zee dragen," which literally translates ...
2
votes
5answers
481 views

Rule or white list of words that can be prefixed with “up-” or “down-”

Some words (verbs and nouns) can get up- or down- attached before them to get new meaning. For example, Grade becomes upgrade or downgrade. Vote becomes upvote or downvote. Load becomes upload or ...
10
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the expression for coughing at the beginning of an utterance officially called?

I was wondering what is the name for the introductory "coughing" in English, i.e. when somebody clears their throat to start their utterance. For example: "Ekhm... Welcome! How can I help you?" ...
33
votes
2answers
24k views

Use of “f ” instead of “s” in historic, printed English documents

I was at a museum in London yesterday, and one of the items on exhibit is a document from the eighteenth century. It uses the letter f a lot where s should be used—for example, in Majefty. Did the ...
4
votes
4answers
13k views

Difference between “tournament”, “competition” and “match”

I was just reading the article about TopCoder. Before this article I thought a tournament and a competition is the same. What is the difference between tournament, competition and match?
2
votes
4answers
16k views

What do you call someone looking for a job?

I am trying to compose a sentence, and I am currently stuck for the right word. I am trying to say: In a job interview, the audience would be the employer and the --------- That is the word I am ...
2
votes
1answer
604 views

Expression “if and when something happens”

What is the level of formality in the expression “if and when” while referring to a possible happening? Googling “if and when X happen” gives me all sorts of entries, some formal some clearly informal....

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