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This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about what a word means. If the question is about the meaning of a word that can't be understood outside its phrase or sentence, the "meaning-in-context" tag should be also used; for the meaning of a phrase, use the "phrase-meaning" tag ...

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0answers
6 views

Going up in smoke vs. going up in flames

The idioms "to go up in smoke" and "to go up in flames" are very similar. They both mean burning and getting destroyed by fire. But if we use them to talk about failure, aren't there any nuances to ...
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1answer
14 views

“A world-spanning empire” What does it mean?

These self-satisfied cotton manufacturers and merchants had reason to be smug: They stood at the center of a world-spanning empire—the empire of cotton. This is a sentence from the book Empire of ...
10
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3answers
557 views

What does 'saw myself going' mean in the context?

What does 'saw myself going' mean here? I saw on the door surgery began at 8:30 and I ought to have guessed there would be a lot of people as usual, but for some reason I just saw myself going ...
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1answer
32 views

What is the difference in meaning between “going to be doing” and “going to do”

Gonna (= going to) be announcing the launch of a new platform for vinyl this week that we’ve been working on in secret for a few months. It’s cool. Why not will be announcing? Is it because it is ...
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2answers
36 views

See him leave/leaving

I have a question about the difference between the following two sentences: He might be punished if he is seen leaving the campus. He might be punished if he is seen to leave the campus. Do ...
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1answer
39 views

Meaning of “subtle but pervasive message”

I was learning some essay techniques and noticed the expression: the subtle but pervasive message is that... What does this exactly mean?
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2answers
42 views

Unreal uses of past tenses “Would you rather we took the bus?” vs “Would you rather take the bus?”

Do you want to take the bus or would you rather ______ the bus? (Choose TWO correct answers) a. to take b. take ✔ c. we take ✘ d. we took ✔ I found this in an online test ...
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3answers
39 views

meaning of the phrase “name over”?

It is from Crash Course Biology. It is at 1 minute and 37 second. Here is the context: Because coal is made out of carbon, so they named the epoch of geological history over how face-meltingly ...
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2answers
49 views

meaning of “right off” in “melted right off the sky”

What "Right off" means in this sentence? As far as I was concerned, the sun could have melted the blue right off the sky. Then the sky could be as miserable as I was.
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1answer
23 views

Representative for or of

Claude Miller, a sales representative for our farm equipment products, is truly an asset to the company, having increased its annual profits by as much as 25 percent. What is the difference between ...
3
votes
1answer
33 views

What is the meaning of “below” in here?

As far as I know, below something is like saying that one thing is physically under something else because it’s beneath it. But I’ve come across what looks like a different usage of the preposition ...
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1answer
21 views

quite high enough sentence meaning with one word

He couldn't get quite high enough can anyone explain the quite high enough sentence meaning with one word. is that meaning of too much high.
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1answer
39 views

until, until after and quote from 1984

Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. Until they become conscious they will never rebel. Is this part meaning that if ...
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1answer
27 views

What does 'take in' mean here? [on hold]

What does 'take in' mean here? Overall, soil releases about nine times more carbon than human-caused activities. But that is part of a natural cycle: The amount of carbon released into the air ...
2
votes
2answers
41 views

What does “nor can I doubt but that” mean?

The following excerpt comes from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Prepare to hear of occurrences which are usually deemed marvellous. Were we among the tamer scenes of nature I might fear to ...
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votes
1answer
39 views

What does “broken wide open” mean?

she’s broken wide open, raw. Could you please tell me what's the meaning of "broken wide open"? The full text is: She glances at Riley, whom she recognized the night before as a war ...
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2answers
39 views

meaning of “awards”

Are the following instances of awards used properly? It seems that sometimes it means "awards ceremony," and sometimes the awards themselves. Also, I am wondering whether the shift of number is ...
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1answer
25 views

“I never get to have any fun” What does it mean?

Insertion of the word "never" and the verb "get" confuses me a little bit. I'm not sure if he's saying I'm not having fun right now (in the present tense) or I will not have fun anymore (I'll never ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

What does “avoid” mean here?

And then, when they are home again, with all this drama and tragedy behind them, they will slip into old patterns, avoiding what’s important, carrying on the way they should. I checked the ...
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votes
1answer
36 views

What is a “shear of light”?

A line from the movie The Road: There was a long shear of bright light, then a series of low concussions. With the noun shear being a tool, I can't imagine what a shear of light would look like. I ...
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votes
4answers
54 views

What does “Here it comes” mean?

“There’s something I need to say,” Riley says at last, her voice serious... Here it comes, Gwen thinks. Could you please tell me what the meaning of "Here it comes" is? The fuller text: ...
4
votes
2answers
74 views

Does 'lameduck' mean 'patronize', 'compassion', 'help' or something different?

Could you explain the term lameduck in this passage? Are the words patronize, compassion or help similar or different in this context? Does lameduck have an opposite meaning (negative verb) as lame? ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

What's the meaning of this dialogue?

I'm reading the book The Little Prince, but a dialogue in it really puzzled me. "Oh, I understand you very well," said the little prince. "But why do you always speak in riddles?" "I solve ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

What does “bound” mean here?

The bronze, 8-foot-tall LBJ sculpture is slated to be installed at downtown's Little Tranquility Park, bound by Capitol, Walker, Bagby and Smith streets. (source) Judging from the context, I think "...
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2answers
38 views

what does “put something in caps and sparkles” mean?

It is from Crash Course Biology. It is at around 2 minute and 44 second. Here is the context: Seriously though, I can't overstate the importance of this hydrogen bond. So when your teacher asks you,...
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votes
1answer
54 views

My colleague sent a meme but i dont really understand the reference

i know smeagol and gollum are basically the same person, but what does it mean in this meme?
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2answers
35 views

except the stray inexpressible few

Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while. Source: Francis Scott Fitzgerald: The side of Paradise – (it is the very first ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

What's the meaning of “take” here (He takes it all in …)?

The word take has multiple meanings, and I don't understand what does "take" mean in sentence below: He takes it all in with a practiced eye, and feels unaccountably weary. So, Could you tell ...
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1answer
78 views

What does “you took long mate” means? [closed]

In SMS messages: You took long mate Abit too much What does “you took long mate” “abit too much” mean?
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1answer
35 views

What does “fully paid up member” mean?

I was reading this question about the singleton pattern (the singleton pattern is a design pattern, and a design pattern is rather like an "idiom for programmers"). Now, someone said: [the ...
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1answer
28 views

As (Much) Instructive As Humorous

I have a question about the following sentence (from page 174 of the book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini): "Although designed for a laugh, the remark is as much ...
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0answers
23 views

some other reason vs some reason, is the meaning the same?

I would like to know whether the following sentences convey the very same meaning ("strong some"): There must be some reason/way. There must be some other reason/way. I mean, the first one is ...
1
vote
1answer
20 views

what is the meaning of getting ahead of oneself [closed]

I read this sentence in a book: I'm getting ahead of myself I was wondering what is the real message author would have sent to his readers. Does it mean, I wrote something incredibly clever or ...
1
vote
2answers
40 views

Proving for someone that “Clothes don't present me”?

I want to defend my dress by saying that clothes (in general) don't present me, but after that, I want to support that sentence by adding one of these two: I'm a lot bigger than a piece of cloth to ...
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vote
3answers
28 views

What does a “finish line” mean in English?

What does a "finish line" mean in English? Is it the line that the runner must be the first one to cross in order to win the competition? If yes, then how is the last straight leg of the racing route ...
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1answer
29 views

What is a “protuberant person”?

I am having a hard time making sense of the word "protuberant" in this sentence from an online article. I have always understood that word to mean something along the lines of "bulging", "protruding," ...
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votes
1answer
40 views

What's the difference between “I feel much happy now” and “I feel much happier now”?

What is the grammatical difference between: I feel much happy now. I feel much happier now. What is the difference between them in meaning? Can I say that both sentences are correct?
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1answer
36 views

I would like to ask the meaning of the following phrase [closed]

"There are also people, he said, who want to keep their meal off the books — if they're having an affair, for example." What does that mean? This is one phrase of NPR programmes.
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vote
1answer
22 views

What does this sentence with a relative clause mean?

They were talking about who killed her husband. Is who killed her husband known to the speakers? Or, are they thinking of who the killer might be? The same question can be posed about the following: ...
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vote
1answer
12 views

We have a roll off to see

What is that means? Full sentence: DM and me have a roll off to see how many rounds it takes the wizard to break my grapple before he gets out. Source - https://www.reddit.com/r/DnDGreentext/...
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1answer
51 views

What is a “suburban valley (belly) street”?

I heard in the movie description of the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin: In a helmet, he pedals his mirror-equipped bike along a suburban belly street. The scene shows the protagonist pedaling a bike ...
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2answers
26 views

How are the words “elusive” and “fleeting” related?

In Oxford's dictionary, we can find the following definitions for "elusive" and "fleeting": Elusive: Difficult to find, catch, or achieve. Difficult to remember. Fleeting: Lasting ...
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2answers
35 views

Embedded statement

In Longman Dictionary of American English, a sentence reads: "This shows you which are the most important words to know." Shouldn't it read: "This shows you which the most important words are to know?"...
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0answers
26 views

Meaning of 'survey' in this context?

Can the word 'view' be a good synonym for 'survey' in the following context? A man does right, as a rule, to have his thoughts more occupied with the interests of his own nation than with those of ...
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votes
1answer
43 views

What does 'listen to the shorter body scans or longer visualizations' mean? [closed]

I was looking at a service that revolves around curing anxiety and panic attacks and I saw this: Listen to the shorter body scans or longer visualizations below to get rooted when you are feeling ...
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2answers
43 views

What does 'the' in 'the someone' mean?

There are lots of examples where the definite article is used with the pronoun 'someone', for example: I never knew you were the someone waiting for me. (Source.) How about a little something ...
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vote
2answers
38 views

Which one is more natural? What's the differnece in meaning?

● Which one is more natural? ● What's the differnece in meaning? ● Which sentence would you prefer to be used in an informal conversation? 1.You know what does cardiac mean, From what I can ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

There is to such thing [closed]

“Talk of inspiration is sheer nonsense; there is to such thing. It is mere a matter of craftsmanship.” — William Morris I don't understand the quote, particularly the part I highlighted. I am ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

meaning of the phrase “though it may be”?

It is from Crash Course World History. It is at around 5 minute and 8 second. Here is the context: Human beings, regrettable though it may be, are inherently vicious, and have to be restrained from ...
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1answer
17 views

“Wait” or “waiting”?

As nouns, are there any specifics situations for the use of each one? Or do they have the same meaning in all cases? The wait is over. The waiting is over.