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

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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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1answer
57 views

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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1answer
81 views

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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4answers
98 views

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 in their hand. I would prefer a spoken expression rather than a ...
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2answers
52 views

Opposite of 'downvoted to hell' [closed]

What would I say as the opposite of downvoted to hell? So if I wanted to say, "Wow, that question on the Hot Questions list really got upvoted to xxx!", what word would I use in place of xxx? ...
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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 ...
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4answers
359 views

Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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“He might could come Friday” - Can anyone use two modals for the same verb (and get away with it)? [duplicate]

I've heard someone use two modals for the same verb more than once, in an American film. It looked like an old movie, perhaps from the 70s. The other sentence was: "I might could help you." I wonder ...
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13answers
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Is there an idiom for people who boast too much?

I am looking for idioms or informal/slang/colloquial expression for some people that make you think that they are able of building a skyscraper, constructing a spaceship, playing the piano better than ...
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4answers
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How do you say to “connect nails with heads”?

I was chatting with a non native speaker and they said "we will connect nails with heads" or something along that line, and asked if that was the right way to say it in English. I knew what he meant: ...
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2answers
70 views

What's the meaning of “if anything else”?

I don't seem to understand the exact meaning of "if anything else" in the beginning portion of the sentence below. I think I could use your help to understand what it actually means. If anything ...
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0answers
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What slang connotations can “bill” have in British English? [closed]

I'm from the south of England, studying in the north, and my syntax lecturer is American. She was writing an example sentence that used the name "John", and a few people started giggling; she cottons ...
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3answers
87 views

'Was' or 'were' with 'period' & 'eleven years' [duplicate]

I was reading a letter I got from an old friend, back in 1998, and at a certain point she wrote: "Our period of greatest prosperity were those eleven years when Thatcher was in office." ...
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2answers
55 views

Are they correct and colloquial? [closed]

I'm really curious about it. Which one is correct ? Also, are they colloquial English ? 1.My grandmother already passed away, but she lived to comb gray hair. 2.My grandmother already passed away, ...
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2answers
147 views

What is the origin of “alrighty”?

It is a friendlier and more colloquial version of "alright". It is also heard in the exclamation/interjection "Alrighty, then!". I usually hear it at the end of conversations in Canadian English, ...
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686 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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14answers
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Word or phrase for a woman who shows up at events in gaudy outfits, garish make-up, and excessive jewelry?

Such person is usually - but not necessarily - upper-middle class. I'm looking for a noun or a noun-phrase but the words I've found so far (unpolished, inelegant, gauche, etc.) are adjectives and/or ...
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Usage of 'much more'

Is saying much more grammatically correct? For instance, some purists argue that this is wrong: I'm much more comfortable with A than B and that it should be: I'm more comfortable with A ...
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1answer
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The phrase: “It was the better part of our conversation”: does it mean qualitative or time spent?

I've always intuitively assumed that the phrase "better part of our conversation" would mean the topic on which more time was spent. This is in contrast to ranking and grading the other aspects of ...
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4answers
137 views

Why is taking a side street called a “rat run”?

I stumbled upon this expression for the first time while doing some research for an answer, and I have to admit I love it! An explanation of rat running/ a rat run is as follows "Rat running/ A ...
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7answers
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Is there a word or phrase for someone who displays excessive prudishness in speech and behaviour?

Perhaps an endangered species in the 21st century, such person will tend to use euphemisms for bodily functions and sex, instead of what they consider "indelicate words". I'm looking for a noun or ...
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I stumbled on the word “OKing” while reading an article. Is such Inflection of OK prevalent? [closed]

Three of the primary dictionaries–the OED, M-W, and the Australian Concise Oxford (OA)–show OK as the preferred spelling and okay as an acceptable alternative. The Chicago Manual of Style does not ...
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0answers
95 views

Is the use of “conversely” to mean “on the other hand” correct?

I've previously used "conversely" to mean "on the other hand". For example. I always thought this the correct usage. Conversely, I might be wrong. However, the OED defines it as: In the ...
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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 ...
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1answer
52 views

Watch Your Words? [closed]

Today I was told to watch my words. I responded that hearing my words is easy, watching the words, not so much. Is there a definition of watch to mean pre-plan or compose with care??
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2answers
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Is the question/greeting “How're you going?” correct usage?

I was just wondering if the question/greeting "How're you going?" is correct usage? I know it's more prevalent in Australia because I live here and have heard it very often. I guess the American ...
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8answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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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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6answers
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Origins: “try and” over “try to” — how did we get there from here?

In written and standard semi-formal (and above) spoken English, one would use "try to": Try to be a better person. Try to get the fishhook out of my thumb, please. Try to find a pharmacy ...
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5answers
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Not “On the Rocks”

I walk into a bar and order a drink. The bartender may ask me:Do you want that on the rocks?I usually respond "Yes" or "No" Is there a colloquial expression for not on the rocks?
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Should I say “declutter” or “unclutter”?

Which verb is more appropriate (and older) for clearing out my desk: declutter or unclutter and why? I should declutter my desk I should unclutter my desk Dictionary.com defines ...
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1answer
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Origin of “blue” for rude?

This question Why do we talk a blue streak?, had me thinking—why do we use blue for rude ? Dictionary.com has it: lewd, indecent recorded from 1840 "(in form blueness, in an essay of Carlyle's)" and ...
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Bless your heart

Is "bless your heart" something only used by old women in the South (all I've ever heard)? Or is it ever appropriate for a man to use it without seeming unmanly? Does the term always have ...
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2answers
915 views

Why does common usage of “random” feel so incorrect?

I am bothered by the modern usage of the term "random", and am wondering if "it's just me" or if there is a reason for my being discomfited. Take for instance, this lovely bit: The column and table ...
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0answers
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What slang words and colloquialisms are likely to embarrass an American in England or an Englishman in the U.S.? [duplicate]

An Argentine or Mexican tourist in Madrid, or A Brazilian tourist in Lisbon, will certainly hear phrases he has never heard before and may find some of them offensive. I myself have a list of ...
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1answer
103 views

Is it correct to say “Yesterday night”? [duplicate]

I have heard a lot of people say "Yesterday night" is that considered correct? I have always said last night.
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4answers
236 views

“Would you mind and do something” in nonstandard colloquial AE

Just curious, does "Would you mind and do something" instead of "Would you mind doing something" sound acceptable in spoken AE, or is it an attempt to imitate or render colloquial speech in not so ...
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4answers
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Usage of “fanny” as verb

I am not a native English speaker, hence please bear with me. I understand that fanny means mess around and waste time. Can someone suggest how I might make a sentence which uses fanny, as an ...
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6answers
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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, ...
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2answers
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Where did this usage of “something” originate: “I need a nap something terrible”?

I need a nap something awful! I know what this means, but I could never understand it: it's not easier to say, it's not more efficient, and it doesn't make sense! When was it started (and why)?
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1answer
147 views

What does “Yeah, you did” mean?

This has been a question since I watched the episode Ted Mosby, Architect [HIMYM, Season 2] long time back. Yesterday I came across this again and I still don't get it. What does "Yeah, you did" ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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2answers
186 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 ...
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6answers
4k views

What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ?

I hear FAQ(s) pronounced like a word in "FACK(s)", while I go letter by letter. In usage, what is more common? (Similar to SQL vs Sequel)
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5answers
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“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
265 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 ...
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7answers
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“Take a photo” — why “take”?

I don't understand why it's "take a photo". Why take? Is there any rule for this?
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2answers
95 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 ...
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3answers
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Why is “guinea pig” used as the colloquial term for test subjects?

Why do we refer to people as guinea pigs when discussing the subjects of an informal experiment? Surely mice, rabbits and rats are much more common experimental subjects. Indeed, it's rare that you'll ...