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

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174 views

Why does “to dip” mean “to leave”?

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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1answer
210 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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7answers
469 views

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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1answer
18k 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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2answers
76 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 ...
4
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1answer
34k views

Proper use of the phrase “of all time”

I have a client who insists on using the following sentence in his web site: Lance Armstrong is the most successful American bike racer of all times. I think that "of all times" should be "of ...
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3answers
82 views

Mayoral Pronoun; it or he/she

Recently I have heard both of the following sentences: The previous mayor was a woman, wasn't she? The mayor is male, isn't it? These seem to me to bear a gender contradiction here; "the ...
1
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1answer
70 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. ...
6
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6answers
712 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 ...
3
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2answers
8k views

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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1answer
55 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 ...
3
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1answer
41 views

Difference between “thrown under a bus” and “thrown to the wolves”?

Is there any difference between the phrases "thrown under a bus" and "thrown to the wolves"? As far as I can tell they mean basically the same thing, but the "bus" phrases came into existence after ...
12
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5answers
7k views

“high rate of speed” or “high speed” to mean going fast

Why do reporters (and sometimes police officers) say that somebody was going at a high rate of speed when they actually mean high speed? In physics, speed is already the rate of distance over time, ...
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0answers
30 views

Double Dutch jump rope

What is the action the two people holding the jump rope in Double Dutch perform on the rope? Twirl, swing, turn, hold, whirl . . .? What word do you think best describes this action; and what is the ...
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2answers
58 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
46 views

Use of kinda and kind of in fiction [closed]

I realize that "kinda" is an informal form of "kind of". However, would "kinda" be appropriate in fiction or dialogue? Or would it be more acceptable to stick to "kind of"? This is for a fiction novel ...
7
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5answers
557 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 ...
31
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2answers
93k views

Why do we say “to boot”?

Here's an example of the phrase "to boot": My wife made a disgusting looking dinner, and it tasted awful to boot! The implication of the "to boot" is that the fact that the dinner tasted awful ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
156 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
78 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.
2
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1answer
49 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.
2
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3answers
162 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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2answers
86 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
78 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
44 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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2answers
354 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
82 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 ...
3
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1answer
102 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 ...
9
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5answers
892 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
121 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 ‘...
2
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3answers
148 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 ...
6
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8answers
945 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
219 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
476 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
101 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 ...
1
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1answer
395 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 ...
4
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1answer
70 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
564 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
86 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
96 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
210 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 ...
3
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2answers
52 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 ...
2
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1answer
135 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 ...