Questions tagged [figurative-language]

For questions about language where the words have meaning other than their literal sense. For example, metaphor or simile.

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3answers
37 views

Use of it's when using personification

McDonald's is trying to convince us that it's not a psychopath for putting poison in their drinks to save money. Can you use it even when using personification like in the sentence above? What's the ...
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23 views

What is the figure of speech here?

Dictionary.com defines celluloid as of or involving motion pictures The boots have been immortalised on celluloid in her latest film, Strictly Sinatra, directed by Peter Capaldi. [Lexico] I was ...
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Is ‘I almost died’ figurative?

I think ‘I was near to death’ semantically correct, not ‘I almost died’, so I wonder ‘I almost died’ is literal or figurative. hyperbole (hahy-PUR-buh-lee): Extreme exaggeration used for emphasis or ...
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“[NOUN] in veins” eg. “MUSICIAN in veins” meaning

Phrase: "Musician in veins" Is it correct? Can it be misinterpreted? Is it easily understandable for english speaking person? How do YOU understand it?
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Can “carve into” be used figuratively?

The expression carve (something) into (something) means, according to Free dictionary: to create a carved object by sculpturing raw material OR to use a knife or other tool to carve a block of some ...
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2answers
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What does “It's all in where you are standing” mean?

I was reading the novel A Song of Ice and Fire and this phrase came up twice and I don't get what it means at all. “Winterfell’s not in the south,” Jon objected. “Yes it is. Everything below the Wall’...
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1answer
56 views

what does “ We have to flip the leadership playbook.” mean?

We have to flip the leadership playbook. ( From TED) What does this mean? To learn from the metaphorical playbook or to upend it?
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1answer
73 views

Does 'sings a song of significance' literally mean 'sing'?

Does ' sing a song" here mean literally 'sing"? Whatever form it takes, there is in happiness the kind of constant which enjoyment cannot bring us: happiness does not lie in filling time ...
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2answers
751 views

Commentator on Steph Curry's three-pointer - “… like the fries are at the bottom”. What does that mean here?

Okay, so there was a recent basketball game between the Golden State Warriors (GSW) and the Los Angeles Clippers, where GSW — the underdog — came back from a 22-point deficit to beat the Clippers by ...
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1answer
24 views

Can I say the action noun in this usage

I want to say 'the city is destroyed into ashes' more poetically and uniquely. Can I say 'the city is with destruction into ashes'? More specifically, there's no city because of destruction and just ...
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1answer
37 views

what “bend the hostile environment of Mars for human habitation” means?

I found out this phrase in the TEDx talk "Let's not use Mars as a backup planet". As I was searching in the dictionaries, I understood the basic meaning of the verb which is "make ...
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277 views

May good health envelop you, spurring a quick recovery

Is there anything wrong with the following sentence? Is the metaphor "envelop you" used correctly? May good health envelop you, spurring a quick recovery. I'd appreciate your help.
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Is “slip of an object” a personification?

On an ordinary day, you might miss this slip of a shop wedged between a veterinary clinic and a grocery store in Paris' popular Bastille. NPR: The Last Razor Repairman In Paris a young and slender ...
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What is the common meaning of the word smell when used as a metaphor or in idioms?

I have come across expressions like: I can smell a rat. It smells fishy They could smell his fear. I understand what these mean. However, I would like to know if there is a common meaning behind ...
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1answer
46 views

To rewind the tape to where or when?

When we say let's rewind the tape to in a figurative sense, do we use to when ... or to where ...? E.g.: Let's rewind the tape to when we left. Or: Let's rewind the tape to where we left. Are both ...
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Does “it argues ill” mean the same as “augurs ill”?

Does "commend" mean "praise"? Does "it argues ill" mean the same as "augurs ill" or not? Dr. (afterwards Professor) Balfour Stewart, in a communication to ...
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1answer
50 views

Figurative Meaning of “Migrate”

It wasn't clear whether Jett had been the mastermind behind this accounting glitch or if more senior management had been aware of the false profits, but these two facts were clear: (1) Kidder's ...
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2k views

unusual usage of bellowing

Explosions shook the ground, artillery shells, mortars and bombs continuously rained down, fires blazed, and smoke bellowed high into the sky. Doesn't bellowing mean "make a loud sound"? If that'...
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Meaning of the phrase 'pitching black ropes'

I was reading 'Shutter Island' by Dennis Lehane and I stumbled at this phrase: Later, he got sick, repeatedly and violently, pitching black ropes of it over the side of his father's boat and into ...
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1answer
15 views

Metonymy of curtain

Immediately, the heavy velvet folds hid the stage from the audience, Farrar was up on her feet, and she and Caruso were having it out between them, whilst I tried. I am wondering if we can ...
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1answer
3k views

Is my nationality Dutch or Netherlands?

I'm from the Netherlands. English has taught me to say "I'm Dutch". But through many travels I've noticed that non-native English speakers confuse this with "Deutsch", which is German for, well, ...
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1answer
151 views

Proper use of “lay” and “lie” in figurative present tense

I know there are multiple threads regarding proper use of "lay" and "lie", but I'm hoping to get some additional insight to distinguish their usage when used in figurative form. Which of the following ...
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677 views

The figure of speech 'It's your party ' meaning

What does 'It's your party' mean as a figure of speech? After reading the book Harry Potter and the Deathly hallows one doubt remained with me. In the chapter King's cross there is this dialogue ...
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1answer
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Please interpret and analyze sentences

i have a one simple question. This is the lyric from the movie 'tangled'. "All those years outside looking in" I'd like to know more about this phrase. "outside looking in" Does that mean you're ...
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1answer
63 views

Meaning of “speak the language of”

I have come across the expression “speak the language of” a lot on news. But I am not sure about its exact meaning. I find one entry in OED which seems to be relevant. Language: b. The ...
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1answer
135 views

What is to trip down the aisle?

Check the box office for great seats! The smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA MAMMA MIA! A mother. A daughter. 3 possible dads. And a trip down ...
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When is “may” a fact?

Why is "may" found in sentences that express fact? For example: "They may be friends, but that doesn't meant that they don't fight." "I may be 63, but I can still dance out the evening."
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“When you Frankenstein a team together…” - Is “Frankenstein” a new verb?

I did not know that "Frankenstein" can be used as a verb. Max Kellerman, a highly reputed sports analyst working for ESPN, says "When you Frankenstein a team together, usually it doesn't work ...
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1answer
28 views

How can I interpret “soundtrack” here?

Architecture and design guru William T. Georgis designed his dramatic pool for his private West Coast getaway. A raised planter ingeniously created planting space at the foot of a large retaining ...
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2answers
51 views

Understanding - “Cantaloupe-colored sunrises … all kinds of things that didn't include black plastic mountains of trash and the smell of dog urine.”

I am helping a friend who is preparing for their GRE (Graduate Record Examinations). In the "reading comprehension" section, there is a passage and then there are some questions. While I can easily ...
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Is “of blue” in order to mean “blue” grammatical?

Is "of blue" in order to mean "blue" grammatical? I am wondering if saying "blue sky" means the same thing as "sky of blue"? Is it grammatical? How idiomatic it is? I've seen some passage use similar ...
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3answers
7k views

“March to the beat of one's own drum” Positive or Negative

In the view of the dictionary definition, the idiom "March to the beat of one's own drum, is more or less something negative which has a connotation of being inattentive, inconsiderate or reckless and ...
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1answer
341 views

“Go Back to square one” VS “Go back to the drawing board”

I am going to say: In spite of all my efforts, I couldn't pass the final exam and I have to attend all these sessions from the beginning again and start everything from the outset! The same old ...
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2answers
20k views

What does the phrase “The horse has left the barn” mean?

What does the phrase "The horse has left the barn" mean? I'm asking this question because I was watching the live testimony of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire before a ...
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1answer
89 views

Why are the poor duck and the goose targetted in a derogatory sense In English?

He is a lame duck Becoming a doctor is a wild goose chase. you bloody goose He was out for a duck or golden duck. These are some of the terms associated with duck and geese ...
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Difference between Metonymy and Synecdoche

"One thousand hands made the pyramids of Egypt." How is the word 'hands' used in the sentence? Is it metonymy or synecdoche?
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9k views

What does “boys rule, girls drool” mean?

What does "Boys rule, girls drool," mean? I googled it but did not get a straightforward answer. It is a dialogue of Dumb And Dumber (2014) film.
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207 views

Meaning of “Reverse my Polarity”

In Talking Tom and Friends, Season 1 Episode 5, "Magnetic Ben", when Ben became a magnet and got stuck to the garage door, he said to Angela: "I need you to reverse my polarity!" Immediately, Angela ...
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135 views

Persistent much? (What does it mean)

Someone had written “Persistent much, huh? Well, then let’s start with my family background.” What does “Persistent much” mean? I looked it up, but I couldn’t find it’s meaning.........
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398 views

Can “watermelon” and “brain” be used to refer to one's head metaphorically?

There's a joke, written in my native language, where a blind man in a grocery store starts tapping (or patting) on a child's head, asking about the price of this watermelon, thinking it is an actual ...
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1answer
41 views

Did Percy use an omission after “fed”?

The poem is called Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the ...
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147 views

What is the meaning of brush in this sentence

I came across a sentence while reading which was: Not a trace of Wu Daozi's brush was left - and the artist was never seen again in this world. I don't think it here means an act or instance of ...
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What does “moanest loud” mean?

A Dirge Rough wind, that moanest loud Grief too sad for song; Wild wind, when sullen cloud Knells all the night long; Sad storm whose tears are vain, Bare woods, whose branches strain, ...
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333 views

What is the literary device used here?

I remember my teacher talking about literary devices, I have a sentence below. What literary device is use here? To bring peace, you must bring war.
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37 views

were anchored from?

I'm translating an English article to Persian (my mother tongue). I didn't understand the meaning of this phrase or anything!: "The employee relations aspect of sustainable HRM reflects an ...
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127 views

Is this phrase a dramatic effect? [closed]

What does the highlighted expression mean, is it a dramatic effect? SIGHTS During: a car in one’s lane or a barrier approaching, the frightened faces of the people in the oncoming vehicle right ...
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1answer
678 views

What does 'cogs' mean in this context?

He stopped there to enjoy the effect of these words. He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon's thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius ...
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170 views

under cover of pinkness?

What does "pinkness" mean in the following? Something significant happened under cover of pinkness while we were busy agonising over Scotland and Ed Miliband's dodgy memory. The Financial Times ...
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What does this figurative usage of “swampy” mean?

Not to pooh-pooh the Doobs and their smooth, aged take on swampy, countrified soul, but this show belongs to Steely Dan. (source) I have checked several dictionaries but haven't found one listing a ...
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What does “tripwire” mean as a verb?

Half Nelson offers an opportunity to marvel, once again, at the dazzling talent of Ryan Gosling for playing young men as believable as they are psychologically trip-wired. (source) Though familiar ...