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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.

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1answer
26 views

Expert “in” or “on”?

I saw in a textbook, “He studied the slipperiness of banana peels. (...) He is an expert in medical science.” I have seen “expert on —-“ many times but this is the first time I saw “expert in —-“....
0
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1answer
41 views

What does “shut his ears in the oven door” mean in this context?

"Oh no, sir, no ... Dobby will have to punish himself most grievously for coming to see you, sir. Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven door for this. If they ever knew, sir --" I am not quite ...
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3answers
1k views

Is it OK to say: in a response to?

Suppose I am writing an email and I need a customer to send some information. I want to tell him to reply my email and send the data. Please send us the required information in a response to this ...
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2answers
86 views

The definition of “packed to the brim”

Some searching-result pages give me the prompt of “filled to the brim” but I don't think they share the same meaning. This phrase also occasionally appears on article from The New Yorker so I think it'...
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1answer
59 views

What does “the bottom had dropped out of his stomach” mean in this context?

A hundred and fifty points lost. That put Gryffindor in last place. In one night, they'd ruined any chance Gryffindor had had for the house cup. Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped out of his ...
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1answer
33 views

Is it possible to omit 'so' in 'so that' phrase?

This is a lyrics of an ccm song. This is amazing grace This is unfailing love That You would take my place That You would bear my cross You would lay down Your life That I would be set ...
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7answers
22k views

What does “rogue killers” mean?

US President Donald Trump has recently described the murder of a journalist in Saudi embassy in Turkey as being committed by "rogue killers". I first came across rogue in the context of rogue planets, ...
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1answer
35 views

“as of” has one or two meanings?

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1122940.shtml The police report has been read over 100,000 times as of press time. Most netizens said they appreciate the police's work and urged that Zheng be ...
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1answer
446 views

What does “put someone on his/her back” mean?

In the TV show House of cards, angry President Garry Walker finds out his vice president, Frank, has been betraying him possibly to replace him as president. Garry says to Frank: From this moment ...
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1answer
43 views

Help to understand “Making more noise than was wise”?

That third night he found his way more quickly than before. He was walking so fast he knew he was making more noise than was wise, but he didn't meet anyone. I don't understand the structure of "...
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2answers
28 views

damned thing will do me

While I’m reading The Martian, I may as well yell toward Earth for all the good that damned thing will do me. What is the meaning of “damned things will do me” here?
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1answer
30 views

The meaning of “a sick set of wheels!”

"That's a sick set of wheels!" I've heard it from someone and I'm wondering what the exact meaning is. I googled the phrase and all I found was a twitter status. I know that one of the meanings of "...
0
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1answer
32 views

How to understand “sat by the hour” in this sentence?

They sat by the hour eating anything they could spear on a toasting fork -- bread, English muffins, marshmallows -- and plotting ways of getting Malfoy expelled, which were fun to talk about even if ...
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4answers
242 views

Does “fastener” include “screw”?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "fastener" as follows: 1. A device, such as a clip, pin, or clasp, that attaches something firmly to something else. 2. A device, such as a seat belt, ...
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2answers
31 views

The meaning of the following sentence

Can anyone help me with these sentences? The middle classes jeer at the collier for buying pianos-but what is the piano, often as not, but a blind reaching after beauty? I don't understand what ...
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1answer
348 views

What does “better you than me” mean in this context?

Harry felt restless. He wanted Quidditch Through the Ages back, to take his mind off his nerves about tomorrow. Why should he be afraid of Snape? Getting up, he told Ron and Hermione he was going to ...
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1answer
20 views

What does “make your night a living hell” mean in this context?

Ortiz also accuses Lettman of illegally filming him and says, “So, I’m going to make sure, while you’re recording this, that you never have a job as a Lyft driver again.” When Lettman finally speaks, ...
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1answer
2k views

The immediate meaning of “The video is powerful”

If a native English speaker finds a piece of paper with "The video is very powerful" written on it, what will be his first possible interpretation of its meaning? Will it be like it's a phrase about ...
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3answers
55 views

What does “the house Quidditch teams” mean?

Malfoy certainly did talk about flying a lot. He complained loudly about first years never getting on the house Quidditch teams and told long, boastful stories that always seemed to end with him ...
0
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1answer
42 views

What does the phrase “A falling knife has no handle” mean?

I saw this commented on reddit, and I can't understand the phrase. Is it metaphorical or literal?
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1answer
36 views

Meaning of “By her example”

What is the meaning of the phrase in bold? Through her courage, and by her example, she helped lay a foundation that could live up to its creed. [Obama]
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2answers
63 views

What's the meaning of “cross any of our desks”?

So I saw this line from a TV drama (again) and couldn't understand it. Here is the line: But Michaela Stone remains a person of interest in the most perplexing investigation ever to cross any of ...
0
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1answer
38 views

Meaning of semi-friendly arrangement

In a book I'm reading there is the phrase "semi-friendly arrangement" that I don't fully understand. Here is the context He and I silently acknowledged each other, and although I wondered ...
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2answers
44 views

“Runes: Letters used for cutting” - Meaning of “used for”

I've read The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien in Spanish but trying to answer a question about a possible typo in another StackExchange forum, I've found this text in its English original preamble Runes ...
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1answer
43 views

If I dress awkwardly, then is it out of social context?

The general meaning of "out of context" I know is with the word 'take' i.e. when you take something out of context then it means that it has a chance of being misinterpreted. As my question says: If ...
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1answer
28 views

What does “loves birds and get moving” mean?

Why Learn This Stuff? 1.1 Every introduction to every language book seems to have this section. I don’t know what it is about programming languages that causes such existential doubt. I don’t ...
0
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1answer
97 views

What does the meaning of the sentence in bold?

As the day was pleasant, Madame Valmonde drove over to L'Abri to see Désirée and the baby. It made her laugh to think of Désirée with a baby. Why, it seemed but yesterday that Désirée was little ...
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2answers
45 views

Database is [nothing but] an organized form of data

I encountered a sentence Database is nothing but an organized form of data [...]. and got confused by the part "nothing but". What is it used for and what meaning does it convey here? How ...
0
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1answer
36 views

Sealed vs sealed off

Let's say you can't open a strawberry jam's jar, and you are describing it this way: The strawberry jam is sealed. Or The strawberry jam is sealed off. Which of them is expressed correctly?
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1answer
49 views

“study a book” VS “study out of(from) a book”

I'm not sure if 'study a book' is a correct phrasing. "Study out of a book" or "study from a book" looks more correct to me, and they mean to learn from a book. Will "study a book" mean the same ...
0
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1answer
28 views

Type of clause in these examples/usage

The character was intentionally designed to be very charismatic and articulate, his main source of fear being derived from his warped sense of reasoning. His features contort with obvious pain as he ...
0
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1answer
85 views

How to understand “fer cryin' out loud” in this context?

“Sorry?" barked Hagrid, turning to stare at the Dursleys, who shrank back into the shadows. "It's them as should be sorry! I knew yeh weren't gettin' yer letters but I never thought yeh wouldn't even ...
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1answer
34 views

What's the meaning of the phrase “take a swing out”?

Just take a swing out to Rockaway after work I saw this sentence in the movie The Flamingo Kid. What's the meaning of the phrase "take a swing out" here?
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1answer
34 views

What's the meaning of “ding on the head”?

I'm an English learner and I read this news below: Concussion? Oh, got a little ding on the head, no, no you can't play for the rest of the season. Our people are tough! Trump said. What's the ...
0
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1answer
42 views

What does “jumped at small noises” mean in this context?

Uncle Vernon stayed at home again. After burning all the letters, he got out a hammer and nails and boarded up the cracks around the front and back doors so no one could go out. He hummed "Tiptoe ...
0
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1answer
73 views

What's the grammatical explanation behind these sentence?

Please bear with me, I'm not a native speaker and I'm struggling with English. I wanted to ask about the bolded parts in the paragraph below. First, what's the grammatical explanation behind the ...
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3answers
53 views

Help to understand this sentence from the book Harry Potter

Only the photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed. Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-colored ...
0
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1answer
62 views

I don't get the meaning of the phrase in bold clearly?

At night he went home and there was Lucile - less like a flower, but still silent, fragrant, hopeful. He said to her: "you will never have anything more than you have now, Lucile, do you realize that?"...
0
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1answer
171 views

What does “long read” mean?

Meanwhile, Karen Pence "wouldn't so much as say hello to Trump," Michael Lewis, the author of "Moneyball" and "The Big Short," wrote in a Guardian long read based on several interviews with Trump ...
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1answer
49 views

to “freeze on” somebody

In Kate Bush's song Babooshka, we can hear these lines right before the second chorus: Uncanny how she Reminds him of his little lady Capacity to give him all he needs Just like his wife ...
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1answer
42 views

What does the phrase 'in the enterprise' mean?

I saw it in the title of a book. My guess would be "on an enterprise level", is that correct or does it convey something more than that? Edit: I can understand what an enterprise is, but why is it ...
0
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1answer
63 views

Which answer is right? I had a steady (job)?

The question below is from my homework. I had a steady_____ Career Job Work Profession I searched on the internet and I found it difficult to get the answer. I think job is ...
0
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2answers
62 views

What does “leagues away” mean?

https://www.webnovel.com/book/9795095706003005/26751507756023404/Seized-by-the-System/The-System-is-Fighting-for-Justice- Fang Ning’s height was comparable to his in a fight, but that body size ...
0
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2answers
49 views

Is this a misprint?

It's from a CNN report about the trade war. Here is the context: Driving Trump, according to aides, is a persistent aversion to appearing weak, even in the face of dire warnings and political ...
5
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1answer
664 views

What does “mother ship of close encounters” mean?

This is the opening monologue of The Cafe, Seinfeld's 24th episode. There's always that one location, one store location that's constantly changing hands. Everybody has this in their neighborhood, ...
2
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1answer
109 views

Is there any difference between “differ widely” and “differ dramatically”?

The phrases "differ widely" and "differ dramatically" are both translated to "very different" or "have great difference" in my learner's dictionary. It seems that "differ widely" means differences in ...
2
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2answers
108 views

What does “held an edge” mean in this context?

"It's an environment like nothing I've ever seen," said Democratic nominee Gretchen Whitmer, a former legislative leader, who has held an edge in state public opinion surveys. I think "held an edge" ...
2
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1answer
146 views

Which is correct “I work nights” or “I work at night”

I have learned that the correct form is "I work at night". Recently, I saw a movie and one of the characters mentioned "I work nights", Is there any difference between them? Or which one is correct?
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2answers
134 views

What does “a recent iteration” mean here?

I've been wondering what "a recent iteration" mean here in the following? I think the word "iteration" generally mean a repetition, a different form or version of something, and so on. I've been ...
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6answers
7k views

What does “Gringo Price” mean?

What does "Gringo Price" mean in the following context? "A lot of places will “Gringo Price” you. Remember those scammy repair places in the US? They exist in Portugal too." Source: How to Buy ...