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.

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3
votes
1answer
974 views

“Touring team” vs. “Exhibition team”

When we are not playing competitive games, our three touring teams play against three exhibition teams. What do the bold terms mean?
1
vote
1answer
981 views

Usage of 'yesterday' for future [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: I need <something> yesterday? For couple of times, mostly in movies, I realized that yesterday is commonly used for future. Here is an example sentence: I want it ...
64
votes
10answers
8k views

What's the difference between the adjectives “strategic” and “tactical”?

I recently read this sentence: It was a strategic move rather than a tactical one. I have trouble interpreting it. Can someone help?
1
vote
2answers
164 views

“The odor of strong rum made a greasy pass through the room.”

I found the sentence as a ldoce sample sentence for "odor". The odor of strong rum made a greasy pass through the room. "... made a greasy pass through the room". What does the writer mean? The ...
26
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3answers
8k views

Why is there a “mean” in “Greenwich Mean Time” (GMT)?

What's the meaning of the word "mean" in "Greenwich Mean Time"? Shouldn't we simply say something like "Greenwich Time"? I don't understand what the word "mean" is doing there.
5
votes
2answers
12k views

Damage vs. Damages

The word damage is non-count and its plural turns into a different definition (court-awarded money). Am I incorrect in thinking that damages can also be used to indicate various types/kinds of damage? ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Does “generosity”/“generous” - as character quality - imply connotations “giving of your OWN resources, not someone else's”?

The question is about the context attached (or rather not attached) to the term "generosity"/"generous" (defined in Merriam-Webster as "liberal in giving"). The question is, is there a widely/...
8
votes
3answers
782 views

“I was fresh out of pies to throw at you”

The sentence was in Lost (TV Series). I got the overall meaning of the sentence. But what does it exactly mean? [SAWYER pointing a gun at JACK] JACK: Trying to be funny? SAWYER: Yeah, I was fresh out ...
11
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7answers
5k views

Can I use the term 'America' to signify just the United States?

I write legal marketing materials. Does the term 'America' signify Canada + USA + Mexico, etc. to readers abroad or will they know that I'm talking specifically about the USA?
3
votes
1answer
16k views

What's the meaning of “plays in the minds of someone”?

What's the meaning of the phrase "plays in minds of someone"? For example, in the sentence below. The significance of the IELTS is a fact that plays in the minds of hopeful migrants like Mr. ...
1
vote
3answers
8k views

What does it mean : to cut it anymore?

I was reading in Wall Street Journal that says: ..., the company BlackBerry just doesn't cut it anymore. What does the phrase mean?
3
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2answers
455 views

What does ‘Lower oneself for farewell swim’ mean? Is this a sport related jargon?

I saw the phrase “(Donnie) Welsh refrained from lowering himself for a farewell swim,” in New York Time’s sport article (June 3rd) titled “Ungainly Knicks Lose a Man of Elegance.” The article starts ...
2
votes
3answers
655 views

Do English speaking people jeer at big feet?

(Harry, Ron, and Hermione were walking through woods at night. Then Ron yelled with pain. When Hermione threw the light over him,) Ron was lying sprawled on the ground. “Tripped over a tree root,” he ...
4
votes
1answer
31k views

“is it me, or…” meaning and usage

What does "is it me, or..." mean? Examples: Perhaps it is just me, but I find Intel's ultrabook pitch somewhat confusing. Is it me, or is this a bug?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “vipers” mean here?

Yeah, the cut throats and the pigs. But who wants all that blood spilled, judge, huh? Isn't there a simpler way of not pissing off the big vipers?” – Al Swearengen From the show Deadwood What does ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

What are “excess deaths”?

Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000 Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/10/AR2006101001442.html
1
vote
2answers
20k views

Grease quote explanation “Pinkslips ownership papers?”

My son loves Grease and watches it over and over. So I am starting memorizing it all, but there are some phrases I don't understand. Please explain exactly what this part means (it is before the car ...
11
votes
6answers
179k views

What does “dirty” mean in relation to a drink?

I saw in a movie a girl asking for a "very dirty" drink. Did she want higher alcohol content? I searched definitions of dirty but I couldn't find any related to a drink.
3
votes
3answers
20k views

“May I come in?” is misleading?

Yesterday I saw a lesson of English on TV. The teacher asked to some people to translate (from Italian) some expression. One is: "What can you say to a person to invite him into your office?" and lot ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

I cannot understand what's being asked here

What are the ways in which the universal, inclusive conception of French nationalism was tested by a (racially-conceived) particularistic, exclusive one? I'm at loss, I don't know what's being asked. ...
2
votes
3answers
594 views

Should I use “vue de l'esprit” in English?

I'm a French-native-speaker. I'm not sure in which cases the French expression vue de l'esprit should be used, or if it should not be used. Is there any general case or rule? For example, I have a ...
30
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6answers
311k 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
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3answers
3k views

What are the differences between “mimic” and “copy”?

I found this thread on wordreference.com in which it is claimed that "mimic" has frivolous connotations and "copy" has derogatory connotations. Specifically I am wondering how this distinction may ...
17
votes
10answers
13k views

“Do you want to live forever?”

There's a famous story about a Marine sergeant at the Battle of Belleau Wood shouting "Come on, you apes. Do you want to live forever?" It's been attributed to several people; a character in ...
10
votes
4answers
31k views

Meaning of “No dark sarcasm in the classroom” [closed]

The phrase is, of course, from one of the good Pink Floyd songs: Another Brick In The Wall. I always wonder what could it possibly refer to in the context of the song and in general context. I mean, ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What is meant by the phrase “Charlie Brown management”?

Recently I came to hear the term "Charlie Brown management" in a news article. I tried searching the net on this term, but didn't get anything useful. Please help me to decipher this idiom.
3
votes
2answers
416 views

What does “non-authors” and “canonical redirects” mean in this sentence?

Prevent sniffing out user names of non-authors by using canonical redirects? What does canonical redirects and non-authors mean?
2
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4answers
343 views

Is there any difference in meaning between these sentences?

A: Positive and negative numbers cannot satisfy the condition. B: Positive or negative numbers cannot satisfy the condition. C: Non-zero numbers cannot satisfy the condition.
3
votes
1answer
463 views

Is this letter censuring or just being sarcastic?

This is a letter by physicist Richard Feynman to his university's student newspaper. I am a non-native english speaker and I have trouble understanding in what spirit this letter was written them, is ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Meaning of the counting rhyme “Eenie Meenie Miney Moe”

Counting rhymes are as we know, used for determining who is it.So last week, we were playing chili-chili-water, and my friend told me that the counting rhynme "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe" actually had a ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Is this quote grammatically correct?

Beauty and sadness always go together. Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth upon the earth without a meet alloy. (George MacDonald) The last part of the quote doesn't seem to make sense
3
votes
5answers
649 views

Can you actually “stand to the right” on escalator?

In Copenhagen Metro on every escalator you can see 2 labels: "Stand to the right" "Walk to the left" I had an impression that prepostion "to" is used when you describe a direction of the moving ...
4
votes
2answers
495 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
461 views

What is “outheroding”?

I have been reading Scott's Ivanhoe recently and have come across a word I cannot find a meaning for: outheroding. In the novel it appears in a discussion of footwear: Fur and gold were not spared ...
5
votes
4answers
155k views

What is the precise meaning of “Pretty Good”?

Once I used "pretty good" as a reply to one of my friends' question "How are you today?", I was under the impression that the "pretty good" will weigh much more than just "good", means "very good" or "...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

“From time to time”

Aside from the usual meanings in common parlance, what writers want to to say by the expression "from time to time", mainly in financial contract wording? It doesn't seem to me that they want to ...
5
votes
7answers
52k views

Use of “Might” and “Might not”

I know "Might" and "Might not" means the lack of certainty, but is there an implied probability in the use of these terms? In other words, does "I might be coming" imply that "It is extremely likely ...
3
votes
3answers
15k views

What does “soundness of judgment” mean?

Could anyone explain what exactly does "soundness of judgment" mean? I understand this as when you can judge something and take in count all possible exceptions that are involved in the evaluation of ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Structure of “As I passed by there looked out from it the face I showed you this afternoon”

While reading Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx without a secret, I came across the following passage: 'One evening,' he said, 'I was walking down Bond Street about five o'clock. There was a terrific crush ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“However, this book is anything but” meaning

What's the structure and meaning of this sentence in the following text: A friend lent this to me before I headed over to Italy and France this summer. I was a bit skeptical at first as he's ...
4
votes
2answers
210 views

Does the expression ‘Someone, who took his while presumed innocent, will get bail any time soon’ sound natural?

I found the line, ‘Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who took his while presumed innocent will get bail,’ in the following paragraph of New York Times article (May 17), titled ‘Hotel Keycard of I.M.F. Chief May Tell ...
13
votes
2answers
15k views

What does “no-op” mean?

In the Remarks section of a Microsoft dbset.add page I read Remarks: Note that entities that are already in the context in some other state will have their state set to Added. Add is a no-op if the ...
0
votes
4answers
559 views

Confusion with Use of “Though” [closed]

Today I came across this sentence: Though I don't sell photos taken by me it still makes me feel good/appreciated/wanted I want to know exactly what this sentence means. I assumed two possible ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

What does “spot basis” mean?

What does "spot basis" mean, in the sentence "what you want to be able to do is develop the skill to go and do this on a spot basis"?
11
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9answers
20k views

Why would the “wind blowing in the East” be considered a bad thing?

I've been recently working through the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, and enjoying it very much. However, there's a particular motif that's bothering me, whose logic I haven't been ...
1
vote
2answers
794 views

Meaning of 'use' in this sentence

From MSABC TV show 'community' season 1 Hi, Senor Chang. What, a community college Spanish teacher can't use 80 bucks? 'Use' here seems should mean 'earn', Because the teacher here is a model ...
2
votes
1answer
566 views

What is “non-guideline sentence” to allow the accused to serve as a diplomat instead of a prison term?

I read New York Times article (May 13) titled "ex-Senator gets 21-month prison term in tax evasion case." It says in abridgment: The former Republican senator, Vincent L. Leibell III had faced 18 ...
-1
votes
1answer
423 views

Problem with the usage of “but” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Specific usage of the word 'but' Interpreting the meaning of 'but' as an implication for exclusion/inclusion “nothing but” vs. “anything but” vs. “everything but” ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “go all coy over stg.” an idiom or simple combination of words?

I found the phrase “go all coy over reports “in the following sentence of Washington Post (May 12) article introducing CBS’s reported deal with Ashton Kutcher in replacing him Charlie Sheen as the ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Is “he is a proven commodity” a common phrase?

I find many unfamiliar phrases in readers' comments on the statements of political figures and articles on news sites these days. I can't tell if they are accepted usage. Comment posters could be ...