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Questions tagged [phrase-meaning]

This tag is for questions related to the meanings of phrases, particularly their definitions and nuances.

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What does "taking" means here?

Seems stagnant? How so? TAKING new parks, 'Gathering Place' is new and one of the best parks, if not the best park, I’ve ever been to. Tulsa has lots of stuff opening downtown and has a pretty good ...
user524761's user avatar
-1 votes
0 answers
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why is there sometimes "a particular" and then a person's name? [migrated]

for example, "I am writing this letter to a particular Mrs. Smith" or "I believe a particular Jane Doe is looking for you, sir!" Why is the phrase "a particular" there ...
alistato's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
81 views

Stop blowing your load in the Golden Arches

While doing some research I came across the following phrase: “Young men do not need to proactively freeze their sperm,” says David Ryley, a reproductive endocrinologist at Boston IVF. “If men want ...
Prometheus's user avatar
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0 answers
53 views

How to say this

I received an email from this company, in which they proposed a job to me. I sent them an email saying that I would like to work with them. After 3 months I haven’t yet received any email from them. ...
Sasan's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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What is this usage of "and not", if correct?

What is the usage of "not all" in the following quote from StarCraft: I'm pretty much the Queen Bitch of the Universe. And not all of your little soldiers or space ships will stand in my ...
shuhalo's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
813 views

Usage and meaning of “may have” in this context

The man may have died a week ago in a car accident, but his legacy will long change the world for the better. When we know for sure that the man actually died a week ago in a car accident, can we ...
Sasan's user avatar
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19 votes
7 answers
3k views

"Wish in one hand, tacky in the other. See which fills up first". What's the meaning of "tacky" here?

I am reading a contemporary American novel. In a dialogue, one of the characters quotes a proverb her mother used to say: "Wish in one hand, tacky in the other. See which fills up first". I ...
Cicc's user avatar
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What is the full form of the word " Special Ops" ? I am asking this question in military context [closed]

I have googled this question. But I just wanted to get a human answer to it. What is the full form of the word "Special Ops" ? I looked this in dictionary. But the dictionary did not ...
Divyanshu Dwivedi's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is "What *is*."?

I was reading an essay by philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti when I ran into these sentences: “Understanding comes through being aware of what is. To know exactly what is, the real, the actual, without ...
CWC's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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"But Aberfan has scooped out the core of him, stretched it thin and catapulted it into the wild blue yonder."

(From A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe, Part I, Aberfan, chapter 11) And then, at the dinner dance, with that kiss, he dared to believe they had a future. But Aberfan has scooped out the core ...
philphil's user avatar
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What does "he passed whole nights in new modelling his work" mean?

In a 1789 English translation of Frederick II 's eulogy on Voltaire it is written: He passed whole nights in new modelling his work What does the "in new" part mean? (Also, if anyone has ...
DavePhD's user avatar
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1 answer
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What "On your approach" means in this context? [closed]

I've playing a game called gta san andreas and I've ran into this phrase Hey carl you gotta stay nice and low on your approach or you pop up on the radar And two questions crossed my mind that is: ...
curiousUser's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is Weasel Poo on a Door Knob a Recognised Expression? [duplicate]

The heading says it all. I have seen the above expression (or a few variants) used to describe something smooth, whether a person, or a literal surface. An example, When it comes to women, Alex is ...
Della's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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Speaking of a fitted bed sheet, would you call it “inside-out” or “upside-down”if you wanted to indicate that the stitches are facing up?

As the title says, while I’m fairly sure about the answer, I am looking for a valid explanation of which term is correct and why. I believe that the correct term is inside-out because it’s clearly ...
Neeku's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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"It is confirmed that" [closed]

Can I write as below? It is confirmed that, The A requires B. The C requires D. (1.2. Are just random sentences..)
user500794's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
169 views

When did "light (something) up" begin to mean shooting?

I was wondering if it would be period accurate if depicting someone like a soldier during World War I or II to say "light them up" to shoot the enemy and at what time the term came into use.
Dude Bruh's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
622 views

Put oneself together vs. pull oneself together

I'm reading a book about makeup, aesthetics, the concept of beauty, etc. One of the author's interviewees said, That notion of beauty as a strength and putting yourself together well as a self- ...
Olivia Lo's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Does "breathe in the light" have any colloquial meaning?

I have noticed that the phrase "breathe in the light" is used in several seemingly unrelated pieces of music, for instance, it is the name of a "Stellardrone" track, and in the ...
Daigaku no Baku's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
68 views

What does "in a quiet pool" mean?

While I was watching a a True Crime documentary, the narrator said: The young pastor, his wife, and their three daughters looked happy and had everything they needed to live a comfortable life ...
basilinnia's user avatar
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1 answer
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What's the difference between "I believe in God" and "I believe in a God"?

I've recently heard these two examples where I don't understand what "a" is supposed to emphasize: Somebody asks: "Do you believe in God?" Then gets this reply: "I believe in ...
Damocle Damoclev's user avatar
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0 answers
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Origin of the expression “turn the card” meaning to pass on an opportunity

I recently dropped the phrase “turn the card” meaning to pass on an opportunity in an answer of a sister site. While not a common expression, I would have expected most people that I converse with in ...
Dale M's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
93 views

I know it was a liberty—I made it out you were no business man, only a stone-broke painter; that half the time you didn't know anything anyway

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XVIII, published 1892) Passage 287 “Jim,” I said, “you must speak right out. I've got all that I can carry.” “Well,” he said—“I ...
philphil's user avatar
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0 answers
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What is the meaning of "as per history's mandate" [closed]

What is the meaning of the phrase "as per history's mandate"?
Sam's user avatar
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1 answer
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with a conscience

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XVI, published 1892) Passage 252 Then I remembered that I had a friend on board, and stepped to the companion. “Gentlemen,” ...
philphil's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
156 views

What is the difference between "Chinese-Canadian" and "Canadian-Chinese"?

What is the difference between a "Chinese-Canadian" and a "Canadian-Chinese"? Do I understand correctly that the first part of such phrases will show the origin of a person, and ...
Bxser's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
148 views

'. . . there's always a fathom or two of slack hanging out of the other end'

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XIV, published 1892) Passage 227 “All very well,” said I. “That's your Hoyt, and a fine, tall copy. But what I want to know is, ...
philphil's user avatar
  • 361
3 votes
1 answer
166 views

Meaning of "be just a little too smart by ninety-nine and three-quarters"

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XIV, published 1892) Passage 224 “Guess so,” he said. “You needn't fool with it. There's nothing else but a lead-pencil and a ...
philphil's user avatar
  • 361
2 votes
1 answer
850 views

Meaning of . . . "fill up on a clean break"

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XIII, published 1892) Passage 210 Thence we turned our attention to the table, which stood spread, as if for a meal, with stout ...
philphil's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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1920s postcard joke meaning? Cut some ice

Can anyone explain the meaning of this 1920’s postcard? The text reads: “I should worry like the iceman and cut some ice.” Next to this is a cartoon of a little boy with an axe chopping a large block ...
J. Dixon's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
139 views

Meaning of . . . “you just meet me on the ballast, and we'll make it a barquentine.”

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XI, published 1892) Passage 177 “I don't see it,” returned the captain drily. “One captain's enough for any ship that ever I ...
philphil's user avatar
  • 361
0 votes
1 answer
104 views

Meaning of "get out" in "He gets out when he can" [closed]

In his famous hit Working Class Man, Jimmy Barnes sings: He believes in God and Elvis He gets out when he can He did his time in Vietnam Still mad at Uncle Sam I can't make sense of the second line. ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "on the trot" mean in tennis?

Watching the pre-game broadcast for the Djokovic/Medvedev 2023 US Open men's singles championship match, I heard analyst Brad Gilbert say that Coco Gauff had won 12 in a row "on the trot" ...
pacoverflow's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
181 views

“holding a mirror up to the inequalities across the nation”

The excerpt below is taken from an article in The Guardian, published in October 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its peak. The author is Richard Horton, a doctor and editor-in-chief of ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Meaning of "retiring" in "free admission with retiring donations"

We recently attended a concert in a protestant church in England that was advertised as "free admission with retiring donations". The concert was indeed free with a voluntary (optional) ...
Kyle's user avatar
  • 161
0 votes
3 answers
3k views

What meaning of "gay" is intended in "He was very gay and had already washed and was now on his feet"?

Yet when he opened the door of the guest room in the morning there was the young man. He was very gay and had already washed and was now on his feet. He had asked for a razor yesterday and had shaved ...
Leon Raj's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
134 views

What is the real-time elimination of improbable meanings called in the linguistic literature?

He brought some food to eat on the road. He found some beer to drink in the fridge. Is it only reality and sanity that keep us from taking the beer example to mean he would be squashed in the fridge ...
TimR's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
107 views

What does "chamber sculpture" mean?

What does the term "chamber sculpture" mean? I haven't found it in Oxford or Cambridge dictionaries, but Google provides plenty of hits (~45k) for this expression. I am not sure whether it ...
Juandev's user avatar
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-1 votes
3 answers
251 views

Is objectual a word?

Is objectual a word? I could not find it in Merriam Webster. I am trying to use it in a sentence like this: A phrase signifies the objectual nature of thing in question. Would I be stretching the ...
Frank Booth's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
103 views

What does this mean: "Summer unofficially begins once the calendar is on point"

The phrase on point has several well-documented meanings (some of which have already been discussed on EL&U, here). But none of them seem to fit the usage in a headline of a recent article in the '...
linguisticturn's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
34 views

What's the meaning of "tidy limbs" as a descriptor? [closed]

I am currently reading The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women. Near the start of chapter six it describes an individual as tidy limbed, what is the meaning of this phase? ...
A.Steer's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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"The boil must be lanced if it is to heal"? [closed]

In Final Fantasy 16 (FFXVI), which has a medieval-ish setting, C says that "The boil must be lanced if it is to heal". I'm...not sure I understand the phrase. For context, C is in a ...
chausies's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
152 views

Meaning of "shall cause" in an association bylaws

A HOA Bylaw states that The Treasurers shall cause an annual review of HOA books to be made at completion of each fiscal year. It doesn't say by whom the review should be made, or does it assume the ...
Valeria Myromzeva's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
66 views

Where does the term ‘Messers’ come from in reference to a group of people? [closed]

I’ve heard this term used in films and by British politicians
Jord's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
98 views

Usage of "as much ... as"

Consumers spend three times as much paying rent as buying books. How can I understand this sentence? I believe "three times as much + noun + as" and "spend + noun + doing" are ...
dmjy's user avatar
  • 179
3 votes
2 answers
72 views

What does 'treasure is tickle' mean in Philotimus?

In Philotimus (1583), the following passage appears on page 38: Among all forts of conceyted fellowes, I reuerence the Esseni∣ans, as most cōtinent in pleasures, & contented wt nifles, for they ...
Heartspring's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
57 views

Is this an ambiguous use of "prior to" to convey logical precedence? [closed]

Consider the following sentence: Volcanic eruptions could not account for the high rate of the global collapse of ecosystems prior to the K-T extinction event. The usage of "prior to" is ...
Zongshu Wu's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
65 views

Meaning of " in the wings " [closed]

The following passage is from the book The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren: Yet, when you have a case involving fire; the teleportation of anvils, doors, and radiator ...
Mike's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
116 views

How to Translate the "Killing" in this Context?

This is a clipping from a director's memoir(source: A Life: An Autobiography by Elia Kazan) which I once cited in another question, recording an actor's affair. When we got back to Munich for the ...
RomanGhost's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

What does "work away" mean? [closed]

What does "work away" in the fourth paragraph mean? At first I thought it meant "be away from home for work", but it also seems to mean "to put forth a persistent, diligent, ...
Alex W's user avatar
  • 111
4 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is the phrase 'screw up' or 'screwed up' considered profanity/too harsh for young children? [duplicate]

I heard a character in a children's cartoon use it and was a bit shocked given that it was like a PG/Y7 rated show and I have thought of the word as a vulgar phrase, albeit a mild one. That being said,...
Conan Highwoods's user avatar

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