A colloquialism is a word or phrase used in everyday conversation, but generally avoided in formal speech and writing.

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What's a word or phrase to describe literature that builds upon topics discussed earlier?

If I were teaching a class, how do I say that the topics currently being discussed build upon the topics that were discussed in earlier classes? I'm looking for colloquialisms but if you know about ...
5
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1answer
45 views

To Witness Something of Such Beauty

There is a word used in English but from Italian (I think) which has the following meaning: To witness something or someone of such profound beauty that you are compelled to sing aloud in ...
0
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1answer
49 views

“I have already [seen]” vs “I already [saw]” [duplicate]

I have already (past participle) I already (simple past) I feel like when I'm reading literature or any serious writing, the present perfect is always used with "already". I would guess that ...
17
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6answers
2k views

Why can I use 'guys' in the plural but not in the singular vocatively

We went to a pizza restaurant the other evening and the waiter insisted on referring to us as 'guys'. I responded by calling him 'guy'. 'What kind of beer have you got, guy?' My wife said she ...
1
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1answer
33 views

How do you use the phrase “all about” in terms of location? [closed]

There's a line in Dropkick Murphys' song "Going out in style" saying "take my urn to Fenways spread my ashes all about" I suppose this means "all over the place"? I tried searching for all ...
3
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4answers
143 views

American word for commode

I know several words for the toilet, i.e. bathroom. However I want to know the colloquial word for the seat on which one sits while defecating. I have read john somewhere but never heard an American ...
0
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1answer
131 views

What does “I want you to do me” mean?

I read a conversation between two people. "I want you to do me on this table." What is the meaning of this sentence?
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2answers
153 views

“I was used”, is it correct?

I want to use the term used, like I was used. I mean when someone used my name or some of my property for his own advantage. Is it OK to say in this context: I was used ?
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1answer
129 views

What does “Way to read the room” mean?

I'm translating a movie and there's one sentence I could not understand. In the movie a doctor tells his friend: Doctor: Find something sharp to penetrate his skull.(to help the patient). ...
2
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5answers
170 views

Is there a common expression for someone who “always holds a mobile phone in hand”?

I would like to know if there is a typical expression or phrase, used by native speakers, for someone who always has their mobile phone in their hand. I would prefer a spoken expression rather than ...
1
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2answers
55 views

Opposite of 'downvoted to hell' [closed]

What would I say as the opposite of downvoted to hell? So if I wanted to say, "Wow, that question on the Hot Questions list really got upvoted to xxx!", what word would I use in place of xxx? ...
1
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0answers
41 views

“He might could come Friday” - Can anyone use two modals for the same verb (and get away with it)? [duplicate]

I've heard someone use two modals for the same verb more than once, in an American film. It looked like an old movie, perhaps from the 70s. The other sentence was: "I might could help you." I wonder ...
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4answers
430 views

Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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2answers
121 views

What's the meaning of “if anything else”?

I don't seem to understand the exact meaning of "if anything else" in the beginning portion of the sentence below. I think I could use your help to understand what it actually means. If anything ...
1
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0answers
68 views

What slang connotations can “bill” have in British English? [closed]

I'm from the south of England, studying in the north, and my syntax lecturer is American. She was writing an example sentence that used the name "John", and a few people started giggling; she cottons ...
0
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3answers
89 views

'Was' or 'were' with 'period' & 'eleven years' [duplicate]

I was reading a letter I got from an old friend, back in 1998, and at a certain point she wrote: "Our period of greatest prosperity were those eleven years when Thatcher was in office." ...
0
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2answers
65 views

Are they correct and colloquial? [closed]

I'm really curious about it. Which one is correct ? Also, are they colloquial English ? 1.My grandmother already passed away, but she lived to comb gray hair. 2.My grandmother already passed away, ...
4
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2answers
189 views

What is the origin of “alrighty”?

It is a friendlier and more colloquial version of "alright". It is also heard in the exclamation/interjection "Alrighty, then!". I usually hear it at the end of conversations in Canadian English, ...
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1answer
43 views

The phrase: “It was the better part of our conversation”: does it mean qualitative or time spent?

I've always intuitively assumed that the phrase "better part of our conversation" would mean the topic on which more time was spent. This is in contrast to ranking and grading the other aspects of ...
4
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4answers
145 views

Why is taking a side street called a “rat run”?

I stumbled upon this expression for the first time while doing some research for an answer, and I have to admit I love it! An explanation of rat running/ a rat run is as follows "Rat running/ A ...
0
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7answers
161 views

Is there a word or phrase for someone who displays excessive prudishness in speech and behaviour?

Perhaps an endangered species in the 21st century, such person will tend to use euphemisms for bodily functions and sex, instead of what they consider "indelicate words". I'm looking for a noun or ...
2
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2answers
47 views

I stumbled on the word “OKing” while reading an article. Is such Inflection of OK prevalent? [closed]

Three of the primary dictionaries–the OED, M-W, and the Australian Concise Oxford (OA)–show OK as the preferred spelling and okay as an acceptable alternative. The Chicago Manual of Style does not ...
2
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14answers
2k views

Word or phrase for a woman who shows up at events in gaudy outfits, garish make-up, and excessive jewelry?

Such person is usually - but not necessarily - upper-middle class. I'm looking for a noun or a noun-phrase but the words I've found so far (unpolished, inelegant, gauche, etc.) are adjectives and/or ...
0
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0answers
153 views

Is the use of “conversely” to mean “on the other hand” correct?

I've previously used "conversely" to mean "on the other hand". For example. I always thought this the correct usage. Conversely, I might be wrong. However, the OED defines it as: In the ...
0
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1answer
77 views

Watch Your Words? [closed]

Today I was told to watch my words. I responded that hearing my words is easy, watching the words, not so much. Is there a definition of watch to mean pre-plan or compose with care??
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2answers
262 views

Is the question/greeting “How're you going?” correct usage?

I was just wondering if the question/greeting "How're you going?" is correct usage? I know it's more prevalent in Australia because I live here and have heard it very often. I guess the American ...
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5answers
3k views

Not “On the Rocks”

I walk into a bar and order a drink. The bartender may ask me:Do you want that on the rocks?I usually respond "Yes" or "No" Is there a colloquial expression for not on the rocks?
4
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3answers
231 views

Should I say “declutter” or “unclutter”?

Which verb is more appropriate (and older) for clearing out my desk: declutter or unclutter and why? I should declutter my desk I should unclutter my desk Dictionary.com defines ...
0
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0answers
40 views

What slang words and colloquialisms are likely to embarrass an American in England or an Englishman in the U.S.? [duplicate]

An Argentine or Mexican tourist in Madrid, or A Brazilian tourist in Lisbon, will certainly hear phrases he has never heard before and may find some of them offensive. I myself have a list of ...
13
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2answers
949 views

Why does common usage of “random” feel so incorrect?

I am bothered by the modern usage of the term "random", and am wondering if "it's just me" or if there is a reason for my being discomfited. Take for instance, this lovely bit: The column and table ...
2
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1answer
132 views

Is it correct to say “Yesterday night”? [duplicate]

I have heard a lot of people say "Yesterday night" is that considered correct? I have always said last night.
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4answers
1k views

Usage of “fanny” as verb

I am not a native English speaker, hence please bear with me. I understand that fanny means mess around and waste time. Can someone suggest how I might make a sentence which uses fanny, as an ...
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1answer
175 views

What does “Yeah, you did” mean?

This has been a question since I watched the episode Ted Mosby, Architect [HIMYM, Season 2] long time back. Yesterday I came across this again and I still don't get it. What does "Yeah, you did" ...
26
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6answers
2k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
5
votes
2answers
240 views

What do you call someone who gets along with children?

What do you call someone who gets along with children/babies? A simple example: He is such a ____, he makes all children smile. A single word noun would be ideal but a phrase is acceptable ...
0
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2answers
96 views

Regarding the usage of some 'bad' language [closed]

Is there a legitimate or edifying literary purpose for the many forms of blasphemy (forgive spelling) that have appeared in many modern works of literature. Does it really help a story line or plot or ...
22
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7answers
4k views

“Take a photo” — why “take”?

I don't understand why it's "take a photo". Why take? Is there any rule for this?
1
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1answer
417 views

What’s so funny about “You are winner”? [closed]

I came across one slang thing: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=You%27re%20Winner! While understand that it is grammatically incorrect and you must say "You are the winner", I don't get ...
0
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1answer
39 views

Can I say “a folder lies in” when talking about computer folders (directories)?

I guess is located in is nicer, but is it correct English?
1
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1answer
81 views

What is Nerd Test all about? [closed]

Not sure, where to ask this. I did it here, and it was put in Hold , finally attempting here as a last try!! I am really curious(!) to know what is this? I got this link randomly about how nerd are ...
10
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1answer
339 views

Why is my English “worlds better” than yours but never “the best by worlds”?

In speech when making comparisons we can say: It is far better than It's way better than It's miles better than It's worlds better than For instance, British restaurant food is ...
1
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3answers
186 views

Why the use of 'clock' in the following sentence?

"Bob clocked Joe right in the nose." In this sentence, "clocked" indicates that Bob punched Joe directly in Joe's nose. How did 'clock' come to be used in such a way? Is it colloquial/vernacular to ...
1
vote
2answers
175 views

A word (or expression) which means paying someone with counterfeit money?

Just as shortchange means cheating someone by giving insufficient money as change, the word I am looking for means cheating through counterfeit money. There are words as simple as deceive, bilk, ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

“Did used to” vs. “did use to” [duplicate]

The use of "used to" is much more frequent than "use to", but what about "did used to" vs. "did use to"?
5
votes
3answers
86 views

What do we 'turn round and say'?

Often you will hear people say something like 'He turned round and called me a liar', or 'what if she turns round and refuses to pay'. This 'turn round' (I am informed it is much less used in ...
-1
votes
1answer
308 views

What does “boo-boo face” mean, and how did it originate? [closed]

What does "boo-boo face" mean? I've found it many times before but can't understand it. Is it a recent expression? What is the etymology of boo-boo face?
2
votes
3answers
403 views

What is the “pie” in “Cutie Pie”?

Cutie is a slang term used to refer to someone who is cute. Where did the word, pie, in the expression "Cutie Pie" come from? And what is the history behind this expression? I can't seem to find any ...
3
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3answers
101 views

Is “can exceed up to X” some form of colloquialism?

I ran into a sign that said "Fines can exceed up to $500". I have no idea what this means. Is the fine capped at $500? or can it exceed $500? In an attempt to understand what is going on I ran a ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

common name for small villages

Is there a special name for small villages? Like a made up name of the village or a real one that functions as a recognizable synonym for a small village? E.g. "This 'town' he lives in is actually the ...
3
votes
2answers
336 views

Upside down vs downside up

Typically when something is reversed or inverted we say it is "upside down", could we also say that it is also "downside up"? For example... "The picture is upside down" could we also say it ...