Questions tagged [word-meaning]

For questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the meaning of a single word. It is best to include details about where you found the word, and any definitions that you have found that don't make sense, or don't fully answer your question.

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94 votes
11 answers
344k views

What is the difference between “nope” and “no”?

What is the difference caused by using “nope” instead of ”no”? Is it used because “nope” sounds better and not straight like “no”? In some situations, it feels like nope is better to use than no even ...
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  • 1,051
54 votes
6 answers
39k views

When a girl mentions her girlfriend, does she mean it like lesbian girlfriend?

I have a classmate and sometimes she says something like "I told my girlfriend that she has to blah blah". Does this wording imply a lesbian relationship, or is she referring to a her best friend (a ...
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  • 1,423
54 votes
3 answers
12k views

Meaning of 'sesquiannual'?

I saw a new comic on xkcd http://xkcd.com/1602/ and understand that I don't get to go to the linguistics club. I Googled the word 'sesquiannual' and some say that it means it 'happens every one and ...
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52 votes
2 answers
6k views

The college in 'Electoral College'

By college, I understand as a school or a university. How to make sense of the College in the term 'Electoral College'?
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  • 785
52 votes
7 answers
13k views

Why are nice picture/gif/video about foo called "foo-porn"?

I was browsing Reddit and I discovered many subreddits named after foo-porn, to name just a few: /r/EarthPorn /r/FoodPorn /r/Map_Porn /r/ruralporn /r/shockwaveporn /r/SkyPorn /r/unixporn It seems ...
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  • 1,209
49 votes
9 answers
18k views

Can I say "fingers" when referring to toes?

In my native language, there is no word for toes. You just use the same word for both toes and fingers. In this context, I would say a human has 20 fingers. Recently I've heard someone saying a ...
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  • 593
49 votes
6 answers
25k views

Meaning of "Sue me"

I came across a dialog between two people struggling on a cutting the line situation. Here is the dialogue: A: Hey man, the end of the line is over there. B: Yeah... A: No seriously, I was here ...
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46 votes
12 answers
11k views

Agnostic vs Atheist

Every time l look up the meanings of the two words agnostic and atheist in the dictionary l become more confused. For me, both refer to someone who doesn’t believe in God. Is there a simple, ...
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  • 780
43 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is mom-pkin?

My bae asked me about the meaning of mom-pkin in the book she's reading. I'm stunned and google searching produced but acronyms and chemical stuff. The full sentence is as follows. She still had ...
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43 votes
4 answers
9k views

Do native speakers still use "ought to"?

Do native speakers still use "ought to" in daily conversation? I haven't seen "ought to" used on any social or news ... websites. I only read about it in English grammar books. Ngram: Trends: ...
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  • 4,450
39 votes
5 answers
68k views

Is Let us = Let's?

Many times I heard these words interchangeably. I want to know if "Let's" and "Let us" are used for the same meaning. I think (for me): "Let us" is word used for requesting. Like Let us do something ...
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  • 1,172
37 votes
5 answers
4k views

What does "have a pop-up feel" mean?

Support for the Rohingya cause across the region has a pop-up feel. Source: Nouzie I looked up pop-up in Merriam Webster: 1: pop fly 2: a component or device that pops up 3: a pop-up ...
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  • 379
34 votes
5 answers
7k views

What does "chrome" mean besides the metal?

I have trouble understanding the following sentence from lwn.net Because the nightly builds are not full browsers, the interface leaves out most of the traditional browser chrome. I know there's a ...
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  • 443
34 votes
4 answers
6k views

What is the difference between feet and very feet?

Here for the past 40,000 years, a deep fissure in the Earth's crust has allowed oily tar and methane to bubble up to the surface from far underground, evidence of the ceaseless activity below our ...
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  • 459
31 votes
5 answers
10k views

What does "Scary-lookin' fing, inee" mean?

... Harry had never met a vampire, but he had seen pictures of them in his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one. 'Scary-lookin' fing, ...
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30 votes
3 answers
5k views

Are some offensive words always masculine?

I have an interesting question which has got me thinking lately. You see, there are some nouns that I have always seen be used as masculine such as the words "fucker" and "motherfucker" (which I am ...
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28 votes
2 answers
12k views

Meaning of the "On guard!" exclamation

I recently watched the very epic ending of the Shrek 2, and when the cat draws his rapier, he shouts "On guard!" to the castle guardians. I perfectly understand the meaning from the context, but was ...
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26 votes
5 answers
9k views

What's the difference between "vanilla" and "plain" when talking about yogurts?

Merriam Webster explains vanilla (when used as an adjective) as: lacking distinction : plain, ordinary, conventional It's not obvious why vanilla has such a meaning, and why plain is listed as its ...
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  • 967
26 votes
10 answers
11k views

What does "meat" mean?

I asked my friend what he was cooking and he replied, "I am cooking meat." I asked "what meat?" He said, "dude, meat. Don't you know meat?" I asked him again in a more clear way, "Yes, but what meat? ...
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26 votes
7 answers
7k views

Should "cooking" and "cleaning" be taken literally in "...two men at once. One cooking. One cleaning."

Just read a tweet, My fantasy is having two men at once. One cooking. One cleaning. Is it a word play in which 'cleaning' refers to a sexual intercourse or, actually, 'cleaning' is there intended ...
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26 votes
4 answers
222k views

"Hi there!" -- What does this 'there' mean?

There's this particular interjection-like usage of there that I think belongs to the spoken register and maybe doesn't refer to anything; as in: Hi there! You alright there? Why is it ...
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  • 1,878
25 votes
4 answers
14k views

The meaning of "half woman, half girl"

"It was the same mirror I'd gazed into as a child, then as a girl, then as a youth, half woman, half girl." Educated by Tara Westover What does "half woman" mean? (For example: A ...
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  • 5,118
25 votes
8 answers
97k views

'Out of curiosity' means I'm not curious at all. Isn't it?

I was reading some other forum and came across the debate on 'curious' word. The senior member responds telling all of below mentioned sentences mean the same thing. Just for curiosity´s sake, ........
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  • 64.8k
25 votes
5 answers
15k views

Is it good to call someone "Nerd"?

My friends always use "nerd" to describe an intelligent person, but when I searched its meaning online, I found that it's not really a good word. "A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social ...
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24 votes
12 answers
22k views

Stuck writing a sentence because tea is a 'beverage' and water is not!

I am writing an article on tea. I want to say that... Tea is the most consumed _____________ after water. The problem is tea is a beverage but water is not. So, if I come up with this sentence, ...
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  • 64.8k
24 votes
6 answers
3k views

Day vs 24h day?

In Russian (my native language) there are two words - "день" and "сутки". First means day, just a day, probably lightest part of it, second - 24 hours from 00:00 to 00:00. There is a strict difference ...
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  • 351
24 votes
3 answers
5k views

What is the meaning of "stool” in the context of getting a job?

A biography of David Hume says David Hume left the University of Edinburgh around 1733. Hume chose the job as a stool in a merchant's office in Bristol. What is a stool?
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24 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does "cap" mean in this football (soccer) context?

What does "cap" mean in this football (soccer) context? GOAL! Liverpool 1-4 Man City (Foden 83) Phil Foden caps a majestic second-half performance with a blistering goal! This can't be ...
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  • 529
24 votes
2 answers
2k views

Any chances "spell" means "pronounce"?

Inspired by this question of mine and that @BenKovitz suggested that I should ask a new question, I attempt to do so. Here goes: The Persian Wikipedia (Persian: ویکی‌پدیا، دانشنامهٔ آزاد‎ Vikipedia,...
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  • 7,357
23 votes
8 answers
13k views

What is the word meaning people who sell something in forceful way on the street or places?

What is the word meaning people who sell something in forceful way on the street or places? For example, a guy put a flower into my pocket and asked to pay for it. I wonder I can say street seller. ...
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  • 924
23 votes
4 answers
14k views

What does 'aye' mean in this context?

So, I'm actually a native American English speaker, but I can't figure out what 'aye' could mean in this song. "At the sad decree...they'll depart for aye", "for alas I'm doomed...for ...
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  • 343
22 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does "secular" mean in "secular ... shifts in investor behavior"?

Han, 2021, said that For example, the model suggests that a shift in the social acceptability of talking about one’s successes,or of discussing personal investments more generally, can have large ...
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22 votes
4 answers
9k views

How do we read "1906" in this text?

The 1906 Federal Food and Drugs Act was one of the first laws enacted to stop the sale of inaccurately labeled drugs. 19 O six ?
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  • 5,119
21 votes
4 answers
26k views

How is "better off" different from just "better"?

By definition of Cambridge Dictionaries Online The word 'better' means comparative of good: of a higher quality or more enjoyable than someone or something else By most dictionaries, better off ...
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21 votes
1 answer
5k views

What's the meaning of "shaves" in "Jesus saves, Bart shaves"?

I was watching an episode of The Simpsons, Bart was playing basketball for Springfield and winning all games. Then Fat Tony bribes him to lose the game. When Bart loses and everybody finds out about ...
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20 votes
5 answers
12k views

Why do the British use the word "flipping" for emphasis?

In the English (British) TV drama, Coronation Street, the word "flipping" is often used to stress a situation, so much so that it feels like a swear word to me to some degree: I've got a flipping ...
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  • 2,122
20 votes
3 answers
11k views

What does 'sus' mean in the sentence "People who joined Facebook after 2017 are sus."?

I saw a tweet: People who joined Facebook after 2017 are sus. What does this word "sus" mean in this sentence?
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  • 1,949
20 votes
2 answers
1k views

in/at one fell swoop(=at one time) What's fell here?

in/at one fell swoop (=with a single action or movement, all at the same time) What's fell here? I think 'swoop' is a noun and if it should be modified, then 'past participle' or adjective should do ...
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  • 2,621
20 votes
2 answers
1k views

soft as <down underneath>: why not underneath only?

My earliest childhood memory is of the swaying limbs of Golden Delicious apple trees. Rows of them stood next to a dirt road that separated our orchard from the front yard. The Kentucky ...
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  • 5,838
20 votes
3 answers
21k views

What is the difference between "thanks" and "thank you"?

Is it about the person's age or the extent of my knowledge of the person?
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20 votes
5 answers
17k views

Does word "someone" refer to both an animal and a human being or only human being?

The word someone is used for human beings but I am having a hard time understanding if it is also used for animals!
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19 votes
4 answers
3k views

How often do native speakers use the word "to scathe"? Is it OK if I use it instead of "to injure"?

The word "to scathe" is the synonym of the word "to harm" or "to injure". However, I have never noticed how somebody uses it. Is it OK to occasionally use it instead of &...
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  • 201
19 votes
5 answers
8k views

Why does this documentation use "or" instead of "="?

I'm reading some Perl documentation. I noticed that "=" is not expressed as "equals" but as "or". For example: Perl provides the typical ordinary addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division ...
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  • 353
19 votes
5 answers
10k views

What is the meaning of "check out" in a programming context?

I am working with some version control software. One of the things you can do with this software is to "check out a version" of a program's code. This is the exact phrasing: "Check-out a branch (of ...
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  • 301
19 votes
7 answers
23k 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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  • 3,804
19 votes
8 answers
7k views

What does "the proverbial middle finger" mean?

I read the following line on a certain book: We've given the proverbial middle finger to the society I know that proverbial means something to do with a proverb. But, how the middle finger has ...
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  • 340
18 votes
5 answers
5k views

Meaning of 'pound' in "felt a fury that was not his own pound through his body"

Harry had given a cry of pain; his scar had burned again as something flashed across his mind like a bright light on water. He saw a large shadow and felt a fury that was not his own pound through his ...
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  • 12.5k
18 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is the root word of "Refactoring"?

"Code refactoring" is an expression widely used in programming communities and is used to describe the work of changing or rewriting the program code without changing the code results. What is the ...
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  • 283
18 votes
1 answer
5k views

Help me understand the word "Doggo" in this image

I study English, I like it very much. Help to figure out. "Doggo" it is not clear in the context. Please explain how a native English speaker understand this phrase. Maybe we can replace the ...
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18 votes
5 answers
32k views

differences between dependence and dependency

In Merriam-Webster learner's dictionary, "dependence" is defined as "the state of being dependent" and dependency as "the quality of being dependent; dependence". ...
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