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

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27
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8answers
3k 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
473 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
votes
2answers
125 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
votes
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
vote
1answer
1k 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
votes
1answer
51 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
vote
1answer
90 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
votes
1answer
486 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
vote
3answers
418 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
275 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
220 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
107 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
460 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
780 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
votes
3answers
118 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
708 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
58 views

Meaning of “binge”? [closed]

What does it really mean? And what do binge-watching; binge-reading; binge-eating mean?
1
vote
8answers
939 views

How to define someone who does not like/want to get a job or do anything in life?

In Portuguese, my natural language, we have a lot of words to define this kind of people, like mandrião, calaceiro, calaça, indolente, malandro, etc. We have also lighter words like preguiçoso that is ...
0
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
411 views

what is the meaning of,Are you done? [duplicate]

If someone is about to finish his or her lunch, and we want to know, can we ask him or her: Are you done?
25
votes
13answers
4k views

What's it called? A kind of impoliteness

A person (e.g. your brother-in-law) who enters your house without being invited, opens your fridge without asking, etc. Not just "impolite" of course, something more specific and informal
-3
votes
1answer
58 views

“them” vs “the” [duplicate]

Why do some people say: You better save some of them kids for jack. While others say: You better save some of the kids for jack.
2
votes
1answer
502 views

does 'A' in 'Easy A' (movie) mean “ei”?

English is not my first language. I have just watched the movie Easy A. I understood its content a little bit but I don't understand what the title means. I often hear many Native English speakers ...
-1
votes
1answer
127 views

American Novels in Colloquial Language [closed]

I would like to know the names of novels that uses a lot of American colloquial expressions and idioms and it would be great if the novel portrays the exact way people talk in normal circumstances. ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Knocked up, two very different meanings. But why and how did the phrase split? [duplicate]

In American English, "Knocked up" means "pregnant." I just found out via an article regarding jobs that no longer exist that in British English, they use use the phrase "Knocked up in a completely ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

When did the word “snafu” enter the colloquial vernacular?

Roughly when did the word "snafu" enter the colloquial vernacular? It was a military term, but at some point it came into fairly common use among the general population. If you can narrow it down to a ...
1
vote
1answer
440 views

Are “kinda”, “sorta”, “oughta” and “sposta” acceptable in formal writing?

I get that sorta, kinda, sorta-kinda (this one I quite like though) oughta and sposta imitate speech but it still niggles me to find them "in print", especially when the overall tone is formal. ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is 'biasedness' a real word?

I am curious about the usage of word biasedness, I am unable to find it in Oxford's advance learners dictionary but on the internet. When tried to consult some expert, he said that it's a colloquial ...
1
vote
2answers
196 views

Is the word “gig” formal?

I'd like to know whether the word gig (temporary job) is formal or colloquial. Always that I've read it, it has been in forums. I have never heard it or read it somewhere else, just in forums, which ...
0
votes
1answer
160 views

What does the phrase “They would clash with my drapes” mean?

I have come across this phrase in the sitcom, Hot in Cleveland wherein a gay man is asked if he had kids to which he responds with this phrase :"They would clash with my drapes." I tried looking it up ...
3
votes
1answer
594 views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
0
votes
2answers
168 views

In/on for “into/onto” in colloquial and not so formal AmE

If the context is crystal clear and, as such, allows no risk of misunderstanding or ambiguity whatsoever, unlike "Paul jumps into the lake (= Paul jumps into the lake from a certain point)" vs. "Paul ...
0
votes
2answers
2k 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
155 views

Is “and all” a filler?

In L.P.Hartley's "The Go-between", one of the characters says: "I didn't think I would find anyone here, being a Sunday and all." In the 2002 English film "All or Nothing", a woman says: "I'm very ...
2
votes
2answers
725 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
1answer
121 views

Colloquial alternatives to questions regarding the ordinals

I'm very well aware that this question is asked a myriad of times before but I want to know how one would phrase a question in every-day language to get the answer "n-th". What ordinal number ...
0
votes
1answer
320 views

What does “to take/catch someone off stride” mean in AE?

I guess it might originate from ball game terminology, and mean pretty much the same as "catch/take someone off balance". But, sad to say, I just can't seem to find an authoritative source online that ...
0
votes
2answers
156 views

“Associate with [someone]” for “socialize with [someone]” in colloquial AE

What's the difference in AE between saying "I like to associate with new folks" and "I like to socialize with new folks"? E.g. I am a positive person and I like to associate with other positive ...
2
votes
1answer
817 views

“As long as” for “since” in AE

Some of you might have noticed that I oftentimes use the conjunction "as long as" in my questions and my posts. I was just wondering -- does "as long as" in the sense "since" [=in view of the fact ...
0
votes
1answer
162 views

“Fudge” vs. “dodge” (an issue, question, etc.), and “fudge” as another term for “cheat” in AE

In AE, can "fudge" and "dodge" be used just about interchangeably to convey the sense of circumvent [= avoid or try to avoid answering, fulfilling, or performing (duties, questions, issues, etc.)]? ...
3
votes
4answers
150 views

“Tote” vs. “carry” in AE

Aside from formality/informality registers, what is to "tote" that is not to "carry" to AE native speakers? Does "tote", unlike "carry", imply a certain way to hold or support something while moving? ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

“Decide/Intend on [gerund]” vs. “decide/intend to [infinitive]”

In analogy with "plan on [gerund]", do the gerund constructions above have any currency in AE, or are these chiefly dialectal and might sound folksy to most ears? E.g. We decided on taking our ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

“Have you ever been” to France? vs. “Have you ever gone” to France? vs. “Did you ever go” to France?

Which of the grammatical constructions above is (or are) more typical of what is commonly said and heard in colloquial AE? If all three options work, is there any difference to them meaningwise? ...
3
votes
4answers
421 views

“Shag” for “chase and bring back, fetch” in AE

Does "shag" have any currency in modern day AE to mean "chase and bring back, fetch (an escaped animal/prisoner)"? Is its use limited to the pursuit of runaways, or can it be extended to a broader ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“Should I” vs. “Shall I” vs. “Do I” in AE

In colloquial prose, is there some difference to saying "Should I/we", Shall I/we", "Do I/we" to ask someone's advice? E.g. Should I call the police? Sounds like I'm asking someone (or myself) ...
-1
votes
1answer
123 views

I've been betrayed by the Jedi Order, but I don't wish “for” them to all die [closed]

Does the presumably nonstandard construction "(verb) for someone/something to (verb)" instead of "(verb) (someone/something) to (verb)" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE speech and "not so ...
-1
votes
4answers
417 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
0
votes
2answers
743 views

“Occupation” and “professional occupation (plus calling and career)” vs. “vocation” and “professional vocation” [closed]

Is "professional vocation" an acceptable alternative to "professional occupation", and to "professional calling or career" also? You might want to consider the following sourced examples for this: ...