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

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Is there a word for colloquial forms of address?

For example, "dude," "man," "buddy," "pal," etc, when used to stand in for someone's name. "Hey, pal, how's it going?" Is there a word for terms like these? Or is "colloquialism" as close as we can ...
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1answer
54 views

What's the colloquial opposite of “do me a solid”?

"Do me a solid" means doing something helpful for a friend. (I'm going off of Urban Dictionary definition, which I assume is accurate). What would be a good colloquialism to describe the opposite of ...
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1answer
50 views

converting a phrasal verb into a noun?

Is it common to convert a phrasal verb into a noun, especially a phrasal verb having more than 2 words? I found phrases like "do some figuring out" or "have some figuring out to do" in these days. ...
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2answers
142 views

What do you call a spoken disclaimer on a radio/TV commercial?

The other day I was listening to the radio, and a very lengthy disclosure came on after a commercial. I know that in printed legal documents, and even on websites, the colloquialism for legal ...
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1answer
73 views

What does it mean to “cring your corn?” [closed]

I believe that it is something sexual and therefore obviously physical but I am not quite sure. If anyone knows please answer. Thanks.
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1answer
45 views

compare as similar by adding “-esque”

I've heard this used colloquially much more than I've ever seen it used in writing. Is there any formally accepted way to use within writing? For example, to describe a scene as being "Renaissance-...
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2answers
6k views

“What's going on?” vs. “What's happening?”

Is there a semantic difference between What's going on? and What's happening?. Can they be used interchangeably?
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13answers
10k views

What do you call a USB flash disk?

I assume usually you don’t say USB flash disk, right? By the way, in Chinese we call it something more like U Disk.
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1answer
47 views

“opposite” used as a noncount noun?

We can find sentences like the one below from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "Wet" is the opposite of "dry." But I've heard others say "Wet is opposite of dry." Is the latter correct? Why can't ...
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2answers
135 views

Colloquial use of “to dip”

So, "dip" has come to mean "leave" in American slang. As in, "Let's dip," i.e. "Let's get out of here." How did that happen? The best I could come up with is: a dip in the road obscures vision, so if ...
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2answers
52 views

The colloquial use of the pronoun “you” followed by “adjectives”

Utterances like you pig!, you bastard! or you silly! are quite common but it is hard to find grammatical explanation about them as they are prevalent in the colloquialism. I would be glad if ...
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3answers
121 views

“Oh, no you di'int!”

In (American?) English-language comedy - people often respond to a comment or situation by yelling the colloquial phrase "Oh, no you di'int!" (contraction for "Oh, no you did not!"). To exactly what ...
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79 views

How did “on the house” become a synonym of “free”?

question as in the subject. Noticed such an expression at least in two occasions...
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6answers
3k views

“Fixing to” at the beginning of a sentence

Use of fixing to at the beginning of a sentence is prevalent in the southern states of Amerca. Is this the right usage? And is this only a southern US thing? Examples: Fixing to call her. ...
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1answer
75 views

Anne Boleyn had a brother called Tenpin

Anne Boleyn had a brother called Tenpin Can someone explain this joke? It probably has some sort of colloquial meaning I'm missing or some way of pronunciation that makes it funny. I've found this ...
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3answers
74 views

What is a colloquial and figurative expression for the pieces of luggage you carry when travelling light

I am looking for a figurative or graphic expression to describe the minimal luggage content, fast to pack, or that you always have with you, without which you would feel less safe when travelling. The ...
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3answers
1k views

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

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 ...
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0answers
37 views

“Am I (ever) [adj.] ” vs. “How [adj.] I am”

What's the difference between saying, Boy, am I happy to see you again! Damn, am I ever lucky to have a friend like you! -and- Boy, how happy I am to see you again! Damn, how lucky ...
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6answers
668 views

An employee called me “boss”, but I don't like it. How can I colloquially say that? [closed]

I'm a Coordinator at an English course in a small city in Brazil, and one of the teachers called me "boss" today. However, I don't appreciate being called that, therefore I'd like to tell him not to ...
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2answers
343 views

Is “hail from (somewhere)” necessarily formal English?

Macmillan dictionary says hail from is "formal". link Cambridge dictionary notes hail from as "formal" in British English but doesn't say this for American English. link Oxford Learners ...
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3answers
76 views

What can be an affectionate name for a car? [closed]

People who drive for a living (taxi drivers, delivery workers, etc.) are often fond of their cars and give them affectionate names. These names can stem from the car brand or model (such as a Beetle ...
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1answer
92 views

Is “go exercising” ungrammatical or non-standard?

Friends, I think the phrase "go exercise" is spoken in colloquial English. But I can still find the phrase "go exercising," even in Google books. Like the excerpt below: I like to exercise, but ...
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2answers
49 views

Colloquial term for a scam business

There are many disreputable businesses that operate on the idea that you pay them for the privilege of trying to sell their product(s). Is there a common term for this kind of scam; one that could be ...
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5answers
889 views

Can you “do” Science? [closed]

My kid told me recently, she "likes to do science" at school. Though happy about her interests developing into the right direction, I was irked by the phrase itself. I don't think, science can be done,...
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4answers
102 views

Slang or idiom for someone who wants to gain weight or bulk up

What is a more colourful way of saying someone who wants to gain weight, increase their muscle size by going to the gym? He has been regularly visiting the gym in hopes of ___ Can I say ‘...
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3answers
138 views

Colorful English equivalent for the French expression “mine de capitaine”

Is there a colorful expression in English which equates to the French [avoir] une mine de capitaine? (Literally, to sport skipper's [glowing, healthy] looks) It is something that we say to someone ...
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8answers
933 views

English equivalent for the French expression “péter de santé”

Is there an expression/idiom in English that carries pretty much the same connotation as what is implied by French "péter de santé"? WordReference actually gives for translation, "be bursting with ...
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1answer
161 views

“people aged from 15 to 24” vs “people ages from 15 to 24”: which is grammatically correct?

Here is a sentence excerpted from an APA psychological research paper, Teen suicide is a growing health concern. It is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, surpassed ...
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2answers
415 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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1answer
85 views

What does word “nerd” mean exactly? [closed]

I always thought nerds were people who are into science and a bit socially awkward. Like characters in xkcd comic. But in all conversations on the internet, I see nerd refers to a person that is ...
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1answer
360 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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1answer
66 views

Is 'very' with a noun colloquial [duplicate]

I know that we can use very + noun to indicate the precision, particularity. Once I wrote this sentence: I felt like I was with my very family. My teacher said this sound very colloquial, not ...
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4answers
462 views

“[will] likely” vs. “[will] probably” in AmEng usage

As far as AmEng goes, can likely be an acceptable alternate to probably in the following OUP quiz? The traffic is terrible so I'll probably be late this morning. Climate change is likely to ...
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1answer
78 views

Can anyone translate the language of Mrs Cameron's diary?

There is a spoof column in The Guardian every Saturday called Mrs Cameron's diary. It purports to record the thoughts of the Prime Minister's wife, Samantha. However it is written in a language which ...
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1answer
95 views

“frightened 'by' spiders” vs. “frightened 'of' spiders” in AmEng

Could you explain the difference between these two sentences: I'm frightened BY spiders. I'm frightened OF spiders. Obviously both are used in American English in the sense "have a fear ...
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3answers
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
51 views

Usage of “got” as a subsitute of “taking care of”?

I want to represent a situation in which the character is sad because her boyfriend isn't there, then a guy says: "in any case don't worry, I got you". It is meant to be something like "I will take ...
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1answer
116 views

“downtime” vs. “time off” vs. “free time” vs. “spare time” in AmEng vernacular

How do those terms differ from each other? downtime North American A time of reduced activity or inactivity: everyone needs downtime to unwind ODO spare time Noun time available ...
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1answer
69 views

How common is it to use the term “overland” to refer to transport by either land or sea only excluding flying?

I know I've personally used the term "overland" in the context of travel to mean travelling by any means other than air travel. In fact I thought I picked up this usage by seeing others use it this ...
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2answers
80 views

“flat,” “stone,” “dead,” “dirt,” “plumb,” and “right” as indicators of directness, completeness, or general intensity [closed]

What's the difference between those words? Can they be used just about interchangeably as adverbs indicating completeness or totality? Please, compare: Looking back over my years of wildlife work,...
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1answer
62 views

“Poor as Job's cat”

In which part(s) of the U.S. can one still hear the colorful simile, (as) poor as Job's cat? poor as Job - Poverty-stricken, indigent, destitute. The allusion is to the extreme poverty which ...
2
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1answer
70 views

“taxwise,” “tax wise,” or “tax-wise”

What should be the correct spelling for "-wise" combinations in adverbial coinages like "sportswise," "weatherwise," "businesswise, "saleswise," "taxwise," etc.? Should it be "NOUN wise," "NOUN-wise,"...
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6answers
228 views

Men sweat, but women glisten. What's the equivalent for a woman for snoring?

Colloquially, we say that men sweat, but women glisten. Is there an equivalent word for describing when women snore?
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2answers
83 views

Is there a specific word or phrase for the drowsiness one might feel soon after a heavy lunch?

After a lunch, especially a nutritionally dense one, one might drift off into a drowsy state, sort of a "I sure could use a nap" feel, likely due to the breaking down of the foods in the digestive ...
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1answer
54 views

Term to describe such conversational phrases [closed]

Is there a term to describe colloquial, chatty phrases such as: Weird, I know. Who knew there was a place called Pikachu. You may be wondering... I'm doing a written assignment and I have to ...
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3answers
4k views

Where did the phrase “shut up” as an expression of disbelief or amazement originate?

I recently heard shut up used according to this definition in Urban dictionary. shut·up (shuht-up) --interjection 1. An expression of disbelief. 2. Amazement; astonishment. I've only ...
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2answers
3k views

Is the term “city boy” a commonly used appellation for London bankers? Does it only apply to them, or is it colloquial for other London denizens?

I was watching the British series Sherlock Holmes and I noticed a couple of times they referred to bankers Sherlock was investigating or talking to as city boys. How common is this usage? Would the ...
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1answer
147 views

How to answer the greeting “What's the story?”

I have a lot of Irish coworkers that often greet me by saying "What's the story?" What's a good way to answer to this greeting? Also, does this ever get used in the UK, US or Australia?