Skip to main content
23 votes
Accepted

knocked several people down -- what does this mean? (context provided)

The author is simply making a joke; the image is of Maurice rushing from computer to computer, knocking people down (perhaps unintentionally) because he's moving impossibly fast and is on an ...
ruakh's user avatar
  • 4,619
21 votes
Accepted

What are the "glass coffins"? What does "there's lights out, then there's lock up" mean here?

The songwriter is mixing mausoleum and prison metaphors. The "glass coffins" are the cases in which the (presumably) priceless violins are stored and (presumably) never played. The "living dead" ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
18 votes

Difficulties interpreting this complex sentence

Syntactically, the two phrases modify experts; semantically, they define the conditions under which James thought that experts should be granted authority. The experts should be well organized. The ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Difficulties interpreting this complex sentence

I think there are two things that are confusing you here. It's a long sentence, and the logic is convoluted. The first is the "arguing for the authority of experts" part. James had been a high ...
John Feltz's user avatar
  • 5,136
15 votes
Accepted

Help understanding a sentence from "The Screwtape Letters" by C. S. Lewis

You are misunderstanding the first part: Screwtape does not say that the Enemy will be more "defensive" but that the struggle will be carried on "terrain" where the Enemy is stronger. God (says ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
12 votes

knocked several people down -- what does this mean? (context provided)

It isn't an idiom per se, it is simply a comment that is not meant literally. Maurice was in a rush for the bus, as he spent too much time completing his other tasks. He probably didn't actually knock ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 2,717
10 votes

"When is a virtual function not?" -- I don't understand the phrasing

If written out in full, the title might be When is a virtual function not [a virtual function]. If a part of a sentence is repeated later in the sentence, it can be omitted, as long as the meaning ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 59.9k
9 votes
Accepted

students of the mind -- what exactly does that mean?

A student is someone who studies something. Now, usually, we think of students as being taught things by professors, but actually, anyone who does research can be called a student, in the sense that ...
oerkelens's user avatar
  • 25k
9 votes

How to overcome comprehending the words we don't know while listening

Being honest, I as a native speaker (seriously) rarely understand more than 50% of the lyrics the first time I listen to a song. What's more, I don't understand more than 80% of the lyrics of even my ...
MichaelChirico's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to overcome comprehending the words we don't know while listening

By the way I listen to rap musics because I believe they come handy while improving listening comprehension There's a strong tradition in rap music (and other popular music as well) of intentionally ...
LawrenceC's user avatar
  • 36.9k
7 votes
Accepted

How to understand this Joke?

It's a witty way of saying they have no money. Millionaires are people with at least a million dollars. He's saying that he has a million dollars less than a million dollars — so basically . . . ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
  • 7,351
6 votes
Accepted

Why did Constantinople get the works? -- what exactly does that mean?

The works is a colloquial expression meaning the entirety of something: a hamburger with the works, for instance, is a hamburger with all available condiments and relishes. To "get the works" is ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Gulping the Minimum Hardware Details -- I don't understand how the verb "gulp" is used here

I guess that gulp is being used in a figurative sense, much like digest in digesting the news. Here, gulp would mean to learn about it quickly, possibly in an easy manner. gulp : to take in ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
6 votes
Accepted

"When is a virtual function not?" -- I don't understand the phrasing

This play on words depends both upon the reader's acquaintance with the meaning of the phrase Virtual Function, and here upon the currency of that phrase in the jargon of a specialized audience. In ...
P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica's user avatar
6 votes

What are the "glass coffins"? What does "there's lights out, then there's lock up" mean here?

Simplistic interpretation here. It’s a museum and the violins are kept in display cases, forever (or until they’re taken off of display). Museums have opening hours, so there are "lights out" and "...
Pam's user avatar
  • 547
5 votes
Accepted

Do I fully understand the full meaning of this sentence?

In the first sentence, the meaning of "as" is closest to "since" or "because" or "for the reason that". You are correct in identifying the subject in the subordinate clause of the sentence. The word "...
Borges's user avatar
  • 506
5 votes

How to understand this Joke?

You need to understand a definition of shy: (foll by of) informal, mainly US and Canadian short (of)". So he was a million dollars short of a million dollars, meaning he had 0 dollars (he ...
user3169's user avatar
  • 31.2k
5 votes
Accepted

What does 'the party of visitors refer to in the article below?

The 'party of visitors' consists of two swans, four greylag geese and a gaggle of feral pigeons and gulls. The fact that they are animals (and, hence, cannot speak) is indicated by the clause 'if only ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

simple for us to go out -- what does that mean?

He kind of mumbles at that point, but it may be that he's saying It's charmingly simple for us to go on The phrase "to go on" would mean "to preceed with". I was hoping the closed captions would ...
Gabriel Luci's user avatar
  • 2,157
3 votes
Accepted

determination to fix the hitch in his giddy-up -- what does that all mean?

Giddyup!1 is a command typically directed at a horse or similar animal to encourage it to start moving. In a transferred sense it can be a prompt addressed at other people or even more simplified the ...
Stephie's user avatar
  • 14.3k
3 votes

Difficulties interpreting this complex sentence

All of that sentence after 1961 is describing the "technocracy". It's a list. A "Technocracy" is: Technocracy is an organizational structure or system of governance where decision-makers are ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 25.4k
3 votes

Difficulties interpreting this complex sentence

I agree this is a very confusing sentence. "Well-organized" could describe James, but "led" by itself is a weird adjective to use in this context. And then you get "with sufficient resources ..." a ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
3 votes
Accepted

How to interpret a statement having "if anything" in it

The phrase, "if anything", gives the option of choosing nothing. Tell me what we should do, if anything This can be reworded: "Tell me what we should do, unless we shouldn't do ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
2 votes
Accepted

Which of the following options is best suited for the given statement?

It depends how one defines "conclusion." If it means what is the "best" thing to take away (ie conclude) from the statement, then yes C is the best; here the conclusion is not part of the text. And D'...
Alan Carmack's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Meaning of each in following sentence

Neither. There's no way to tell how many failures there were as written. The original phrasing could mean that Y gave a reward for every one of 15 successes and no failures, or that Y gave a reward ...
Nathan Tuggy's user avatar
  • 9,514
2 votes
Accepted

as only one cog in the vast machine of effort involved, ... -- I don't understand that

He is a small cog in a big machine. There are many other cogs, but the machine is very big and he doesn't see or know all the other cogs. So because he is only a little cog he doesn't know exactly how ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

the best one for learning on -- I'm exactly not sure what "learning on" means here

"Learning on" here refers to the Arduino board as the instrumentality of learning. At the moment, I am using the Arduino board to learn on (I'm learning on the Arduino board).
Victor B.'s user avatar
  • 9,545
2 votes
Accepted

and out stamped this Alabama varsity -- what does that mean?

"At the end of the quarter, the earth started to tremble," sportswriter Everett Strupper wrote in the October 8, 1930, Atlanta Journal. “Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the ...
Mark Hubbard's user avatar
  • 4,376
2 votes
Accepted

Help me understand a joke - "Watch out for that first step. It's a doozy!"

The point of the joke is that the warning comes too late - the first person has already fallen before his friend tells him to watch out ("it's a doozy" simply means "it's a big one" or "it's a deep ...
John Bode's user avatar
  • 312
2 votes

Does not have or hasn't

The first sentence is technically grammatical, but it is archaic and not very idiomatic in Present-Day English, at least in the US. The second sentence is more common and natural. Both sentences have ...
Mohd Zulkanien Sarbini's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible