120

Beggar refers to someone who is unemployed and depends on asking (begging) people passing by for money. Those who do give them money do so out of charity. Busker refers to a street performer (could be music, art or drama) who performs for anyone walking by in the hope that many will pay them for their time. It could be their only source of income, or just a ...


102

Style guides advise us to use square brackets when we have to change something about a quotation to make it fit grammatically with the sentence where we're using the quotation. Usually, in a case like this, it just means that the capitalization is being changed. For example, David Grubb might have literally said When she overdosed, it literally scared ...


96

Originally, everyone spelled it centre, but because of Noah Webster's spelling reforms, people in the US started spelling it center, particularly in the last century. Although the revised spelling center has been adopted internationally to varying extents, centre is still more popular in most regions. But regardless of how you spell it, it's the same word, ...


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"...


93

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


92

Seldom is a word and you have used it correctly, however not very naturally! Seldom - not often; rarely (def. from google) I disagree with the correction. A better way to say this is: I also know, but seldom use, the meaning of the word in the context of musical instruments. I think the issue with the sentence, and the reason your original one sounds ...


91

"Condiments" is probably the closest word to describing all of them. Being more specific, ketchup is a sauce, cheesy dip is a sauce or a dip and oregano and chilli flakes might be described as seasonings (or just as herbs and spices).


87

I think you may be looking for the verb "to shrink". The balloon shrinks/shrank/will shrink/has shrunk/is shrinking etc. I wouldn't use that about something that's actually having bits taken out of it, though, because it tends to suggest getting smaller while retaining largely the same shape - or at least changing shape in some smooth, continuous way. ...


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 ...


82

Soggy fits the bill I believe. Saturated or sodden with moisture; soaked: soggy clothes.


82

This is an amusing grammatical quip on the phrase: beauty is in the eye of the beholder Change beholder to bee holder, meaning person who is holding a bee in his hand. Beauty is in the eye of the person holding a bee in their hand (bee holder). Incidentally, the phrase means that beauty is in the eye of the viewer. That beauty is not an absolute, but ...


81

"Can it" in this instance means "Shut up", stop talking - it has nothing to do with ability. It is very probably a remote reference to canning food to preserve it, the link being that to can something is to close it up tight, to put a lid on it - hence to stop talking, close your mouth.


77

The answer IS stale: Stale adjective (staler, stalest) (of food) no longer fresh and pleasant to eat; hard, musty, or dry: 'stale bread' synonyms: dry, dried out, hard, hardened, old, past its best, past its sell-by date Taken from the Oxford Dictionary of English and the Oxford Thesaurus of English.


77

In the UK, black person is the usual way to describe someone of African or Caribbean ethnic background and I wouldn't expect it to be taken as offensive. Referring to someone as a black (as a noun) would be offensive. Referring to someone as the black guy could conceivably be interpreted as a little disrespectful if you might have been expected to call them ...


77

I would call all sort of artists that are performing in the public for free or donations "street performer". I found another word, "busker", but I never heard of it before.


75

You can't. There is no "default". If it's not clearly stated, you have to ask. Generally, if it's not clarified in the text, it's probably not important. This may seem odd from the point of view of someone coming from a language where the difference is part of the terminology used but as with many familial terms like grandmother/father, cousin, or nephew, ...


65

While those might mean the same for the laymen, from a medical point of view, there is a difference between illness and sickness. Medical sociology has long made the distinction between illness and sickness. Illness is the objective diagnosis that an external impartial observer is able to make based on the constellation of symptoms which the patient ...


65

What you noticed is an example of echo questions. Normally, questions would follow the grammar you expect them to. They would contain an auxiliary "do" in the beginning, that kind of absorbs whatever inflection the main verb has. So you get something like this: Do we have a blog? However, there's a unique way of expressing surprise. That's where echo ...


64

Do we have a blog? . . . asks the direct question We have a blog? . . . asks the same question but adds a feeling of surprise to the statement. (The person who is asking the question just heard that they have a blog and is surprised by the statement) For reference, I would recommend using an "Do we have a blog?" inquiry to find out direct information ...


64

I am an actual transgender person, so perhaps I should speak to this issue. It is overwhelmingly preferred among my peers that the term transgender be used and that transgendered be avoided. I am a transgender woman. The verb is transition: I have transitioned. Transgender is part of my identity, as is Asian and bisexual. We do not say I have Asianed or ...


60

The main idea is that lions does not mean male lions. It means lions. Chickens also mate, and indeed cats. I rarely, if ever, have seen mention of roosters or tomcats mating. Or bulls, stallions or for that matter, bitches, sows or hens. So the assumption that the male word is used is incorrect — the general term for the animal species is used, and in ...


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

Excellent question! The short (and rather unhelpful) answer is that while technically, "a couple" does in fact mean two, it is not always used that way in practice and if you ask several native speakers you're likely to get different responses. "A couple", "a few", "several"... Words like this are used with various intent. In the particular case of "a ...


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 ...


53

There are as many answers to this as there are situations. In informal settings, one might only give their first name. So, if I'm at a bar and I start chatting with someone, I would usually only give my first name... or if I'm being introduced to new people by friends, I'll only give my first name. In formal or business settings, one might give both first ...


51

People understand Ask away by analogy with certain other familiar sentences with away. Soldiers shout this when dropping bombs from an airplane (see, for example, this book): Bombs away! By itself, the word away means "located somewhere else" or "at a distance". In the phrase bombs away!, it suggests movement: "going somewhere else". Bombs away! ...


51

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)


50

This is a somewhat technical answer. Hey, I'm an amateur cooking geek :-) For a starch or starch-oil food (which includes bread, chips, french fries, etc.), there are several ways they become less palatable: Soggy. This seems like what you're mainly describing. It's a change in the texture (how it feels) not so much how it tastes. If you dipped it in water,...


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