Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [vocabulary]

This tag is for questions about a body of words. It should not be used to inquire about the definition of a specific word.

56
votes
17answers
16k views

What do you call the act of drinking a whole bottle of, say, water in one go?

What do you call the act of drinking a whole bottle of, say, water in one go? It doesn't have to be water.
38
votes
6answers
16k views

What is the brown cardboard covering coffee cups called in English?

I recently got into an awkward situation when I wasn't able to ask for a 'warmth protector thingy' in Starbucks, and wasn't accurately able to describe it, so could someone tell me what you would call ...
25
votes
2answers
242k views

Photo Vs. Picture Vs. Image : What is the difference between them?

Sometimes I hear people say 'Photos' and some time I hear them say 'Pictures'. In addition, I sometimes encounter the word 'Image'. In my understanding I feel that all of them are the same but I'm not ...
24
votes
6answers
7k views

What do you call the imprinted pattern left behind a car in mud?

What's the name for this ... chase? stria? groove? In Czech, we call it "stopa" - which literally translates as "footprint" but has a lot of other meanings as well so I can't really work out which of ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

The origin of 'feed' in 'line feed'

A line feed means moving one line forward. It's definition references feed. In summary,'feed' has three meanings Give food to. Supply with material or power. Cause to pass gradually and steadily, ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the believoisie mean?

Examples: Thankfully, though, Hitchens' score-settling asides to the believoisie don't take up the bulk of Mortality. It has something to do with a litany of grievances against the believoisie so ...
20
votes
3answers
15k views

Difference between “uptown”, “downtown” and “midtown”

I've noticed a frequent usage of the words uptown and downtown while watching movies made in the USA. Also the word midtown is seldom used. What is the difference between them? Is possible they can ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

What do native speakers think of word roots?

As the number of English vocabularies required by my English literature teacher is increasing, I am now confronting a great problem memorizing them in a short time. Simple words are okay to me, but it'...
18
votes
7answers
5k views

What do you call this thing? “bag”?

I always need this when I buy stuff from the market. So, I need to know the real name for it. I always call it "bag" but it seems that it is not the correct name.
16
votes
4answers
8k views

What does “scaredy” mean in 'Don't be a scaredy cat'?

Don't be a scaredy cat. What does scaredy mean in the given sentence? Can I use it singly or is it always paired with cat? Does it refer to someone who is a coward or is shy? That is, would it be ...
15
votes
2answers
7k views

“Mobile homes” in American and British English

I'm always getting these types of mobile homes mixed up. Could someone please explain the difference between the following? A mobile home. Is this any home that can be towed by a car? Is this ...
15
votes
3answers
800 views

A different concept of difficult English words

I’m interested in building up my English vocabulary, but whenever I look for “difficult English words” or “advanced vocabulary” I’m presented with a list of polysyllabic words such as: aberration, ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

Can I say “I was born in a place but bred in another place” instead of using “born and bred” in pair?

I am wondering If I tell people that I was born in Melbourne but bred in Sydney, will the people think that I am married and have many children in Sydney? Because when someone "breeds" then it ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Are body parts like thighs, hips etc. considered private parts too?

When we use the phrase 'private parts' do we refer to 'thighs' also or this phrase only refers to parts like urinary organ, hips, etc?
13
votes
7answers
545 views

“The notice reads” vs. “The notice recites”

To my US English ear, "The notice recites" sounds wrong. I think one recites poetry but the notice itself can't recite anything. I checked with Merriam Webster and it seems to back up my point of ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Meaning of “just” in “she just doesn't know…”

She just doesn‘t know how to bring up children. In the above sentence, what does just mean?
12
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the difference between “job” and “job opportunity”?

Currently, I am looking for a job. Or am I looking for a job opportunity? Or is the hiring company having a job opportunity for people like me? Can I use "I am looking for a job/job opportunity" ...
12
votes
3answers
926 views

Broken patches on a road

Are the broken patches on the road called holes? If not, then what do we call them? What exactly a hole is? One that is from one surface to another?
12
votes
2answers
523 views

Meaning of 'earth'

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Does “legal poaching” exist?

I heard the illegal poaching being uttered so many times in a TV show, about animals, that my ear of a non-native speaker, made me questioning the validity of the term. I have made some Ngram ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “hunch” the right word for this situation?

When I was leaving home for a language learning center, something inside my mind was trying to tell me to walk instead of taking a bus or I would be late for the class. I might be too tired to walk ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between the verbs “put on” and “wear”?

I ... my new shoes at the party. Which option is appropriate to complete that sentence: wore put on was wearing was putting on
11
votes
5answers
29k views

Informatics vs. Computer Science

In French, we use the term informatique for computer science, as the latter can be seen as the science that studies the treatment of information. Is informatics a synonym for computer science? If not, ...
10
votes
8answers
3k views

Grey hair or white hair

In my region is it usual that we say 'white' for hair which is not black or brown anymore as the age passes. But I've recently come to know that the word 'grey' can also be used instead of 'white'. ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What do you call in English for the words like this 'rotor'?

Consider the word rotor. Whichever way you read it, from left to right or from right to left, you get the same word. Is there any specific word for words like this?
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “stove element” a common name for this object?

I read in a book it's called a oven stove element, and I used this word. But it might sound formal, is there another more common name for it? If not, what else is it called?
9
votes
4answers
29k views

What is the difference between “within” and “inside”?

Here is the definition of the word within from Oxford Dictionary: inside (something) So does that mean the two words have no difference, and can be used exchangingly? Is there any connotation that ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the taste of an unripened date or plum?

What do you call that sensation that you feel when you eat raw diospyros? IO don’t know the actual name. It also happens when you try to eat banana peel and you get that sensation in your mouth. What’...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

If something happened again, did it recur or reoccur?

This video (from 8 min.53 sec.) shows that the verb recur is often pronounced as reoccur, and the host of the show explains this as a case of a mispronunciation: there's no such word as "reoccur" and ...
9
votes
2answers
25k views

get to know VS. come to know

Would you please tell me if the following mean the same? if so, which one do native speakers use more? Get to know VS. come to know I am sure there is some subtle difference between these. I am ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a candy or chocolate bar packaging informally called?

Many a time I wanted to ask my daughter to pick up the "package" left on the ground after eating her Snickers. How would you say so in everyday English?
9
votes
3answers
11k views

What does ‘nah’ mean?

Harry was turning over the wizard coins and looking at them. He had just thought of something that made him feel as though the happy balloon inside him had got a puncture. "Um –– Hagrid?" &...
9
votes
1answer
40k views

What is the difference between “it seems” and “it looks like”?

Many times while I talked to others or wrote some text messages I got confusion about which phrase I should use to express the actual meaning of the words It seems . . . and It looks like . ....
9
votes
1answer
621 views

What is the meaning of 'furled' in “The smoke furled dreamily from its navy blue nostrils”?

The smoke furled dreamily from its navy blue nostrils and wafted gently into the evening, almost indistinguishable from the exhaust fumes of the cars below it. I'm unsure what the meaning of ...
8
votes
5answers
16k views

“puked” vs. “vomited”

You puked a lot last night. You vomited a lot last night. Which verb is more suitable for stating that a baby vomited milk?
8
votes
4answers
2k views

I need some new “clothes” for the summer

“I need some new clothes for the summer.” (Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s) If the word, clothes, is plural, don’t you include a skirt into the clothes category? Can the speaker have in his mind for ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the opposite of Turbulent flow of water

Water that is not flowing could be described as 'calm' or 'still'. How would you describe water that is flowing rapidly, but is not turbulent? (i.e. the flowing water is transparent, not white or ...
8
votes
4answers
39k views

shore, shoreline, beach, coast, coastline

I have browsed the Internet several times, and eventually, I failed to learn what is the difference exactly between those. It would be appreciated, if someone please through a marked or signed ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What could be a nice word to use in the title of my presentation slide which represents failures?

Background: I have done a scientific project as a part of my graduation program and now I want to present my work through presentation slides. There were some techniques which didn't work and meant I ...
8
votes
5answers
270 views

How does a word become an English word? Is there a word for that?

How to term those words which are not by default English but are added over time? Consider for example Google. Is it an English word now? Or is it just a usage?
8
votes
3answers
28k views

What do you call the guy who parks cars?

What is the official name of the guy in the restaurant who takes the car from the customers and then returns the cars back to them when they finish visiting the restaurant? "parking guy"?
8
votes
4answers
14k views

'to annoy' and 'to bother': are they synonyms?

I was wondering if to annoy and to bother are synonyms, or if there could be a difference in meaning.
8
votes
4answers
47k views

Difference between “lady” and “woman”?

Are there differences between "lady" and "woman" ? Google say lady is a polite social woman. But we don't use them just as this. Do we? English isn't my native language so I am better clarifying ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between “electric”, “electrical”, and “electronic”?

Looking at all the adjective forms, I wonder what is the differences between "electric", "electrical", and "electronic"? I get so confused and want to know the usage.
8
votes
2answers
27k views

What we can use “there” or “over there” [closed]

When we can use word "there" and when "over there"? I could not find the answer in the dictionary.Thanks
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What is meant by the expression “Jazz pants”?

I just watched a show, and there were competitors arguing with each others then one of them said "Are you happy with it now?" and then the woman said "Jazz pants!" I don't really know the name of ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

What are these flying things called in English?

I saw something flying today. What should I call it in English?
7
votes
2answers
39k views

butt, bottom, buttock and ass?

A woman's butt was allegedly touched by a man several times during a commute on the MRT. How to use butt, bottom, buttock and ass? I am confusing with these words.
7
votes
1answer
380 views

Is it correct to use the word “amputate” instead of “remove”, in this sentence?

I have read some news that some patient who suffered from some kind of cancer have to undergo some surgery. Usually, the doctor would remove the infected organ from the patient's body. Is it correct ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How to learn a word which has several meanings, maybe more than ten?

The words which have a single or few meanings are easily understood and learned. But how can I learn a word which has several meanings, maybe more than ten? For example, pitch, present, stick, etc. ...