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Questions tagged [phrase-meaning]

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

7
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5answers
1k views

What does “south of due west” mean?

I was solving an astronomy problem which said "south of due west." This could be interpreted in two different ways and I don't know which one is correct. Is 'south of' in that phrase an idiom? Or does ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Use of assimilate vs imitate in a sentence

Today I took an English test , in which I was asked to choose between assimilate and imitate as a word which closely resembles the phrase ‘to make a copy of’. I chose assimilate , because in my ...
0
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0answers
16 views

What does ' relate back to' mean?

When do you use the phrase relate back to? Does it mean remind? I would be very thankful if someone could provide an example.
1
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2answers
81 views

What does “smell the glove” mean in this article?

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2015/03/04/smell-the-glove Smell the Glove. Handshaking may be a chemical as well as a social greeting GRIP firmly, maintain eye contact. ...
0
votes
1answer
204 views

What does “Last school attended” means?

What does “Last school attended” means? I have form to fill with this question. Is it year when I was in school or is it type of school? The full question is: Please fill in the information ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the expression “Happy is as happy does” mean?

I just read an article in The Economist's China section (2019/02/16) with the subtitle "Happy is as happy is told to". Feeling confused, I googled about this expression, only to find a quite similar ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Would you tell me what 'play off of' means in this context?

Go pear shaped (The plan isn't working / plan is going wrong) ... In all likelihood, this has nothing to do with the fruit, but rather plays off of the expectation of something being round, but ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

meaning of “desiring object” and “calculating object of desire”

I can't understand the meaning of ‘desiring object’ and 'calculating object of desire', does 'desiring' and 'calculating' function as a adjective? Here is the paragraph: The compulsion of ...
0
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1answer
33 views

I'm having trouble understanding why “go pear shaped” has the negative meaning

"Go pear shaped" (The plan isn't working / plan is going wrong) Might I trouble you for helping me to understand why/how "go pear shaped" has the meaning like that? Could it be British people ...
0
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1answer
31 views

Meaning of “twitching mass of humanity”

It was Quasimodo Sunday, one week after Easter. The child who had been left that day was being inspected by two old women. “How strange! What can it be?” “It can’t really be a child, Agnes. ...
1
vote
1answer
12 views

To the last degree-what is the meaning of this phrase?

This is the sentence from Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe": '... raisins, which were healthful and refreshing to the last degree. I guess what it could mean, but can anyone tell me the meaning of this ...
0
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1answer
10 views

Might I enquire of you what “cut toward” means?

I was about to run toward the goal so Mark could pass the ball to me, but he looked me off. So instead I fell back and let Jenny cut toward the goal. Mark passed to Jenny and she scored! Although ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

What's the meaning difference between “off John Does” and “of the John Does”?

This is from the movie "Meet John Doe" (1941) ("John does" means people like "John Doe") "Everybody is gonna cut himself a nice fat slash off John Does, eh?" But, another script says: "...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

'I'm about something' means

I watched the video 3.35 - 3.45 and they talked about, who should pay bill in date ? She said I'm broke if boy work somewhere he can pay I'm about equality. they explain that 'believe in something' ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

“to set a man framing titillating hypotheses”. What does it mean?

I am reading a book right now. I saw a phrase and I couldn't understand what it means. What does "to set a man framing titillating hypotheses" mean? (Emphasis below is mine) I can only see her ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

In a family of six(how many in all including you)

This is a useful phrase. Let's say you want to say that you are the eldest amongst your sibling. Then we include your parents. You say: I am the eldest in a family of six. When you say that, is ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

When to use “bugged out”?

Would someone please explain me in which context I'd use the phrasal verb bugged out? I've heard this expression once, but I couldn't understand its meaning as it seemed out of context.
2
votes
1answer
37 views

Replying “I'm sorry to hear that” when you're the one affected by bad news

When searching for the phrase "I'm sorry to hear that" I can only find examples of it being used as a way to express condolences to someone: Person A: “My goldfish died yesterday…” Person B: “...
3
votes
1answer
26 views

The meaning of “to make of” in Macmillan dictionary

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/make-of Macmillan Dictionary defines "to make of" as to use chances and opportunities in order to be successful. It also provides us two ...
0
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1answer
44 views

“You surprised me” and “You took me by surprise”

What's the difference in meaning between "You surprised me" and "You took me by surprise"?
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What does “on entering” mean?

You will then see three doors, which can be easily opened, for the keys are in all the locks. On entering the first of the chambers, to which these doors lead, you will see a large chest, standing in ...
2
votes
1answer
20 views

“made rather a business of…”

In twos and threes the rest of the group took their leave, too. Cho made rather a business of fastening the catch on her bag before leaving, her long dark curtain of hair swinging forwards to hide her ...
0
votes
1answer
10 views

Prepositional phrases vs participle phrases

After eating rice in the kitchen, I usually go to school. vs Eating rice in the kitchen, I usually go to school. In either sentence , After eating rice in the kitchen, eating rice in the kitchen, ...
0
votes
4answers
53 views

What does “walk off something” means?

I’m going for a long walk off a short pier I suppose this sentence means that the speaker is going to walk along a pier. Is "a walk off" here means a casual walk? Or maybe preposition "off" has a ...
0
votes
3answers
18 views

Meaning of “broke through the silence”

The night Esmeralda married Gringoire, Quasimodo had been the bell-ringer at Notre Dame for several years. This was thanks to his foster father, Claude Frollo. Quasimodo loved his job. He felt ...
0
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1answer
12 views

Factors of identification vs factors of being identified vs factors to be identified

Factors of identification vs Factors of being identified vs Factors to be identified Meanings of these three phrases, and uses of those with eaxample
0
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1answer
23 views

What does it mean by “in craftsmanship”

In an article about Bach, the author wrote: No one ever showed so many ingenious and unusual ideas as he in elaborate pieces such as ordinarily seem dry exercises in craftsmanship. I could ...
0
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2answers
19 views

Meaning of “this project” in this context

In 1482, Quasimodo was about 20 years old. Claude Frollo had turned 36. The priest was still involved in the education of his younger brother, Jehan. But this project had caused him bitterness....
1
vote
1answer
22 views

accomplish … with

"You've accomplished a lot with this city" I think it means "you have got a lot from the city - accomplished a better yourself." The translated subtitles says "The city has become better because of ...
4
votes
2answers
667 views

Meaning of “parish church cemetery”

Two years later, three men went to Montfaucon to dig up the corpse of Louis XI’s barber. The new king had recently granted the barber a pardon. His family was now allowed to bury him in his ...
0
votes
2answers
78 views

Can I replace “If so” with “that being said”?

Do you like eating? If so, how about cooking? Can I replace it with this: Do you like eating? That being said, how about cooking? I don't expect to be, but if so, I'll let you know. Can I replace ...
0
votes
1answer
14 views

“Each woven from the fabric of values” What it means?

Culture wears many different hats, each woven from the fabric of values. In the above sentence, "the pharase woven from the fabric of values" means what? What is its gramartical position? Thans in ...
3
votes
1answer
32 views

Meaning of “draw a bead”?

What does 'draw a bead' mean in the following extract? The fact of the matter for now is that the divergence and diversity among the languages is what we have to work with. When more is ...
2
votes
3answers
34 views

What does the phrase “in the current digital nomad haze” refer to?

the bold phrase refers to what? Graphic design is a challenging job that requires serious hardware and software. In the current digital nomad haze, laptop characteristics such as mobility and weight ...
-1
votes
1answer
23 views

What is “In a feature in 1964”?

A small article appeared outlining the strange disappearances of ships and planes. The area was given the name The Devil’s Sea. In a feature in 1964, Vincent Gaddis christened the area the Bermuda ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Meaning of “churches were places of sanctuary” [closed]

The crowd was thrilled. The clapping of 10,000 hands caused Quasimodo’s only eye to sparkle with joy. “Sanctuary! Sanctuary! ” the mob repeated. Esmeralda opened her eyes and looked at ...
1
vote
3answers
30 views

Is this a proper use of “get”?

Sara wanted to get her a present. Does this make sense? I think it should be "Sara wanted her to get a present." or "Sara wanted to give her a present."
1
vote
1answer
21 views

few indeed, yet too many

Other objects of vengeance, few indeed, yet too many, were found among the republican chiefs. The highlighted part, isn't it a nonsense? Few and many both seem to modify objects, I guess. The ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Meaning of “she didn't know what to think”

some weeks later, the door of Esmeralda’s cell cracked open. A shaft of blinding light entered from the world outside. Then the door closed again. A human form, holding a lantern, stood before ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Meaning of “within two months”

Led by the guards, Esmeralda hobbled back to the courtroom. Djali’s heartbroken bleating echoed her sorrow. “So, you’ve confessed!” the judge exclaimed. “Good! Within two months, you will be ...
0
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1answer
20 views

Meaning of “off” in this context

“Yes, yes! I deny it!” Esmeralda cried out. The judge sneered. “Then how do you explain the charges being made against you?” “I cannot explain them, sir. I only know that I am innocent. I love ...
22
votes
4answers
7k 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?
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Meaning of “while still very young”

Frollo himself had a very interesting history. From childhood, his parents had trained him for the priesthood. While still very young, he had been sent away to study. He learned to read Latin, ...
1
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2answers
26 views

Meaning of “Murder” in this context

Gringoire followed Esmeralda and Djali deeper and deeper into the maze of dark streets. Esmeralda looked over her shoulder a few times, suspicious that she was being followed. Suddenly, ...
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vote
3answers
89 views

What does it mean? “She is the last person who you would have down as a cheat.”

I have seen this sentence on a newspaper. It is about a case in which a husband is worried about his wife cheating on him...". Here is sentence: "...I love her so much. I honestly thought she was ...
1
vote
2answers
36 views

Which one is correct? “to ask someone for a date” or “to ask someone on a date”?

It is not easy to decide for a non-native speaker, so I want to ask which one is the right one: "To ask someone for a date" or "to ask someone on a date"? Or are both of them correct? Thanks
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Meaning of “curl” in the context below

A young female was dancing in an open space between the crowd and the fire. At first, Gringoire could not decide whether she was a human being, a fairy, or an angel. The golden-skinned girl ...
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vote
2answers
29 views

imagine (someone/something) as or to be

What is the difference between imagine someone/something as something and imagine someone/something to be something . Can I use them interchangeably? Examples : 1-I imagine him as a distinguished ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “to paraphrase half a dozen”?

What do you mean by saying that " the value of a string literal is not known until runtime"? I am paraphrasing half a dozen other comments posted across various answers. What does the phrase "to ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

“What in the name of Merlin are you doing?” meaning

"What in the name of Merlin are you doing?" said Ron, watching her as though fearful for her sanity. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix What does the sentence truly mean? Is "in the name ...