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

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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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93 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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34 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 ...
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71 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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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
40 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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103 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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47 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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72 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 ...
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3answers
70 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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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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30 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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639 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
331 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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73 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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80 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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48 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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885 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 ...
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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
134 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
929 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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121 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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375 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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75 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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336 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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57 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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382 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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74 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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84 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
195 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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48 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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92 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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63 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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“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 ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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67 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," ...
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223 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
80 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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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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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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2k 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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114 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?
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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 ...
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7answers
513 views

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

Does Would you mind and do something instead of Would you mind doing something sound acceptable in spoken AmEng, or is it an attempt to imitate or render colloquial speech in not so formal writing? ...
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5answers
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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 getting mad at people for using it both in ...
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123 views

“[ball]park” in AmEng vernacular

Are the terms ballpark and park specific to baseball in AmEng, or can they also be used for every which athletic stadium in which ball games like soccer or rugby are played? For example, would a ...
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140 views

Various meanings of “mind and do” which can mean “be cautious/careful to do”, “take notice/give heed and do”, and “behave obediently and do”

How would you define the meaning of "mind and do" in the following examples: I will mind and do as I am told, Master Yoda... Mind and do your work properly... As long as you mind and ...
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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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298 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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“tab” for “hotel bill” in AmEng

In AmEng vernacular, is the word tab specific to restaurant and bar checks, or can it also be used for hotel bills? E.g. Guest: We'll be checking out early tomorrow morning, so if it isn't too ...