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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Meaning of a phrase in a sentence

I was reading a physics text where there was a sentence that goes like this, Motion is a combined property of the object under study and the observer. I couldn't understand the sentence at first so ...
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Does "The enemy had something to say about it" mean the city fell to the enemy?

This is from the movie Dunkirk's dialogue. The translator translates 'The enemy had something to say about it' into 'Calais fell to the enemy' in Korean. As I understand the phrase 'have something to ...
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Confuse for "activity"

An American posted a video on social media where he sings something incorrectly and in the description it said literally: "Sometimes, chat messages confuse me for singing." https://www....
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with all its pastures worn out

One of them, which was named Foxwood, was a large, neglected, old-fashioned farm, much overgrown by woodland, with all its pastures worn out and its hedges in a disgraceful condition. From Animal ...
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a damning observation

The Commons health select committee noted last December that “the number of young people receiving treatment has risen from just 25% to around 40% of those with a diagnosable condition pre-pandemic”. ...
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The meaning of the phrase in the quote

"Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it," said U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. What does this part mean "And the world is better for it"...
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"probable mental disorders" vs "mental disorders"

Rates of probable mental disorders among six- to 16-year-olds increased from 11.6%, or one in nine, in 2017 to 17.4%, or one in six. Can you please tell me what is the difference between mental ...
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community-based teams

Source: Evidence of UK’s child mental health crisis is stark and compelling (=The Guardian) The NHS is increasingly characterised by care gaps – the mismatch between needs and its ability to meet ...
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What does the phrase "two-wheeled rubber duckie" mean here"

What does the phrase "two-wheeled rubber duckie" mean in the following sentence from the description of the game Joe Danger Infinity: On a two-wheeled rubber duckie, you might be dressed as ...
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In 'You've got me there!', what does 'there' mean? [closed]

‘What’s the capital of Bulgaria?’ ‘You’ve got me there!’ In 'You've got me there!', what does 'there' mean? Dictionary you've got me there That is a question or problem to which I do not know the ...
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What does “up from” mean?

Almost one in three Americans in their mid-20's now fall into this group, up from one in five in late 1960's. What does "up from" mean? Is it even a phrase?
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The meaning of "Your self worth down"?

Would you please tell me what does "your self worth down" mean? Here's part of the context you know what we have created a void inside our mind, the dog big space, which we constantly try ...
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"doesn't just donate " is the same as "donates not just" [closed]

"She doesn't just donate money but is the type of person who visits orphanage" In that sentence "doesn't just donate but.."has the same meaning as "donates not just but...&...
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What does "as nearly as" means?

Could you please explain the phrase "as nearly as could be discerned" in the following passage? Suddenly Hewitt touched his companion's arm and pointed toward the window. A faint rustling ...
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How to understand the world "plain"?

Rough and gray as rock, I'm plain as plain can be. But hidden deep inside there's great beauty in me. What am I? What does "I'm plain as plain can be" mean? Does it mean the first plain is ...
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give out an award

This is from a webpage: The recipient gives a mini acceptance speech, and then they become the next person to give out an award. What does 'give out something' mean here. Does it mean 'to give ...
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What does "technocratic discretion" mean?

When reading the paper of (Binder 2021), I saw that: Central banks thus face pressure to use their technocratic discretion to do more to serve the people, and to be directly accountability to the ...
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What does "my vibe is" mean?

Chicago PD. There are 2 police officers in the scene, talking about a potential buy-bust, they are going to catch a gang dirty selling some sub-machine guns or Uzi in this case. A black guy is going ...
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Is "in resistance" like phrases "in trouble, in danger, in surprise, in grief"?

An incomplete sentence that I read in a dictionary: ...serving in resistance and partisan activities. Entry 2 of Partisan Does it mean: ...serving in resistance activivies and serving in partisan ...
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the meaning of the sentence following "but"

Reductions in overseas government expenditure took place, but reluctantly and more gradually than now seems desirable. I found the sentence after the word but hard to understand, is something omitted ...
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How to express the process of making communication more elegant?

I'm looking for a phrase that would express the act of reducing some convoluted idea into one that can be well understood to a layman or perhaps crafting a piece of media to make it express the ...
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deaths given definition

The "surplus" region of the Soviet Union was to be detached, its grain and other agricultural produce gathered and diverted to Germany. As discussed at the previous meeting in Berlin, the ...
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What does "data trail for transactions" mean?

Today when reading a working paper of Auer 2021 about CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), I found a sentence: Conversely, central banks in jurisdictions with a large informal (“shadow”) economy may ...
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What is the meaning of phrase " ever up"?

And then disappears ever up. What is the meaning of phrase "ever up"? From Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Is 'most often' synonymous with 'usually'?

I referred to a number of dictionaries to no avail. What does most often exactly mean? While efforts to prevent student violence are most often promoted following high-profile school shootings, they ...
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What does this "be failing" mean?

This is from TOEFL speaking TPO3: In my first year in high school, I was addicted to video games. I played them all the time, and I wasn't studying enough. I was failing chemistry. That was my hardest ...
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What is the difference between "compose of" and "composed with"?

More precisely, I want to understand "composed with us in mind" in the following passage. Roughly, I think that maybe "composed with us in mind" means "made by our mind"....
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"On the open down"?

I fail to comprehend the part in bold. The Invisible Man, Wells: He vanished behind a laburnum, and appeared again clambering a fence that abutted on the open down.
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Does a lack of something mean an absence or not enough?

The dictionary says that a lack of something means an absence or not enough of that thing. If that is the case then what should I assume in this type of contexts: a lack of recreational facilities a ...
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What does the phrase 'a high diversion shot' mean?

Context: Cops are trying to get a view on an offender, there is a sniper out there trying to see the offender that is inside the high rise building. A: Hailey (the sniper), I need you to get set for ...
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'tee off on someone' or 'tee off someone'

This is from the podcast Stuff You Should Know. Josh: Okay. So and they, that happened basically in real life. It was such a close resemblance to that I remember a reporter asking Bill Clinton like “...
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What does "sweat and exhaust" mean in this context?

I suppose exhaust is "exhaust gas", but what is "sweat"? Cars are neither sweating nor worrying. What is meant by that? Ben and I hit traffic. The stop and go of the freeway was ...
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what "bear out" mean in this context?

This is a part of an online article titled "Why do gamers like RGB Lights?" (RGB lights are the lights installed in gaming keyboards that illuminate the keys and make them visible in ...
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What does it mean for a clock to be "running late" or "running early"? [closed]

My understanding is that if a clock is running "2 minutes fast" or "2 minutes ahead", that means it displays 09:02 when the true time is 09:00, whereas if a clock is "2 ...
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'Take odds' meaning

When someone says 'I'll take these odds' I usually take it to mean something like 'I am confident I can overcome this challenge'. To be sure I went to ask google to see exactly how phrases with the ...
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How to describe to carry / move a kid

I wonder how a native would ask if someone could e.g. lift a baby out of a chair. First, I had the followings in mind (probably influenced by my own native language which is German): Could you get ...
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The meaning of "I was trying for the commission."

‘Do you think I’d keep on with this sewage job if it wasn’t for the pension?’ Loftie asked. He had followed research the more keenly since, at twenty-two, he had wrecked his own happiness. ‘Be free, ...
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Table equivalent of the word booth? [closed]

I was watching one TV show, and in one episode, the protoganist were having food at an establishment. They used the word booth to describe where they were sitting, instead of chair. I would like to ...
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What does the phrase "lock into" mean in this context?

The context is from the movie "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" One of the characters at the begging of the movie describes the drugs they bought for the trip to Las Vegas. DUKE: ...
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What does 'be overhead by' mean? [closed]

https://www.lexico.com/definition/barren ‘In Act Two the barren Lady Kix, lamenting her childless and unfruitful state, is overhead by Touchwood Senior.’ I couldn't find any 'overhead' meaning that ...
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Sounds nice/fine is the same as saying sounds good/great? [closed]

I'm in doubt if 'sounds nice/fine' it has the same meaning: 'used for telling someone that their idea or suggestion seems like a good one.' I know 'sounds good/great' it has. Examples: That sounds ...
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What does mean "to crack upon" in English? [closed]

Is this phrase correct? "This political movement was actively cracked upon by the secret services"
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What does this sentence "We smack them with a five-stack tax for the back end, that's 20 grand total" mean?

In a tv show there is this conversation about drug dealing The dialogues are: A: I'm talking about four bricks at a time 50 a pop. B: What's my take? A: We smack them with a five-stack tax for the ...
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Expressing hard work with idioms

Consider the situation where I am handling a project, and now my manager assigns me one more. So I want to express to him that it will be hard work. I am in software, so taking on two projects will ...
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meaning of 'a mark in one's favor'

This is from the podcast Stuff You Should Know: But in the early 2000s, America squandered a lot of its credibility, a lot of its legitimacy in adventurism like invading Iraq, unprovoked, illegally, ...
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1 vote
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What does 'with oil' mean here?

In an essay, the writer talks about a public relations team and writes, "they're the people who try to make sure everyone sees the corporation as the good guys. Even when they kill puppies. With ...
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the poster child for Covid-19 handling [closed]

Is "poster child" an approving term in the following? Does it mean more or less the same as "role model" here? ‘How quarantine keeps families apart’. New Zealand is the poster ...
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What does 'set melted sugar' mean?

Oxford dictionaries (at least the lexico.com version of them) have several definitions containing 'set melted sugar' in them: https://www.lexico.com/definition/brittle A brittle sweet made from nuts ...
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What's the meaning of 'in an essential way'?

I thought it meant something like 'necessarily', but there are plenty of other contexts where it has a different meaning, e.g. 'basically'. What does it mean?
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What does "Trying to get the most beads" mean?

The daughter has very low grades at university and her father reprimands her, the conversation goes like this: What are you doing down there in Louisiana anyway? Trying to get the most beads? Gross. ...
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