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Questions tagged [meaning]

This tag is for questions related to definitions and nuances of meaning of a word or phrase.

5
votes
5answers
2k views

Usage of “might” and “would” to indicate doubt

Do the sentences She might be only 28, but Jodie Whittaker.... and My parents would have walked along the Barrow wrongly suggest doubt, or are they normal usage? Are there names for these ...
11
votes
1answer
8k views

What does the suffix “‑erior” mean?

The suffix ‑erior is used in many words that seem to indicate position: superior inferior anterior posterior However, with my Google-fu, I can’t find a real definition or etymology. What does ‑...
13
votes
8answers
22k views

Ambiguity of “quite”

The adverb "quite" has the following meanings according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: 1: wholly, completely ("not quite finished") 2: to an extreme : positively "quite sure" —often ...
10
votes
8answers
46k views

“Shall” and “will” in legal requirements

What is the implication of using shall versus will in writing a specification document? For instance, lets say I have the paragraph, "upon by all parties involved." All information between ...
28
votes
3answers
7k views

What does the suffix “‑fu” mean?

Can anyone tell me what the suffix “‑fu” stands for in the following sentence? If you want to take advantage of some other Spring-fu, like some of its aspect-oriented features, then you’ll need to ...
15
votes
8answers
8k views

Is the term “hack” more positive or more negative?

What emotional association does the word hack have nowadays in the first place: negative or positive? Is it more for doing something illegally or without permission? Or for doing something in a ...
21
votes
5answers
27k views

Is there a subtle difference between “inherent” and “intrinsic”?

I've always used "inherent" and "intrinsic" interchangeably. Dictionary.com doesn't offer much help in distinguishing them.
7
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “to look like a square”?

I read this on The Oatmeal: Hey, he is clapping along to the music! How quaint! I should too. I would not want to look like a square! Another one: You Won't Look Like a Square With ...
28
votes
9answers
234k views

What is the meaning of “I am humbled by XYZ”?

From a recent article on CNN: Aboukhadijeh, who is from Sacramento, California, said he’s been blown away by how quickly his tool went viral and is grateful for all the supportive feedback. “I’...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

Use of the word “praxis”?

According to dictionary.reference.com the word praxis means: practice, as distinguished from theory; application or use, as of knowledge or skills. I recently saw another stackexchange post now ...
5
votes
6answers
20k views

What does this quote/excerpt mean?

I read the following lines somewhere on the Web: If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will suffer defeat. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “The black spot is under the plate” mean?

Simon Jenkins, in The Guardian online newspaper, writes: How can the British Tommy, the jolly tar or the air ace confront the dreaded foreigner, when a defence secretary cannot say boo to ...
12
votes
2answers
47k views

What does “wherein” mean exactly?

I have encountered wherein several times in many texts, and the general meaning of the texts was quite evident given the context. However, I do not know the exact meaning of wherein; a dictionary ...
29
votes
7answers
165k views

What's the difference between “adviser” and “advisor” — are both interchangeable?

I work for a financial services provider and we deal with "Financial Advisors" all the time. Increasingly, I'm seeing people send emails and so forth with the term "Financial Adviser" and the terms ...
21
votes
7answers
101k views

What does “had had” mean? How does this differ from “had”?

For example, what is the difference between the following two sentences: I had a bad day I had had a bad day
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the structure of the sentence 'const to the rescue'?

The following is the context: Despite my fastidious coding habits, I have made a silly mistake and typed += when I meant to type +. As a result, when concatUnsafe is called, it will modify ...
5
votes
7answers
9k views

Bodkins and bodkin - Same word different context?

Does bodkins in odd's bodkins mean the same as bare bodkin, which appears in Hamlet?
2
votes
4answers
397 views

How do you understand “I have to change my file names”?

If I say: I have to change my file names. What does an English speaker understand? "I have to change names of a single file." "I have to change names of many files." What is the rule here?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What does “graduate applicant” mean?

Does the term "graduate applicant" mean "a person who applies to get graduated" or "a graduate who applies for something"? If it is the second one, what can we call a person who applies for a ...
15
votes
13answers
9k views

What does “from hunger” mean?

What is the meaning of the phrase "from hunger", as in, "This xyz is from hunger"? From the context I found it in, it appears to mean either very good, or very bad, but it's hard to tell which. The ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

A list with only one item

I have a document where someone is suggesting we have a bulleted list with only one item. That sounds absurd to me. Doesn't a "list" imply more than one item?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning of “owedst”

...Not poppy, nor mandragora, Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou owedst yesterday. — Shakespeare, Othello III.iii I really ...
10
votes
7answers
504 views

Is the word “yearling” appropriate for a recurring event?

The Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange sites all have a "yearling" badge. Active member for a year, earning at least 200 reputation. This badge can be awarded multiple times. So each year, if the ...
35
votes
16answers
11k views

Words with opposite meanings in different regions

I can't recall it, but there is a word in American English which now means the opposite of itself in British English. What words are there that have opposite (not just different) meanings in different ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

If I invent a word, what language is it?

I invented a word using medical terminology, Latin and maybe a bit of Greek. (I'm not honestly sure of the etymology of all the morphemes.) Considering that this word is primarily not of English ...
7
votes
5answers
10k views

Word meaning the reverse of 'Xenophobia'

Xenophobia refers to the irrational fear or hatred of foreigners. But recently I've seen people displaying (in newspaper articles and other places) an irrational fear or hatred of their own countrymen....
75
votes
9answers
273k views

“A few” vs. “few”

I have few friends. I have a few friends. I thought "few" means just one, two or even none. "A few" typically means more than two. However it seems to me some people say "few" when they really ...
36
votes
12answers
71k views

What does “a couple” mean to you, and what does “a few” mean to you?

What does “a couple” mean to you, and what does “a few” mean to you? Is there a proper way to use these words? It was striking to hear that “a couple” meant two (2) to someone. My reaction was, “...
3
votes
5answers
4k views

What does the word “cinemaddict” mean?

Please explain to me (non-native speaker) what the word "cinemaddict" means. What synonyms does it have?
1
vote
5answers
517 views

Which definition is more used for “determine”?

I've seen "determine" used for two completely different meanings: Zeus' mood will determine tomorrow's weather. (determine = control, dictate) The weather forecaster will determine tomorrow's ...
48
votes
3answers
243k views

What is the purpose of using the word “why” in “why, thank you”?

I sometimes have heard somebody replying with Why, thank you. instead of Thank you. What is the meaning of the first phrase? What is the difference between the two phrases?
10
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “if only” mean?

Like in this sentence: The influence of the Titnaeus among early philosophical thinkers was pervasive, if only because it was the sole dialogue available in Europe for almost 1,000 years. (...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

What are the possible words for a task?

I am looking for similar words to task for a document on scheduling tasks in the context of a project. My goal would be to find words that would denote meanings for three things. A word for a small ...
20
votes
3answers
20k views

What does “packing heat” mean?

I believe it means “to carry a weapon”, but I would also like the phrase origins, if possible. So the full question is: What is the meaning of the phrase “packing heat” and what are its origins?
4
votes
4answers
41k views

“To call” vs. “to ring”

What is the difference between the verbs "call" and "ring" in the meaning of telephoning? For example: I will ring you back shortly. I will call you back shortly.
1
vote
2answers
9k views

What does “keen” in “keen intellect” mean?

her keen intellect What is the meaning of keen in the phrase?
2
votes
5answers
3k views

What does the expression “body shop” mean?

I recently encountered the expression "the man in the body shop", and I have absolutely no idea what it means. All help is welcome.
7
votes
4answers
15k views

What does “catch the sun” mean?

What does catch the sun mean?
5
votes
4answers
8k views

What does “educated” mean in “educated guess”?

Make an educated guess. What is the meaning of educated in the sentence?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Does “will you stop here, please” express a command or exhortation?

Will you stop here, please. Does the sentence express a command or exhortation? Is it equivalent to say, "Stop here!" or does it have an additional/different meaning?
12
votes
7answers
4k views

What does “akin to” mean in etymologies in dictionary entries?

Many etymologies in dictionaries say that some word is “akin to” a word in some other language. For example, here is part of the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary entry for salt: Main Entry: 1salt ...
3
votes
3answers
12k views

What does aw mean?

I have heard somebody saying aw, shucks. What does that mean? In which other cases is the word used?
2
votes
2answers
346 views

Is my use of the word “award” to describe a blog tagging game correct?

Anybody ever run into the blog post tagging? Like when somebody starts posting about certain topic (for example answering certain questions like what are your 10 habits, etc) and then they tag other ...
6
votes
2answers
9k views

Meaning of “boroughs of New York City”

What does borough mean? Does the word have a different meaning when used in the five boroughs of New York City?
27
votes
8answers
194k views

What does “thy” mean?

I read a sentence containing the word thy, but I cannot find the meaning of that word. Is it older English, or is it still used in contemporary English today?
16
votes
6answers
107k views

What does “going forward” mean?

In more and more podcasts and presentations I hear sentences such as this one: That is our strategy going forward. What meaning does going forward add to the sentence? That is, how is it different ...
7
votes
2answers
16k views

What do “brave” (adj) and “courage” (n) really mean?

For me, if someone is brave, it has always meant that they face certain dangers or situations, even though doing so is something that scares the living daylights out of them. For instance, if a ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

The use of “random” to mean “arbitrary”, “unidentified”, “unknown”, etc

I'm seeing the use of "random" instead of "arbitrary", etc., with increasing frequency. To me, "random" has a specific meaning and is not synonymous with these other words. Is it correct to use it in ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

New Oxford American Dictionary describes “the” as an adjective

When I look at the definition given from the Mac OS X Dictionary (I have set American English as interface language, and the dictionary used is then the New Oxford American Dictionary), I read: the ...
3
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “a man of the world”?

The name of one of the Ernest Hemingway's short stories is "A man of the world". It seems to me that I understand the meaning of this phrase out from the context of the short story. But all the same ...