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7
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1answer
135 views

Batman vs. Maxwell Smart. Who said, “Good thinking, …!” first?

Recently, I've come across the catchphrase, "Good thinking, [name/noun]!" three times on ELU. The first was in a question referring to Terry Pratchett's catchphrase "Good thinking, that man!" 1 The ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

How to use a catch-phrase for a validated result when presented before an examining committee?

Imagine, that someone is preparing for a PhD defense. The thesis that he is going to defend is by far against the norm. That is, it uncovers deep-seated beliefs that led to 30 years of malpractice. So ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

How to say this using catch-phrases: “Test A requires a lot of tissue samples, whereas test B doesn't.”?

I am about to prepare a talk that would compare two tests in the medical field. The old test requires 5 different sites of the organ to be sampled in order to have a result. The other test (which is ...
1
vote
1answer
109 views

How to say “not affected whether we use A or B” in a short and elegant way?

I want to say: Whether we use site A or site B in the analysis, we will get the same results. Both A and B are anatomical sites (or topographies) in the human body. So the results of the test will be ...
4
votes
2answers
334 views

What is the context in which 'ice breaking' is a good thing?

If you are on a frozen lake and the ice breaks you basically plunge into cold water. That could end badly. What is the explanation for 'getting to know everyone', or 'getting the conversation ...
1
vote
1answer
333 views

Origin of the phrase 'put a sock in it.'

What is the etymology of the phrase, 'put a sock in it'?
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Who is watching the watchdog?

I am looking for an expression that conveys the meaning Who is watching the watchdog?
0
votes
2answers
89 views

Searching for a synonym or an alternate Phrase

I am looking for a synonym or a phrase that means, that after reading a particular thought my perspective / way to look at life has changed in a good manner. Basically this is for my new blog ...
4
votes
1answer
250 views

Where does the phrase “neat but not gaudy” come from?

What is the origin of the phrase neat but not gaudy? I’m thinking that it might possibly be from Samuel Wesley or Dorothy Sayers — or, just possibly, from Josephine Tey.
-3
votes
1answer
167 views

Feel support - what does it mean [closed]

I'm looking for short phrases which include "support" word in such a way that I can prepend a company name before it and it will make sense. But i'm not a native speaker so I would like to check my ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

“it's all in the wrist”

What is the meaning and origin of this idiom? Internet searches are confounded by the many headlines and jokes that allude to the phrase superficially (e.g., “repetitive strain injury – it's all in ...
8
votes
1answer
275 views

“Make it so!” - where does it come from, how does it “feel” for native speakers?

The catchphrase from Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard "Make it so!" was first used in "Encounter At Farpoint" (28 September 1987) and thereafter in many episodes and films, instructing a crew ...
0
votes
1answer
473 views

Synonyms for the phrase “stop at nothing”

I am writing a report about someone and would like to convey the sense that he was desperate for success and overly ambitious. I've used phrases like "stop at nothing" to capture the ambition and the ...
0
votes
3answers
152 views

How can dictionaries be tyrants? [closed]

Sometimes you might hear the phrase, tyranny of the dictionary Is there a way to express succinctly just what that means?
1
vote
2answers
972 views

How to use the expression “you love it” [closed]

This question builds off of another question (Meaning of fck you) but my question pertains to the expression "you love it". Here are three examples of its usage. 1] From Youth in Revolt (Youth in ...
8
votes
2answers
23k views

Origin of “I see, said the blind man, as he waved his wooden leg”

"I see", said the blind man, as he waved his wooden leg. is an expression used by someone on whom comprehension has just dawned, or a catch-phrase addressed to that person. Sometimes it can be ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Origin of “they don't know they're born”?

Practising today for my forthcoming role as radgie gadgie, I was having a little rant about modern youth: "they don't know they're born!" This seems to me rather a strange phrase to describe someone ...
4
votes
5answers
13k views

Word for seeing both sides of an argument

This feeling can often be paralyzing in that you see valid points on either side; makes you not able to choose a side. Seeing can also be understanding, supporting, taking active part in. I'm ...
4
votes
2answers
327 views

phrase origin: “sent packing”

What is the origin of the phrase "sent packing," which is used when someone gets the boot? I have seen it used a lot but would like to know where it originally came from.
1
vote
1answer
466 views

What's the origin of the meme “and so can you”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Please explain “I Am America (And So Can You!)” Stephen's Colbert book is titled "I am America, and so can you." I think the phrase "and so can you" is a ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

When did we start talking about “going viral”?

I am trying to determine when the phrase "going viral" was first used. Similarly, when did the phrases "viral video" and "viral marketing" get their start? I have looked online at various sites, but ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

What does the phrase “You're out of your element” mean?

I heard it in The Big Lebowski movie, when Walter yells at Donny, "shut the fuck up, Donny"; then he exclaims, "You're out of your element!".
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does one “laugh to see a pudding crawl”?

You'd laugh to see a pudding crawl is a catch-phrase aimed at someone who is easily amused or is suffering a fit of uncontrollable hilarity. Does anyone know how this phrase came into being? I'm not ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What is “o-matic”? [closed]

I found "o-matic" in my dashboard of wordpress.com. There is "Read-o-Matic". And there are some news from staff. What does it mean? I feel it's "recommended to read", isn't it?
8
votes
2answers
10k views

Why does one “stand there like a lemon”?

I was standing around like a lemon the other day (meaning, standing doing nothing when I ought to have been a little more active) when it occurred to me to wonder, why does one stand there like a ...
4
votes
1answer
652 views

Origin of “Everybody is smarter than anybody”?

Who said this: Everybody is smarter than anybody. I have been trying to find the origin of this phrase with no success. I think I first heard it from a speaker on an IT subject (but I am not ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the story behind the phrase 'as it were'? Where did it come from?

This is a question my High School English teacher could not answer 20-odd years ago and every time I encounter it, it bugs me. I only know what it means in terms of other phrases such as 'per se'. I ...
10
votes
7answers
24k views

Where did the expression 'playing the world's smallest violin' come from?

Where did the expression 'playing the world's smallest violin' come from?
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Why did this Brit say “took a punt”?

Recently listening to a podcast, I heard someone (of unknown British origin) use 'take a punt' in the sense of 'take a chance.' Perhaps this is due to punting in American English referring to American ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Are “zugzwang”, “catch-22” and “catch-33” synonyms?

Are these words synonyms? zugzwang — a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer to pass and make no move catch-22 — a ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why “off to hell in a handcart”?

I can understand the meaning of the phrase off to hell..., but I was wondering why, of all the possible vehicles that may have been chosen, it came to be in a handcart?
4
votes
1answer
818 views

What other expressions and sayings do you have as an alternative to ‘Rip Van Winkle meets Facebook.’?

In today’s (Feb.10) article titled Out of Touch, Out of Time written by Thomas L. Friedman, I found a really cool phrase, this is Rip Van Winkle meets Facebook, which I understand describes Hosni ...
8
votes
3answers
460 views

What do “The great whatever this is,” “It can’t double dip if it never comes back up.”mean?

The surreal world in the New York Times article depicted by a seasoned editor at Harper’s Magazine who was laid off recently and experiencing bitter world, under the title, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

One-step Stop or One-stop Shop?

"Foobar: Your one-step stop for assorted candies." "Foobar: Your one-stop shop for assorted candies." I am really confused about which one sounds right. I've heard the second one before, but came ...
6
votes
1answer
403 views

Why fiddlesticks?

"Fiddlesticks" is used as a mild expletive or to express disbelief. Does anyone know why?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

“After a fashion”

What is the meaning of the phrase "after a fashion"? I take it that the word fashion has different connotations here than its usual meaning.
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the meaning of 'TRWTF '?

TRWTF is they were running as root, at a nuclear sciences research facility! TRWTF is that the World Cup was in South Africa. What's the detailed meaning of the above sentences? How many ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

Where did “You know what thought did!” come from?

"You know what thought did" is a catch-phrase addressed to someone who has just made a stupid mistake and attempted to excuse himself by saying "But I thought..." Does anyone know the origin of this ...