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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What does the phrase 'outward circumstance' mean?

In this following context, what does the phrase 'outward circumstances' mean? Does it mean 'outward world' or 'physical world'? Context: Whoever is jealous, niggardly, haughty, carries within himself ...
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3 answers
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What's a recipe repair?

I read on https://cooking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic: Recipe comprehension, improvement, and repairs What's a recipe repair? I can't find that concept on Google.
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"another house moving" OR "another moving house"

Imagine you see someone is moving house in your street, and a few days later you see someone else who is also moving house. And a few days later, when you look out of window, you see another one, and ...
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What is the difference between "before the law" and "under the law"?

Both usages are listed on Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, but is there any difference? Under existing law, journalists cannot refuse to provide information to a jury. The constitution guarantees ...
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'He inspires great loyalty in his staff' Is the person which is talked about (he) the superior of the staff or just a coworker?

He inspires great loyalty in his staff My question is how do you think: is a person which is talked about the superior or the coworker in this context?
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Meaning of the phrases: Defuse confrontation / What's unfolding

I'm a English leaner and I ran into an article. There were 2 phrases I didn't get the meaning. ... attempting to defuse the early morning confrontation in the doorway ... ... tries to explain what's ...
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2 answers
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Meaning of "fried possum fingers" in the TV series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

Below is a dialog in the TV series "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" (season 1 episode 2) (Full video link, at 1:33: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3afclj?start=93s Full transcript ...
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Is memory in the sentence focus to remember or to remind?

She says, laughing at the memory. “The lab assistant just said, ‘Well, nobody’s ever done that before.’” Thank you and will welcome an expert voice.
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What does "power coming up" mean?

This scene comes from the scene in the movie "The Aviator" in which Howard Hughes is making a first test flight of a mammoth plane Hercules(or The Spruce Goose) which was one of his biggest ...
-1 votes
2 answers
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Does anyone interpret "too ... to ..." literally?

So at school I learned that "too ... to ..." means "something so ... that can't/shouldn't ..." But I wonder if anyone would interpret it literally, like: It's too complicated to ...
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1 answer
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"this way" or "that way"

Is "this way" used correctly in the following? Or should "That way" be used instead? What's the difference? If you don't know how to ask John for help, just buy him a beer. This ...
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What does "take it to a point" mean?

This context comes from the movie "The Glass Onion" (Don't worry No-Spoilers) LIONEL Will you please then explain it all to us? Detective? BLANC No. I can peel back the layers, I can take it ...
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What does the word ''tiny man'' mean?

In this following context, should I take the phrase "this tiny man" to be a 'homunculus'? How should I understand the meaning of the bold and italic phrase in the following paragraph? Under ...
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What does "you better" mean in this context of conversation?

The following is a excerpt from an interview script on Linux Journal: Guid: ... If you talk to people, they all think Windows stinks and UNIX is the one true operating system. Phil: I think that too!...
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What does "I can already tell" mean? [closed]

Example: "I can already tell, we have a lot in common."
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1 answer
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What does it mean by saying "You are my eyes and ears"?

I have heard "You are my eyes and ears" in some movies, but can not see its definition on the internet. Sometimes they say "my eyes and ears are everywhere" SO, I guess "my ...
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Is it correct to say "The fourth goal put me out of misery" and "The fourth goal put Liverpool out of misery"?

In the dictionary put an animal, a bird, etc. out of its misery ​ to kill a creature because it has an illness or injury that cannot be treated In the end we asked the vet to put the poor creature ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What does "tied up inside the body" mean?

This context comes from the movie "The Aviator" by Martin Scorsese. "Well, if you're deaf you must own up to it. Get a hearing aid. Or see my father. He's a urologist but it's all tied ...
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1 answer
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Is the word "thematically" correct in this context?

I have formulated a sentence for which I am not sure if the word "thematically" is correct. The sentence is the following: "The material was coded analytically (based on the data) and ...
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Are "I have to take this call" and "I have to pick up the phone" the same?

In the dictionary, pick the phone means to answer a phone For example, The phone rang and rang and nobody picked up. So is "take a call" which means to answer one For example, Monica took ...
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Are they the same in meaning: "....only to....." OR ".....only for it to....."

This is from the BBC, a short video about sleeping and dreams. "Have you ever gone to sleep and had a dream about something only for it to then actually happen in reality." I know about the ...
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1 answer
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What does "coming out of a bad spell of it" mean?

Context: Q: How's everything going on with you and your family? A: We are still struggling with long Haulers but some of the symptoms are improving. It's been 3 years now. We are just coming out of ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does 'as of a law' mean here?

The definition of 'have teeth' in thefreedictionary is To have enough power or support of authority to compel obedience or punish offenders, as of a law. I came up with two interpretations of 'as of ...
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What does the phrase ''as an inseparable whole'' mean?

In this following context, what does the phrase ''as an inseparable whole'' mean? Is it an extended phrase of ''as an whole''? Could I have any synonymous? Thanks to All. The context: If it were ...
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1 answer
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Set before & Examination meaning in a specific context

I'm reading a book about James Clerk Maxwell, and there is one passage that wrote One great charm of Maxwell’s society was his readiness to converse on almost any topic with those he was accustomed ...
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What does "put custard mixture over heat" mean?

Could anyone tell me the meaning of "put something over heat"? Does it mean reheat something? Is "put something over heat" a kind of phrasal verb? It's from a recipe in a cookbook.
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What does tidying up the ball means?

I listen to a podcast which is https://languagecaster.com/learn-english-through-football-tidy-player/ In there he explains what a tidy player means and in one of his sentences he said "They tidy ...
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1 answer
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Why has he used the progressive form?

[...] and a word that a lot of native speakers get wrong in spite of it being so common. Why has the author used "to be" in the progressive form? I would expect "is" instead, or &...
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1 answer
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Society and Drill of Cambridge meaning

When talked about James Clerk Maxwell, James Forbes wrote: He is not a little uncouth in manners, but withal one of the most original young men I have met. . . . He is a singular lad, and shy [but] ...
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What is the meaning of "pretty decent" in terms of level of quality?

I have heard this idiom/phrase in various contexts over the last few decades. Yet, it has been difficult to establish an appropriate meaning to it corresponding to more formal language. Probably ...
1 vote
3 answers
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Looking for a word that can be used with all colours and that show the intensity of the colour so much that you were affected, impressed even chilled

I have a prefix in my languge that you can use with colours that is used to say that the intensity of that colour is very brilliant, vivid, vibrant so much so that it has created an intense feeling of ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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"to play" VS "to play in."

The following sentence is from a tv series (Friends). A friend asks him to play because he says he has made music for some time. And in reply to the request he says in a shy manner: I haven't played ...
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what does "installment plan" means here?

I'm reading this essay by John Taylor Gatto but couldn't understand the last sentence. Please help explain. The third lesson I teach kids is indifference. I teach children not to care about anything ...
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being far from - how to interpret

How would you, as a native speaker, interpret this sentence: Luckily, the village was far from the tacky suburban developments around the city. I came up with 2 interpretations: The village was ...
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1 answer
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What does 'give me a stomachache' mean in this context? [closed]

In this video, the youtuber says, This is going to give me a stomachache, yes. Will I drink the rest of it? Also yes. It is so milky. It's like a milky sugar with like just a little bit of coffee. It'...
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1 answer
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After he became manager, people were suddenly falling over themselves to help him

After he became manager, people were suddenly falling over themselves to help him. What's the literal meaning of 'fall over oneself'?
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does 'with the rolling and the heaving and the you make me sick' line mean?

I've been watching Simpsons and one guy said, "with the rolling and the heaving and the you make me sick". What does that mean? Context: father of the geek scientist couldn't stand him, ...
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1 answer
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What is meant by this phrase/sentence?

I came across this one headlne: "It’s turtles all the way down in the fossil record" I read a part of the article but couldn't put together the pieces and rewrite them in a way that would ...
2 votes
3 answers
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Is the phrase "a sense of feeling" correct?

For example if you say: Do you have a sense of feeling that you are better than everyone? Is the above sentence correct? if yes, what does the word sense mean in this context? Thank you!
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What does "football" mean in this sentence: "We are seeing more football here. We are seeing more clients."

The following sentence is from a British TV channel about Britain debt problem. Broke: Britain's Debt Emergency | Dispatches | Channel 4 Documentaries (see 4:16-4:21): "We are seeing more ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Difference between "I'm planning up" and "I'm planning"

Is there any difference between "I'm planning" and "I'm planning up" when responding to a question about hypothetical plans? Where does this "up" come from? The context ...
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What does "....to say Mars" mean in this sentence: We can use the Moon as a launchpad to take us onwards, deeper into the solar system to say Mars

This is from the BBC Travel to Moon see the video 1:25-1:40 "We are looking to go live on the moon and then hopefully use the Moon as a launchpad to take us onwards, deeper into the solar system ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the difference between verb phrase and verb like make a wish and wish, make a call and call?

I wanna know the difference between verb phrase and verb itself like in make a call and call, and make a wish and wish. make a wish, wish make a call, call What is the difference between two words ...
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What kind of sentence structure is this and what does it convey?

"Prepared as he was for many shocks, Professor Gaitonde had not expected this". I have seen sentences with similar form before too, which begin with an adjective followed by "as+he/she/...
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1 answer
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Is it "to fill a prescription" or "to fill out a prescription"?

The following sentence is from an article about patients not filling their prescriptions Why patients do not adhere How to get patients to fill out their prescriptions On the road to combating non-...
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What does "to do the whole" mean?

Here is the story from this page 4 friends were walking home when they decided to take a shortcut through the woods. It begins to rain and they cannot find their way out of the woods since it becomes ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are "I would rather I stayed home than go out" the same as "I would rather stay home than go out"?

I came across this sentence in the Grade 10 Vietnamese English grammar. "I would rather that it were not summer now." My question is that that sentence does not have a main verb after "...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Intend to come by

I came across a sentence which read as follows: The money you intend to come by through this expedition is not worth your life. From the context, I interpreted "intend to come by" as the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What does the phrase "dive into the details" mean here?

What does the phrase "dive into the details" mean in the following sentence from a layout app: With simple templates, you can quickly create layouts for brochures, flyers, business cards, ...
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2 answers
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Does English have a saying for "someone who has finally has done a very good job or an achievement, although he had failed all the time until then

My native language has a saying. Its literal translation would be: "You have finally caught a mouse since you became a cat." It is usually said when someone usually a man has finally ...
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