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This tag is for questions about the meaning of a longer passage of English. A SPECIFIC CONCERN must be emphasized.

5
votes
The context behind this statement is Bill Clinton's old Lewinski scandal. When asked about what appeared to be a blatant lie to a Grand Jury, he responded with this: It depends on what the meaning …
answered Nov 2 '11 by T.E.D.
4
votes
By way of a long addendum to mplungjan's answer... If you are going to be interacting a lot with English-speaking people, then as a point of cultural literacy, I highly suggest getting hold of this m …
answered Jul 13 '11 by T.E.D.
1
vote
The chief comparison here is that pencil marks are erasable while "Sharpies" are also known as "permanent markers" (not erasable). The basic idea is that the person in question, when they make a cha …
answered Jul 11 '11 by T.E.D.
11
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One thing a non-native speaker such as yourself might not notice is the names. Delaney is an Irish name. Petrescu sounds Eastern European to me. I'd guess Polish, if forced to guess. So this is a bi …
answered Oct 17 '11 by T.E.D.
1
vote
The metaphor being used here is throwing something sticky (like say something with a suction cup on it). Often it takes multiple tries, as on the first few the object doesn't stick properly.
answered Apr 12 '12 by T.E.D.
1
vote
Picture a large crowd (say at a speech). Now picture a rather meek person who feels they need a good amount of personal space around them. As the crowd gets larger, and the more interested and aggress …
answered Jun 13 '11 by T.E.D.
0
votes
This is sort of a metaphor off of how old fashioned firearms required primer in order to fire. Without the primer, the weapon cannot fire. So saying something or someone is "primed" is essentially a …
answered Dec 27 '11 by T.E.D.
10
votes
He meant target on his back. This is a common metaphor for a situation where everyone else seems to be attacking (shooting at) you. However, Mr. Cain isn't exactly the most carefully-spoken person on …
answered Nov 1 '11 by T.E.D.
8
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I've said it myself conversationally. Its generally used when the person you are talking to is expecting an argument back from you, or for some reason thinks you disagree with them on a point, when in …
answered Mar 5 '13 by T.E.D.
1
vote
This is supposedly a reference to railroad signalling, the method trains use to prevent collisions with each other. If a train is coming up on a section where it may have to cross or share another tra …
answered Sep 14 '11 by T.E.D.
3
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I use this phrasing myself a lot. Sadly, most folks without a math background don't understand. It is true that in mathematics dividing by zero is (generally) not allowed. There's more to it than that …
answered Apr 17 '12 by T.E.D.
-7
votes
In addition to its normal usages, ("not nice", and "has the meaning of"), mean can also be used as a mathematical term to mean the average of a set of numbers. I always figured this was roughly the se …
answered Jun 9 '11 by T.E.D.
1
vote
I believe virmaior and the various commenters are correct. This is referring to what a cowboy used to do on a cattle drive to move the herds around. As a resident of the same metropolis as Mr. Brooks …
answered Jan 31 '14 by T.E.D.
13
votes
This is a term used to indicate that, while the preceeding arguments were as objective and well-supported as he could make them ("hard" or "firm"), what follows is more subjective.
answered Sep 17 '12 by T.E.D.
11
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abide is an archaic word for living in a certain place, or more generally, accepting (living with) things some might not find easy to accept. Almost certainly it was used here to evoke the idea of s …
answered Aug 17 '11 by T.E.D.

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