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Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

This tag is for questions about the meaning of a longer passage of English. A SPECIFIC CONCERN must be emphasized.

22
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5answers
137k views

Does “notified by [date]” include the end date?

I have read the Rules of a competition. The text of the Rules include a sentence as follows: As per stated in the Rules the entrants will be notified by May 30th 2010. Does the sentence above mean ...
52
votes
2answers
120k views

“All but” idiom has two meanings?

Here's two ways I've seen the "all, but" idiom used: "Close all tabs but this one" (Any modern application with a number of tabs might have this as an option.) It means "close all the tabs, but not ...
35
votes
2answers
156k views

“X times as many as” or “X times more than”

Suppose John has 5 sweets. Is there any difference between the following two sentences? Jack has 3 times as many sweets as John. Jack has 3 times more sweets than John. I prefer the first ...
12
votes
4answers
12k views

What does “I Can't Get No Satisfaction” mean?

This song by The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". As a non-native speaker, I always wondered what's the exact meaning of this phrase? Is it "I'm not getting any satisfaction" (this ...
10
votes
3answers
10k views

Specific usage of the word 'but'

The Aesop's Fables translated by George Fyler Townsend book has a line which reads as follows: ... If you had but touched me, my friend, you ... I've seen the word 'but' used this way a couple of ...
19
votes
3answers
9k views

“to be all but X”

What does "all but" mean in this expression? Today, under pressure from P2P distribution, optical disc piracy in wealthy countries is "all but eliminated" and profit margins elsewhere are slim. ...
15
votes
2answers
35k views

What does “be it” mean in this passage?

What does be it mean in this context and what kind of sentence is this? (grammatically) There is no one in our society who is not ethnocentric to some degree, no matter how liberal and open-minded ...
4
votes
2answers
433 views

How does negation affect the use and understanding of “or” and “and”

I'm trying to make more sense of how negation effects how a sentence is parsed and understood if and's and or's are used within them. Pop quiz: You are trapped on a bus with a bomb going 50 MPH. You ...
25
votes
11answers
23k views

How should “deceptively” actually be used?

I'm not sure if this is a duplicate question, but I couldn't find anything on here on the topic. I can't seem to figure out what is actually meant when using the word "deceptive," or rather, what is ...
15
votes
4answers
10k views

Is “up to” inclusive or exclusive?

The study was carried out up to visit 11 under the name of X1, whereas all later visits were carried out under a different name, X2. In the above sentence, does V11 belong to X1 or X2? I want the ...
9
votes
3answers
9k views

What kind of human character or regional trait does the habit of “the g-dropping” represent for?

Further to the question I posted today about the meaning of the expression, “treat somebody pretty ugly,” which appeared in New York Times’ article (September 17) titled “Rick Perry, Uber Texan,” I ...
0
votes
2answers
421 views

Meaning of a sentence [closed]

I was reading an article but I don't quite understand the part made bold: In accordance with the ideals of Kemalism expressed above, education or school emerged as the most efficient apparatus ...
0
votes
4answers
898 views

What is the word or term used to describe doing an activity or work with a high level of concentration and intention, trying your best? [closed]

It would be similar to trying to be extremely careful or precise. In French it would be "application", For example: "Qui est fait avec application". Example usage: John worked with ________. ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Does the word, ‘peruse’ have a single meaning of ‘attentive reading,’ or double, contradicting meanings of ‘attentive’ and ‘cursory’ reading?

I’m confused to find opposite definitions in the same word, ‘peruse’ in Readers English Japanese Dictionary published by a leading foreign language dictionary publisher in Japan. It defines ‘peruse’ ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning of “as” in following sentence [closed]

I am not sure of the meaning of this sentence: The significance of culture and identity in development has to do not so much with the cultural factor in the process of development as with ...
19
votes
7answers
36k views

What does “canonical” mean?

Sometimes I read a sentence containing the word canonical, but I cannot find appropriate meaning of the word. For example, in this link: Returns a canonical representation for the string object. ...
24
votes
7answers
7k views

Does “gay” still include the meaning “merry”?

Dictionary.com lists eight meanings of gay, with “merry, lively” as the first entry. Microsoft banned an Xbox user for listing Fort Gay (a real place) as his hometown: Xbox Live considered the term ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Arguable (“susceptible to doubt”) vs arguable (“susceptible to being supported”)

According to dictionary.com, the adjective arguable has two definitions susceptible to debate, challenge, or doubt; questionable: Whether this is the best plan of action or not is arguable. ...
111
votes
1answer
462k views

What does a single letter “J” mean in emailing? [closed]

Today is Halloween. After a successful party, many conversations have been going on in my company's email box. The end of one email said "Till next time J". I had no idea what "J" meant in this ...
59
votes
8answers
375k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
279k views

What does “period” mean when someone says “Sth… Period”? [closed]

I often hear US citizens say something like this: <Some phrases>. Period. What does period mean when it appears in a sentence by itself in this type of situation?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is Wayne's World's (NOT) a modern invention?

Older users of this site may recall the 'Bill & Ted' 'Wayne's World' series of movies of the early 1990s. They were mindless but fairly amusing and their eponymous characters spoke in a unique ...
8
votes
5answers
106k views

Usage of 'Dear All' [duplicate]

Is it correct to use "Dear All" at the beginning of the e-mail, when you are writing to more than one person? It seems so informal to me. Is there any better way?
18
votes
9answers
25k views

Difference between “commit suicide” and “suicide”

One of the examples in my English composition book (for learning to write my language's sentences in English) was "Why he committed suicide under such a good circumstance is an unsolved question.", ...
11
votes
4answers
188k views

What is the meaning of “I got you”?

What does I got you mean? Does it mean Ok, I understood what you said or Hey, I know that you did that? If they are both correct, when should we use which?
7
votes
2answers
30k views

Meaning of “last/this/next Monday” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to? Suppose today is Tuesday. What do last Monday, this Monday and next Monday mean?
1
vote
2answers
8k views

What does “should something happen” mean?

What is the meaning of should loss occur in the following text? Backup and recovery procedures protect your database against data loss and reconstruct the data, should loss occur. The ...
15
votes
9answers
79k views

What does “double-down” mean when used in a context other than Blackjack?

I saw the phrase “double-down” in the following sentence of the Washington Post article (June 28, 2011) titled “Why Michele Bachmann is no Sarah Palin.” “Palin is notorious for doubling-down on ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

“Back up data” or “back data up”?

Which is correct? To back up data. To back data up. The context is the following: He was careful enough to perform tests and [back up data | back data up] to avoid any problems.
5
votes
2answers
7k views

What does “sunset” mean in this text?

In the definition of USA PATRIOT, I read the following text: Many of the act's provisions were to sunset beginning December 31, 2005, approximately 4 years after its passage. In the months ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

“One of those is flags”

Jeff Atwood ♦ has just posted something that I'm confused about Stack Overflow, due to its size, has some unique problems. One of those is flags I'd say that those and flags are both in plural, ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Dickens (a tale of two city, chapter 1): what do “they were awake” and “was to be atheistical and traitorous” refer to?

But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that ...
31
votes
7answers
210k views

What is the meaning of “don't mention it” (in response to “thank you”)?

I read at several places that "don't mention it" is equal to "you're welcome". But for me, the word means something like "don't go around talking about this to anyone". So what is the real meaning of ...
28
votes
6answers
270k views

Meaning and usage of “bite me”

I often come across the phrase bite me in many TV shows. What does it mean and is there a specific context in which this phrase can be used?
6
votes
4answers
21k views

What does “the lowest common denominator” mean in the context other than math?

In the New Yorker’s (May 31) article under the title, “Stephen Hawking angers Trump supporters with baffling array of long words,” Andy Borowitz wrote; “Speaking to a television interviewer in ...
10
votes
4answers
52k views

What does “if and when” mean, and is it the same as “when and if”?

Rather than trying to describe my beef with this idiom, I will give a bunch of successively objectionable examples. None of these are taken from real life. As I see it, if (and when) both "if" and "...
10
votes
5answers
29k views

Difference between “purpose” and “goal”

What does this sentence from Star Trek: The Alternative Factor mean? Jim, madness has no purpose ... or reason ... but it may have a goal. As far as I know purpose and goal are synonyms. How ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

What does “bad girls go backstage” mean?

(sorry for my poor English) I saw this phrase somewhere but I don't know what this means.. Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go backstage What means 'bad girls go backstage'? Maybe.. it's when ...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

What's the meaning of “bootstrap”?

Can anyone explain the meaning of "bootstrap" to a Spanish Speaker? Here is some context: One aspect of ... (something) ... is the need to bootstrap the configuration.
9
votes
3answers
10k views

Meaning of “one order of magnitude improvement”

There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude improvement in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity. ...
4
votes
3answers
30k views

tailored to someone needs VS tailor-made

I wrote a text about our company's services and added that we also can offer products tailored to the needs of our clients. One of my colleagues insisted that the expression was wrong and I should say ...
10
votes
4answers
33k views

What does “clutching at straws” mean? [closed]

In the following context: I'm clutching at straws here. I'm trying to imagine how a woman could fail to be offended by being called a "hole". What's meant by "clutching at straws"?
9
votes
7answers
3k views

Term to describe when one event cannot occur without the other

So my wife and I were just having a conversation concerning a situation at her work, and I was trying to think of a term to describe the GM's approach but it's eluding me. Here's the context: ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

“Scores” = high amount? [closed]

Read a news on BBC, I have some questions regarding a word scores in this context: "A BBC team inside Syria filming for Panorama has witnessed the aftermath of a fresh horrific incident - an ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

What do you call the rhetoric strategy of purposely writing a paragraph that no one can understand?

Most of us have come across a paragraph which sounded meaningless to us or which made us wonder if we were intellectually equipped to read it. That may have been the case, but sometimes one writes a ...
3
votes
2answers
13k views

What does “waxed rhapsodic” mean?

See context below: Bloomberg is well known for his malapropisms and mispronunciations: he's introduced former Yankee manager Joe Torre as "Joe Torres" [and] waxed rhapsodic about the famous ...
2
votes
2answers
14k views

The difference between 'credit' and 'accredit'?

Both verbs seem to mean the same thing -- to attribute 'X' to Mr. 'Y'. On looking it up, I found: credit - publicly acknowledge a contributor's role in the production of (something published or ...
1
vote
1answer
234 views

Meaning of the term “empty use” in the context of modal verbs

I'm reading a book titled Comprehensive High School English Grammar & Composition. The author, who is Indian, says this on the use of the modal verbs can and could: Can is used to express "...
1
vote
1answer
9k views

What does “as good as it gets” mean?

Is it meant as a compliment or is it more acceptance of a situation? For instance, having loved a partner who died and feeling that you could never feel that way about anyone again and then describing ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “just about everybody else has” in this context

— I ever tell you how much she depends on you? — I ever tell you what an asshole you are? — Nah. But that's okay, just about everybody else has. They both laughed. Is it "...everybody else has ...