This question was put on hold shortly after being asked. In the meantime, two established users provided comments that seem to contradict each other, and another answered. The question does not explicitly mention that the asker consulted a dictionary, however a dictionary definition does not necessarily help here. The question provides background rationale for the quandary.

Why was it put on hold, and what is the (blatantly obvious) answer?

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    Why are you asking for the answer if it's blatantly obvious? – Helmar Oct 24 '16 at 13:24
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    @Helmar I guess it is blatangly obvious to the close-voters, not to me. – anemone Oct 24 '16 at 13:25
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    A dictionary definition would have probably prevented this question from being closed, regardless of whether it was actually helpful in this case. However, your question probably contributed to its 3 reopen votes (including mine.) It's an interesting question. – anongoodnurse Oct 24 '16 at 14:02
  • @medica Thank you. I think someone voted to reopen before I asked, and one vote is mine. – anemone Oct 24 '16 at 14:06
  • What is the equivalent word of most in your native language? Does it mean 40% or 19%? The equivalent word in my native language or Japanese doesn't. What's wrong with saying I spend about/around/approximately 40% of my time in house A? – user140086 Oct 24 '16 at 15:04
  • @Rathony I'm afraid there is no equivalent word in my language. There's one that means "a majority" that can be used literally or vaguely. – anemone Oct 24 '16 at 15:09
  • @anemone Exactly. Nobody can tell how much % the word represents. That's why the question is not on-topic. People just vaguely believe it is more than 50%. If someone says "Most people wouldn't want a nuclear war", he could mean 99%, but if someone says "Most people don't like horror movies", he could mean 51%. Who knows? I don't think it is the question about the word. The word itself is vague and completely context-dependent. – user140086 Oct 24 '16 at 15:11
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    @Rathony 1) thanks for the edit 2) just because something is vague doesn't make it off-topic or POB. It is maybe even more important then to have a question and multiple answers giving the range of the vagueness, so that people can understand where it can and cannot be used (or degrees of suitability). That's exactly the kind of question that should be on ELU. – Mitch Oct 24 '16 at 15:40
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    It has been reopened. – Mitch Oct 24 '16 at 15:40
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    I hesitate to say this (in fact I came here right after the Q was closed to ask why and saw your Q about why), but the OP is really a duplicate of does most mean a majority – Mitch Oct 24 '16 at 15:44
  • @Mitch Well, I agree. But some users might not agree. That's the beauty of ELU, ain't it? – user140086 Oct 24 '16 at 15:44
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    @Mitch That is well spotted (by FumbleFingers, I believe) and of course it would be nicer to have just one comprehensive post on this quantifier than two particular ones. I do not have a problem with the recent post being a duplicate of an earlier one. I just do not think it should be dimissed as off topic. Actually, it seems to me that a detailed study of the usage of most would merit a long essay (and require a cleverly tailored question) and as such is beyond the reach of this site. – anemone Oct 24 '16 at 17:33
  • @Mitch If you hadn't voted to close it before, you should vote to close it as a dupe now :) – curiousdannii Oct 25 '16 at 1:15
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    I suspect I was one who close voted because this specific question is asked every 2-3 months, at least (and I'm kind of tired of it). Unfortunately, finding dupes, given the crummy search facilities, is difficult for questions like this, even when you know they are there. – Hot Licks Oct 25 '16 at 1:15
  • @Rathony I know you get only one effective close vote, which is why I said if he hadn't voted before. If your vote times out then you have to wait a while, but there's no delay on a question being closed after being reopened if enough new people vote – curiousdannii Oct 25 '16 at 6:53

So far as I recall, I posted my comment containing "the obvious answer" - substantially the same as the overwhelmingly upvoted one - to justify my "Migrate to ELL" closevote (I did explicitly make that point again in a later comment.

At some later point (after the question had been closed and reopened), I posted another comment pointing out that it covered the same ground as Is “most” equivalent to “a majority of”? (asked long before migration to ELL was an available option here).

I don't want to get bogged down in a back-and-forth tug-of-war here, but it's worth pointing out that the question itself has barely a third as many upvotes as the top answer. I think that reflects the fact that almost all native speakers know the answer (so it's not a very interesting question).

I can't vote again to migrate the question, but I still think it belongs on ELL. Anyway, OP asked why it was put on hold in the first place - I had and still have my reason, even if there weren't / won't be enough others voting in the same direction at the same time.


If you ask a "what does this word mean" question for a word such as "most" on English Language and Usage, it is considered an ELL question and is usually migrated, or put on hold. It is necessary to make your questions more specific so this does not occur in the future. Hope this helps :)

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    The question was not mine. Thanks for imparting what is usual on English Language and Usage. And what is necessary. I will keep that in mind. – anemone Nov 24 '16 at 8:36
  • @anemone I don't think the OP actually looked at the question cited in the meta post, or knows what ELL is really about. I invite Louie to spend three days at ELL answering questions. After that, look at the "most" post with fresh eyes and come back and explain why it should be migrated to ELL. – Mari-Lou A Nov 24 '16 at 12:41
  • @Mari-LouA Thank you. I am sorry if I sound combative at times. It's just that I really dislike seeing ELU define itself so exclusively, in the sense of questions being migrated to other sites on the sole ground of being on-topic there perhaps. We lose a lot of questions that are on topic here as well in the process (and more in other uncanny processes, too). As for "most", I am not trying to argue there is a universally applicable answer, but I am still bothered by users being dismissive about it. – anemone Nov 24 '16 at 21:36

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