Questions tagged [meaning]

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

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What’s the original sense of the term “alveary”?

Lexicographer John Baret published, in about 1574, a dictionary of the English, Latin, and French languages, with occasional illustrations from the Greek. The dictionary was called An Alvearie, or ...
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1answer
109 views

Diffidence, a false friend

I’ve recently erroneously used the term diffidence with the meaning of distrust. Diffidence is one of the terms called false friend and, as a matter of fact, the same term in French defiance and ...
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Vocabulary Question: Stane (verb); to stane to do something

I came across the word "stane" in a poem in the Paris Review, and I can't seem to find a definition that fits its use in the poem. I checked several dictionaries. Some didn't have it at all, and those ...
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588 views

What's the difference between “incarnation” and “embodiment”?

What's the difference between "incarnation" and "embodiment"? I didn't get a clear distinction from Webster. Is it like "incarnation" is more about a state and "embodiment" is more about an action? Or ...
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602 views

Looking for a word that describes the merger of two words, is this an example of Portmanteau?

This is slightly awkward to explain, so I will be as clear as possible. I am aware of what a portmanteau is, as you will see below, but I am unsure if my examples classify as such. I'm looking to ...
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1answer
511 views

What part of speech is the word “entire” in “over the little garden field entire”?

The sentence is: "After a while she got up from where she was and went over the little garden field entire." A quote from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I want to know if the ...
3
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1answer
870 views

How did epilogue and epigraph come to take on meanings opposite spatially when used in books?

I was thinking today about the apparent similarities in spelling at the start of the two words: Epigraph Epilogue And the fact they have seemingly opposed semantics. The first appearing at the start ...
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2answers
6k views

What is the difference between need and necessity?

I was asked what the difference between need and necessity was by a non native speaker. It was in the context of the name of an article to do with global warming, i.e "The need/necessity for....". I ...
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1answer
381 views

Are “Get” or “Grasp” stative or dynamic verbs?

In Merriam–Webster, the definition of understand is as follows: to get the meaning of something / to grasp the meaning of something. Now my questions are regarding a sentence like: I don’t ...
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1answer
28k views

be intended to vs intend to

I see a lot of examples of be intended to and intend to. Both of them mean plan to do. Some examples: Selling was my game and I intended to be a winner. The ban is intended to be permanent. ...
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2answers
176 views

English can be a right dastard sometimes. Why not?

Bastard, meaning one begotten and born out of wedlock, is a very old word from Old French (earliest OED citation 1297). Dastard, meaning one who meanly or basely shrinks from danger; a mean, base, or ...
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Does “gentle” have the figurative meaning of castrate?

In Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time the male Aes Sedai (magicians or sorcerers) are being "gentled", because their magic use is dangerous for themselves and others. I'm not a native speaker of ...
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66 views

What does this sentence mean exactly?

I edited the sentence so it gives better sense to you guys & thank you: These effects are rather as of the psychic forces of the body not being brought into cooperation with the physical forces, ...
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33 views

Semantic Difference between “Skill” and “Skills”

I believe that there is a subtle semantic difference between skills and skill. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the uncountable noun "skill" refers to the ability to do something well ...
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42 views

What is a Rood Lebaxer?

I've been doing some geneaology and found an ancestor in the 1841 Scottish Census with an occupation of Rood Lebaxer. This person lived in Southern Scotland so I'm guessing they would have been ...
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38 views

Meaning of “hats and cats”?

In the film High Society, Daxter-Haven has the following line when addressing a room full of people: Dear gentle folk of Newport -- Or maybe I should say, "hats and cats"? What is the meaning of "...
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80 views

What does “Nothing is too good for him to eat.” mean?

I don't exactly know what it means. Which is the correct form below? All are good enough for him to eat. There is not any good thing (or food) for him to eat. From The Forsyte Saga: The Man ...
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376 views

What is the meaning and origin of the expression “Miss Thang”

What is the meaning and the origin of the slang term "Miss Thang"? I've checked in the Urban Dictionary, they say it's about a woman or a gay, that is pretentious, and think she knows everything, and ...
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79 views

What is the meaning of “pent”

Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the voices of children and women, The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they sail’d, And the summer approaching ...
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Has anyone come across the word 'subscrub' or 'sub-scrub'?

I was at a Scottish boarding school (long since closed) and each table in the refectory had six boys. The most senior boy was called 'the divider; the second 'the sub-divider; the third was called '...
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1answer
293 views

The meaning of tibbies?

What's the meaning of "tibbies" in this context. The quote is from one of Richard Laymon's books: "You killed her, so you get first tibbies. So take the head. Everybody does. 'cause the brain's ...
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58 views

Is there a term for hyperbolic words or expressions that are no longer used for exaggeration?

I recently encountered two instances of apparently hyperbolic terms that were used without any realisation that the traditional implications were far more serious / demanding / extreme. Someone said ...
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'up' meaning each/apiece in sports?

I often hear sport scores being mentioned as '5 up' meaning the score is tied at 5 each/apiece. AHD gives: up adv. ... Each; apiece: The score was tied at 11 up. Can anyone ...
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376 views

Why is “remove to” no longer used?

By Googling, the difference between remove and move can be found as follows: As verbs the difference between remove and move is that remove is to move something from one place to another, especially ...
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1k views

What does “work on my tan” mean?

Here is the context: He It's not gonna be easy She Well, I don't do easy. If I wanted that I'd move to Florida and work on my tan
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Can the phrase “once more” be a noun in American English?

Can the phrase "once more" be a noun in American English? I'm wondering if it can, as the two Japanese online dictionaries I'm using for my translation of 今一度 both say that the entry, -which only ...
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Difference between supplemental NP and absolute clause?

What is the difference between a supplemental noun phrase and a absolute clause? In these examples and in general. Is it just the non-finite nature of the second example? Are they not serving a ...
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3answers
2k views

varying/ varied/ various/ a variety of

may I ask what is the difference between the use of 'varying', 'varied', 'various' and 'a variety of'? Many thanks!
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412 views

What does “some hats wear men” mean?

In the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), there is a scene where Peter and his friend Ned are in Aunt May's car before they go to Liz's party. Aunt May says this line to Ned: May: Ned, some hats ...
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146 views

Difference between intrusion on/upon/of/into

Different dictionaries suggest different answers. One example, suggests that all of them, except for of work. However, as we can see here the of structure is also possible. There must be a ...
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1answer
192 views

Meaning of “it is only a small percentage of whom this would be true at present.”

In the extract It will be said that men will not work well if the fear of dismissal does not spur them on. I think it is only a small percentage of whom this would be true at present. could the ...
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1answer
1k views

Why are Centennials called that?

People of Generation Y have the nickname millennials, because many of them graduated around the year 2000, the millenium. People of Generation Z are sometimes called centennials. "Centennial" means "...
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Etymology and distinction between pottage and potage

At dictionary.com, there is a bit of an inconsistency in the origins and meaning of two historical variants of the same (probably French) word: Potage noun, French Cookery. 1. soup, especially ...
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42 views

What is the meaning of the following sequence of words: “adj or pp+as+pronoun+verb”?

What is the meaning of the following sequence of words: "adj or pp+as+pronoun+verb"? Example: It is climate that largely determines the type of agriculture that may be carried out in a particular ...
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281 views

Meaning of gosh all, git-up in this context

In the song Jeepers creepers by Louis Armstrong, there is a line that goes like this: Oh, gosh all, git up, how'd they get so lit up? It refers to the eyes of a person. My question is: what does "...
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Possible use of “formal”: absence of rigor

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word "formal" used as an adjective has, among other definitions, these meanings ([...] are examples or precisions): Done in accordance with convention or ...
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71 views

May an adverbial qualifier suffice to free the word “free” of its ambiguity?

Free is an ambiguous word. For the purpose of this question I'll skip any meaning the word may bear as a verb, and I'll also overlook the "free from/of" variant. In fact, I'll just focus on the two ...
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133 views

Are there significant differences in how “college” and “university” are used in syntactic constructions?

To me (an American), "what to study in college" sounds acceptable. Meanwhile, "what to study in university" sounds wrong. This suggests that these words have different grammatical attributes. This ...
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3k views

Difference between stratification, hierarchy, and caste system?

What is the difference between stratification, hierarchy, and caste system? (note: caste system here does not refer to India) To me, Stratification is the act of designating people into different ...
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0answers
819 views

Working vs walking on both sides of the street

Dictionary.com renders "work both sides of the street" as: To take two contrary positions at once; have it both ways Similarly, idiom.thefreedictionary.com has "work both sides of the street" as: ...
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354 views

List of, or name for, words with distinct meanings?

Let me explain my question. The word "run" has quite a few meanings but a large number has to do with the main meaning, whether we talk of journey or water running or running into another person, etc....
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2k views

What does “nine while nine” mean?

In "Nine While Nine" by The Sisters of Mercy there is this line: Nine while nine and I'm waiting for the train... What does "nine while nine" actually mean? I've never encountered anything similar ...
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0answers
133 views

Is “over” meaning “again” related to “over”'s other meanings?

In addition to the physical position meaning, "over" has a number of nonphysical and temporal meanings including "again". My own examples: I couldn't read your note. Write it over. Take one ...
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3k views

“These kids I tell you” or “kids I tell you” expression meaning

I have read them in few disconnected articles and in conversations but could not understand them completely. "These kids I tell you" or "kids I tell you" expression meaning. What do they mean ?
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461 views

“that was a classic money handshake”

I'm reading the play "Dumb Show" by Joe Penhall. (See on Google Books) Almost at the beginning of the play one of the characters uses this phrase: classic money handshake. What does it mean? (Barry ...
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273 views

Meaning of dialogue in “Madam Secretary” episode

I am watching American Drama "Madam Secretary" season 1, episode 14. And there are some dialogues I can't understand. I wonder what the meaning of last two sentences is. Please help me! Russell:I'm ...
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188 views

For how long has “as” been synonymous with “because” in British English?

In British English, it seems that "because" can always be replaced with "as." Here is an example of "as" meaning "because" in British English: I popped down to the shops as we were out of loo roll. ...
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303 views

How does one determine when a comedian is also a humorist?

Wikipedia's list of humorists are categorised as people who write or perform humorous material, but the article also states: A humorist is usually distinct from a stand-up comedian. Woody Allen ...
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4k views

Came “into” fruition?

My friend wrote some copy, explaining that her "company came into fruition because she realized the opportunity..." I've never used "came into fruition" -- only "came to fruition". Is "came into ...
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15k views

Is there any difference between 'to affiliate with' and 'to affiliate to'?

When I was looking up the word 'affiliate', the dictionary offered the example sentences which I've been really confused from. The actual meaning of the word 'affiliate' is to cause a group to ...

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