Questions tagged [meaning]

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 instead.

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13
votes
5answers
15k views

Difference between “I'm in the school” and “I'm in school”

What is the difference between these two sentences?? I'm in the school. I'm in school. Do they have the same meaning or not?
11
votes
5answers
5k views

What does “ain't” mean in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

This question is a follow up question of my previous question Meaning of "ain't" in: "...we ain't know what it meant" According to the Oxford Dictionary, ain't is used ...
7
votes
4answers
60k views

“Tick” vs. “check” the box

I came across the following example: Tick the box if you would like more details. In the sentence, "tick the box" means mark the specific checkbox. If we have the following checkboxes ticking the ...
6
votes
3answers
43k views

How do I pronounce these fractions?

1/2 cup of spinach is "one-half cup" of spinach 1/3 is "one-third" But what do you say for 3/4 and 3/5?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

what is the difference between “like” and “as”? [closed]

what is the difference between "like" and "as"? Do people use these in similar situations? Thanks!
6
votes
3answers
18k views

what's the difference between did and was doing?

Here are examples of the sentences. What is the difference between them? They seem to be almost the same to me so I don’t exactly understand the difference. We worked from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ...
5
votes
4answers
14k views

What is the difference between “a little late” and “a little too late”?

Please tell me what is the difference between the following sentences He celebrated a little early. He celebrated a little too early. And It is a little late to do that thing. It is a little too ...
31
votes
7answers
12k views

What does “He has insurance, but Christ” mean?

He has insurance, but Christ. Could you please tell me what the meaning of phrase above is? I think that if the writer said "He has no insurance, but Christ" it would be correct. The full text is ...
26
votes
6answers
5k views

What does “One CPU is going to 'smoke' another CPU” mean?

I faced the following sentence: You really can’t say a 4.1GHz FX-8350 is going to smoke a 3.5GHz Core i7-3770K because in a hell of a lot of workloads the 3.5GHz Core i7 is going to dominate. I ...
14
votes
4answers
11k views

Is any difference between “speak English” and “speak in English”?

Is any difference between "speak English" and "speak in English"?
12
votes
3answers
15k views

What does “in a nut shell” mean in this context?

I know what a nut shell is: But what is its meaning in this sentence: In a nut shell I'm trapped mentally and physically. In this a common expression? Does it mean that he's closed in himself?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I understand a sentence without subject and verb in novels?

She was meant to stay indoors but everything looked varnished and bright after the rain, so she put her coat on and went outside, then came back in and slung the camera over her shoulder. Through ...
9
votes
3answers
34k views

Why does “tap into” mean what it means?

According to Macmillan "tap into" means "use" or "get some benefit": tap or tap into [TRANSITIVE] if you tap something such as someone’s ability or a supply of information, you use it or get some ...
6
votes
3answers
26k views

What does “you could have” mean exactly? (I'm confused)

First, I understood that "you could have" = "you should do that in the past" as: "You could have done better on your exam." But, in these sentences, I see that it means "you shouldn't do that in the ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

“There is work to do” versus “There is work to be done”

There is work to do. There is work to be done. I'd like to know whether they are different in meaning or not.
5
votes
3answers
17k views

“Make a point to” or “make a point of”?

Is there any difference between using these expressions? She made a point of taking a vacation in Italy. She made a point to take a vacation in Italy.
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Usage of “See” Phrases

Does "see" have these usage forms? see [noun] [noun denoting action] --"the plan will see facility renovations" see [noun] [verb in participle form] --"the plan will see facilities upgraded" ...
4
votes
3answers
63k views

Awake or Awaken Which one is correct?

Were you awaken at 1 am yesterday? Is this grammatically correct? Can you tell me meaning of awake properly? How is it used as Adj., and as verb by giving some examples? I awoke at 11 am today. ...
4
votes
2answers
44k views

Does “pussy” also mean…?

I have always known that pussy means the genitals of a woman, and a coward person. But Babylon English and Cambridge dictionary say that it also means (noun) sex with a woman. But Oxford and Macmillan ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between 'anybody', 'somebody', 'someone', 'nobody'

What is the difference between anybody,somebody,someone,nobody? And when should we use one or another of them? It's a bit confusing to me. Example: Does (anybody/somebody/someone/nobody) want a ...
4
votes
2answers
338 views

Real Time and Real-Time Confusion

Please read the following sentences: Thank God, I have got the real time information about flood. The software provides real-time data. Can I interchange these sentences with real-time ...
1
vote
2answers
18k views

What does “irony” mean?

The meaning of the word "irony" is very confusing to me! Here are few examples: So the irony is this: technology is freeing us from technology The postmodern reply to the modern consists of ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “have to” a modal verb?

I have heard people say that "have to" is a modal verb. Other people have told me it is not. Why exactly is "have to" a modal verb? Or why exactly is it not? I have also heard that it is a ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Does “hardly” have a unified meaning?

“Hardly”, “hardly ever”, and “hardly even” seem to mean different things and I can hardly distinguish between them. There's this page, listing 2 very similar meanings for hardly, and which seems to ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Is “all but” really ambiguous?

I found two dictionary definitions for this phrase: Everyone or everything except those mentioned. All but the weakest plants survived the hot weather. Almost. In some places, bus service has all but ...
7
votes
1answer
647 views

“prohibiting” instead of “prohibit”?

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," ...
7
votes
1answer
931 views

toggle in — what does this phrasal verb mean?

Example with a context (Java: A Beginner's Guide, 6th Edition by Herbert Schildt): OOP is a powerful way to approach the job of programming. Programming methodologies have changed dramatically ...
6
votes
1answer
39k views

What is the different between “giving an interview” and “having an interview”?

I saw someone said this online: Have an interview = you are being interviewed Give an interview = you are interviewing someone But as I know it, giving interviews is being interviewed, ...
6
votes
1answer
9k views

“Newest” vs. “Latest”

In a case like “latest video” or “newest video”, which one is right? I have seen “newest” used on stackoverflow.com: According to the online dictionaries I checked, “latest” = “most recent” and “...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Can “dress” mean “skirt”?

I've encountered a person learning English using "dress" for a piece of clothing that covers the top half of her body (and possibly her legs as well). I was under the impression that "dress" used to ...
5
votes
3answers
397 views

“For the best part of a generation” - meaning

Could you help me in understanding the exact meaning of a phrase "for the best part of a generation". For example: For the best part of a generation--the welfare state generation of 1945-79--this ...
5
votes
1answer
11k views

Differences between “has started taking”, “has been taking”, “has taken” and “took”

Can anybody explain the meaning of these sentences? He has started taking antidepressants. He has been taking antidepressants. He has taken antidepressants. He took antidepressants.
5
votes
4answers
2k views

“In such a people” — meaning?

"It would be well for us to admire what is worthy of admiration in such a people, rather than to carp about their errors." what is meant by in such a people? Is it (in such a people) a phrase or a ...
4
votes
3answers
375 views

Is “supposed to play” semantically different from “supposed to be playing”?

Is there any meaning difference between these two sentences? I was supposed to play. I was supposed to be playing.
4
votes
4answers
41k views

What “subzero temperature” mean? Is it below zero F or below zero C?

What "subzero temperature" mean? Is it below zero F or below zero C? Is it different from "freezing"?
4
votes
2answers
660 views

Should it be “you've been in” or “you've been to”?

Which is the correct sentence? Why? It's the first time he has been in space. It's the first time he has been to space.
4
votes
1answer
9k views

What does 'form' mean in grammar?

linguisticsgirl.com: ... In my mind, grammatical *form**(what a word looks like) is clearly separate from grammatical function (what a word does). From ODO: 2.1. Any of the ways in which a word ...
4
votes
2answers
507 views

Do you count the current one?

For example, if I had 3 girlfriends before, and now I have 4th one that I am dating and somebody would ask: How many girlfriends did you have / have you gotten? Would it be correct to count in the ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

putting feet on the donkey!

I'm translating the subtitle of a documentary about the artist "David Hockney" by B.B.C and someone says at about minute 9: "And he said this guy was just like this on his thing, and sort of ...
3
votes
2answers
384 views

Does 'would have choked' mean she had the bread?

. . . ; she [Helen] brought my coffee and bread. “Come, eat something,” she said; but I [Jane] put both away from me, feeling as if a drop or a crumb would have choked me in my present condition. (...
2
votes
1answer
26 views

What does “as” mean in this context?

Properly trained safety diver(s) shall be available as determined by the manager. Sometimes "as" means "when". For example, "as necessary" means "when it is necessary". Then, for the example above, ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

“To do” or “For doing”

I recently came across a person saying, I need to make money for paying my bills. This puzzled me, because I would normally use "to pay". I've come across other uses on the Internet where people ...
2
votes
1answer
472 views

What is the main idea of the sentence?

One of my friends wrote the following sentence on his wechat moment(like facebook): The problem with being competitive and running with a friend is that you may find yourself at their mercy as to ...
2
votes
3answers
22k views

off vs from: “He fall off/from his bike and broke his leg”

What is the difference between fall off his bike and fall from his bike and which one of them is the best choice? to use in this sentence?
2
votes
0answers
404 views

If you can send through some more time that’d be great [closed]

Today at work I received an email and in the end my correspondant said : If you can send through some more time that’d be great. I am struggling a bit to understand what it exactly means. She ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does 'still more' mean?

These institutions were started by Brougham and Birkbeck in the twenties at a time when, as a writer described it, “there still prevailed in many quarters a strong jealousy of any political ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

What's the meaning of “shred thoughts”?

Could you tell me what the meaning of shredding my thoughts is in the following context? The complete phrase is I had only a few seconds to wonder why before the needles returned, shredding my ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Present Simple vs Present Progressive

What is the difference in meaning between the following two sentences? (1) I am completely honest with you right now. (2) I am being completely honest with you right now.
1
vote
3answers
1k views

nothing a good beating wouldn't have cured [closed]

"I accept there's something strange about you, probably nothing a good beating wouldn't have cured - and as for all this about your parents, well, they were weirdos, no denying it, and the world's ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“all” vs “both”

I am wondering whether "all" and "both" mean exactly the same. I always use "both" to refer to explicitly two things, like Red and orange both are my favorite colors. As for "all", I would only ...