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40 votes
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Does a code snippet compile? Or does it get compiled?

Both usages are now valid. It is possible for a verb to develop meanings and, in particular, it can develop an intransitive sense from a transitive one. If you went back and talked to people in the ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
24 votes

The meaning of straight jacket

The traditional spelling is straitjacket. It is a garment that has long sleeves that can be tied securely behind the back, preventing the person wearing the straitjacket from using their hands. It ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
23 votes
Accepted

What does "teleport anywhere in the world" mean?

I would understand it as teleport to anywhere in the world. In context, it might also imply from anywhere, but that's a pragmatic conclusion, not part of the meaning. Compare the verb ship: "We ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
22 votes

Does "an oil painting" have some slang meaning?

This is a cliche remark of a stand-up comedian facing an unresponsive audience. The idea is that from his point of view on stage an audience sitting motionless and silent in the dark are hard to ...
Chaim's user avatar
  • 1,510
21 votes

What does "to pump a shotgun" mean?

It comes from a pump action shotgun or rifle. A pump-action rifle or shotgun is one in which the handgrip can be pumped back and forth in order to eject a spent round of ammunition and to chamber a ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
17 votes

If we can say "roomy jackets", can we say "a roomy shirt"?

roomy clothes is a well-attested collocation in both British and American English. Check Google Books for details. I like a really roomy shirt. I hate feeling constricted. Here's a pattern for a ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
14 votes

What does "ellipses in thought" mean?

An ellipsis is an omission, a missing piece from something that is usually implied by the context. Ellipses is the plural of ellipsis. In writing we mark an ellipsis by three dots in a row "..." ...
Andrew's user avatar
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14 votes
Accepted

How to interpret "with _of_ before the thing communicated"?

The word "of" is in italics in the original. The phrase you highlighted, more properly formatted as "with of before the thing communicated", means that the word "advise" is accompanied by the word "...
Lawrence's user avatar
  • 6,001
14 votes

If a legatee receives a legacy, what is the legacy giver called? Maybe legateer?

The legal term here is... testator - a person who dies leaving a will or testament in force ...but you'd rarely hear that in normal conversational contexts. Ordinary people don't have a word for &...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
13 votes

What does "to pump a shotgun" mean?

Pumping a shotgun means to reload. The action of pumping discards the spent shell and loads a new one in the chamber. Yes, there is a difference as shotguns don't have bullets to pump. It's ...
DTRT's user avatar
  • 5,059
13 votes

What words of endearment may I use for describing a misbehaving child?

This is enormously family dependent, and rapidly changing. Words like "scamp" or "rapscallion" or "scalliwag" now seem rather dated. "Cheeky monkey" seemed ...
James K's user avatar
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12 votes
Accepted

What does "to pump a shotgun" mean?

Some of the other answers are pretty close, but still not quite right. Pumping a shotgun doesn't reload it, and it does more than eject the spent shell casing. When you pump a pump-action shotgun, you ...
thomij's user avatar
  • 236
12 votes
Accepted

What is the exact definition of "ethical" in phrases like "ethical clothes"?

"Ethical" in the given examples does not really refer to the quality of the clothing. It refers to how the clothing is produced. In the given phrases, "ethical" roughly means "morally correct". It ...
Em.'s user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Does "an oil painting" have some slang meaning?

This is certainly not the normal usage of the expression an oil painting which, as you say, is normally only used in the negative- "she's no oil painting"- about somebody who is not particularly ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 60k
11 votes
Accepted

What does "get someone off the board" mean?

It's a gaming metaphor. When you "take" a piece in a game like chess, you physically remove it from the chess board. In the same way "get X off the board" means to remove X from the game, or from ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
11 votes

If we can say "roomy jackets", can we say "a roomy shirt"?

It's not unnatural as a rule, but it might be unnatural in context, and there may be a better word: a "baggy shirt", an "oversize shirt", even "comfy shirt" might carry ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
9 votes
Accepted

What do we call "a person who blames others for things they didn't do"?

There is a related word, scapegoat, which means: scapegoat (noun) A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency. From this word, ...
J.R.'s user avatar
  • 110k
8 votes
Accepted

When to use combinate vs when to use combination?

That's the definition as a noun. ( I mixed vinegar and baking soda. The resulting combinate was delicious! ) This is less common than combination, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it, especially ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 8,220
7 votes
Accepted

What does "desert island band" mean?

This probably has to do with the idea of a deserted island. A desert island, deserted island or uninhabited island is an island that is not populated by humans. Uninhabited islands are often used ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
7 votes
Accepted

what is the meaning of "object to rows"

Your definition is correct - a row is a line of things, people, animals, etc. arranged next to each other. This definition of the word is pronounced /roʊ/ (rhymes with 'toe'.) However, row also has ...
mike's user avatar
  • 9,863
7 votes

What does "ellipses in thought" mean?

In writing, the ellipsis (not the ellipse, even though they both have the same plural form: ellipses), which is represented by ... is used to indicate someone trailing off in the middle of a ...
mstorkson's user avatar
  • 3,296
7 votes
Accepted

What does "to handle fruit" mean?

I'm guessing it's supposed to be a play on words. I think the first one means handle 14. to deal or trade in: to handle dry goods. (Dictionary.com) Roughly, she's saying that she expects ...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
7 votes
Accepted

What is a "ratchet drum"?

My son the percussionist (with eight years of collegiate study and a broad familiarity with most genres of music) tells me that ratchet is here employed as an adjective, not an attributive noun. He ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Meaning of “underpressure”

I saw “under pressure” in a description of a machine that uses a pressure lower than the ambient pressure to do its work I think you're correct and it is a mistranslation. The appropriate term for an ...
ColleenV's user avatar
  • 12k
6 votes
Accepted

"one off payment" meaning

As Nathan Tuggy mentions in his comment, a "one-off" is something than occurs once and only once, and is not part of a regular process or sequence. A "one-off" payment would be something you make ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
6 votes
Accepted

A name for a finger gesture (not "the bird", "thumbs up", or V-gesture)

The gesture is called the fig in English. It is not well-known in the US at least, and I would not expect anyone to use it or know what it means. I believe the same is true in other English-speaking ...
stangdon's user avatar
  • 40.9k
6 votes
Accepted

What does "a nickel" mean?

A nickel here has its ordinary sense, a 5¢ piece. The Joker's line here depends on familiarity with the common similitude that "X is so greedy/crass/inhuman that he would sell his grandmother for a ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between these definitions?

To slaughter can be the process of killing animals for meat, as in a "slaughterhouse", or "led to the slaughter". It also is used to describe any large scale and often senseless killing of humans or ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
6 votes

What is a "ratchet drum"?

The author is not talking about any particular, physical drum. Drum can refer to the sound of a drum, not just a physical drum. I think the author is describing the particular drums (drum beats/...
Em.'s user avatar
  • 45.4k
6 votes

What does "teleport anywhere in the world" mean?

It's "to anywhere" that's implied, in my opinion. (though, that'd also imply from anywhere, since you couldn't teleport anywhere if you couldn't teleport from where you were) English can be vague. ...
bobsburner's user avatar

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