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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77
votes
3answers
267k views

Does “a couple” always mean two?

Today I said some event was a couple of weeks away. A native speaker from Australia corrected me and said, no it's at least three weeks away. What followed was a discussion as to whether a couple ...
70
votes
7answers
16k views

Meaning of “respecting” in “no law respecting an establishment of religion”

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably ...
58
votes
12answers
9k views

Difference between “illegal” and “very illegal”

From my understanding of English, "very" means "more than the usual" or "to a higher extent". I've seen on several places the expression "very illegal", such as here as an example: https://youtu.be/...
50
votes
6answers
25k views

When a girl mentions her girlfriend, does she mean it like lesbian girlfriend?

I have a classmate and sometimes she says something like "I told my girlfriend that she has to blah blah". Does this wording imply a lesbian relationship, or is she referring to a her best friend (a ...
45
votes
4answers
11k views

What is understood if I say “I'm an English teacher”?

What is understood if I say "I'm an English teacher"? "I teach English", or "I'm a teacher coming from England"?
44
votes
8answers
19k views

What is 'explain like I'm five'?

In my recent question, I got this link in an answer. Here, 'Explain like I'm five' is written. I tried to find its meaning on the Internet, but I got only an acronym ELI5. Is 'explain like I'm ...
44
votes
3answers
214k views

What does “viewer discretion is advised” mean?

Viewer discretion is advised. I've stumbled upon this phrase a few times (mainly at the beginning of video clips or movie trailers), but I'm still not quite sure what it really expresses. What is ...
43
votes
6answers
38k views

'Ask away' - what does 'away' mean?

“Sir,” said Harry, reminding himself irresistibly of Voldemort, “I wanted to ask you something.” “Ask away, then, my dear boy, ask away. . . .” In this sentence, I don't know what does 'away' ...
42
votes
2answers
159k 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 ...
40
votes
4answers
8k views

“The first time I met my wife I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves” - Alun Cochrane

What is the pun in this joke "The first time I met my wife I knew she was a keeper. She was wearing massive gloves" by Alun Cochrane
38
votes
4answers
46k views

What's the difference between “last” and “latest”?

When should I use "last" and "latest"? I found two examples: What was the last book you read? Karen was always up to date on the latest fashions It seems both mean "the most recent". Can we use ...
38
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the difference between IMO and IMHO and IHOP?

I was reading a public forum, and I saw the following abbreviations: IMO IMHO IHOP As far as I see, these are interchangeable somehow, but I don't understand the correct usage of them. Just assuming ...
35
votes
4answers
752 views

Why would you say “it changed me” instead of “it changed myself” here?

I was correcting a sentence written by a Japanese friend, and I corrected one of his sentences to: "Learning foreign languages changed me". He asked me why he could not use "myself" instead. I am ...
34
votes
4answers
57k views

What is the difference between “do you like” and “would you like”?

Do you like candy? Would you like some candy? Do you like walking? Would you like to go for a walk? What is the difference? And are they the same or not? Do they any use in different situations?
33
votes
3answers
8k views

What does “this will date me” mean?

What does the phrase "this will date me" mean? I searched for it here on "English Language Learners" and on Google but I could not find the meaning.
33
votes
9answers
150k views

“co-worker” vs. “colleague”

What is the difference between "co-worker" and "colleague"? In my company there is an employee whose name is Bob. But Bob and I, we don't know each other. In this case, is Bob my "co-worker" or "...
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 ...
31
votes
4answers
12k views

“Not funny 'ha-ha'”, what does Siri mean?

When I say to Siri, the virtual assistant from Apple, "Ok, Google," or "Hey Cortana," Siri replies: Very funny. I mean, not funny "ha-ha", but funny. I don't know how I should interpret this ...
31
votes
4answers
163k views

What is the difference among “Sign up”, “Sign in” and “Log in”?

As I said in the title, I am wondering what is the meaning of the following expressions, and what are the differences between them ? "Sign up" "Sign in" "Log in"
30
votes
3answers
10k views

How many flies does it take to screw in a light bulb?

I encountered this lightbulb joke today, but I can’t figure out why it is funny: Q: How many flies does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Two, but I don't know how they got in there. My best ...
30
votes
4answers
32k 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 ...
29
votes
1answer
7k views

What's the meaning of “ you're being G.O. Sixteened.”?

Some of the lines of the American drama Manifest that confused me: It was said by a Policewoman boss to his subordinate Look, you're being G.O. Sixteened. Do you understand? They catch you lying, ...
28
votes
1answer
5k views

“Crashing at the Y” What does it mean?

I heard in the movie Adventureland: Em Lewin : So what's the plan? James Brennan : I'm gonna crash at the Y for a week, I'm gonna look for a shitty job, and I don't know. IMDB has a longer ...
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 ...
26
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there any difference between “temporary” and “provisional”?

The English dictionary shows that either temporary or provisional indicates the short time. Therefore, I get confused about which is more proper in the following sentence: Any physical theory is ...
24
votes
8answers
7k views

Is there any difference between friendly and kind?

A music teacher is portrayed as follows: “She talks to everyone. She always says hello.” Thus, is she friendly or kind? Cambridge Dictionary defines friendly as behaving in a pleasant, ...
24
votes
5answers
7k views

What does web-mistress imply as a job title

I love that none needs my permission to take my code and do something cool with it, and someone else can do the same with that code. I love that an "end user" is usually only a few hours work away ...
24
votes
3answers
13k views

“I don't give a rip!” What's a “rip”?

The title is pretty self-explanatory, but let me give some detail. I'm a native English speaker from the USA. I know exactly what that statement means and how to use it. I heard my Pastor use it ...
24
votes
4answers
19k views

what is the difference between “yet” and “still”?

what is the difference between "yet" and "still"? When we can use "still"? and when we can use "yet"? Are they synonyms or not? "The plan could yet succeed." Can I use "still" in that sentence ...
24
votes
4answers
419k views

Difference between “where are you from” and “where do you come from”

What is the difference between "where are you from" and "where do you come from"? Are they the same? Are they used in the same situations or not? When you see someone for the first time which one ...
23
votes
2answers
5k views

What's the pun in "Clowns divorce. Custardy battle.”?

What is the pun in this joke? Clowns divorce. Custardy battle by Simon Munnery
22
votes
4answers
8k views

Why does the phrase “drop dead gorgeous” mean “very gorgeous”?

I came across the phrase Drop Dead Gorgeous which means very gorgeous or good-looking. Why does the above phrase have this meaning? How do the given words relate to the meaning?
22
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “tack against”?

I have come across it in this video. It is at 4 minute and 28 second. Along the way we are also going to try to understand some of what is wrong with the way our information feeds are currently ...
22
votes
6answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “you know, be the pie”?

Source: Head First JavaScript by Michael Morrison (2008) With the right ingredients and a few flicks of the wrist, I can whip up just about anything. I just have to get close to what I'm making... ...
22
votes
6answers
7k views

Does “49er” mean “A 49-year-old man”?

Is it right to say "I was talking to a 49er" to aim that "I was talking to a 49-year-old man"? I know that it's meaningless to say it, but my question is: "Is (age)er = (age)-year-old man"?
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Any chances “spell” means “pronounce”?

Inspired by this question of mine and that @BenKovitz suggested that I should ask a new question, I attempt to do so. Here goes: The Persian Wikipedia (Persian: ویکی‌پدیا، دانشنامهٔ آزاد‎ Vikipedia,...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

What does “there lived here then” mean?

There lived here then, away at the North, a beautiful princess, who was also a powerful sorceress. The sentence is cited from The Wizard of Oz, page 37. What do the words in bold mean? Thank you!
22
votes
4answers
2k views

“you can just move on in” — isn't the wording strange a little bit? Why not just say “you can just move in”?

Example: It's a bit like a house that's built already and you can just move on in. I asked a native speaker from North Carolina and he said that the sentence sounded absolutely fine to him. So, it ...
22
votes
5answers
11k views

What does 'aye' mean in this context?

So, I'm actually a native American English speaker, but I can't figure out what 'aye' could mean in this song. "At the sad decree...they'll depart for aye", "for alas I'm doomed...for aye". ...
22
votes
1answer
15k views

What's the difference between words “number”, “count”, “amount” and “quantity”? [closed]

I just can't understand when i should use one of these words and when another. They are too similar, but looks like they are not absolutely the same. So what is the difference between them?
21
votes
3answers
10k views

What does “I made him a cake” mean?

Is it correct sentence below? And what does it mean? Also, how is it working grammatically? I made him a cake. I made a cake for him. I baked a cake using him. (Sounds so horrible!) To me, 1 is ...
21
votes
5answers
5k views

Why blame the Australians?

I noticed the following comments under a hot meta post: Downvoting questions from new users I agree this is horribly bad form. I blame the Australians. – Andrew But @Andrew, as you yourself ...
21
votes
3answers
20k views

Difference between “uptown”, “downtown” and “midtown”

I've noticed a frequent usage of the words uptown and downtown while watching movies made in the USA. Also the word midtown is seldom used. What is the difference between them? Is possible they can ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

What does this joke mean?

Q: What do you call it when Batman skips church? A: Christian Bale Does the word 'Bale' have a special meaning in this joke?
21
votes
1answer
38k views

What does “I have straight A's.” mean?

In this video of Hillary Clinton, at 15s, the child said "I have straight A's.". What does "straight A's" mean?
21
votes
1answer
25k 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?
20
votes
4answers
5k views

'I wouldn't vote for Clinton if you paid me': what does this mean?

My understanding was that a sentence of the form: I won't do X if Y happens means something along the lines of if Y happens I will not do X Nigel Farage stated in a speech 'I wouldn't vote ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the meaning of “taking in each other's washing”

Of course your existence matters to other people—your parents and others who care about you—but taken as a whole, their lives have no point either, so it ultimately doesn't matter that you matter ...
20
votes
4answers
16k views

What does “stop by my desk later” mean?

What does the phrase stop by my desk later mean? For example: I can email you the link. Or stop by my desk later, and I can show you some photos. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
19
votes
6answers
8k views

How many items are actually “a few items”?

When we use a few, how many items are usually indicated? My intuition tells me it's something between 3 and 9, but what is the most common range for a few?