95

Nope. Fingers are only on the hand, except for figurative uses such as ladyfingers (a dessert). If you talk about the fingers on someone's foot, or a person with 20 fingers, unfortunately you'll just generate unsettling mental images. :) As smci points out, to refer to the ensemble, people will often say "fingers and toes". This is a so-called "Siamese twin"...


88

The text has nothing to do with whether she has a spouse or boyfriend. She's referring to back to a past time when she was a youth, which is a noun meaning "a young person between adolescence and maturity." The phrase "half woman, half girl" is a poetic way of saying that as a youth, she was not yet an adult, but not a child either. There were probably ...


83

Etymologically, a 'college' is a group of people 'chosen together' to form a corporate body—the same Latin terms for with and choose lie behind 'colleague'. Thus we have a 'college' of electors, persons chosen to be electors; in the Roman Catholic Church a 'college' of cardinals, persons chosen to be bishops of the first order; and in Great Britain the ...


76

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 ...


75

The "standard" spelling is Scary-looking thing, isn't he? I'm not entirely sure, but I believe this kind of spelling is called "eye dialect": Eye dialect is the use of nonstandard spelling for speech to draw attention to pronunciation. The term was coined by George Philip Krapp to refer to the literary technique of using nonstandard spelling that ...


70

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 ...


68

From here, they have no difference in meaning; but nope is more informal, only used in a sense of opposite to yes (or yup). Also, nope is not used often in writing. You wouldn't say "there were nope errors", for example.


68

The term "browser chrome" comes by analogy to "chrome" on vehicles — shiny surfaces that appeal to buyers/drivers. So browser chrome is the visible user interface, the menus and toolbars and icons and tabs and so forth, which are the parts of the browser that are actually distinct (from the webpages, which are presumably displayed the same by all ...


65

In the interests of simplicity which you specifically asked for, I should first like to preserve here a member's excellent comment which clearly brings out the difference in meaning: To simplify: when asked if there is a God, a theist says "yes", an atheist says "no", and an agnostic says "I don't know". – Mark My own answer: This is a solid question ...


60

In this document, "or" is being used according to the fifth definition listed by the Oxford Learner's Dictionaries: used to introduce a word or phrase that explains or means the same as another geology, or the science of the earth’s crust It weighs a kilo, or just over two pounds. It's saying that "2 + 3" means "2 plus 3," which means the ...


59

Words such as fudging, freaking, fricking, and flipping are euphemisms for fucking. Here's an entry on "flip" (my emphasis): flip (v.) 1590s "to fillip, to toss with the thumb," imitative, or perhaps a thinned form of flap, or else a contraction of fillip (q.v.), which also is held to be imitative. Meaning "toss as though with the thumb" is from 1610s. ...


58

A definition of porn could be gratuitous images/moving images of naked people and sex acts intended to excite and arouse. The use of foo-porn implies the use of this definition, but replacing "naked people and sex acts" with "foo". From Cambridge Dictionary: porn - pictures, books, television programmes , newspaper articles, etc. that are intended to be ...


57

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 ...


54

'Out of curiosity' means I'm not curious at all. Right? Not quite. The "out of" in "just out of curiosity" is nothing like the "out of" in "out of gas". Instead, that "out of" means "stemming from" or "originating from" – it means the speaker is curious, and that curiosity is prompting the person to ask a question: Just out of curiosity, how long have ...


54

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 ...


53

The use of these words varies between countries. Your friend is clearly employing the Indian English colloquial use of the word. I have visited India several times and it doesn't take long to pick up the differences. I assume the Indian variation is due to the prevalence of vegetarians in the country and the limited number of animals that are eaten. In ...


53

Here's the reference to the biography in question. The full sentence reads: The careers open to a poor Scottish gentleman in those days were very few; and, as Hume's option lay between a travelling tutorship and a stool in a merchant's office, he chose the latter. In this case a stool refers to "a single seat on legs or a pedestal and without arms or a ...


50

A studio is a working space for an artist. a: the working place of a painter, sculptor, or photographer b: a place for the study of an art (such as dancing, singing, or acting)


49

http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1602:_Linguistics_Club explains: A SESQUIANNUAL meeting is one that occurs one and a half times every year; equivalently, 3 times every 2 years, or once every 8 months. It comes from the Latin prefix "sesqui-", which means "one and a half times", and "annual", which means "happening once every year". This is ...


49

You probably couldn't find it because you tried to spell it in English. It's a loan phrase from the French. As TFD explains: en garde (interj.) Used to warn a fencer to assume the position preparatory to a match. [French : en, on + garde, guard.] Interestingly enough, on guard can also be found in dictionaries, but it means something a little ...


48

Here's how I interpret it: My fantasy is having two men at once. This has a very obvious sexual meaning. One cooking. One cleaning. This makes you reinterpret the earlier sentence with a non-sexual meaning: My fantasy is having [one man cooking for me while another man cleans for me]. This subverts your expectations, which may be funny to you (...


47

You parsed it in error. It's not (not) felt (not) a fury (not) that is not his own pound (not) through his body The noun is not "pound" being modified by "fury". It is "fury" being modified by "pound". felt a fury that is not his own pound through his body "Pound" is what the fury is doing. It's an ...


46

Is "ought to" still used? Yes, native speakers still use ought to, even on social media: Pres Trump ought to see the writing on the wall, abandon proposal, roll up his sleeves & come up w/ a real, bipartisan plan to keep us safe. Senator Chuck Schumer on Twitter It should be noted that the to is not required in the negative: Margaret ought not ...


44

Yes, let's is indeed simply a contraction of let us, and that means that whenever you can use let's, you can use let us. But that is not the whole story! The expression let's (or let us when used in the same way) is idiomatic; it means something different than you would think by just looking at the dictionary definition of let. You correctly mentioned ...


42

When we say things like Lead will be changed into gold before your very eyes. and The treasure was buried beneath our very feet. and The clue had been there all along, under our very noses. the word very is a sort of emphatic to convey a sense of the remarkable; and it would mean "even as you look on" and "right where we were standing" and "there ...


41

From Glen's answer on Quora, which also goes on to explain Chrome's name: In design terminology, 'chrome' refers to the non-webpage parts of the browser's interface - the toolbars, tabs and buttons


41

In the construction What do you mean, X?, X is "echoic": a word or phrase (or even a complete sentence) quoted from the previous speaker's utterance. The construction may ask for confirmation or explanation of X, or it may express disbelief or shock. A: Our proposal is dead. B: What do you mean, dead? As in the boss rejected it, or we're withdrawing it? ...


40

"Down" has a second meaning here. It is used to reference down feathers, a type of feather known for being soft. The phrase "soft as down" is just a poetic way to emphasize something being extremely smooth and soft feeling. The quoted text is using that phrase referring to the underside of the leaves.


40

Why usually is the word “halfway” used with “down” rather than “up”? I doubted that. I can't imagine that there is some kind of rule to use down rather than up. It's possible, but I didn't see one. I looked to Ngram. So the usage looks roughly even, at least in recent years. One reason you might use one over the other is perspective. For example, in a ...


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