4
votes
5answers
570 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Could anyone care less? [duplicate]

I've noticed recently that where in England we say "couldn't care less" in the US the negative is avoided and the phrase becomes "could care less". This is rather jarring because of the contradictory ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

Rising out of its own momentum

The bellow rose and fell, then it blared out one last time, rising out of its own momentum as if it were escaping finally, after centuries of waiting, into silence. The beady night noises closed in ...
2
votes
3answers
64 views

Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
-1
votes
3answers
186 views

What does “tearing your résumé apart” mean? [closed]

I gave my résumé to a person and she replied back as follows: When you look at the below list of issues, you’ll probably think I'm tearing your résumé apart. I guess I am, in a way. But, I ...
6
votes
3answers
381 views

What is the geographical origin of the idiom “be a fly on the wall”?

Does the following expression originate from English? I'd like to be a fly on the wall I discovered today that a similar expression exists in Brazilian Portuguese: "I'd like to be a fly" (with ...
2
votes
4answers
364 views

Is there an alternative word/phrase to “ignorance is bliss?” [edited]

It's a classic phrase, but is there a word that encapsulates the sentiment of this idiom? Edit: Single word isn't a requirement, I'm just looking for a concise and eloquent alternative. I don't ...
2
votes
3answers
249 views

correct idiom for if you were me

I am looking for an idiom that can be used for this like "if you were me you would have done the same thing " OR something like empathy , think from my sight, is there any idiom for such scenerio? I ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

“To take in” and “to catch” in the sense "to attend and visit (or see) [the sights of (a city, etc.)] in AmE

Do these terms share the same degree of informality in the sense "to attend and visit (or see)" as of someone taking in/catching the sights of a place, or taking in/catching a show or a movie? E.g. ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“Nuke the fridge”

I don't get what this phrase means. I tried googling it, but the answers weren't satisfactory. Could someone please tell me its meaning? I'm guessing it has something to do with TV shows (I first ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

“To set up” for “to arrange/prepare” or “to organize” in colloquial AmE

I already heard and read on various occasions Americans use the expression "to set up" to seemingly mean "to arrange" as in "I'll set up reservations for you" or "I'll be more than happy to set up a ...
1
vote
2answers
203 views

Does the idiom “in lieu of” for “instead of” sound legalese or affected in modern day AmE [closed]

I once came across the idiomatic "in lieu of" in some bilingual dictionary I can't seem to put my hands on anymore, but I remember pretty well the phrase being defined as an Americanism. And so, I ...
0
votes
2answers
358 views

“Latch onto [something/someone]” for “obtain, get (hold of) [something/someone]” in AE

I just rediscovered the colloquial expression "latch on to [something]" online and would like to know the story to its meaning of "obtain, get", which is presented by CD as AE and CE. ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

What does “to take/catch someone off stride” mean in AE?

I guess it might originate from ball game terminology, and mean pretty much the same as "catch/take someone off balance". But, sad to say, I just can't seem to find an authoritative source online that ...
3
votes
4answers
346 views

“Shag” for “chase and bring back, fetch” in AE

Does "shag" have any currency in modern day AE to mean "chase and bring back, fetch (an escaped animal/prisoner)"? Is its use limited to the pursuit of runaways, or can it be extended to a broader ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

“Snag (a chance, an opportunity, etc.) for ”seize/snatch" in AE

Does "snag" have any currency in modern day AE to say "snatch (or seize) (a chance, an occasion, etc.), and can it be used just about interchangeably with the latter? Or, is there a subtle difference ...
-1
votes
4answers
181 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
-1
votes
2answers
322 views

Does “none the more…” mean “far from (being)…” in American English?

I'm familiar with the somewhat colloquial turn of phrase "nowhere near as ... as" / "not anywhere near as ... as" to say "far from being as ... as". However, I'm a little less familiar with the ...
2
votes
1answer
195 views

Why is this idiom negative, as opposed to positive?

Why is the idiom drop the other shoe negative as opposed to neutral or positive? I was looking something up when I came across this: to do the deed that completes something; to do the expected ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
0
votes
1answer
159 views

Why are so many English expressions derived from baseball terminology? [closed]

Get to first base Step up to the plate In the right ballpark etc Why are so many expressions in common use today based on this one specific American sport? Many of them seem to be used often in ...
4
votes
3answers
851 views

Why do 'fine words butter no parsnips'?

I was at a dinner last night where some rather nice herb butter was served with the vegetables. Conversation close to me then turned to the English expression 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. It ...
2
votes
2answers
189 views

“Thanks for the write-up!!” in American English [closed]

Just confused about something. If person A asks for some suggestions to person B, C and D via email. Now one of three persons say C respond over the email with very detailed reply having some ...
2
votes
3answers
486 views

An American English idiom for “die of happiness”

Is there an American English idiom for Russian "die of/from happiness"? I thought I would die of happiness when I heard this wonderful song!
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Corner Gas sitcom episode I, witness [closed]

In the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas episode 7, season 4 "I, witness", the dialogue among Brent, Wanda, and Oscar about Lacey know it all. Wanda said something "She is xxx know it all". xxx sounded ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Only a something away from completing something

Is this statement grammatically correct: Only an Xbox One away from completing my Microsoft family. I have a Microsoft Phone (Lumia 920), PC (Dell) and tablet (Surface Pro) and I just need a ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Do you know the meaning of the American idiom “pot calling the kettle black”?

I just want to conduct a research about this American idiom and how native American people use it. Can you guys answer my questions in the following orders? If you have better questions, I will be ...
7
votes
2answers
24k views

Meaning of “watch your six”

What does "watch your six" mean? Does it mean "watch your back", like in a dangerous area?
21
votes
9answers
3k views

Is the phrase “I just sucked it out of my thumb” used in American English?

I was born and raised in South Africa. We frequently used the term "to suck out of one's thumb", implying that an answer was just a wild guess or the notion had no evidence but was rather just ...
-3
votes
3answers
292 views

What does “with all the discrimination of a shotgun” mean? [closed]

"If you scatter commas into a sentence with all the discrimination of a shotgun, you might make it to the foyer before we politely escort you from the building." Source: http://goo.gl/ZH6lO Doesn't a ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What is the connection between motherhood and apple pie?

I know the idiom motherhood and apple pie is used to denote some principles with which few disagree. But what is the connection between motherhood and apple pie? I am not very familiar with American ...
2
votes
1answer
255 views

“On Tap” in the Sense of “Coming Up”

Starting with the Fifth Edition (1936), seven generations of the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary have included (under the entry for tap) three definitions of "on tap," currently worded as ...
12
votes
1answer
800 views

What is the source of “Long time no see,” and when did it enter U.S. English?

A question from almost two years ago asked "In which countries is that “long time no see” greeting common?" The question drew a number of answers that were squarely on point, but also a couple that ...
3
votes
2answers
349 views

When did the term 'get lost' first come to use?

I have established that this term is an American idiom. Does anyone know when it came to be popular use or was first used there?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Using “you got it” in the sense of “you are welcome”

Normally I would assume the meaning of you got it were something like: You do understand it right. You’ve achieved your goal. Or even I’ll do it for you very shortly. But from time ...
1
vote
1answer
207 views

Is the phrase “by way of notice” an acceptable use of the idiom/expression “by way of”? [closed]

Oftentimes when I write emails to notifying co-workers of any planned absences I will say something along the lines of: By way of advanced notice, I will be out of the office on Tuesday, April ...
1
vote
2answers
452 views

Could the idiom 'belt and suspenders' be used to refer to a woman?

For example referring to an extremely cautious woman as a belt-and-suspenders kind of woman. Is it correct English (Am. English)?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the idiom “to sound a little off” mean?

What does the idiom "to sound a little off" mean in American English?
14
votes
3answers
25k views

What does the sentence “Butter my butt, call me a biscuit” mean?

What does this sentence mean? How do I use it? Butter my butt, call me a biscuit.
2
votes
1answer
527 views

Where did the idiom “scot-free” come from? [closed]

As in, that criminal got off scot-free despite a mountain of evidence that would seem to indicate his guilt.
5
votes
6answers
536 views

What is the origin of the -ass speech?

I am spending one month in the US and it seems that everything is "big ass", "lame ass", and "crazy ass". What is the purpose of modifying every adjective with "ass"? Is this an Americanism or some ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

“Summoning something into life” vs. “summoning something to life”

What is the difference between the following? Summoning ... into life Summoning ... to life If it helps, I want to use the word idea in the place of dots so it's like: Summoning ...
-3
votes
2answers
323 views

Does using an adverb three times almost always imply the opposite?

Dana is very, very, very nice. A real housewife of Beverly Hills It seems that almost exclusively, the reiteration of a such a clarifier - very in this case - ends up actually meaning the ...
3
votes
1answer
10k views

Proper use of the phrase “of all time”

I have a client who insists on using the following sentence in his web site: Lance Armstrong is the most successful American bike racer of all times. I think that "of all times" should be "of ...
67
votes
30answers
8k views

Is there an American English equivalent of the British idiom “carrying coals to Newcastle”?

I'm an American living in the Netherlands who is learning Dutch. There's an idiom in Dutch that describes performing a needless/futile activity, "water naar de zee dragen," which literally translates ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

Are there idioms specific to one English dialect?

Let's get into a little conversation about the differences between American English, British English and regional dialects. Some words are specific to certain dialects (lass is Scottish, the lads is ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Is the phrase “move over” an official English idiom? And if so, is it only in American English?

Is the phrase "move over" an official English idiom known worldwide? I would like to know: Is it an official English idiom (not slang or colloquial)? Is it known outside of the US (e.g. in the UK, ...
3
votes
2answers
775 views

“Hot Diggity …”

Ok, perhaps the last one was too easy :) Here's one that a friend of mine uses, and I'd love to know if it's something he coined, or is it a more common expression than I think: Hot ...
1
vote
1answer
523 views

On being golden

Saying that [someone] is golden means that person is in a desirable situation that will likely lead to some sort of success. I am trying to find out the origin of this phrase. So far, I have found ...