2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does 'age out' mean?

The context is as follows. The buffer is now unpinned and is a candidate for immediate aging out, if the current contents (data block) are not referenced again.
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Does this ‘be going to’ have an emotional meaning?

Here is a skit from a radio English conversation program, dealing with American English. A: guest B: front desk clerk C: A's wife (at the front desk of a hotel) A: I have a reservation ...
1
vote
1answer
746 views

What’s the meaning of ‘smooth chin’?

“Well … it is amazing,” said Bagman, rubbing his smooth chin and smiling down at Harry. “But, as you know, the age restriction was only imposed this year as an extra safety measure. (…The rest is ...
3
votes
5answers
25k views

What does “I am all yours” mean?

In the sentence If you can change his idea, I am all yours. What does I am all yours mean?
6
votes
3answers
8k views

Origin of “That's what she said”?

That's what she said is a saying that flips a normal statement into a sexual one. Example: "If you blow it too much, it'll explode" [A balloon] That's what she said! How did this phrase come ...
1
vote
4answers
183 views

Alternatives to “I lived the wrong way”?

If someone has realized that he made a wrong decision in life or has had the wrong beliefs for a long time, he might say I lived the wrong way. What are alternative ways of phrasing this? It doesn't ...
7
votes
3answers
978 views

What is the origin of the usage of the word “rook” as it refers to the chess piece?

And when did it start being used that way? Before or after the bird meaning of "rook"?
3
votes
1answer
751 views

What is the preposition category of “along”?

Most place prepositions have an instance for each of the informal preposition categories - I'll refer to them as active and passive, since I'm not familiar with the actual terms. I'm using active ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does the common meaning of “impertinent” have nothing to do with “pertinent”?

Every time I want to use an antonym to "pertinent", I think of "impertinent", which I don't like to use because of its more common meaning. How did "impertinent" come to mean "intrusive or ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How did the word “lid” come to mean “poor operator” (in the context of telegraphy and amateur radio)?

This sense of lid is still common today in Amateur ("Ham") Radio (in the United States, at least), usually as "they're a lid", meaning "they're being a rude or unobservant person." It doesn't refer to ...
4
votes
3answers
48k views

Is there a difference between “quicker” and “more quickly”

This is a follow up to this question: What is the difference between "quicker" and "faster"? "Quicker" is an adverb, as are "more" (in this context) and "quickly". So is there a ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What does “uncancellable” mean? / What is a word for “not able to be uncancelled”?

What does "uncancellable" mean? Does it mean that something may be uncancelled, or that something may not be cancelled? [Edit:] How would one express each of those ideas? For bonus points, is there ...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Can I use “as late as” to express a deadline?

You must submit your homework as late as tomorrow. Does the sentence have the same meaning as the following one? The deadline for your homework submission is tomorrow. To be specific, I ...
24
votes
6answers
8k views

Attorney at law, is there any other kind?

I have wondered from time to time about the phrase "attorney at law." Are there other kinds of attorneys? Attorneys at arms? If not, why do we specify?
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of the phrase a “hung jury”?

As the title suggests, I'm curious about the origin of a "hung jury" when the jury doesn't come to a decision.
2
votes
1answer
21k views

Plural form of “Son-in-law” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Words that are pluralized in the middle? I've heard it pronounced both ways: Sons-in-law and Son-in-laws While one may be more technically correct than the ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

“The pair was …” or “the pair were …”

I've recently read a blurb from a local paper that included the following: The pair was drinking prior to the shooting. To me, this appears wrong and I would say that the proper way to make the ...
5
votes
0answers
292 views

Check source “into” or “in to” SVN? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Checked into the database” versus “checked in to the database” I understand the difference between "into" and "in to". The first involves the ...
0
votes
3answers
494 views

What's the usage of ''anything'' in this sentence?

This sentence comes from the beginning of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone": "They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just ...
4
votes
6answers
17k views

What does it mean to “beat one's breast”?

I'm reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and was wondering what was meant by the action of beating one's breast. eg. The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud ...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

Where should the period be put when an entire sentence is quoted at the end of a sentence?

As in the following: A common proverb is: “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” A common proverb is: “A rolling stone gathers no moss”. A common proverb is: “A rolling stone gathers no ...
18
votes
3answers
7k views

Does a gerund always end with -ing? If so, why?

After asking what the difference is between a gerund and a participle, I began to wonder if all gerunds end with -ing, since I couldn't think of any that didn't. If they do, why?
3
votes
4answers
17k views

Throw away/in/out for rubbish?

Is it best to use "throw away" or "throw in" for an expression when you ask someone not to throw something, like "Don't throw them away/in/out (the rubbish bin)." Specifically, if one doesn't know ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the origin of “tall tale”?

A tall tale is a folkloric story that is generally wildly exaggerated and told for the amusement of the listeners. Tall tale tellers usually claim some sort of personal involvement in the story. I ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How did the word “chunter” come about?

Did it arise from a mixture of chattering and murmuring?
17
votes
12answers
27k views

What is the difference between “quicker” and “faster”?

What is the correct word to use here and why: I will get there quicker [than you] vs. I will get there faster [than you] There must be similar adverbs for "slower".
6
votes
3answers
8k views

The grammatical function of “How”

What is the grammatical function of "how" in this sentence: He told us how to do it.
1
vote
0answers
209 views

How do you pronounce “tuple”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to pronounce “tuple”? I had always thought tuple rhymes with "couple". But I recently came across pronunciations like "tew-ple" and "too-ple". Which is ...
8
votes
3answers
14k views

What does the “yours” in “yours sincerely” mean?

"Yours" is usually a possessive pronoun with an implicit noun. What is the implicit noun in the case of "yours sincerely"?
2
votes
3answers
184 views

Can 'area' be called 'plot'?

Can area from mathematics be called plot?
4
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the origin of being in “hot water”?

When a person is suspected of doing something that is wrong, they are said to be in "hot water". Why? Did law breakers long ago have hot water thrown on them for their punishment? Were they dunked in ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“Some same thing/person”

I wonder if it is correct to say "some same thing/person", in order to mean some thing/person same as the one just mentioned earlier? If not, what is the correct way to express the meaning? My ...
9
votes
6answers
10k views

Word opposite of risk but still entailing uncertainty

The word risk is used to describe a situation in which there are several possible outcomes each entailing a possible loss, and one is not certain as to which of the outcomes will happen. What I want ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

'2-3' or 'two to three' proper use

In the following sentence is the use of '2-3' appropriate for a PowerPoint presentation or should it be 'two to three'? Research shows that a deaf child tends to produce signs 2-3 months earlier ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

What comes after “octuplet”?

After singletons, twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets, and octuplets, what comes next?
10
votes
5answers
5k views

What constitutes a double negative?

Is "not unpleasant" a double negative, and hence bad grammar? See the first answer (by Ham and Bacon) to this question, for the basis of this question. Are all "not un..." forms incorrect? They are ...
8
votes
6answers
15k views

Are double negatives ever appropriate in English?

I have heard several sentences in which there was a prominent double negative, but the double negative "sounded right". Is this ever true, or is it just a misleading feeling? Edited to include an ...
2
votes
4answers
311 views

Are emails, videos, and audios, etc, considered telegrams?

What does the word "telegram" mean? It sounds familiar though I've no idea what it is. The dictionary says "telegram" is defined as: "A message sent by telegraph and then delivered in written or ...
8
votes
5answers
17k views

What does “Lead from behind” exactly mean?

I learned from a news paper that the President said the country will take a position to “Lead from Behind” on internal conflict issue on a Middle East country in his speech. I also learned the ...
22
votes
5answers
50k views

What is the difference between “electric” and “electrical” and their usage?

What is the difference between electric and electrical and their usage? For example, what is the difference between "electrical machine" and "electric machine"?
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What's a reception room / parlor / parlour / drawing room?

What's a reception room/parlor/parlour/ drawing room? I'm thinking, is it just another word for the living room of my house?
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Asking a permission to ask a question by saying the word Question, followed by the actual question [closed]

My Mom does something that irks me. Either when she calls me, or sends me an e-mail, she says or writes "Question." Then asks whatever question it is. I find this rude. In my opinion starting the ...
3
votes
4answers
559 views

Meaning of Early Modern English “iuie”

I found this phrase in Featherstone's Dedication at the front of an English translation of the Commentary on John by John Calvin: It is an old saying, (Right Honorable,) and no lesse true then ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

“The most distant ever visited by a spacecraft from Earth”

This is from the transcript of a podcast: Now, these pictures can be a bit messy. So scientists say they could use plenty of eyes to help scan the pics for things that move—the same way Tombaugh ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do we say, “keep a stiff upper lip”?

I've never understood the origin of the phrase, "keep a stiff upper lip". Presumably it's something to do with avoiding crying (as it means to remain stoical), but if anything it's the bottom lip ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the expression “showed it what for” or “showed it one for”?

For some reason I thought the expression was "showed him one for" but someone I know just said "showed it what for". Which is it? I have also heard the idiom as "give it what/one for". If anyone has ...
6
votes
8answers
172 views

A single word for an “instance” of publicity

Is there a non-collective noun for an "instance" of publicity? In other words, a restaurant receives publicity every time a local newspaper publishes a review or an article about it. Each of those ...
4
votes
2answers
293 views

Meaning of “the body soon learns to stand down in the face of fat”

The following is from the transcript of a podcast. Dieters can choose from an array of snacktackular options in which sugars and fats are replaced by artificial, low-calorie substitutes. That ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the phrase “in my puff” mean?

I'm reading "Right Ho, Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse and I've just encountered another phrase which I can't understand. Full sentence where this phrase is used (emphasis added by me): In fact, not to ...
0
votes
1answer
177 views

How is “brrm” pronounced?

I find some interjections to be too tricky to pronounce. Can anyone help me with this one? Is there any specialized dictionary that reports the pronunciation of interjections?

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