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What is meant by a "blind scramble"?

Search results indicate this term being used synonymously with "mad scramble", but also as something to do with sports tournaments. Apart from being evocative, does it mean anything specific?
posted by unmake on Apr 2, 2014 - 2 answers

Who said "culture is the rulership of the dead over the living"?

Who said something like "culture is the rulership of the dead over the living"? Is is Zizek? Looking for an exact quote please. [more inside]
posted by esprit de l'escalier on Oct 15, 2013 - 7 answers

What do I do with all of these words?

As I read, I take note of words that I like/don't know/otherwise want to remember on my iPhone. I would like to do something more interesting with these words than keep them in a text file. Any recommendations? [more inside]
posted by danb on Sep 3, 2013 - 6 answers

"Lazy" software

When programmers say that good software is "lazy," what exactly do they mean?
posted by thecolor12 on Feb 7, 2013 - 16 answers

insert various Charades gestures here

PlaguingMeForYearsBecause IUsedToKnowItButForgotFilter: What's the word (I think it's Greek in origin) for the atavistic phenomenon like the motor of a car being in the front of the vehicle simply because the horse was in the front of the cart...?
posted by TigerMoth on Dec 14, 2012 - 10 answers

Where can I find a very thorough, comprehensive, expansive list of personality traits?

Where can I find a very thorough, comprehensive, expansive list of personality traits? [more inside]
posted by lovableiago on Feb 29, 2012 - 1 answer

Old words with new meanings?

What are some words whose definitions have changed significantly in the last few centuries? [more inside]
posted by Shelf on Aug 7, 2011 - 58 answers

To Know You Is To Love You But Not To Understand You

Help me wordsmith out the difference between the words know and understand. They seem to be used interchangeably but the meanings must be different. If you have words in languages other than Englosh that can clarify this difference, so much the better. It seems you can know something without understanding it, but can you understand without knowing?
posted by Xurando on Jul 24, 2011 - 15 answers

What does "down to earth" mean? Context: On-line dating.

What does "down to earth" mean? Context: On-line dating. [more inside]
posted by ThisIsNotMe on May 5, 2011 - 50 answers

Can't think of the word like 'idiot'.

Historical meaning of synonym for 'idiot', which I can't remember? [more inside]
posted by Mei's lost sandal on Apr 6, 2011 - 11 answers

What is that stuff called, anyway?

Star Wars Nerdery: Once, an indeterminate time ago, I was reading something about the making of the original Star Wars models. They used a term (named for one of the model makers?) for a certain kind of detailing. More specifically, it was used to describe the horizontal trench running along the length of a Star Destroyer. What is this term?
posted by TeslaNick on Jan 31, 2011 - 7 answers

Train me please

So what does "train-the-trainer" really mean anyway? [more inside]
posted by RajahKing on Jan 6, 2011 - 23 answers

Birds of a feather...do WHAT exactly?

Is there a specific term to describe the coordinated movement of a collective group of animals? [more inside]
posted by Ouisch on Oct 5, 2010 - 21 answers

What are some examples of *real* conundrums?

I'm looking for examples of conundrums in the *technical* sense: riddles with answers that are puns. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Jul 22, 2010 - 19 answers

The [WHATS] of society?

Is there an opposite expression for "the ills of society"? [more inside]
posted by exlotuseater on Mar 5, 2010 - 15 answers

I can't tell them apart

What exactly is the difference between "vengeance" and "revenge"?
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 27, 2009 - 25 answers

How to understand old writing.

What did "forensic" mean in the late 1600s? [more inside]
posted by oddman on Jan 2, 2009 - 6 answers

Help this man scan, if you can

Anti-virus and anti-malware scanners mysteriously unable to update -- how to tell if I have a virus, and what to do about it? [more inside]
posted by onshi on Dec 15, 2008 - 22 answers

What did he just say?

Hi, I just learned a new word. And for the first time, I can't find a definition for it on Google (The Horror! The Horror!) I will wager that there is someone reading this who knows all about it. The word is "econological." [more inside]
posted by foxy_hedgehog on Nov 28, 2008 - 12 answers

Wanted: personal dictionary

I'm looking for a piece of software, either for my Mac or online: I'm a philosophy major, and there's a huge number of thinkers, schools of thought, and concepts to manage in the area. What I want, ideally, is something that holds terms and definitions and allows me to drag them into categories (i.e. a page for poststructuralist writers.) Tags are better than hierarchies because I want each term to appear in several areas. I'm sure something exists but I don't know what to call it to do a good search. (I already use Evernote for notes and it might roughly work, although I really want something more focused and lightweight.) [more inside]
posted by poorlydrawnplato on Aug 2, 2008 - 6 answers

Where can I not find a synonym for the word...

Where can I find a good online database that gives me similar meanings instead of just synonyms? [more inside]
posted by any major dude on May 21, 2008 - 11 answers

Smallest Number of Words To Be Deemed A Dictionary?

LogosFilter: Could a blog entry that contains two words and their definitions be consistent with the definition of a dictionary? [more inside]
posted by vanoakenfold on Apr 23, 2008 - 8 answers

Definition of bonbon

I recently found that a wide range of candies get called bonbons, and now I'm curious about the different meanings for "bonbon", and what times and places they're connected to.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz on Jan 27, 2008 - 12 answers

The tip of the tongue, taking a trip to the foreignerland.

I am in a search of a program that will help me memorize words... [more inside]
posted by GrooveStix on Jan 22, 2008 - 14 answers

Hail to the Chief

Trying to figure out if there is an "ism" or "acy" word for a governmental system of ruler worship (i.e. like the ancient Egyptian systems which considered their rulers Gods). Any specific terms for this?
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Aug 29, 2007 - 15 answers

Justice wardrobe vocab test.

what's the name of the little bib-like thing that the women on the U.S. Supreme Court wear?
posted by spiderwire on Apr 1, 2007 - 6 answers

Origins of the gentleman's c?

I am looking for the etymology for the term "gentleman's 'c'" and my google-fu is just pulling up Bush-bashing. Any advice from the hive?
posted by B-squared on Mar 21, 2007 - 8 answers

Has the definition of a "durable good" changed?

What is the definition of a durable good? I'm looking, in particular, for a defintion tied to the amount of time the good should, um, endure. As I seem to be congenitally unable to ask a pithy here on the green, and if wonky discussions are not your thing, then be warned that there's . . . [more inside]
posted by deejay jaydee on Jan 5, 2007 - 14 answers

What do you call those little quotes in books?

What is the term for those little quotes that sometimes open books? [more inside]
posted by SansPoint on Oct 20, 2006 - 11 answers

How do I distinguish with one word between XXXX.com and XXXX.com/YYYY.

Is there a special term that describes a subset of a website; aka: how do I distinguish with one word between XXXX.com and XXXX.com/YYYY. [more inside]
posted by evadery on Aug 23, 2006 - 14 answers

Origin of term 'consumer' to refer to developmentally disabled people?

What is the origin/history of the use of the term "consumer" to refer to developmentally disabled people? My wife and I have come across this only with the past 2-3 years, and my search for clues is complicated by how common the term is, and its multiple meanings. [more inside]
posted by chr1sb0y on Sep 6, 2005 - 12 answers

Mechanized canteen?

What's a "mechanized canteen"?
posted by Krrrlson on Jun 11, 2005 - 7 answers

what's the difference between an apartment and a flat?

A neighbour who's learning English has to write an explanation defining the difference between an apartment and a flat... and I just couldn't help her, because I didn't realise that there was a difference. I figured someone here might live in or know of a place where there's a distinct difference between the two. Can anyone help?
posted by bunglin jones on Mar 1, 2005 - 17 answers

Terminology for on/off state on a push button?

User Interface terminology question. If we are describing the state of a push button (that is, a button that can be toggled between an on and off state), what is the most universally recognized terminology for the two states of the button? We've come up with pressed and non-pressed, depressed and non-depressed, checked and unchecked, etc... (obviously, enabled and disabled doesn't work). Anybody know the official guidelines for this? We're stumped.
posted by jon_kill on Dec 22, 2004 - 20 answers

Explain da Massive, if you could help a brother out

I was watching da Ali G movie the other night, and the bit at the beginning where his "West Side Massive" faces off against the "East Side Massive" got me wondering: what the heck is a "massive"? I've heard the term used in similar contexts, but can't seem to Google or Wiki up any explanation. Respec!
posted by schoolgirl report on Dec 4, 2004 - 9 answers

What's the difference between an 'externship' and an 'internship'?

What's the difference between the words "externship" and "internship"? They have very distinct meanings for med students, but for undergraduate, graduate, and law students I've seen them used interchangeably. Is it a full-time/part-time distinction? Or a summer/school-year distinction?
posted by PrinceValium on Apr 20, 2004 - 3 answers

What's the difference between the words "proffer" and "offer"?

What's the difference between the words "proffer" and "offer"? This has been driving me mad for some reason for a few days now. Every dictionary I consult basically seems to say that they mean the same thing. But surely there must be a difference, right?
posted by reklaw on Apr 19, 2004 - 12 answers

Can something be both "annual" and "all year?"

Can something be both "annual" and "all year?" Say, hypothetically, an on-line film festival that runs all year but is refreshed with new films annually?
posted by djacobs on Dec 16, 2003 - 10 answers

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