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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
2answers
2k views

How to read this symbol, a', in English?

While reading a English Syntax book, I wondered how I have to read a', a'', a''' in English. Would you tell me how to?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What does drop a stitch mean?

“But they’re such fierce competition for university places they can’t afford to drop a stitch, can they?” (BBC Radio Drama, The Archers) (1) What does the highlighted part mean? (2) Is university ...
0
votes
2answers
707 views

What do these duel terms mean?

[Harry said] "You're a lot braver now that you're back on the ground and you've got your little friends with you," said Harry coolly. There was of course nothing at all little about Crabbe and ...
2
votes
2answers
79 views

Can holes be the object of burning?

Neville had somehow managed to melt Seamus's cauldron into a twisted blob, and their potion was seeping across the stone floor, burning holes in people's shoes. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's ...
6
votes
1answer
304 views

Can I call this a footrest?

This question was originally two questions, and has now been split. The other part of the question can be found here It is a thing that is attached to a desk and onto which we can place our feet. Can ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

Meaning of “bolting down”

It’s a matter of preparation — bolting down your water heater before an earthquake or actually reading the in-flight safety card before takeoff — but also of mental conditioning. In the above ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Using “lay-by” as verb for buying goods

lay by, 1 : to lay aside : discard, 2 : to store for future use : save, 3 : to cultivate (as corn) for the last time (Merriam Webster) Considering that Merriam Webster's definition of "lay-by" as a ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Should I call it a pedestrian overpass or pedestrian footbridge?

It's a bridge that allows people to cross a road. How can I call it? Can it be a pedestrian overpass or pedestrian footbridge?
4
votes
3answers
243 views

Why are they catcalling for their lovely new member?

"Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Ravenclaw too, but "Brown, Lavender" became the first new Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers; Harry could see Ron's twin brothers ...
7
votes
1answer
862 views

Is there a standard dictionary to use for vocabulary?

I have come across many kinds of English dictionaries like Oxford, Cambridge, Collins and other similar ones which are commonly used. Suppose I wanted to look for a word, apparently each of them gives ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

Is this 'there' a deictic or does it mean 'at that point'?

He turned back to Harry. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." He ...
0
votes
1answer
385 views

Stress in insight vs. incite

Wikipedia says: the English words insight and incite are distinguished in pronunciation only by the fact that the stress falls on the first syllable in the former and on the second syllable in the ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the word “geek”? [closed]

I know some meanings of this word but I want to know what it means in detail. Can anyone tell me?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What does “dear” mean in this sentence?

"Oh, Mom, can I go on the train and see him [Harry Potter], Mom, eh please...." "You've already seen him, Ginny, and the poor boy isn't something you goggle at in a zoo. Is he really, Fred? How do ...
4
votes
1answer
414 views

What is a heavy run?

He pushed his trolley around and stared at the barrier. It looked very solid. He started to walk toward it. People jostled him on their way to platforms nine and ten. Harry walked more quickly. ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

What does 'ask for' mean in this case?

He stopped a passing guard, but didn't dare mention platform nine and three-quarters. The guard had never heard of Hogwarts and when Harry couldn't even tell him what part of the country it was in,...
4
votes
3answers
277 views

What does guard mean in this situation?

He [Harry] stopped a passing guard, but didn't dare mention platform nine and three-quarters. The guard had never heard of Hogwarts and when Harry couldn't even tell him what part of the country ...
1
vote
2answers
616 views

What 'nitty gritty' means in this context exactly?

I understand 'nitty gritty' is something specific; the essential thing. Is it also applied in these following lines? "correcting the average amount of errors that I am presented with is too nitty ...
1
vote
2answers
161 views

What phrase would a native speaker say instead of “drill bit”?

When I tried to say drill bit before I knew the word bit, I used a phrase analogous to the one used in my mother language ("head(er) of the drill") which wasn't understood at all by the listeners. ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

What’s the meaning of ‘five deep’?

Again at eight o’clock, when the dark lanes of the Forties were lined five deep with throbbing taxi-cabs, bound for the theratre district, I felt a sinking in my heart. (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The ...
1
vote
4answers
160 views

Can prickle have the inanimate experiencer?

(Harry and Hagrid had entered in a wand shop) For some reason, the back of his neck prickled. The very dust and silence in here seemed to tingle with some secret magic. (Harry Potter and the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“raw sewage” vs. “raw sewerage”

In addition, sewage treatment plants in Baghdad were so badly damaged during or after the war that no raw sewerage is being treated. (The New York Times) After having searched for on some online ...
9
votes
1answer
649 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
407 views

basic vocabulary list [closed]

A long time ago, when I was in school they told me that basic vocabulary has 2000 words. I'm not sure about the number but I'm very interested about the list. Do you have any idea where can I find a ...
8
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. ...
2
votes
3answers
127 views

meaning of ‘calculated' in this context

He comes in last: I am not looking at the arch, yet I see him enter. I try to concentrate my attention on those netting-needles, on the meshes of the purse I am forming—I wish to think only of the ...
16
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
549 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I “fix” clothes?

Can I use fix for talking about clothes? For example : My mother fixed the hole in my jeans. Or is there a better verb I should use?
15
votes
3answers
807 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, ...
6
votes
8answers
16k views

How many vocabulary words should I learn every day? [closed]

I am trying to learn new words but pronunciation is difficult. I try to learn new words, but by the next morning I have forgotten what they were and I have to start over again. How many new words ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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?
3
votes
2answers
79 views

Is “has the idea” used appropriately in this sentence?

"Unto" usually has the idea of something being presented or given to someone/something. When I read the sentence above I noticed that the writer, a native of English language, used has in a way that ...
3
votes
1answer
743 views

Meaning of “bombastic” nowadays

Wiktionary's defintions of "bombastic" are: adj. of a person, their language or writing Pompous or overly wordy. adj. High-sounding but with little meaning. adj. archaic Inflated, overfilled. "They ...
5
votes
2answers
531 views

Using the plural of “antenna” in figurative sense

PBS Scrutiny Raises Political Antennas http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8067-2005Apr21.html Yes, this is a headline, so may be that it is not entirely representative of "standard" ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

When a door is widely open, what words do we use?

When a door is opened partly it seems correct to choose the word "ajar". If the door is widely open, which words are correct to use? For example, can "broad" be used?
6
votes
1answer
655 views

How many words do I know

People are sometimes asked how many English words they know, and I'm also curious about the size of my own vocabulary. One way perhaps is to look at a list of the most frequently used 5000 or 8000 ...
3
votes
4answers
9k views

How to memorize 5500 English words within the shortest time?

I am considering to appear for GRE. For this purpose, I have bought a vocabulary book containing 5500 words. It must be mentioned that I work 12 hours per day and thus I have limited free time. My ...
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?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What do I call these things in English?

I use them quite often but I'm not sure what to call them. Their pictures appear in these links. http://www.123rf.com/photo_11282557_plastic-water-spray-bottle-isolated-on-white.html http://...
5
votes
0answers
1k views

Card game vocabulary [closed]

I am building an online version of the game of Set, and I want to get my vocabulary straight. So far, the words I have are "card", "deck", "(card) feature", "set", "player" and "dealer". I am missing ...

1
21 22 23 24
25