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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.

7
votes
2answers
2k views

Understanding “still” and “yet” usage

A1. I still can't speak English. A2. I can't speak English yet. B1. *I yet can't speak English. B2. *I can't speak English still. As far as I know, A1 and A2 are acceptable English. ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it okay to say “Yes no, I don't want to”?

Is it okay to say "Yes no, I don't want to"? People seem confused by it. Is it correct? If not, why?
7
votes
2answers
6k views

How should I use “deem”?

In relation to question about using "Infer" I'd like to ask what is wrong with deem in this example? How to use it correctly? 'A Japanese' infers the Japanese person is a thing, and not a person. ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

How should I use “infer”?

A recent question on Meta discussed advantages and disadvantages of using more advanced words in ELL. As example, this answer was used: 'A Japanese' infers the Japanese person is a thing, and not a ...
5
votes
1answer
97 views

Is “besides” slightly derogatory of previously listed items?

I came across someone practicing English saying something similar to [This poem] has been translated into several languages by my friends. Besides, many artists held an exhibition for my poems and ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

Verbs ending in -th

Sometimes especially when I am reading books or quotes, I encounter verbs ending in -th. Is that an arcaic form? How should I properly translate them?
4
votes
2answers
210 views

Meaning of “Hostages to Providence”

I read this quote recently from businessman Conrad Black, in a newspaper interview published in the Financial Times. How should it be interpreted? “I was a bit insouciant. While my conduct ...
21
votes
1answer
24k views

What is the difference between “look”, “see”, and “watch”?

When should I use "look", "see", and "watch"? I'm watching "Star Trek". Have you seen "Star Trek"? Are the examples above correct?
9
votes
3answers
734 views

Meaning and usage of ain't

Sometimes I encounter ain't, but I really don't know how to translate it properly. What does ain't stand for? If I really wanted to use it, in which contexts would you say it's acceptable using it?
17
votes
4answers
50k views

Usage of “Rain check”

From time to time I hear the phrase rain check. For instance I have to take a rain check on that. I would say that means I have to get back to you on that issue. How do I use that phrase? ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “This was clearly her day off?” mean?

What does "This was clearly her day off?" mean? Is this offensive to the person, or is it simply stating something obvious? This question came from Area 51, but I am curious to know this.
5
votes
5answers
6k views

Difference between “expat” and “migrant worker”?

In newspaper articles and elsewhere, I have seen the terms expat and migrant worker. Is there any difference? I've looked up both terms on Wikipedia: For migrant worker has a UN definition of: ...
39
votes
2answers
132k views

How many meanings does “I am in” have?

I have heard the phrase ‘I am in’ or ‘I am absolutely in’ (and similar variations) several times. As I understand it, it means I agree with the idea and I will join you in your efforts. Recently, I ...
7
votes
4answers
390 views

What does this mean: “The more you fence in Iran, the harder it will be for the rest of the world”

I'm trying to understand the English in this article (bolding mine): “I think it was a genius action from Lula da Silva” said Mujica in an interview with the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, ...
6
votes
3answers
552 views

What is “cultural capital” and what role does it play in learning the language?

My English teacher once jovially remarked that if I were to ever fully understand literature texts by native English writers, I would have to have cultural capital. He went on to add that I wouldn't ...
8
votes
2answers
14k views

“Do you like me?” or “Are you like me?”

What is the proper use of "do" versus "are" in the phrases: Do you like me? Are you like me? Is there any difference between them?
12
votes
2answers
16k views

“Filled in for someone” meaning

What does filled in for someone mean exactly? An example of a sentence with the idiom: While you were off, I filled in for you. Does it mean the author of that sentence took over my duties ...
29
votes
4answers
26k views

What is the difference between “hug” and “embrace”?

What is the difference between hug and embrace? Hug: Squeeze (someone) tightly in one's arms, typically to express affection. Embrace: Hold (someone) closely in one's arms, esp. as a sign of ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between “unacademic” and “nonacademic”?

Both the words mean "not academic," but is there any difference between unacademic, and nonacademic? Is there any phrase where one of the words should be used instead of the other?
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Understanding difference between “intense” and “intensive”

"Intense" and "intensive" are two different words: If you are putting forth an intense effort, your work is “intense”: “My intense study of Plato convinced me that I would make a good leader.” ...
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
107 views

What size is a division?

At my university, located in Sweden, the division of X is a sub-part of the department of Y. My colleague, a native speaker, claims that this is entirely wrong; he says divisions should be the largest ...
-1
votes
4answers
127 views

How would a native speaker understand “district”? [closed]

When using address databases, I've met the term district used in 2 separate meanings. The first one, which I prefer to use, is to describe the administration part of the city. The second one, ...
7
votes
2answers
174 views

How would a native speaker understand buying 2 socks?

How would a native speaker understand this sentence: I have bought 2 socks. A pair of socks is quite obvious, 2 pairs of socks also, but what with 2 socks? 2 socks are a pair, but since you can't ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Between two options, which does “former” refer to and which does “latter”?

For example: James was talking to Karl, the former being much smarter than the latter. Is James the former or the latter? What is the rule?