Questions tagged [phrase-meaning]

The meaning of phrases.

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Personal touches helped store bags [duplicate]

I am writing a review for a host on AirBnb web site, and I have to admit that after living for 4 years in an English-speaking country I cannot decipher what is supposed to be a simple feedback form: ...
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8 votes
3 answers
920 views

What's the meaning of "those Portuguese of the intellect", as shown in "The Grammar of Science" by Karl Pearson

In the page 25 of the 3rd edition, printed in 1911, of "The Grammar of Science", by Karl Pearson, the following sentence is written: Science cannot give its consent to man's development ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What is the meaning of "I'm on detail"?

I recently heard someone say, "I'm on detail." What does this mean? For context, I was getting lunch takeout at a restaurant, and in line behind another person also getting takeout. The ...
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What does "One reads with dismay" in this sentence mean?

Here's the original quote, I'm not quite fully understand the first sentence. What does "One reads with dismay" mean? "On the basis of such sketchy data as stock price indices..."....
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One word for when someone does something bad to you or anyone else for first time without any provocation

IDK if there's already a word that can be used to describe the event/person when someone does something bad to you or anyone else first time, out-of-blue and without provocation and then you had to ...
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Need help with a gym membership description "available up until 30th June 2022" [duplicate]

I bought a university gym summer membership last week which on the website is described as "£33.99 for two months (available up until 30th June 2022)". I thought it means that this type of ...
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Meaning to the phrase "last year's man"

I saw this in a Leonard Cohen's lyrics. I wonder if it means anything in particular in the English language.
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What's the Meaning of Opposing?

What's the meaning of 'opposing' in the following sentence: "We have long been accustomed to opposing x to y." Edit: I deliberately eschewed the context and original reference, because its ...
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What's the difference between "think it helpful" and "think it's helpful"?

Is the following a valid sentence? I think it helpful to mention the caveats in the document. If so, how is the meaning different from this: I think it's helpful to mention the caveats in the ...
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What exactly are "beasts that perish"?

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly ...
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Origin of 'go (off) on a jag'

We used to use this expression in upstate New York during the 1970s..as in jag (noun) a bout of drinking or drug taking Vocabulary.com To "be on a jag" or "go on a jag" means to ...
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What does "muddy elbow of the Charles River" mean? Is it some sort of a joke? [closed]

I was watching Conan's Dartmouth commencement speech and he said "But fate dealt a heavy blow. With no money, I was forced to enroll in a small, local commuter school, a pulsating sore on a muddy ...
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What’s the meaning of “or near enough as makes no matter” [closed]

I’ve seen people hinted that “makes no matter” means “it doesn’t matter”, but the whole phrase still doesn’t make much sense to me. Here are some of the examples I found. Like most of you (I gather), ...
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Meaning of add texture to something (a plan, discussion, etc.)

I was having a conversation with a senior executive about launching a new initiative. He said he would like to get behind it, but I need to add a bit more texture to the whole proposal. What does ...
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Does William Shakespeare use the double negative in the speech below to yield a different meaning, or is it just for emphasis? (Merchant of Venice) [closed]

....So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing... ~ Shylock answering to the Duke in the court In the above extract from Merchant of Venice - Act IV, ...
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4 answers
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What does "Chop chop man bun" mean?

I was watching Haikyuu dub episodes and in one episode, the coach tells Asahi (one of the players): "Chop chop man bun". What does this sentence mean? I understand the "man bun" ...
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3 answers
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I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe a realization that a long held belief is wrong [closed]

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe the realization that what you've always believed is not real. As an example: Let's say you grew up in a country that you where led to believe was far more ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Meaning of "and so"

His mother does not like him to go to town by himself but that’s where all the roads lead. And so. I saw this from The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. I looked up the dictionary for "and so&...
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I would as soon do X as do Y

I thought "I would as soon do X as do Y" means "I would rather do X than do Y," as in "I would as soon die at once as live in this agony." But in the following quote it ...
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Significance of the formulation: "give it him what it he wants" [closed]

In his opinion piece, "My dear Russian friends, now is the time for your own Maidan", Jonathan Little uses this phrasing which to my ears sounds very strange: And if you won’t give it him ...
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1930s slang: "low roader"

In various English consulates throughout the world in the 1930s, expatriate Britons who caused trouble due to illegal or unethical behavior were known as "bad hats." The term "bad ...
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I breathe when I dance

What does it mean when someone says “I breathe when I dance”? I was trying to conversation with someone when I told then that I loved to dance. This was their response to that
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7 answers
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Meaning of "or we have headphones or we don't, so..."

I've run into this sentence and don't understand the meaning of "or we have headphones or we don't, so...". It's like some logical issue here that I cannot comprehend The web is a very ...
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1 answer
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"This fork looks like plastic": Grammatically right?

I understand that when we say "looks like plastic" we mean "looks like plastic material". So I would like to know if it's correct in the grammar sense or "normal" to say &...
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Is the condition '[a value] reduces to [number]' fulfilled when the value reduces to less than the number?

I am trying to deduce the nuances of the titular language for the purposes of a logic puzzle. To illustrate the specifics of the question, the following situation is provided. Item A has a price of 40....
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Meaning of 'hunt-the-fish'

In one of the late columnist A A Gill's columns collected in The Best of A A Gill, there is a paragraph where he is giving both sincere and ironic praise to a traditional pub lunch he had after ...
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A Phrase that defines persuading someone [duplicate]

What’s the term for when you persuade someone to think of something without them knowing it?
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2 answers
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Meaning of "pull in" in this context?

I'm reading The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead and found this part is difficult to understand. The scene is like this. Lila Mae is an elevator inspector. While she was returning to Headquater she ...
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What is the meaning of "I get wild on you"? [closed]

What is the meaning behind the phrase "I get wild on you, baby"? I tried to find this kind of phrasal verb "get wild on..." , but I didn't find anything. In my head, this could ...
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1 vote
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Meaning of ‘convey the flavor of’ in this context?

The context in the first paragraph suggests that the Watsuji’s idea has nothing to do with the Kyoto School. And the second paragraph confirms that reading of the first paragraph. Yet ‘conveys the ...
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X hours to schedule

I want to explain how many hours a student has on their balance so they can use these hours for scheduling lessons. It's not a complete sentence, rather a short notice about the state of their balance....
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1 answer
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What is the meaning of these words? [closed]

group of six rough frame buildings was bisected by a narrow dirt street; there was a scattering of tents beyond the buildings on either side. The wagon passed first on its left a loosely erected tent ...
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To come down this way

This is from the movie Clean (2022) The rush of violence is better than dope. Better than blow, better than base. Meth. Crack. If you're lucky it'll let you come down this way. I don't understand ...
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Meaning of "thread the needle through" and "beat the devil's tattoo"?

Lyrics from the song, Beat the Devil's Tattoo: I thread the needle through, you beat the devil's tattoo. Does anyone know the meaning of "thread the needle through" and "beat the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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What is the meaning of "missed the lights", when talking about shooting an animal?

This sentence is from a novel about a party going to hunt buffalos and my question is about the meaning of this sentence "missed the lights" and this is the complete sentence: He said: ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Precise meaning of ‘adopted to general enthusiasm’ in this context?

I am confused by that ‘to’ after ‘adopted’. I know the meaning of adopted: embrace, take on, accept, choose, select, … But adopted is often used with ‘by’ or ‘as’ or used by itself alone. Examples: ...
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1 answer
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What does "sidespin" mean as a verb?

"What do you think is the best way to get back on track for those that have found themselves side spun?" It's a question about game strategies. I guess the user seems to mean 'get bogged ...
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In absence of or in the absence of

I am wondering whether the first phrase is correct? It seems to be in use ( based on Google searches). If it is, in what cases should we use it instead of the form with 'the'? Thank you!
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1 answer
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Is 'supplantation' an English word?

A Mexican anthropologist spontaneously used this word in a phrase: "suplantación de la identidad"; that would means something like "identity theft". She was speaking spontaneously ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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What is meant by the phrase "as time evolves"?

I heard this in a company presentation today and I thought it was just some random words, but I looked it up on a search engine and found it in lots of papers and other random sites. So it appears to ...
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2 answers
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What's the meaning of "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned"?

I was going through my childhood memories and found a very old video of mine singing the song "Make me a channel of your peace.", Which refreshed a lot of memories. Unfortunately, After ...
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2 answers
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Does the phrase "uphold the law" imply "obeying the law"? [closed]

The different dictionaries I looked at define "uphold" as meaning to "support or defend or maintain" something. When I think about that word I think about it being used in the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does "snapping at my nethers" mean? [closed]

I have recently watched The Witcher, and there is a sentence that I don't quite understand, He pulls me up by the scruff of my neck, and slays the monster snapping at my nethers. What does "...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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What is the meaning of sub-second-level in this context?

We use the term data acquisition to refer to a process of collecting and storing raw sub-second-level smartphone measurements for the purpose of human activity recognition.
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What is the classification for a rote saying like "there but for the grace of God.."? [duplicate]

I'm not after the proverbial or apotropaic aspects of this, or chant or mantra. Just the "event-centric common utterance" aspects. "Knock on wood" is similar I guess. There's a ...
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1 answer
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Confused by "but" phrase in this sentence

I'm translating a product leaflet into my native language, and have a problem with the following sentence: "ABC's compact Probe-65 is an excellent choice when your application calls for turbidity ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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What constitutes humor on this "i before e" coffee mug text? [closed]

I saw this writing on a coffee mug, which is supposedly popular amongst linguists: i before e Except after C and also when you heinously seize your feisty foreign neighbor's conceited beige heifer ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What does "won medal up" and "won medal down" mean? [closed]

Two phrases "won medal up" and "won medal down" is from the song "Come out ye black and tans" and I truly can't understand it :( "Come out you black and tans, Come ...
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Put his hand to/on

I wonder what's the correct way to say- I put my hand to my head. Or: I put my hand on my head. If both are correct, what's the difference between them? Are they completely interchangeable? ...
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What's the meaning of the phrase "we are not above" in what follows? What exactly does this phrase mean in this sentence? [duplicate]

But we're not above letting you know that some sections are by far more optional than others.
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