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

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Colloquially, does the term “redhead” apply specifically to a person with naturally red hair? [closed]

My husband and I were discussing this yesterday, and I was hoping y'all would give us an "official" answer. :) We both believe that for a person to be accurately described as a "redhead", they must ...
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65 views

What does “fiddle with that” mean [closed]

What does "fiddle with that" mean. Can anyone please explain with an example. Thank you.
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497 views

Can “must not” be used alternately to “can't” in AE to say that sth is logically impossible?

Does American English allow the use of "must not" instead of "can't" to say that something is believed to be logically impossible? Please consider the following examples: It must not be true! How ...
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2answers
263 views

Word meaning “to startle someone by surreptitiously poking them in the sides, from behind”

I inadvertently caused a great deal of amusement among a group of friends by incorrectly using the word "goose" to describe the action of sneaking up behind a person and poking, tickling, or touching ...
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77 views

What does “But lay off his looks, okay, Donald?” mean?

In this issue of "The O'Reilly Factor" Bill O'Reilly says at the end: "But lay off his looks, okay, Donald?" My question What does this phrase mean?
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937 views

Responding with “OK” & “Welcome” to “Thank you” [duplicate]

Please, let me make it clear that my question is not asking how native speakers usually respond to "Thank you". Before posting this question I did some research and I also read this discussion: How do ...
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147 views

Use of “I called myself” + gerund/participle

Is anyone familiar with this construction and its origin? Is it standard or non-standard? "I called myself taking a nap but ended up sleeping half the day." "I called myself cooking dinner, ...
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3answers
874 views

Is the sentence “I want to take a rest” wrong?

I heard that we should use "I want to rest" instead of "I want to take a rest." I also heard that "I want to take a rest" is not a sentence a native speaker would use. Is that correct? Should we ...
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190 views

Colloquial meaning of a hashtag

Despite its primarily functional origins, the hash tag has broken out of its social media context and is a kind of colloquialism, usually intended as a joke, but utilized in just about any form of ...
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2answers
164 views

Is it correct to say “I have no intention to run after you, no more!”?

Provided that "It's totally useless to run after someone who does not make the slightest effort to listen to you", e.g. when you are always there, trying to stop someone from making a mess, but he/she ...
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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 ...
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1answer
563 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, ...
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399 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 ...
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1answer
313 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 ...
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10answers
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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 ...
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1answer
111 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 ...
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2answers
337 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 ...
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4answers
346 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 ...
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2answers
202 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 ...
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5answers
257 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
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2answers
127 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 ...
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1answer
157 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 ...
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1answer
400 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!
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83 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 ...
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68 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?
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1answer
258 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?
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71 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 - ...
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“Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)”

"Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)" (idiom, used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good: OxfordLearnersDictionariesOnline) It seems to be of relatively recent origin, if there's really a ...
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1answer
56 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.
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
122 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 ...
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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?
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107 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
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185 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 ...
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76 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 ...
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99 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 ...
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1answer
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“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. Apple Tree Yard "To gun the ...
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165 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, ...
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360 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 ... ...
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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 ...
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4answers
431 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 ...
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1answer
143 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 ...
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1answer
9k 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 ...
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6answers
3k 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 ...
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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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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“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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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). ...
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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 ...