Questions tagged [phrase-meaning]

The meaning of phrases.

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Why does "out-and-out" mean "thoroughly"? [closed]

I have difficulty learning the phrase "out-and-out" because I have no idea why it means "completely" or "thoroughly". I'm curious about the origin of the usage if it ...
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The meaning of ‘Pony boy’ in the context of Disney film ‘Finding Nemo’ [closed]

Could anyone please explain to me what does ‘Pony boy’ when used by Marlin to Martin in Disney film Finding Nemo
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What does "rule" mean in "the rule of law"?

What does rule mean in the rule of law? I understand the concept of it, but not the grammar. Does "rule" mean "control"/"domination"? Or does it mean "rule" as ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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How does "on one's case" get its meaning?

I just met this sentence "Your brother is constantly on your case for being clumsy, so when he knocks down a table filled with glassware, you revel in it". I don't know why the phrase means &...
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What does the word "snare" mean in the following sentence? [closed]

Do you seek to snare that poor chap in your machinations again?
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3 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of "The press of duties"

What's the meaning of the phrase "The press of his duties meant"? Though he was an occasional participant in the PDB sessions with President Lincoln, the press of his duties meant that ...
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Name for purposefully bad gifts [duplicate]

Is there a name or phrase for a purposefully bad/evil gift? I can think of white elephant or gag gifts but I don't think either of these quite work. For example, you purposely purchased a CD of an ...
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Definition of ‘language’ in Politics [closed]

Whats the general meaning of this phrase? Specially the word “language” Alexander interpreted the language in the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act that created the DNI position ...
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1 answer
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To catch the plate for a strike (baseball) [closed]

What is the general meaning of this sentence? I believe I caught the corner of the plate for a strike. Full text: although I did get to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game at Yankee ...
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1 answer
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What does "writing of a new patron" mean?

This was from the introduction of the translation of "The Prince" written by Niccolo Machiavelli. The intro tackled Machiavelli's letter to his son, Guido. The letter read "'...I hope ...
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Is ‘in its own turn’ used correctly in this sentence?

The relation between freedom and democracy is not one-sided: democracy does require freedom, but contributes, in its own turn, to freedom as well. Here I’ve used ‘in its own turn’ to emphasize two-...
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Meaning of 'glass that's with canary lined'?

The 17th-century poet Alexander Brome wrote a poem called The Resolve (anthologised in the Oxford Book of English verse. What is the meaning of the phrase 'with Canary lined' in last line of the poem ...
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1 answer
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meaning of the word "Engagement" [closed]

whats the meaning of Engagements in this phrase? While I enjoyed and benefited from working with many other services, notably those of the Russian and Chinese, it was during my many years living and ...
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1 answer
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Which of the meaning of ‘ghost’ is meant in the phrase ‘ghost authorship’? [closed]

Ghost authorship is essentially the opposite of honorary authorship, entailing a significant contribution to a manuscript without acknowledgment of that contribution. The most well-known scenario ...
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Meaning of "twos and ones and ones and twos"

I'm trying to translate an episode of a TV series and one of the characters says the following, while moving pieces on a chessboard: He taught us twos and ones and ones and twos when it comes to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Which of the following is the most appropriate meaning of the word " a red-letter" day?

The question came in one of my examinations and I've been getting different answers from different sources. The options of the question were: a) a day of memory b) a day of festival c) an important ...
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2 answers
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Is there a literal (non-figurative) meaning of "to turn the corner"?

I'm editing a book, and the author wrote the following sentence (emphasis added): If she walked straight past the next six stands, then turned the corner at her right, then turned again, and then ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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3 answers
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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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-2 votes
2 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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3 answers
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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1 vote
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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1 answer
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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0 answers
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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 votes
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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0 votes
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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0 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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
2 answers
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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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0 votes
1 answer
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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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0 votes
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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-1 votes
1 answer
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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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0 votes
2 answers
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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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