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

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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
44 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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4answers
124 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 ...
3
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2answers
38k views

Die hard or die heart?

I just saw someone write that they were a "die heart" fan. I always thought the term was supposed to be "die hard" but I decided to google it just in case I was wrong. Google was unable to give me a ...
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10answers
2k views

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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1answer
94 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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3answers
682 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, ...
5
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4answers
140 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
6
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1answer
73 views

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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9answers
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What does “I know, right?” mean?

Not only is my seventh grader using this phrase, but her teachers are as well. I suppose it means I totally agree with you and you totally agree with me but it sounds like there is a subtle Is that ...
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0answers
50 views

Grammatical correctness and colloquialism of “must total 5” and “must total to 5” [closed]

I would like to know which of the following are grammatically correct: 1a. He has 10 apples total. 1b. He has 10 apples in total. 2a. The number of apples he has must total 10. 2b. The ...
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3answers
924 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 ...
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2answers
103 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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3answers
94 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 ...
2
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2answers
88 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
189 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 ...
2
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2answers
78 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
56 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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4answers
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Which is correct: “I’m done” or “I have finished”?

Which of these alternatives is grammatically correct? I’m done. or I have finished Like I’m done sounds very American, but is it grammatically correct?
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4answers
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Meaning and usage of “to no end”

What does the phrase "He annoys me to no end" mean? Literally, does it mean that he annoys me forever? Or does it mean that he annoys me to no result?
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2answers
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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 ...
3
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1answer
148 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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2answers
60 views

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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1answer
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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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8answers
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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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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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2answers
46 views

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
483 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. ...
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1answer
91 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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0answers
48 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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1answer
80 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 ...
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594 views

What does “trigger-happy on broken windows” mean?

What does this expression mean: to be "trigger-happy on broken windows"
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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
524 views

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
44 views

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.
2
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1answer
311 views

“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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6answers
928 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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2answers
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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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2answers
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When is it OK to use OK?

I often use "OK" in business and personal emails and phone conversations. But I often feel uncertain if it is appropriate to use it in every type of context. Please tell how universally I can use ...
2
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4answers
89 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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6answers
9k views

Etymology of “to be like” meaning “to say”

It seems that "to be like" is an informal phrase for "to say". E.g. She was so angry, she was like "I'm breaking up with you", and I was like "I'm sorry", and she was like "Go away". Is this a ...
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4answers
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Which is the correct idiom: “First thing's first” or “First things first”?

I've gotten into a debate over which usage of an apostrophe in the phrase "first thing(')s first" is correct. My thinking is that one would take the first thing and give it priority, hence the first ...
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2answers
117 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
52 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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2answers
5k 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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75 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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1answer
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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. "To gun the engine" is a new ...
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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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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 ...