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Questions tagged [semantics]

Questions relating to semantics, the study of meaning.

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Labeling Confusion

I'm creating a series of labels for a row of buttons within a software application. Most of the labels are noun-verb pairs, such as "Analyze Route." It just occurred to my team and me that we were "...
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2answers
85 views

When did 'wyrm' lose its meaning as dragon?

I'm interested in finding out (roughly) when the Old English word 'wyrm' began to lose its meaning as 'A serpent, snake, dragon' due to the competing 'draca' and the later borrowing 'dragon'. I've ...
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1answer
33 views

The noun acting as adjective

Sometimes a noun can describe another noun (ex. mountain bike), usually adjectives are used to describe a noun. But there is also a possibility to create an adjective from the noun. What makes that ...
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1answer
33 views

Is “consecutive” a subset of “sequential”?

Going straight to the dictionary, we can see that: Consecutive means: something following something else without interruption. Some examples: He did 100 consecutive push-ups (1, 2, 3, ..., 99, 100) ...
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Are we instructed to re-roll or re-roll-off?

In the Warhammer 40k Kill Team Core Manual pg 20 it tells us how to deal with roll-offs: ROLL-OFFS Some rules instruct players to roll off. To do so, each player rolls a D6 (or 2D6 if there ...
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8answers
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Does “mislead” imply intent?

Someone is saying that he feels "misled" due to false or imprecise information given to him. Does that choice of words imply that from his perspective this false information was given intentionally ...
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3answers
63 views

What is the difference between undermine and weaken in this context? ( undermine/weaken a basic principle)

When do we use undermine instead of weaken? For instance, why is it: The simplicity of the trick undermines a basic principle of photography, that the camera cannot lie. ... and not "weakens a ...
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2answers
54 views

What is “someone” called when he or she “is involved in” something?

I'm looking for a word that describes a person by the activity he or she does. In Dutch we have a 'way' for a noun to be used as a description of action practitioner (eg: "betrokkene" vanuit "...
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2answers
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Damage vs Harm in this context

Most scientists believe that when we sleep, we allow time for essential maintenance work to be done. Any ________ there is can be put right more quickly if energy isn't being used up on other ...
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4answers
163 views

Use of “may” or “might” and their inherent semantic difference

Under the American Heritage Dictionary's usage note for the verb "might" it says: Usage Note: May or might? In many situations, the choice between these two verbs can be clarified by remembering ...
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0answers
55 views

Efforts on, in or towards?

Research efforts in understanding the underlying mechanism have been ramped up over the past few years. I came across this sentence in a published work and now I'm wondering if "efforts" shouldn't ...
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1answer
39 views

“Each of” with a singular noun. Is semantics of this definition of 'category' appropriate?

each of a possibly exhaustive set of classes among which all things might be distributed. I have doubts about "each of a set". Could we use "each of" with singular noun? If so it seems like there ...
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1answer
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What is the difference between “suitable” and “convenient” in this context?

Here is a CAE part 1 (multiple choice) exercise I am struggling with: The students would find the flat more A suitable B adequate C convenient D practical if it were ...
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2answers
150 views

What is the difference between “degree of damage” and “extent of damage”?

I am doing multiple-choice tests and this is the exercise I am facing at the moment: I can see that there is some rot in the wood, but I need to remove the plaster to check the A) rank B) ...
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1answer
24 views

A double-D / A cap / A beanie / A bonnet

1- I'm writing a story and one of my characters wears a bonnet. I searched the internet for some examples but then, I found other names like: A double-D / A cap / A beanie / A bonnet. Now I’m confused ...
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1answer
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Making almost a circular form / Making almost a circular form

I'm trying to describe a character which happens to be a boar. The boar has two pairs of rusts, a lower pair and an upper pair. I want to say that his two upper rusts are uncomenly curved backwards......
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1answer
193 views

Undergo vs Suffer an accident

I was doing a CAE Practice Test on Use of English (It is a multiple choice exercise) when I came across the following example: Her life was cut tragically short. She ______ a horrific accident at ...
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2answers
160 views

What is a word that describes cities, towns, and villages? [duplicate]

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a city is "an inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village"; a town is "a compactly settled area usually larger than a ...
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2answers
173 views

Should I say “I am unaware of neither” or “I am unaware of both”?

Should I say "I am unaware of neither of A and B" or "I am unaware of both of A and B"? In other words, is unaware negation?
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1answer
232 views

Was Valentino the first person to be called ‘sexy’?

According Etymonline , the term sexy underwent a semantic change in the early 1920s when it was used to for the first time with the connotation of “sexually attractive” in reference to Rudolph ...
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2answers
44 views

So good a time that vs a good time so

Are the following two constructions synonymous? ◇ The guests had so good a time that they wouldn't leave. ◇ The guests had a good time, so they wouldn' leave.
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1answer
137 views

Past or present tense in the clause of an -ing structure?

I have a question that, as the title suggests, relates to tense agreement between an -ing phrase and its subordinate clause. I have seen other similar questions, such as present/past tense in a ...
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2answers
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Semantics of #just[x]things [closed]

I've recently had a heated discussion in German with another person over the use and semantics of the hashtag #just[x]things – this happened on an anonymous location-based German social network called ...
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1answer
39 views

treacly vs. syrupy in figurative use

I wonder how, if at all, treacly and syrupy in figurative use differ in meaning, register, connotation, or in some other way. The figurative senses are frequently defined synonymously in dictionaries....
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1answer
61 views

Can the 'the's be dropped?

In a list of titles that all start with the, does each need their own the or can they be shared? Linguistics jargon: Is it possible to use a single D head and multiple NP conjuncts to mean the same ...
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1answer
31 views

What is the difference in meaning between the sentences“You can be a singer or a dancer” and “You can either be a singer or a dancer”?

Do the sentences have the same meaning ?If they have same meaning,the use of the word"either" seems somewhat redundant in this particular type of sentences as the meaning still remains intact after ...
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2answers
47 views

Metalanguage to describe expressing an idea in many different ways

I am looking for a term to describe expressing an idea in many different forms yet the meaning remains the same in each rendition. An example of this: The Australians, Australians, the Australian ...
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1answer
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The meaning of “set up” in this context?

What is the meaning of the phrasal verb "set up" here: Make sure to set up the issue the business had and needed to solve.
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3answers
108 views

Can an ambiguous word mean different things to multiple authors?

I'm writing a manuscript with a colleague and in the book they want to include a sentence mentioning that we feel blessed (without any further context whatsoever, so "God" wouldn't be mentioned). They ...
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1answer
708 views

What does it mean if someone says they are “blessed”? [closed]

If Person X says that they're "blessed", does this have to imply that they believe they've received a blessing from some higher power? Or could it just mean they feel "fortunate" or even just happy ...
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6answers
869 views

When is a phrase “idiomatic”?

When someone says an English phrase is idiomatic, how should I interpret it? Does it imply that the phrase contains an idiom? … having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings ...
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2answers
72 views

Time's Up? Why? [closed]

Why do we use these sorts of optical inaccuracies. One would think time's up means that your time has increased. Another example is "I'm down". Down generally has a negative connotation. What's the ...
81
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20answers
25k views

Words with “bi-” prefix that no longer mean “two”

Are there words in English that include the prefix bi- whose current usage includes meanings other than 'two'? To clarify, I am specifically looking for the prefix of Latin origin meaning "two". If ...
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0answers
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Is the following question grammatically and semantically correct? [closed]

Is the following question grammatically and semantically correct? I'm not sure about adding words after about. What are some newspapers writing about the Arsenal manager? They are spreading gossip ...
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3answers
2k views

Your will be done or Your will will be done [closed]

So I have seen usages of "Your will be done" in the context when some higher authority is issuing orders but shouldn't it be "Your will will be done"? it makes more semantic sense than the former.
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3answers
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I did not get the job offer. What term could describe the brief sadness I experienced, then moving forward?

I was turn downed for a job offer after an onsite interview. This was sad news for me. What term could describe the brief sadness I experienced upon notification that I did not make the cut for a job ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between “another two” “two more” and “two other”

Like I said another two (or) there are two more (or) two other people were arrested Do they have different meanings or implications?
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3answers
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Term for metonymy becoming an accepted word for the original, over time

A metonymy: ... a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept The only example I can think of is tea. Tea can refer to the drink or the ...
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0answers
46 views

Semantics of “a criminology of X”?

I want to know if my understanding of the semantics is correct here. Normally, criminology is the study of crime, as a sub-field of sociology (and other areas) which is the study of society. If you ...
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2answers
315 views

A prefix that means “post-post-”?

Lets say I'm describing a musical genre, like post-punk. I want to create a song that's so advanced past post-punk, that I want to call it post-post-punk. However, the double-post looks abhorrent and ...
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1answer
468 views

Trending vs Trendy [closed]

This just randomly popped up in my mind, and I tried to sort out the semantics to myself, and how I would explain it to a foreigner learning English as a second language...and I couldn't. Some help ...
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1answer
1k views

Is it correct to use “in this case” in this sentence?

I've been given this answer on SO, in which answerer said: It's perfectly possible to call func from outside a labelled context, so break wouldn't refer to anything. I asked OP if what was meant ...
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3answers
262 views

When does something qualify as 'gore', is there a cut-off?

Context: in chat elsewhere there was some discussion of an injury I sustained. I posted an image of my post-surgery bandaged hand, which has wires in two of the fingers, and there was a little (...
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2answers
193 views

What's the alphabetical counterpart of the word “digit”? [closed]

Characters: Numbers = 0123456789 Letters = ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Characters: Digits = 0123456789 _________ = ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Characters: Numerical = 0123456789 Alphabetical = ...
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1answer
58 views

Umbrella term for word types

So, when we analyze language (spoken or written), we tend to classify words according to their syntactic roles or functions (right?): nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and so ...
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3answers
312 views

Opposite of Extinction

Extinct is to Extant; as Extinction is to ____________? The root words, extinct & extant, are basically polar opposites. The correct answer would be a technical term that indicates the polar ...
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2answers
488 views

What does it mean when someone says to “deliver the eyeballs”?

Skimming through the following article on Guardian I stumbled upon the following sentence: So if someone asked “What’s your space?” and you had a deeply unfashionable job like, say, writer, it ...
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The proper way to express verb phrase tense

I'm trying to use correct grammar (in source code comments). Are any incorrect, or is one "more correct" than any of the others? for when an exception occurs after WriteContact, which normally takes ...
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0answers
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Construing different meaning from related prepositions

I'm currently reading a book called English Prepositions Explained by Seth Lindstromberg, which has, thus far, proved very informative in learning the literal meanings of some of most basic ...
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4answers
1k views

Can you tell the truth while saying a false statement

When someone is lying according to Wiktionary's definition they must be making an intentionally false statement 1. lie (intransitive) To give false information intentionally with intent to ...