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

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Is “fatty” a proper word to use?

The most intuitive word to describe a person rich in fat seems to be fatty. However, I'm not sure whether it's commonly used in a derogatory sense in English. Do I need a more appropriate word instead?...
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235 views

What do kids say instead of "videotape”?

In a conversation I just had I used the word "videotape" to mean recording a video on a cell phone. It occurred to me that this is probably not the word youngsters use today, but I couldn't think of a ...
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262 views

“I have been Jessica” shouldn't it be “My name is Jessica”

We went to an electronics showroom, where we chatted with a sales girl. She explained some technical stuff about the things we were interested in. When she had finished explaining, she said "By ...
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29 views

What do we got? [duplicate]

What do we got? In vernacular American speech, I have heard this structure several times. A search in COCA yields 36 results for "what do we got" and 107 results for "what do you got". This is what ...
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Is there any equivalent for 'amorous affairs' that is very informal?

I'm looking for a way of saying “having amorous affairs”. Ideally it should indicate a married man fooling around with younger women, and the expression should be informal, humorous, in low register ...
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1answer
42 views

What is the term used for some kind of punishment

What is colloquial word for kind of punishment for children/teen when he's not allowed to leave home (go to friends etc), but only school-home-school... ?
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237 views

Meaning of the statement “Are you playing thick or just are? ”

Somebody told me Are you playing thick or just are? in the middle of a conversation. and I didn't know its meaning. I searched for "play thick" in Google, but I didn't find anything. Is “are ...
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239 views

When did “I could care less” (rather than “I couldn't care less”) become popular?

What decade? Any particular reason? This is an etymological/historical question, not a grammar question.
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3answers
111 views

Does “started a start-up company” contain redundancy?

I see the phrase "started a start-up company" more and more these days, and feel that it is redundant, and the speaker is ignorant or using stock phrases without thinking. Any company we start would ...
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417 views

phrase or idiom meaning 'I don't have enough money nowadays.' [closed]

Is there any phrase or idiom meaning 'I don't have enough money nowadays'? I just want to know sentences which are used in everyday life.
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175 views

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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69 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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535 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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337 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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1k 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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2answers
166 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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1k 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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216 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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199 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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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
767 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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456 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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361 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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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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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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385 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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382 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
238 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
262 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 ...
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2answers
137 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
184 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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443 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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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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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
294 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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72 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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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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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
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“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
133 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 as ...
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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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4answers
109 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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200 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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2answers
83 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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105 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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“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 engine" ...
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172 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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422 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 ... ...