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This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the meaning of a word, or a phrase, in a specific context. Be sure to give as much context as possible.

0
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1answer
32 views

“…so beautiful that make(s) your teeth hurt”: is there a heavy sarcasm or extreme envy in the expression (in a context)?

Here goes a passage from a short story read out loud online (0:24): The fountains thick with black swans imported from Siberia, and if it is a fine day and a weekend, there will be wedding parties, ...
2
votes
4answers
32 views

Meaning of the phrasal verb “tap into” in context

It is from this video. It is at 4 minute and 48 second. Here is the context: The point is on the one hand when we describe what we are, we tap heavily into our own identity, the way that we would ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “it does not do (to do something)”

This is about the meaning of Dumbledore's quote “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” From the Time article, "10 of the Most Magical Harry Potter Quotes to Inspire You": "It does ...
1
vote
1answer
14 views

What does “go on an acquisition tear” mean?

Does it mean the company will be torn apart after the acquisition? Johnston says the SodaStream deal should not be seen as a sign that the company is about to go on an acquisition tear. Source:http:/...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What does “high to take care” mean?

I need to translate an item from a questionnaire: “My parents were too drunk or high to take care of the family.”, but I don't understand the part "... or high to take care ...". How to understand the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Help to understand “a 'bullseye' on his chest”

Former CIA director John Brennan -- shown here in September 2016 -- says he knows he has a "bullseye" on his chest over his comments on Donald Trump (AFP Photo/MARK WILSON) I saw the sentence from ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

during which time vs. when

In the sentence below can I use "when" instead of "during which time"? The rise of the using of cell-phones was particularly noticeable between 1999 and 2002, during which time the use of mobile ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

I have no idea vs. I had no idea

When you are asked: How much do you think ''blue origin'' is spending at the moment to make space tourism possible? And you responded: I had no idea vs. I have no idea Do they have any ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

What does “will” add to the meaning of the mentioned sentence?

What does "will" add to the meaning of this sentence? Does it actually add the meaning of future tense? Much more could and should be said about this, but the foregoing will have to suffice for ...
2
votes
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.
0
votes
1answer
27 views

You will never be getting it back vs. you will never be able to get it back

Let's say you left your watch at your friend's house in England, and then you came back home in Ireland. 2 days after, your friend phoned you to tell you that you forgot your watch, while laughing at ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

meaning of the phrase “peel one's banana” in context

It is from Crash Course Biology. It is at around 7 second. Here is the context: How long have you been waiting in this line. I have been here for like 15 minutes and it is freaking freezing out ...
0
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

Meaning of the word “for what” in context

It is from Crash Course Biology. It is at around 9 minute and 15 second. Here is the context: And now for what is, totally objectively speaking of course, the coolest part of the animal cell: its ...
0
votes
2answers
23 views

What does “woo'ed away into” means?

What does to be "woo'ed away into" means ? Especially in this sentence : would he be woo'ed away into the society? The context is to come to a pilgrimage without really knowing if the organisation ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

How to use “plateau” as a verb?

Does using "plateau" to express "remained constant" in the sentence below make sense? Their salary plateaued for 3 years.
0
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

The meaning of “with + noun + participle” phrase

With technology advancing rapidly since the advent of the computer, today's video games are preferable to those that were produced two decades ago. What is the meaning of “with + noun + participle” ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

the most fashionable inner-city coffee shops?

Does the word inner-city sound natural in the following? Turmeric drinks became popular in the West when customers began to request turmeric lattes at the most fashionable inner-city coffee shops. ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

Is this sentence correct? Does it sound natural?

The next bill you would pay one year in advance. The bill after the next bill, you will refund the one-year-in-advance amount of money that you paid the previous bill. I know that I made a long ...
1
vote
2answers
26 views

What does “halfway respectable” mean?

In this context, what does "halfway respectable" mean? He was smooth and he made it all seem halfway respectable, but it came down to prostitution and we both knew it. Source: Single White ...
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? ...
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 "...
0
votes
2answers
39 views

“when I’m 100% confirm what to study” or “when I'm 100% confirmed what to study”

I’ll tell you when I’m 100% confirm what to study Or: I’ll tell you when I'm 100% confirmed what to study Which one is correct?
21
votes
5answers
6k views

What's the difference between “vanilla” and “plain” when talking about yogurts?

Merriam Webster explains vanilla (when used as an adjective) as: lacking distinction : plain, ordinary, conventional It's not obvious why vanilla has such a meaning, and why plain is listed as its ...
0
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?
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Right or left? When the teacher says: “If you look at the diagram on the left hand side, you will solve this question!”(In a position like this?)

● Right or left? When the teacher says: "If you look at the diagram on the left hand side, you will solve this question!" Is it the teacher's left hand side or students' left hand side? Imagine,...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

collectively and overall

Are collectively and overall synonyms? Industries and people's life-style cause 80% increase in the air pollution collectively. Industries and people's life-style cause 80% increase in the air ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

What's the meaning of “It makes the landscape dangerous to navigate”?

I've come across the sentence below: Morning comes slowly. Overnight, the falling snow, so peaceful, has turned to sleet, coating everything in brittle ice, making the landscape even more ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

What does solid black in following paragraph mean? [closed]

What does solid black in following paragraph mean? This dog breed can be seen in a variety of coat colors, including black and tan, tan and white, tricolor of black-tan-white, blue mottled and tan, ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

What does static gray mean?

What does static gray mean, in following paragraph? Over time the crossings allowed the genes for white fur from the Angora to become a stable part of the Persian line, changing the coloring of the ...
-1
votes
0answers
24 views

meaning of present an interesting viewpoint

I'm wondering if "presented an interesting viewpoint" is properly used in the following: Are females more curious than males? This question might be difficult to answer if we only looked at human ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

What does “ground-covering gait” mean?

What does ground-covering gait mean, in the following paragraph? The Australian Terrier has an attractive ruff circling the neck with a crest of longer hair that enhances its intelligent and keen ...
2
votes
1answer
14 views

Meaning of “What else have you up nights?”

This particular sentence I found someone speaking to a person worried about some problematic situations. I searched the web and got that nights = at night. And, up = A problem(could be). So, Is she ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

“To do back that far” meaning

I ran into an expression "to do back that far" and I couldn't understand the meaning from the context. I tried to find similar ones, but it seems that such expressions are not very common. So, I've ...
2
votes
2answers
29 views

Whose phone number is the one referred at “We will call you at <phone number>”?

I just got an interview and the email said "We will call you at [a phone number that doesn't belong to me]". Does the phone number here refer to to their phone number, or they just got my phone number ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Meaning of “all the way from six to thirty”

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's story Afternoon of an Author there is a sentence about the group of pretty girls: But in general they were lovely, dressed in real colors all the way from six to thirty, no ...
0
votes
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," ...
1
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: ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

What do these phrases 'get on the back' and 'bear it down' mean? [closed]

What do these phrases 'get on the back' and 'bear it down' mean in this context: M. I know what you are. You’re the Old Man of the Sea. C. Who’s he? M. The horrid old man Sinbad had to carry on ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
166 views

What's the meaning of “Not unattractive but getting on”?

Not unattractive but getting on. to get on means: get along to have a good relationship.1 Does it mean: she is attractive but she doesn't set along to have a good relationship? The fuller text ...
0
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0answers
15 views

Which comes first in writing dates with month names, month or date [duplicate]

This might seem so trivial question but may not be so trivial for non native. Apologies in advance. When writing date with month names. Is it: Jul. 28, 2018 Or 28 Jul, 2018
0
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2answers
31 views

What's the meaning of “might” here? [closed]

She looks like she might make a competent nurse. What's the meaning of "might" here? Does it have a certain meaning or it just plays a grammatical role? The fuller text is here: The writer ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Can we use “so” in negative sentences for meaning “very”?

I know that in positive sentences we can use "so" for meaning "very". For example we can say "The new Slipknot album is so nice!", "I practice guitar so much.", "I like them so much.", "I can play ...
-1
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

What does the word “they” refer to?

He looks back at her, refusing to shrink from her very direct gaze. “David Paley,” he says, waiting for it. She’s a journalist, after all. They have no compunction about anything. He knows his ...