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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

6
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “lift their skirts … and grab the eyeglasses right off someone's face” mean?

From Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence (1998): "That's true," she said. "Every day I have to predict what the kids will do, and I succeed for ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

What is the origin of the phrase “has some teeth to it”?

I know the phrase "has some teeth to it" refers to something that cuts and/or takes hold of something. It's used a lot in arguments / discussion of topics where serious / good counterpoints are used, ...
1
vote
4answers
125 views

The slogan, “i'm lovin' it” is grammatically wrong [duplicate]

My grammar book pointed out that when you use some verbs in the continuous tenses, it need to be something active, such as running, or eating. Verbs that do not imply an action, but instead refer to a ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Does the verb 'to tank' meaning to lose deliberately, or fail to finish, only apply to lawn tennis?

The Australian tennis star, Nick Kyrgios, is proposed in the Australian press to have tanked in his second set at Wimbledon, yesterday. According to the OED sense 6 of tank when used as a verb ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Polite, non-profane equivalent to ‘kick a**’

So, you have a web site to which you've posted a review stating "How to Kick Ass". This gets censored, which I can understand. What's a very colloquial, not necessarily modern slang, easily ...
6
votes
1answer
73 views

About “talking X”

I have come across normal usage like "let us talk about science" or "he is talking funny". In the first case, what we are going to talk about is science. In the second case, he is not talking about ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

Grammatical correctness and colloquialism of “must total 5” and “must total to 5” [closed]

I would like to know which of the following are grammatically correct: 1a. He has 10 apples total. 1b. He has 10 apples in total. 2a. The number of apples he has must total 10. 2b. The ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

What does “opposite” mean?

In a mathematical sense, the opposite of "X" is "not X" and this works in all cases. But in language text books, or in common usage, there is a lot of ambiguity in "opposite". Eg. Father ~ Mother Son ...
2
votes
3answers
94 views

Feminine version of colloquial use 'hi man'

When a man greets another man, he often says 'hi man', 'thanks man', etc. I am wondering whether these expressions have feminine use. I never heard a woman greeting another woman with 'hi woman'. Any ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

What does “but […], though” mean? [closed]

I asked my American friends about the meaning of this word, but none of them could answer definitely. Some of them said that you can say though if you're not sure about something. Some of them said ...
1
vote
5answers
190 views

What would an 11-year-old say that means “appropriate”?

I need a similar word that may be used by a 6th grade girl; e.g.,“That kind of behavior is only appropriate for little girls of six or seven.” It is not to tell her (may be used by), it is for her ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

Is the expression 'What's one say?' corrent?

I've just heard an unfamiliar phrase from a video: What's the driver say? At first, I thought I just couldn't follow what the actor said but I confirmed that what I had heard was right from the ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Colloquial American term for “miliaria”

Often during summers in the tropics, especially under intense heat conditions, we get a skin condition medically referred to as "miliaria." It comprises of reddish rashes with several tiny boil-like ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Colloquial English word for: a “Remote control”

What is the most popular word used for calling: "Remote control" in British families? How do the people call it? How the children call it? Thanks!
2
votes
2answers
60 views

Is “over-babble” a common word usable in day-to-day conversation?

There was the following passage in New York Times (May 14) article under the title, “Wow, Jeb Bush is awful.”: "The bottom line is that so far he seems to be a terrible candidate. He couldn’t ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

What does “the young go getters” mean?

I came across this colloquial phrase: "the young go getters". What does that actually mean? Does it refer to a young child/adolescent who is supposed to be a creative thinker?
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Is there a word for women who use prostitutes?

Men who use prostitutes are colloquially called johns. Is there a specific word for women who use prostitutes?
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Colloquial term for “irritable bladder”

In German, there's a term "Reizblase" which describes the bladder of someone who has to hit the bathroom every ten minutes. The dictionaries suggested "irritable bladder" as a translation which - ...
-4
votes
1answer
44 views

What do “the Dude sporting” and “PR dream come true” mean? [closed]

What does this sentence exactly mean? The image of the Dude sporting both a Rolex and the Berlin Philharmonic is a PR dream-come-true.
2
votes
2answers
528 views

Why do people say 'buck' for a dollar?

I grew up in South Africa. When someone said something costs 'two bucks' it meant two rand (like saying two dollars, but South African currency). It made perfect sense, as the 1 Rand coin had an ...
2
votes
1answer
311 views

“The man in glasses” or “The man with glasses”? [closed]

The man in glasses or The man with glasses Is it grammatically correct to say with or in glasses? I've heard both, but the first seems to prevail a little bit more, though. Googling ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Informal way of saying 'to be on the list'

Did you check out your ingore list? If I am on the list, cross my name off there. Are there any informal phrases in English that mean the same as in the example above? As I mean the ignore list ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Does “is that ok for you?” means the same of “does that work for you?”

Do they mean exactly the same? Is one form more formal/casual than other? Can I say one of them in a email that is not very formal?
2
votes
4answers
90 views

An idiom for “don't buy the first thing you see”

I'm looking for a colloquialism for: shop around a bit before you make your decision
1
vote
2answers
117 views

Is the phrase “Next waiting!” by retail staff incorrect grammar?

In Australian retail stores the phrase "Next waiting!" has become an idiom. As I understand it, it is a contraction of "Can I serve the person next waiting?". When the idiom is used, it is snapped ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

this “something” thing

How can we explain the use of this "something" thing? I understand it, and I might even use it, but I'm having trouble putting my finger on what it conveys. I've provided two examples below: Example ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

Is this proper usage of the word “talks about”?

We were on the subject of borders within the EU/Europe; we were not talking about the actual EU and Europe borders. Europe and the EU are two different things. "Europe has open borders" works as ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

“Gun an engine” vs. “Rev an engine”

The driver of the van brakes sharply at every red light or junction and guns the engine when we move off. I begin to sweat—travelling sideways isn't helping. "To gun the engine" is a new ...
0
votes
2answers
112 views

the slang contraction of “what'd he” as in the sentence “what'd he come at you with”

What is the slang contraction of "What'd he" as in the sentence "What'd he come at you with"? "What'd he" is already a contraction but I mean in the same manner like whatcha = what're you=what've you, ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

First to Last --OR— Second to Last [duplicate]

If I have a list of n items and I want to refer to the item that is just before the end of the list, do I say "first to last" or "second to last"? For example: First item Second item ... ...
1
vote
2answers
260 views

Sugarcane or Sugar cane? [duplicate]

Is there a difference between "sugar cane" and sugarcane? Is sugarcane wrong? What is the gramatical rule for joining two names like that? I have found 13.500 entries on google for sugarcane, but ...
2
votes
4answers
206 views

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
votes
1answer
91 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
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
18
votes
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
vote
1answer
53 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
405 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
votes
2answers
5k 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?
1
vote
2answers
905 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 ?
0
votes
1answer
1k 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). ...
1
vote
5answers
468 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
vote
2answers
69 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
vote
0answers
42 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
911 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
959 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
158 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
votes
2answers
199 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
683 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
84 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
votes
4answers
277 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 ...