Questions tagged [meaning]

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

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177
votes
13answers
126k views

What is wrong with the word “performant”?

I keep getting the red underlining in Word whenever I write the word "performant". Here I intend to refer to something that performs well or better than something else (i.e., it's more performant). ...
164
votes
11answers
163k views

“Unregister” vs “Deregister”

The concept of "undoing a registration" is widely used in my line of work. While most dictionaries define unregister as the proper verb for it, several widely used and highly considered sources also ...
119
votes
19answers
25k views

Is “women men girls love meet die” a valid sentence?

Is "women men girls love meet die" a valid sentence? If so, what does it mean? The sentence shows up in academic papers about the "Sausage Machine" for natural language processing. (A google will ...
112
votes
15answers
42k views

“Jane makes over six figures” - how much money does she make?

Suppose you are told that "Jane makes over six figures". Assuming this to be true, what is the minimum amount of money that Jane can be making? I have always understood this to mean "Jane makes at ...
111
votes
1answer
470k 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 ...
110
votes
24answers
876k views

“Lunch” vs. “dinner” vs. “supper” — times and meanings?

I've seen cases where a noon-time meal is referred to as dinner, and the evening meal is called supper. There's also lunch around noon followed by dinner in the evening. Is there a particular ...
110
votes
8answers
120k views

“Status” vs. “state”

Can anyone explain what the difference between status and state is when I talk about the condition or situation of an object? Here's what I got from Longman English Dictionary. status: a situation ...
104
votes
5answers
261k views

“Here's looking at you, kid” meaning?

I'm sure many will know Rick's famous line from the film Casablanca: Here's looking at you, kid. While I can guess at it, I was never fully confident about the meaning of this phrase. I am not a ...
96
votes
21answers
16k views

How to say that food is hot (temperature) without the listener thinking that I mean “spicy”?

There is an excellent discussion of spicy vs. hot here: Difference between "spicy" and "hot" However, having read the previous question, I did not see any answer that tells how to ...
91
votes
5answers
50k views

What does 'TL;DR' mean and how is it used?

I do my best, at my advanced age, to come to grips with the apparent acceptability of such widely used words/expressions/abbreviations as lol/LOL, IMHO, AFAIK, etc. However, TLDR/tl;dr defeats me. ...
90
votes
7answers
114k views

Difference between “artifact” and “artefact”

Is there any usage preference between artifact and artefact? My understanding was that an artifact was properly applied to physical, historical objects, while an artefact was more correct for more ...
87
votes
3answers
41k views

Why does “Mickey Mouse Operation” refer to a poorly run company?

A phrase I commonly hear (and use myself) when a company (or individual, in some cases) does something that seems foolish or not planned is to ask What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are you ...
87
votes
4answers
222k views

What does “something 101” mean? [closed]

Many times I saw the phrase something 101, such as Microsoft Excel 101. What exactly does it mean?
87
votes
8answers
133k views

Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to?

At what point does next Tuesday mean the next Tuesday that will come to pass and no longer the Tuesday after the Tuesday that will come to pass? And, when does the meaning switch back?
84
votes
9answers
37k views

History of “X is dead. Long live X”

What is the history of "X is dead. Long live X"? For example, Location is dead. Long live Location. JavaScript is dead. Long live JavaScript. I feel like I'm missing out on a joke.
82
votes
5answers
11k views

Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”?

I just came across a course name: Geometric and Theoretical Optics. The mismatched endings bug me. Why do we have both -ical and -ic endings? Is there any difference in meaning between, say, ...
79
votes
9answers
306k 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 ...
76
votes
3answers
63k views

Difference between “delete” and “remove” [closed]

I am writing a mobile application that will, as a part of its functionality, display a list of recorded thoughts. Now I am deciding the textual content of the menus and that left me thinking whether ...
75
votes
6answers
109k views

When I say “comment out”, does it mean to uncomment something or comment it?

When I say "comment out", does it mean to uncomment something or comment it? What is better, or more correctly used? PS: I'm talking about source code.
74
votes
5answers
18k views

What is “ass door”?

I'm not English speaking, I understand the joke but say please what is "ass door"? Is it the same as butt door? Didn't find it in the dictionary.
72
votes
2answers
397k views

Which is correct: “rack my brain” or “wrack my brain”?

Which is the correct usage: "rack my brain" or "wrack my brain"? Google turned up pages with conflicting recommendations. One argument is that to "rack a brain" comes from the torture device known ...
71
votes
12answers
123k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
66
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the purpose of using the word “automagically” when we already have “automatically”?

Is there a difference between the two? I see it used regularly in the tech community to mean automatically. Has the word been adopted into any recognised dictionary? For example: That was the day ...
63
votes
15answers
72k views

When to use “nude” and when “naked”

The question is quite clear. Is there any difference (semantically or connotationally, if that's a word) between nude and naked? Nude seems more formal to me, but I'm not quite sure. Interesting: ...
62
votes
2answers
7k views

What did “pop a cap” mean, other than “shoot someone,” in the 19th century?

Popping a cap Green's Dictionary of Slang defines "pop a cap" as: to fire a weapon; to shoot someone. In recent uses, the slang meaning is clear, and often extended to "pop a cap (in somebody's ...
62
votes
1answer
222k views

Why use “need not” instead of “do not need to”?

The header of psyco.sourceforge.net states: High-level languages need not be slower than low-level ones. Why use need not instead of do not need? What does it mean? Also, why no to before be?
60
votes
2answers
231k views

“Queueing” or “Queuing”

Which spelling is better, queueing or queuing? Both words seem to mean the same, but there are two different spellings. My context is: Queueing Latency versus Queuing Latency If both ...
60
votes
9answers
200k views

What is the correct usage of “myriad”?

The vast majority of the time when I see the word "myriad" it is in a sentence like "He had a myriad of things." However I don't like the extraneous words so I normally use it like "He had myriad ...
59
votes
7answers
35k views

Where does the “quint” in “quintessential” come from?

Doesn't "quint" mean "five"? What does that have to do with the meaning of "quintessential"?
58
votes
5answers
74k views

Why do people say “to be honest”?

For quite some time, I've been hearing the phrase "to be honest" almost every day. I've heard friends say it, characters on TV shows, and even an NPR reporter said it in an interview. Example: "To ...
58
votes
10answers
15k views

Which is more wet: ‘moist’ or ‘damp’?

Which contains more liquid, something that is moist or something that is damp? Context of question: This question was asked to a young friend of mine in her high school freshman English class. It was ...
58
votes
10answers
17k views

What is the difference between “gender” and “sex”?

What is the difference between gender and sex? Wiktionary says that gender is The mental analog of sex but that's too high English for me. Basically, I'm developing a web-application that stores ...
57
votes
11answers
10k views

You “show” someone a picture. You “---” someone a song?

In Maltese, we have a verb meaning "to show" corresponding to "to see/to look", and we have a different verb corresponding to "to hear/to listen": inti tara stampa (you look at a picture.) ---- ...
57
votes
5answers
135k views

Substitute X for Y

An awful lot of people seem to use the phrase "substitute X for Y" to mean "replace X with Y", while I've always used and understood it as "replace Y with X". This makes sense to me, given that a ...
57
votes
6answers
126k views

What's the difference between a graph, a chart, and a plot?

A graph, a chart, and a plot can all refer to the same thing. Is there any even somewhat consistent distinction in these three words? (I mean, in this particular sense of the words; it is not ...
56
votes
2answers
619k views

“Have a look” vs. “Take a look”

What is the difference between Have a look and Take a look (meaning/connotations)? For example: Have a look at the question. Take a look at the question. For some reason I only found first ...
56
votes
5answers
43k views

“Screwed” vs. “nailed”: why is the slang so different?

While the two names nail and screw have similar shapes and functions, why do the verbs differ so much? Someone has screwed something sounds like they have ruined something to me, while someone has ...
55
votes
9answers
13k views

Is “faff” well understood outside Britain?

Google says "faff" is just British English. Is it well understood in other English speaking regions? If not, is there an international alternative? faff BRITISH informal verb: faff; 3rd person ...
54
votes
4answers
9k views

“What would you with the king?” -From the book “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”

In the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, in order to show how punctuation changes meaning and can be used for jokes, it says: Instead of “What would you with the king?” you can have someone say in ...
54
votes
3answers
12k views

White Noise: Why White?

I'm always surprised when I hear the term white noise. White noise itself sounds a little more "evil" than anything else, I would almost expect it to be called black noise. Why is white noise called ...
54
votes
7answers
132k views

What did “google” mean in the 1900s?

I know that Google got its name from the word googol (10100), and that Google/google referring the search engine/using the search engine are recent additions to the dictionary. Their definitions are ...
53
votes
16answers
22k views

Is there a word for a change so small that it doesn’t seem to be a change at all?

Today, I was reading an article on pharmaceutical companies making minute changes to a drug in order to extend the patent. In one instance, the company profiled did not actually change the content of ...
53
votes
4answers
287k views

'Made of' vs. 'Made from'

What is the basic difference between "made of" and "made from." Both expressions are used in English. For instance, "This chair is made of wood," and "Cream is made from milk." Though the question is ...
52
votes
7answers
38k views

What does “you will want to” mean?

I often find people (mostly American people) telling to me "you will want to do this" or "you will not want to do this". Does it mean they are telling me that I should do something (in the sense of ...
52
votes
6answers
19k views

How did phobia ever come to mean hatred?

I understand the word 'phobia' to mean an irrational fear of something, tracing its roots to the Greek word ῾φοβια᾽ associated with flight, dread, or terror. How then did this word ever come to ...
52
votes
4answers
305k views

Difference between “publicly” and “publically”

I know publically appears as an incorrect spelling in most dictionaries (in fact as I type this up on my Safari browser it keeps trying to correct the spelling to publicly). However I have seen the ...
51
votes
1answer
4k views

What does “c'tee” mean?

I have been seeing the word c'tee frequently. Here are some examples: Sports minister sets up c’tee to find solution to football crisis http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/08/sports-minister-sets-up-...
50
votes
3answers
687k views

“Agree on” vs. “agree with” vs. “agree to”

What are the differences between "agree on", "agree with" and "agree to"?
50
votes
1answer
70k views

Why “meth-”, “eth-”, “prop-”, when there is “uni-”,“di-”,“tri-”?

In chemistry, the homologous series for hydrocarbons uses the following prefixes: Meth- Eth- Prop- But- Pent- Hex- Hept- Oct- Why are these prefixes used, instead of just using ...
49
votes
10answers
73k views

Is it “alright” or “allright”?

In practice I find both spellings being used. From a logical point of view, "allright" (as in: "all's right — everything is fine") seems correct. However, I recall hearing that "alright" is the ...