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

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Is “to split up” or “to break up” colloquial?

Are "to split up" and "to break up" colloquial if I want to say that somebody ended a relationship? If they are colloquial, could you give me non-colloquial synonyms except "to end" a relationship?
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0answers
46 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 ...
4
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1answer
103 views

What's the origin of “dinkum”?

Dinkum as a noun means work, especially hard work. As an adjective, like fair dinkum, it means honest or genuine. Other than saying it's chiefly Australian and New Zealand, the OED simply says ...
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2answers
85 views

What does “to revive the 2-for-1 model” mean?

What does "find a clever way to revive the 2-for-1 model pitched by the Clintons so long ago" mean in the following quote from The Washington Post of today? The author, Michelle Cottle, wrote that ...
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1answer
464 views

What does it mean “I am not around”? [closed]

When I asked my friend, "would you like to come to the party tomorrow?" he answered, "thanks, but I am not around" does it mean he is not in the NYC or just not around the hood??
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1answer
131 views

Ending a sentence with “and thanks”

I have a colleague who ends many emails with "and thanks". To me it sounds awkward and random, but I wonder if anyone has seen this usage before? Examples (note particularly the third one!): "That ...
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3answers
292 views

Is there a non-colloquial equivalent term for “cool”?

As I get older (into my 30s) the less I feel like using youthful slang, and I take extra pride in using professional English. But I can't think of a word that is universally equivalent to the ...
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1answer
99 views

“hot topic” as phrase in thesis

I'm currently writing the introduction of my Ph.D. thesis, which is about theoretical computer science. I stumbled upon the phrase To put it in a nutshell, X is a hot topic where X refers to ...
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3answers
328 views

Is there a female or gender-neutral equivalent to the colloquial “man”?

I don't know how to define the usage of man I'm talking about*, so I'll do it with examples: Hey, man, what's up? C'mon, man, don't make me do this. Is there a female or gender-neutral ...
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5answers
223 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"?
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3answers
697 views

Is it correct to use the phrase “Think on it”

Is it correct to use the phrase "Think on it"? You can use sleep on it for thinking about something overnight and you can say "I'm thinking on my bed" to mean that I am sitting on my bed and ...
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337 views

OK, here's a weird one: “I appreciate ya”

Say you do something simple and nice for someone. A normal reply would be " I appreciate that, thank you." (phrased in either order) But for the past year or two, down here in the southern US, I've ...
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1answer
124 views

Is 'somelike' a word?

Never mind the laconic title. It's incontrovertibly a word. What I'd like to know is whether the little bugger has ever been recorded by lexicographers. I've ruffled a dozen dictionaries to no avail, ...
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4answers
200 views

“I don't have internet” vs. “I don't have the internet”?

When there is no WI-Fi or internet connection, people usually say I don't have internet. However, I heard someone saying I don't have the internet. which sounds funny to me. I would ...
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1answer
157 views

What is the difference between “brush aside” and “brush off”?

He brushed her ideas / accusations aside He brushed her ideas / accusations off She brushed him off / aside after breaking up What's the difference between brush off and brush aside? I looked the ...
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6answers
443 views

some other ways to express the fact that I have been learning something for a certain period of time but still haven't mastered the ABCs of it?

I wonder if there are some other ways to express the fact that I have been learning something for a certain period of time but still haven't mastered the ABCs of it? The following is what I am not ...
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1answer
101 views

Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word?

Usage: "I would not like to eat that pie as it looks all festy since you dropped it on the ground." Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word? Also, is it used elsewhere in the world? ...
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3answers
106 views

When did speakers/writers of AE begin to replace the noun “quotations” with the verb “quotes”?

Not being particularly adept at using Google's Ngram viewer, I put the two words (quotes and quotations) into the viewer and it displayed a result, with the two lines staying pretty close together ...
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7answers
2k views

Why are you a plonker?

The idiom, plonk (something/someone) down means to slap something down; to plop something down to sit or lie down on something in a careless or noisy way to leave someone somewhere to do ...
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1answer
2k 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".
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1answer
245 views

“There were only 4” versus “There was only 4”?

I used the sentence "there was only 4 channels on tele" (reminiscing about the good old days before digital TV!), but I wasn't sure if I was right, so tried were instead of was. It still doesn't ...
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0answers
354 views

Where can I find a list of colloquial abbreviations for cities? [closed]

I'm seeking a list of commonly used abbreviations for US cities (and also European cities, but let's start with the US). When I say abbreviations, that could be anything from 2 letters or more that ...
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2answers
221 views

Is “hang” really short for “hang out”? [closed]

I saw this entry in Urban Dictionary (I know, not the best place for formal English, but it does do a pretty good job at collecting slang). 1.hang short for "hang out" "I'm just gonna ...
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1answer
186 views

Correct spelling of “can too” in response to “you can't” [closed]

If someone says "you can't do that" there's a colloquial response of "can too". Is it "can too" or "can to"?
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2answers
373 views

Evolution of “push somebody's buttons” and “know what buttons to push”

Colloquially speaking, "to push somebody's buttons" means to irritate or annoy the person. And, "know what buttons to push" means to know what to do to get people to act the way you want. I can't ...
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2answers
247 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 ...
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0answers
44 views

When to use “programming's” vs. “programming is” [duplicate]

My sentence can be said as: Programming is fun. and it can also be said as: Programming's fun. Both seem to be correct. When should I use one instead of the other?
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
112 views

“What time?” instead of “What day?”

I was talking with a friend about an event that was going to happen in the future. He asked me "What time?" referring, as I discovered after a while, to the day this event was going to happen. I ...
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1answer
934 views

What is the etymology of “todger”?

What is the etymology of "todger"? My Concise OED is rather vague: ORIGIN 1950s: of unknown origin (also tadger) "Tadger" is just listed as a "Variant spelling of TODGER" Other references ...
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3answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
561 views

What is the correct way to write the interjection “ha ha?”

I had a hard time finding the English origin of this interjection and how it technically should be written. I am often ridiculed in written conversations, especially those that are informal, because I ...
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1answer
328 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 ...
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1answer
124 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?
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2answers
217 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 ...
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1answer
5k views

“so long as” vs. “as long as”

I just googled the difference between as long as and so long as. The difference has alredy been discussed here. There are, it seems, two contexts for these expressions: lengths and physical ...
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4answers
148 views

An alternative to “serious business”

I am writing an article about a fancy cocktail bar and I am looking for an alternative to the phrase "drinking here is a serious business". Normally I am pretty good at this but, I just have the same ...
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10answers
2k views

Derogatory term for electronic device

In German, the term "Kiste", literally meaning "box", is often used as a colloquial derogatory term for electronic and mechanical devices. It is comparable to "jalopy", which, however, seems to be ...
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1answer
336 views

Is it ok to end a sentence with a preposition? [duplicate]

I have a sentence: It can be derived from either A or B. But I’m not sure how to ask the following question: Which one of them can it be derived from? Is that ok, or would it be better if ...
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1answer
353 views

What should I say to people when I am passing them by?

I am talking about situations when you want to greet someone, without stopping to talk to them. In Russian, people usually say "добрый день" which means "hello." This is a greeting, not a valediction. ...
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4answers
295 views

Using any punctuation, how many meanings does this sign have? [closed]

I was walking in the Norfolk countryside today, when I spotted this sign. Notice that it is devoid of punctuation. It is obviously a warning sign to motorists. However, it made me giggle. Using any ...
3
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1answer
96 views

Acceptability and use of “to got” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Don’t got” — how common is it in American usage? Recently, I've started to hear more and more often people use "got" as a present simple form (obviously originating ...
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1answer
122 views

Is “all of your everything” common English?

Is the phrase “all of your everything” proper English? It seems to mean “all of your belongings”, but what special connotations does this phrase have? It can be found here but the search engine of ...
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4answers
506 views

What are some colloquial English phrases for 'a child acquiring its parents' characteristics or features'?

I am not sure if the title is clear enough to you, so let me briefly explain what I'm looking for. We sometimes see children who look very much like their father or mother, or even behave typically ...
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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?
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8answers
217 views

Non-offensive equivalent to KISS [closed]

Is there a non-offensive way to tell someone: is better to (k)eep (i)t (s)imple, (s)... Update Let's say someone came with his part of the homework done, then it turns out to be a rather ...
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1answer
911 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 ...
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3answers
613 views

Is “ain’t” slang, or is it colloquial instead?

Does using the word ain’t in a song make it slang, whereas using it in a speech make it colloquial?
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1answer
323 views

Etymology of “What could (possibly) go wrong?”

What is the (likely) origin of the popular usage of the phase "What could go wrong?" or "What could possibly go wrong?" as a theatrical plot device or ironic commentary? Does this usage pre-date or ...
3
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2answers
116 views

Use of 'That“ rather than ”the"

The weather reports on the BBC frequently use the word "That" when I was expecting either no article or possibly "the". For example 'There will be more of that cold weather.' when no cold weather has ...