Questions tagged [phrase-meaning]

Use this tag for questions about the meaning and/or usage of a particular phrase, which a dictionary cannot answer.

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How can one address the effects compound words/phrases have on their meaning? [closed]

Particularly interested in the difference between using the same word as either a modifier or the head of a compound phrase for example, take the word design, which is compounded regularly as both a ...
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1answer
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What does “subtract A to B” mean?

I am a little confused about this specially when answering arithmetic problems. Help me with this: what does "subtract A to B" mean? A-B B-A
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“to rub smth into a surface” vs “to rub a surface with smth”

I found 2 sentences: We rubbed some polish into the surface of the wood. First rub the baking tray well with butter. Can I rephrase them as "we rubbed the surface of the wood with some polish&...
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1answer
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Haunting radiance in the black

Scene : He has been crawling in the dark in a cramped shaft of ventilation duck for god knows how long. Crawled for what seemed like days. His eyes conjuring strange displays of light that appeared ...
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4answers
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“Roll Over” in the Song Roll Over Beethoven

There is a famous Chuck Berry song titled Roll Over Beethoven. The overall meaning was telling a DJ to stop playing classical music and play rock and roll. But when I looked up for the definition of ...
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I'm stitching my way back in

I have heard the phrase I'm stitching my way back in multiple times, I did some research but couldn't find any entries. What does this phrase mean?
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meaning of “betraying no evidence of nerves”

The man’s eyes stayed hidden under the shadow of the hood, but his jaw was set and his hands, particularly the one holding the knife, were rock-steady, betraying no evidence of nerves. What does this ...
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''Leave university''

Does ''I left university'' mean ''I dropped out'' in this sentence? ' 'When I left university I made a decision to take up a profession in which I could be creative.'' The example is from the book ...
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1answer
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“go off on a bat”

A line from The Barefoot Contessa (1954) Kirk was wrong when he said I didn't know where movie scripts left off and life began. The script has to make sense and life doesn't. Any self-respecting ...
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Which one is right? “You've been doing great!” or “You are doing great!”

I was actually thinking that what should I use? You are doing great! That means you are currently doing great! But if I use You've been doing great! That means you were doing great from the very ...
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What does these words “an underlying condition” mean in this sentence?

I am reading this article: https://www.healthline.com/health/botox-poison#safety .. of adverse effects associated with cosmetic use were reported to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ...
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What does “move up that timetable” mean?

I'm reading a newspaper and found this paragraph. Under the Paris climate deal reached in 2015, China pledged that its emissions would peak around 2030. Mr. Xi promised on Tuesday to move up that ...
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The meaning of “there given”

In the English translated version of The Spirit of the Laws, there is a sentence as below: there was an argument the most trifling things, those which humanity would demand, are there done, or there ...
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Usage of being on point

I was debating on a topic with my friend and she said maybe she had strayed but I did not agree and said "no, you are on point" to mean "what you said was relevant." Then when I ...
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What does “to be born to run” mean?

I heard the phrase in a couple of songs, e.g. Miley Cyrus's Midnight Sky: I was born to run, I don't belong to anyone. Imagine Dragons' Whatever It Takes: I was born to run, I was born for this ...
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1answer
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What is generally understood by the expression “like peas in a pod” when said of people?

I have always understood "like peas in a pod", when said of people, to mean that they are very similar in appearance (or possibly in character), like Alia and her sister are like peas in a ...
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1answer
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You could've fooled me

According to dictionary the meaning of 'you could've fooled me' is- 'used for saying you do not believe something that someone is telling you.' ‘Sam never meant to upset you.’ ‘Well, you could have ...
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Is “no differently” a common expression? Is it different from “not differently”?

I found the expression "no differently" in this article. The entry ban situation has also raised questions among many long-term residents of Japan..... "While I haven't been impacted ...
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1answer
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What does “Can the reunion” mean?

I'm seeing the Prison Break movie (season 4 episode 22) and I faced with "Can the reunion" phrase but when I search for its meaning, I couldn't find any thing. [Bagwell is meeting with Sucre ...
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1answer
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Substance meaning

Substance: a particular kind of matter with uniform properties The New Oxford American Dictionary (Kindle Locations 528557-528558). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. Uni (prefix) - one Uniform ...
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1answer
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meaning of 'set back the cause'

When the Uber self-driving car ran over that poor woman in Phoenix, the news coverage focused on how it would set back the cause of self-driving cars. In this sentence, what does 'set back the cause' ...
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1answer
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What does the phrase “try filling in” mean here?

Please help me figure out the meaning of the phrase "try filling in" in the following text from the description of the game Genshin Impact: You can use earth elemental combat skills to ...
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What does “everything is all MoonPies and salted peanuts” mean in this context?

Please help me to understand the meaning of "everything is all MoonPies and salted peanuts" in this context: “Toby.” A brief pause. “Don’t even try. You really expect I would give that ...
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1answer
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Use of “the following”

I’m citing a theorem in a reference, and I want to say By Theorem 1 in [1] and the following paragraphs, we can know that...... I mean the paragraphs in that reference below the theorem, but my ...
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“unleashed a torrent of bullets at/on/toward the man”

Does any of these prepositions tell anything about whether any of the bullets hit the man or not? The police officer unleashed a torrent of bullets at/on/toward the man.
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What does the phrase “run roughshod over gems” mean here?

Please help me figure out the meaning of the phrase "run roughshod over gems" in the following sentence from the description of the game Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells: Bathroom trolls ...
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Can we use the expression “trash somebody” to mean “to ruin somebody”?

I know that we can use the expression "trash somebody" to mean "to criticize somebody severely" in American English. My question is, can we also use the same phrase to mean "...
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What is the meaning of “highest good”?

What is the meaning of "highest good"? As I searched for it, I found the word "summum bonum" as a synonym for it, would someone please explain the meaning of the word "highest ...
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1answer
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What does “How do you like it?” mean in this context?

A friend of mine, who was born, raised, and still lives on Long Island, had asked me How do you like it? when I ate something she prepared. I always replied I like it. or It's very good. as if the ...
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What does it mean (figuratively) “scale a gulf”?

Reading another story, I cannot decipher the meaning of the following phrase: My hand and arm, reaching up to make sure that the graph was correctly adjusted on my forehead over the pineal gland, ...
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What could be possible synonyms / phrases for “Get it done” / “Get work done”? [closed]

What could a simpler expression for "Get it done" / "Get work done" ?
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1answer
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What does I've long mean?

I was reading the lyrics of Harry Chapin's song, 'Cat's in the Cradle' and I encountered a line: I've long since retired and my son's moved away I called him up just the other day What is the ...
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1answer
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Romantic as a noun or an adjective?

In the movie Casablanca, Renault tells Rick (@ 16'45"): "I like to think that you killed a man. It's the romantic in me." I can't find this phrase in the dictionary: " it's (...) ...
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1answer
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What does “he probably turned a wrong rock” mean?

I recently picked up this phrase on a Netflix series and wonder what it means specifically. The situation was that a guy got information accidentally and was then chased by hostiles because he was ...
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What does “content writing” mean?

Isn't the phrase "content writing" weird? Why do we have the word "content" here? Isn't it obvious when we say "writing"?
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1answer
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What is the meaning of the phrase “trading the sensible for the pat”?

In the following paragraph, what does the highlighted phrase means? In Don Giovanni, what is perhaps Mozart’s best-known opera, there exist two distinct endings, a phenomenon not entirely unknown ...
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what does “Evidence-based monitoring” mean in the following passage?

Research on Research the European Research Commission now plans to launch a set of studies designed to further develop an evidence-based monitoring system on progress towards the European Research ...
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What does “pay out at right angles” and “drew away the white material…” mean?

What does "pay out at right angles" and "drew away the white material...it fell back over the shoulders and became part of the clothing of the visitor mean? Mr. Eglinton in a state of ...
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What's the meaning of “but of this hereafter”?

In Pride and Prejudice Chapter 13: As a clergyman, moreover, I feel it my duty to promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach of my influence; and on these grounds I ...
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What does “ turning cartwheels down” mean in the text below?

Occasionally they sang softly; occasionally they turned cartwheels down by the moving streak of phosphorescence.
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Is there any logic behind “you said it!” expression? Why does that mean an agreement while “you said that!” doesn't?

you said it! (from Longman dictionary) used when someone says something that you agree with, although you would not have actually said it yourself because it is not polite Just today, I learned this ...
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What does the phrase “slid down tubes” mean here?

Please help me figure out the meaning of the phrase "slid down tubes" in the following sentence from the description of the game "Minion Rush": For six and a half harrowing minutes,...
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What is the meaning of “Not since”?

For example, "I can't get in touch with him, not since he said he would bring them back." Does "not since" mean "from that point forward"/after?
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1answer
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Meaning difference between two sentences using “to” and “for”

What would be the meaning difference between these two sentences, using "to" in one case and "for" in another, is one wrong ? Please explain the difference. To all the joy we've ...
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467 views

What does “closely written sheet” (or page) means?

I am unable to find the meaning of the following phrase: "the closely written letters" (or sheets, or pages). Within were a number of closely-written sheets of paper and some letters, most ...
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3answers
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Unable to understand the extact meaning of 'OR' in a sentance?

I'm applying for a home loan and there is an sentence which is quite confusing for me. Please help me to solve this confusion. Here is the sentence - As per the same, the maximum amount of loan ...
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What is “self-contained university teaching”?

From the Habilitation page in Wikipedia: Habilitation is a qualification required in order to conduct self-contained university teaching, and to obtain a professorship in many European countries I ...
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What does “would be gone for 4 months” mean here?

In this Tom Hanks interview (Tom Hanks: On Acting) at around 38 seconds from the start: [How did you get started?] [...] It was just an offer to work in classical repertory theater in which the pay ...
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Does “there's nothing like (something)” always imply something very good? Or, not always the case?

Many dictionaries define the phrase "there's nothing like" as something like the following. used to say that a particular thing is very enjoyable (From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary ...
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Am I right in interpreting the sentence in bold?

At night I lay awake looking at the darkness, listening to the silence, prefiguring the future, picking out of the past the scraps I had overlooked, those rejected events which now came to the ...

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