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What is the meaning of..?

Posted in English Language by Elman on 26 Dec 2012

Many students arriving in US have difficulties understanding the meaning of phrases that do not fit logically into standard translations of their languages. So, if someone says, “Yes, I hear you” after listening to your problem, is it good or bad? Or what does it mean if someone says, “Let’s call it a night?” Today we are opening a new section of our blog called “What is the meaning of…?” Let us know what you think and propose the topics you are interested in. So, let’s start…

What does ‘white lie’ mean?

White lie means a lie of minor importance, mostly not harmful and said just to be polite.

Example, ‘She asked me if I liked the book that she had recommended, of course I told a white lie’.

What is the meaning of ‘Don’t pull my leg?”

It means to play a joke, tease someone.

‘Did you really see Di Caprio in our building or are you pulling my leg?’

What does it mean when someone says, “We’ll play it by ear?”

It means that you don’t plan the next step, you improvise, or you do whatever seems best in the situation.

_- Do you think we should tell him about change of plans?

  • I am not sure. Let’s play it by ear._

I asked my friend if he liked the book. And he said it was lame. Did he like it or not?

“Lame” means not cool, not what was expected. It looks like your friend did not like it at all.

What does "bottom line" mean?

Bottom line is the final result or main point.

You haven't been doing your homework. Bottom line, if you don't do it, you will fail class.

In business, the bottom line is a company's net income. The reason it's called a 'bottom line' is because it is the last line of a financial statement that shows the net profit or loss of a business.

My manager asked me: "Have you gone the whole nine yards?" What did he mean?

The whole nine yards means a compeltion of a quality job. Your manager is interested if you did everything you could to complete the task, i.e. nothing was missed or overlooked.

Do you know where this expression came from? According to many sources, nine is the total number of sails on a ship that can be raised at full speed, i.e. best effort completed.

Last updated on Jan. 2, 2013