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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

-4
votes
1answer
60 views

What does a man reply when told: “I love you” by a fellow man and by a woman? [on hold]

Is there any difference in replying to the words "I love you" when it is said by one male to another male, and when it is said by a female to a male?
12
votes
5answers
443 views

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, ...
5
votes
2answers
80 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
3k 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)
6
votes
5answers
1k 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
14k views

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 ...
4
votes
12answers
6k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
4k views

“Take a photo” — why “take”?

I don't understand why it's "take a photo". Why take? Is there any rule for this?
0
votes
2answers
72 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
16k views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

What does “playus nigh” mean in Cockney?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). Refer to What does “him as writ plays” mean?
18
votes
10answers
2k views

Derogatory term for electronic device

In German, the term "Kiste", literally meaning "box", is often used as a colloquial derogatory term for electronic and mechanical devices. It is comparable to "jalopy", which, however, seems to be ...
3
votes
3answers
72 views

Is “can exceed up to X” some form of colloquialism?

I ran into a sign that said "Fines can exceed up to $500". I have no idea what this means. Is the fine capped at $500? or can it exceed $500? In an attempt to understand what is going on I ran a ...
1
vote
2answers
124 views

A word (or expression) which means paying someone with counterfeit money?

Just as shortchange means cheating someone by giving insufficient money as change, the word I am looking for means cheating through counterfeit money. There are words as simple as deceive, bilk, ...
9
votes
8answers
16k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the etymology of “todger”?

What is the etymology of "todger"? My Concise OED is rather vague: ORIGIN 1950s: of unknown origin (also tadger) "Tadger" is just listed as a "Variant spelling of TODGER" Other references ...
2
votes
5answers
18k views

“What needs to be done” vs “What is needed to be done”

When you are looking at a task remaining, it seems right to me to say, "what needs to be done" in the simple present tense. I have seen some people write "what is needed to be done." While I don't ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

What does “Eleventy-seven” mean?

I came across the following phrase in a story (set in Australia): So the fact that I'm forty-five and you're eleventy-seven means nothing to me. If other people have a problem with that, then it's ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

Can I say “a folder lies in” when talking about computer folders (directories)?

I guess is located in is nicer, but is it correct English?
1
vote
1answer
65 views

What is Nerd Test all about? [closed]

Not sure, where to ask this. I did it here, and it was put in Hold , finally attempting here as a last try!! I am really curious(!) to know what is this? I got this link randomly about how nerd are ...
3
votes
2answers
696 views

I need <something> yesterday?

Is it correct to say: I need those reports, and I need them yesterday. Shouldn't it be: I needed those reports yesterday. Or is this aberrant usage style simply a colloquialism?
27
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
7answers
403 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
123 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
100 views

Why the use of 'clock' in the following sentence?

"Bob clocked Joe right in the nose." In this sentence, "clocked" indicates that Bob punched Joe directly in Joe's nose. How did 'clock' come to be used in such a way? Is it colloquial/vernacular to ...
3
votes
4answers
77 views

“Tote” vs. “carry” in AE

Aside from formality/informality registers, what is to "tote" that is not to "carry" to AE native speakers? Does "tote", unlike "carry", imply a certain way to hold or support something while moving? ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

“Did used to” vs. “did use to” [duplicate]

The use of "used to" is much more frequent than "use to", but what about "did used to" vs. "did use to"?
5
votes
3answers
76 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
117 views

What does “boo-boo face” mean, and how did it originate? [closed]

What does "boo-boo face" mean? I've found it many times before but can't understand it. Is it a recent expression? What is the etymology of boo-boo face?
2
votes
3answers
184 views

What is the “pie” in “Cutie Pie”?

Cutie is a slang term used to refer to someone who is cute. Where did the word, pie, in the expression "Cutie Pie" come from? And what is the history behind this expression? I can't seem to find any ...
1
vote
2answers
154 views

Any better term than “Postscript”?

There was a Postscript section in my English Course-book, which simply teaches the colloquial English phrases as in "Give me a lift", "Let me have a look", "There is no point", etc. But "postscript" ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

common name for small villages

Is there a special name for small villages? Like a made up name of the village or a real one that functions as a recognizable synonym for a small village? E.g. "This 'town' he lives in is actually the ...
4
votes
5answers
508 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
43 views

Meaning of “binge”? [closed]

What does it really mean? And what do binge-watching; binge-reading; binge-eating mean?
1
vote
1answer
9k views

“so long as” vs. “as long as”

I just googled the difference between as long as and so long as. The difference has alredy been discussed here. There are, it seems, two contexts for these expressions: lengths and physical ...
3
votes
3answers
337 views

Which word(s) can be used to express causal relation in modern English? [closed]

I will skip it over, because nobody will have doubt on this. Since nobody will have doubt on this, I will skip it over. I will skip it over, for nobody will have doubt on this. An ...
0
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
905 views

“Have you ever been” to France? vs. “Have you ever gone” to France? vs. “Did you ever go” to France?

Which of the grammatical constructions above is (or are) more typical of what is commonly said and heard in colloquial AE? If all three options work, is there any difference to them meaningwise? ...
3
votes
2answers
144 views

Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word?

Usage: "I would not like to eat that pie as it looks all festy since you dropped it on the ground." Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word? Also, is it used elsewhere in the world? ...
-1
votes
1answer
69 views

what is the meaning of,Are you done? [duplicate]

If someone is about to finish his or her lunch, and we want to know, can we ask him or her: Are you done?
9
votes
5answers
12k views

What does the word “rich” mean in the reactionary sarcastic phrase “That's rich!”?

What does the word "rich" mean in the reactionary sarcastic phrase "That's rich!" (Google shows 67M hits). I take it to mean "rich" as in "rich in irony". What it is the source of the phrase and how ...
22
votes
13answers
4k views

What's it called? A kind of impoliteness

A person (e.g. your brother-in-law) who enters your house without being invited, opens your fridge without asking, etc. Not just "impolite" of course, something more specific and informal
-3
votes
1answer
55 views

“them” vs “the” [duplicate]

Why do some people say: You better save some of them kids for jack. While others say: You better save some of the kids for jack.
2
votes
1answer
129 views

does 'A' in 'Easy A' (movie) mean “ei”?

English is not my first language. I have just watched the movie Easy A. I understood its content a little bit but I don't understand what the title means. I often hear many Native English speakers ...
8
votes
1answer
517 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
56 views

American Novels in Colloquial Language [closed]

I would like to know the names of novels that uses a lot of American colloquial expressions and idioms and it would be great if the novel portrays the exact way people talk in normal circumstances. ...
5
votes
4answers
732 views

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 ...
20
votes
11answers
4k views

Is “chubby” offensive?

I said to a person that she is "chubby" and, apparently, she took it very seriously. What I meant to say is that she's not skin and bones, she carried more pounds than needed but, precisely because of ...