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

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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, ...
7
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2answers
613 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
2k views

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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5answers
16k 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 ...
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1answer
29 views

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
117 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
122 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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2answers
41 views

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
37 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 ...
10
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1answer
275 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 ...
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1answer
40 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
59 views

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
587 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 ...
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4answers
6k views

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
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 ...
33
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5answers
3k views

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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3answers
150 views

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
2k views

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 ...
5
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4answers
804 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 ...
12
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2answers
877 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 ...
0
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0answers
38 views

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
77 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
227 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 ...
9
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4answers
1k views

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
2k 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, ...
8
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2answers
578 views

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
102 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
3k 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 ...
5
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2answers
139 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
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. ...
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12answers
7k 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 ...
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1answer
178 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
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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?
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2answers
86 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
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3answers
18k 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 ...
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1answer
141 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?
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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
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3answers
84 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
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2answers
151 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
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8answers
17k 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
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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
20k 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
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5answers
6k 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
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1answer
34 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?
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1answer
76 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
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2answers
737 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?
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3answers
137 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
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4answers
99 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
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1answer
61 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"?