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135

It is a quotation from Episode Three of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series by Douglas Adams. This is a comedy, the phrase, as used there, is to signify that Dolphins are more intelligent than humans. In the story, Earth is destroyed, the dolphins knew this was coming and left the planet. The full quotation is: Curiously enough, the ...


120

There are a couple of things about this sentence which make it tricky, but I don't think it's outside the range of what would be considered normal for spoken English (remember it's a quote of what a character is saying). Firstly there is an omitted noun, secondly "try and" is used instead of "try to". I am not sure why people say "try and" instead of "try ...


117

Oh, wow, that's a much more complex bit of word-play than it seemed in the title of the question. The expression "was had" is an idiom that means "was cheated or tricked", and is perfectly valid English. However, that is not the meaning of "was had" in context – though it very clearly is an allusion to and playing with the "was cheated" sense. The people ...


110

It’s both a compliment about your skill with English and a self-deprecating joke about our own lack of skill (likely zero) with yours, in hopes this will put you at ease. The subtext here is that we will forgive any slowness, errors or difficulties you have and are happy to clarify anything we say if needed. We care more about the content of what you’re ...


95

Absolutely not! The term you're looking for is nonsensical. As in "without sense". Thanks for the chuckle, haha!


93

The Second Amendment refers to: The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. Loosely speaking, "Second Amendment people" are people who strongly believe, defend, and ...


89

Many analysts, across the spectrum of political belief, claim that Mr Trump engages here in what is termed dog whistle political speech. In the same way that a dog whistle produces a tone which is audible to a dog but not to a human, dog whistle rhetoric carries a specific meaning which is clearly understood by the targeted audience, but which is ...


85

It's just a joke (not meant to be taken literally). I wouldn't really say a beach body is a "hot person on the beach". It's more like a "hot body worthy of showing off at the beach", or a "fit body you would see on the beach". Anyway, Noah's joke has a bit of misdirection. He's likening Obama's message to the process of ...


84

It's not required to say whether or not a pun was intended. When someone writes 'pun not intended' they mean something like this: Since this is a serious subject, I want to make it clear that I would not intentionally make jokes about it, because that would be inappropriate behaviour. However, I want you to know that I have enough of a sense of ...


80

It is a pun on the name of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher (the initials stand for Maurits Cornelis, but the full names are almost never used), who is famous for mathematically precise prints of surreal spaces that seem to fold into themselves or "go around" where nothing ought to go around. For example, look at Waterfall or Möbius Strip II. An esker is ...


79

From the sentence alone, it could mean either #1 or #2; there is no way to tell without context. #1 would be the more common meaning of this construction, but #2 is perfectly proper. In this case, the previous paragraph makes it clear that Tom was happy (the term "boisterously" is used), and that Daisy and Gatsby were not. Therefore, #1 was intended. ...


75

In the popular Cinderella fairy tale, a fairy turns the poor and dirty Cinderella into a princess and a pumpkin into the carriage that will get her to the party she wants to attend. The spell, however, has a time limit: it will end at midnight. What happens then is that the carriage turns back into a pumpkin. The word mom-pkin is a wordplay on the ...


74

Since every day (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday...) ends in "y", this is a time which cannot occur. In other words, the expression "on a day with no 'y' in it' is a way to say "never". You can also find the opposite "on a day ending with a 'y'" (or similar) to mean something like everyday.


71

Actually "sue me" means exactly what your dictionary says. It's kind of "fighting words" that imply the speaker does not apologize for his actions, and the only option the other guy has is to take him to court. Which is silly, of course, because you can't sue someone for cutting into a line (or, as the British say, a queue). So in your example the ...


70

This is a three-panel drama. The setup: Blondie and Dagwood are getting a free dessert from the chef. The complication: Dagwood has made continuing suggestions in the past regarding the chef's shrimp scampi. The chef, like any professional, likely will resent the "advice" given by an outsider, especially if it is perceived as criticism of his product. ...


68

It's a shortened form of Explain like I'm five years old. I'm not sure whether this already has the status of an idiom, but it's quite frequently used. The meaning is quite literal: Explain a complicated subject in a way a five year old can understand.


68

"Go Blue" is similar to "Go Wildcats", where the second word refers to a school or sports team. In this particular case, blue is one of the colors of the University of Michigan, which is where Criss went to school. If you went to one of their sports games, you might hear the song Let's Go Blue.


64

I don't know the series, and it is possible there is something in the story that it is referring to. But my guess is that it means "If you follow me, you are going to need some expensive surgery to the part of your body that urologists treat".


62

All of them are grammatically correct, and I can imagine using all of them in different situations. I can't imagine John drives a car. The use of the simple present tense implies something that is factual or habitual, so this means "I can't believe that John regularly or habitually drives a car. It might be used in a context like this:"I need someone to ...


60

"Nail" here is a colloquial/slang term meaning to complete or perform something very successfully or near perfectly. It (probably) derives from the expression "to hit the nail on the head"


59

I think the word "just" here means something like "simply". The shirt is saying something like, "This is a simple situation and you must follow this simple instruction: do not disturb me. There are no exceptions to this rule. Don't ask me why. Simply do not disturb me."


58

Well, the vanilla you see on yogurt and ice cream cups refers to the flavor. The definition you are asking about talks about something else. It comes from the basic meaning of "vanilla", namely an ordinary flavor of ice cream or other dairy/bakery products, but has evolved to mean the default option that comes with no extra features. So for example if ...


57

It's true that girls often call their close female friend(s) girlfriend(s), at least in the US. And although I am inclined to believe that the friend is likely a platonic female friend, it is still ambiguous. girlfriend 1. A female companion or friend with whom one has a sexual or romantic relationship. 2. A female friend. If you really care to ...


57

If you do something in a certain period of time, it implies that you have completed the task. The fish and chips are cooked and ready to eat after ten minutes. Doing something for a certain time just means that you spend all that time in that activity, whether you finish your task or not.


57

The phrase "on the grounds that" indicates the reason that the judge gave, which the writer may or may not think is correct. Or, and this is important, the writer may not know. The word "because" indicates whatever the writer thinks is the real reason. Garner's idea is that, when you say "the judge ruled X on the grounds that Y",...


56

It's hyperbole. The implication is that the day has been so terrible that some hypothetical organisation, tasked with recognising the magnitude of bad days, has formally declared this one to be the worst ever. Clearly this isn't the case.


54

As an international student in the U.S., I was puzzled first time I received an invitation to a "brown bag lunch seminar" in our department. Turned out, it means that lunch isn't served, but everybody was expected to bring their own lunch. And it would often be packed in a brown paper bag (they sell them in stores), hence the name. So in this context "I ...


54

The issue here is the use of many vs. much. Typically, many modifies countable nouns, while much modifies uncountable ones. Reference With "details," a countable noun, the proper sentence would be: "Try to give me as many details as you can remember." But you could also have "detail" used as an uncountable noun like "information": "Try to give me as much ...


52

Change, in this context, refers to a small amount of money less than a dollar. You can refer to $1.08 as a dollar and change. Also, change need not be taken literally in the sense of physical coins. It just means "a much smaller amount than a dollar." From Merriam-Webster, it's the following sense of the noun: 2 d : a negligible additional amount • ...


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