1
vote
3answers
87 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
votes
1answer
92 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?
1
vote
2answers
51 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
97 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
42 views

Meaning of “binge”? [closed]

What does it really mean? And what do binge-watching; binge-reading; binge-eating mean?
0
votes
5answers
786 views

What does “What are you into?” mean?

I personally don't use this question in spoken language but I usually see it in written language. I also frequently see that when someone asks this question, it elicits in turn the question "What do ...
3
votes
1answer
314 views

What does “wishy-washy” mean?

Question: What does it mean when something is "wishy-washy"? Is it informal? Is it American English, British English or both?
0
votes
2answers
258 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

What does this line in the chorus mean?

From New York Girls by by Finbar Furey Shipmates listen unto me, I'll tell you in my song Of the things that happened to me When I come home from Hong Kong CHORUS: To me a-weigh, ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

What does “as good a film as the Coen brothers…have ever made” mean? [duplicate]

What does "as good a film as the Coen brothers...have ever made" mean? Does it mean that the film is their best? what is the underlying structure?
1
vote
0answers
49 views

“Down for” something vs. “Up for” something? [duplicate]

Is there any difference between someone saying they're "down for" something as opposed to being "up for" something? For example: I'm totally up for ice cream tonight! vs. I'm totally down ...
3
votes
5answers
310 views

What is the term for a common expression that is inaccurate or misleading?

What is the term for a common expression or colloquialism that is inaccurate or misleading, such as the use of "mental math" to mean "mental calculation" or "mental arithmetic"?
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What does “good job” mean? [closed]

What is the meaning of "good job" in English? I have heard some people use that instead of "do not be tired".
-5
votes
2answers
293 views

Can I use “lardy-dardy” to describe a man's gay lisp and gesture?

Can I use "lardy-dardy" to describe a man's gay lisp and gesture? If this is not OK, I have three more questions. How else can I ever use lardy-dardy? Which word should I be using instead? Is ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

How does the expression “Not half bad” hold its meaning? [closed]

I'm interested in the phrase 'not half bad', which, like 'cheap at half the price' actually means the opposite of what the user is generally trying to say. The term 'not half!' is commonly used to ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

What does “flustrated” mean, and is it a word?

What does the flustrated mean? Is it even a word? I am using Lingea Lexicon and it doesn’t know this word, but the Internet is full of it. I find myself hating people for using it both in English ...
1
vote
1answer
353 views

What do “truxtop” and “thumb tax” mean? [closed]

What do truxtop and thumb tax mean? I found them mentioned in this quotation from English Words History and Structure, 2nd edition (p. 113): The replacement of the sequence [ks] by x is a ...
1
vote
1answer
130 views

What does “playus nigh” mean in Cockney?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). Refer to What does “him as writ plays” mean?
2
votes
2answers
234 views

What does “him as writ plays” (etc.) mean in old newspaper clipping?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). ... famous theatre afterwards to be so widely known. The sunshiny time of our literature and life, making a red-letter period in ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the origins for the phrases “Knock it off” and “Cut it out”?

When taken literally, the colloquial phrases "Knock it off" and "Cut it out" do not seem to mean "Stop what you're doing." How did these two phrases get their current meanings?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Does “awe” have a colloquial meaning (similar to “awesome”)?

The meaning of awe is given in dictionaries as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime" (this definition is from ...
2
votes
2answers
312 views

Failed Experiment? [closed]

Is it proper to use the phrase "failed experiment" at all? And if so, should it refer exclusively to experiments that had some ineluctable flaw in the process of their implementation or can it also ...
3
votes
1answer
733 views

Is “and then some” an offensive expression?

I started an internal email discussion with the title "Editorial: link issues, some spelling issues and then some". However, upon rereading my own mail, it occurred to me that this might express ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “I'll kill that cat” in the play Dinner for One mean?

In the play Dinner for One, James the butler says, "I'll kill that cat," at time 14:05. What does this mean? Is he referring to the tiger rug which keeps tripping him, or is it a saying or ...
1
vote
3answers
9k views

Meaning and usage of “to no end”

What does the phrase mean in "He annoys me to no end"? Literally, does it mean that he annoys me forever? Or does it mean that he annoys me to no result?
1
vote
4answers
13k views

Can I use “you guys” when it includes gals? [Northeast USA] [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “guy” gender-neutral? I'm in the Northeast USA. I'm about to email 3 people, 2 are women It is ok to say "I thought you guys would find this ...
13
votes
4answers
45k views

“Calling dibs” - what does it imply?

The term "to have dibs on something" or "to call dibs on something" plays a recurring role in American film and television (e.g. How I Met Your Mother), so it gets exported a lot. Wikipedia describes ...
12
votes
6answers
13k views

What does “Sunshine,” when it’s placed at the end of sentence mean?

I came across a peculiar (to me) usage of the word, “sunshine” that was placed at the end of sentence in the short story, “High Heels,” written by Jeffrey Archer. “Sunshine” appears in the following ...
20
votes
11answers
4k views

Is “chubby” offensive?

I said to a person that she is "chubby" and, apparently, she took it very seriously. What I meant to say is that she's not skin and bones, she carried more pounds than needed but, precisely because of ...
10
votes
7answers
7k views

Colloquial definition of “douchebag”

Obviously "douchebag" has a literal meaning - however if we see someone wearing sunglasses indoors, we would call them a douchebag. I'm trying to explain this to a friend. How do you verbalize this ...
0
votes
2answers
937 views

What does it mean when someone calls himself “non sequitur”?

Coming from my answer to question Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?” What does it mean when someone calls himself "non sequitur"? Examples: "I AM NON ...
1
vote
8answers
4k views

Could you name some numbers that have a special meaning in English, like 666? [closed]

The question "What does the term “86'd” relate to?" made me wonder what similar cases we have in English. I'd like to know some other numbers that have a commonly understood meaning beyond their use ...
1
vote
2answers
478 views

What does “trigger-happy on broken windows” mean?

What does this expression mean: to be "trigger-happy on broken windows"
22
votes
2answers
44k views

Why do we say “to boot”?

Here's an example of the phrase "to boot": My wife made a disgusting looking dinner, and it tasted awful to boot! The implication of the "to boot" is that the fact that the dinner tasted awful ...
9
votes
5answers
11k views

What does the word “rich” mean in the reactionary sarcastic phrase “That's rich!”?

What does the word "rich" mean in the reactionary sarcastic phrase "That's rich!" (Google shows 67M hits). I take it to mean "rich" as in "rich in irony". What it is the source of the phrase and how ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “to look like a square”?

I read this at oatmeal: Hey, he is clapping along to the music! How quaint! I should too. I would not want to look like a square! Another one: You Won't Look Like a Square With ...