8
votes
8answers
1k views

What is meant by “same difference”?

Unless you are comparing two different sets of items to then have a couple of differences and the differences are the same, I do not get it. This would be analogous to: 12-9=3, 7-4=3. Here we have ...
-1
votes
3answers
178 views

What does “tearing your résumé apart” mean? [closed]

I gave my résumé to a person and she replied back as follows: When you look at the below list of issues, you’ll probably think I'm tearing your résumé apart. I guess I am, in a way. But, I ...
0
votes
3answers
74 views

Does this expression makes sense? [closed]

W : I'm impressed at how expertly you played that piano sonata. M : Sorry. I'm still just an apprentice. When the man says "sorry", what does this exactly mean in this circumstances? Is it ...
2
votes
3answers
58 views

Word for “quietly accumulating shares of stock by traders when the stock is at a lower price”?

I'm looking for a word or expression that means "the act of quietly accumulating shares of stock by traders when the stock is at a lower price"?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What proof is there in pudding?

Yesterday I heard an English baker on a cooking show say that "the proof is in the pudding." I've heard the expression before but I can't imagine how pudding would prove anything. How did the idiom ...
2
votes
2answers
51 views

Meaning of “we're rather flat” in context

From Yellow Slugs by H.C. Bailey: He went to the room where Eddie lay. The doctor was there, and turned from the bedside to confer with him. “Not too bad. We’ve put in a long sleep. Quite quiet ...
2
votes
2answers
180 views

What is the origin of “I calls ’em like I sees ’em”?

This expression seems to be pretty widespread, for example being in Wiktionary and Futurama. Does anyone know what the origin is? Also, what kind of dialect might I calls or I sees be?
1
vote
1answer
202 views

What are some colloquial English expressions for comparing hot/cold weather to something else? [closed]

I'm looking for colloquial expressions that compare hot, cold, and wet weather to something else. For example, “It’s hotter than two goats in a pepper patch”, “Colder than a witch’s tit”, etc. Often ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

What does 'to be maxed out' mean?

I want to understand what Chandler means when he says he's maxed out after thinking he's embarrassed by his bunny costume.
2
votes
1answer
154 views

The person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it

The person who marries for money usually earns every penny of it. ...anonymous quote. What does this phrase mean? It seems to suggest that if you marry for money, you will earn all of the money ...
3
votes
5answers
149 views

What words or idioms are there for “beneficial constructive distraction that would establish or facilitate balance”?

What words are there for beneficial constructive distraction from a task that would improve the results or establish or facilitate balance among various tasks (all being a "distraction" in that ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

Is there more than a 'double' whammy?

I have three (could grow to be more) bad reasons for a situation and I wondered if there is such a thing as a triple whammy that is an extension of the double whammy. From my research online, a triple ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

At the beginning of “The hands of Mr. Ottermole” by Thomas Burke, an expression 'discolored themselves', which I can't simply understand

Murder (said old Quong)—oblige me by passing my pipe—murder is one of the simplest thing in the world to do. Killing a man is a much simpler matter than killing a duck. Not always so safe, perhaps, ...
3
votes
1answer
509 views

“what's in store” vs. “what's in stall”

I think this is probably just one of those phrases people get wrong, such as "for all extensive purposes" - but I just found this on a cafe web page: This question asks the meaning of "in store" ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

Job interview question [closed]

I'm a French man in my late 20s and I'm applying for a job for a prestigious American company. I've had a job interview with an American woman and she told me all was well but I'd have to be molded to ...
0
votes
2answers
177 views

If you're “balled up” why are you confused?

I believe the expression 'balled up' dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century and I believe it means 'confused' but I'm all balled up as to why it means 'confused'. The only ...
0
votes
3answers
84 views

Is a tin-ear one who dislikes music or one who dislikes new popular music? Why?

I know folks who couldn't hear well used to use a tin-ear to help but I don't understand the connection between a tin-ear and a dislike of music or of new popular music.
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Why does the word “joed” mean weary, tired, exhausted, fatigued, etc.?

The word "joed" is a word I use frequently to describe my feeling tired or exhausted. As a child, I used to hear my grandfather say "I feel joed" before he would sit down for a respite or turn in; ...
7
votes
4answers
734 views

Why does to “take a powder” mean to run away or to leave?

From Flappers to Rappers: American youth slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites "take a powder" as a 1930s expression meaning to run away or to leave. Does anyone have any ideas why taking a powder would ...
3
votes
2answers
85 views

Why does to “cheek it” mean to bluff?

From Flappers to Rappers: American Youth Slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites the 1930s expression "cheek it" as meaning to bluff. I don't quite understand why and I'm hoping someone on here may help me ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

'Master of the universe' or 'Nucleus of the universe'

Can I say: No one likes man thinks he is a nucleus of universe. I've just seen on some website the use of "master of the universe" I'd better use this word? And please correct my grammar.
13
votes
5answers
4k views

You can’t have your cake and eat it too

If you've had your cake, haven't you already eaten it? So why can't you have it and eat it too? It doesn't seem to make sense.
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Old slang words for a kiss--cherry smashes and honey cooler--why?

Cherry smashes are defined as feeble kisses and a honey cooler is simply a kiss. Cherry smashes was slang from the 1920s and a honey cooler was slang from the 1930s. Any ideas why feeble kisses would ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Is an excessively shy person a “gussie”?

I'm sure most of us are familiar with a shrinking violet as being an excessively shy person; however, while reading from Flappers to Rappers: History of American Youth Slang Dr. Dalzell defines a ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Why does “to wire” mean to trick?

A Collection of College Words & Customs written by Benjamin Homer Hall in 1856 defines a "wire" as a trick and I'm curious to know if it is of any relation to a magician using invisible wire to ...
2
votes
2answers
108 views

How does the word “gas” relate to cheating and deception?

According to A Collection of College Words & Customs by Benjamin Homer Hall, written in 1856 I believe, gas is defined as cheating or deceiving someone. Any ideas why that may be?
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Why were “skin” and “niggle” slang words meaning to hurry?

I've read in a book From Flappers to Rappers: The Study of American Youth Slang two words used commonly within the same decade 1900-1910 meaning to hurry were "skin" and "niggle". I'm puzzled as to ...
1
vote
2answers
263 views

Idioms or phrases for “Be it good or bad”

Can you suggest some idioms or phrases for Be it good or bad? For example: Be it good or bad, television has become an indispensable part of our lives.
0
votes
3answers
125 views

Need native expressions for “something happened but no one wants to undertake the responsibility”

Are there native expressions in oral and formal writing English about something happened - mostly negative incidents or events, but those, who should be responsible for it , don't want to undertake ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

Why does “all to the mustard” mean excellent?

While reading P.G. Wodehouse's The Inimitable Jeeves I came across a fascinating expression of "all to the mustard!" It is defined as meaning excellent. Why? Can anyone please help me understand this ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Priscilla--a girl who prefers to stay home? Who could this term be resultant of?

From Flappers to Rappers, a book of American youth slang, records "Priscilla" as a 1920s slang word for a girl who prefers to stay home. I'm curious to know why they've chosen that name. Is there any ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Why does pine feather period signify the period in a woman's life when she blossoms?

In a book titled From Flappers to Rappers it lists youth slang from the 1920s and one of the terms it lists is pine feather period. Pine feather period is defined as a period in a woman's life when ...
4
votes
3answers
293 views

What is the origin of the word 'mug up'?

What is the origin of the expression mug up? How did it originate? Does it give any meaning to its actual definition?
3
votes
2answers
276 views

Does the expression “to go under the knife” carry a negative connotation?

Is there a difference in connotation between these two phrases? I asked my student whether her mother was scheduled to GO UNDER THE KNIFE this morning. I asked my student whether her mother was ...
0
votes
4answers
550 views

Word or phrase for someone who annoys you as soon as they walk in and start talking

Looking for both a journalistic and perhaps playful term. In a journalistic sense, how would I describe a CEO figure who holds a company meeting and the employees are either annoyed, bored, or rolling ...
4
votes
1answer
197 views

'Complete a confusion' — expression or confusion?

Is complete someone's confusion a popular expression that makes sense? This expression pops up so often I wonder I am missing something here. Does complete here mean to 'resolve'/ 'clarify'? ...
0
votes
2answers
298 views

How did the phrase “hear you out” or “hear me out” come about?

How did the phrase "hear you out" or "hear me out" come about? The phrase means "listen to whatever I have to say before you pass judgment on me," or "tell me whatever you want; I don't mind and ...
2
votes
3answers
148 views

“Who doors wins”

What does this expression mean? Who doors wins Is it an idiom? Or is it a typo? Apparently, it makes no sense.
0
votes
2answers
146 views

What's the meaning of “turning the state of the art to the state of the practice”?

What's the meaning of "turning the state of the art to the state of the practice" in the following context: "We have the resources, the professional experience and the background to deliver turnkey ...
33
votes
18answers
7k views

Is there a word for being so polite as to appear insincere?

I'm looking for a term in English to describe being so polite that one appears to be insincere.
2
votes
5answers
188 views

What is the origin of the expression “legislate from the bench”?

What is the origin of the expression "legislate from the bench" used to describe "judicial activism" in the United States? Do judges have different seating arrangements from congressmen? In more ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Common Expression for Coming Together

Is there a common expression to describe a situation where everything comes together perfectly? UPDATE: The phrase that kept going through my head was "perfect storm," but that holds more of a ...
1
vote
2answers
165 views

Is there a British English equivalent for the expression “X has nothing on Y?” [closed]

I'm American and I'm writing a short story, one of the characters of which is British. I'm trying not to go overboard in my attempt to replicate British English in this character's speech, but I'm ...
1
vote
0answers
123 views

Is “elegance is in the eye of the beholder” an idiom in this case [closed]

If someone tells you that a certain solution of yours in not elegant and you reply with "elegance is in the eye of the beholder", does this mean that you're using an English idiom or could this be ...
-1
votes
4answers
277 views

The expression “not so much”

I have noticed the appearance of the phrase "not so much" in the language recently. It strikes me as both grammatically incorrect and humorous when used. For example,"Jim is very smart; his brother, ...
0
votes
2answers
204 views

Idiomatic Expression “at a loss”

Im trying to understand the idiomatic expression "at a loss." According to this source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/at+a+loss it can either mean "Below cost" or "Perplexed; puzzled." However, I'm ...
1
vote
1answer
240 views

Origin of the phrase 'put a sock in it.'

What is the etymology of the phrase, 'put a sock in it'?
1
vote
2answers
327 views

Is 'give a speech' idiomatic English?

Is 'give a speech' idiomatic in English? An instance I can think of would be “When that happened, my teacher gave a speech, and then said, "Now everybody wish Elbe a merry Christmas!"' As a bonus ...
0
votes
2answers
811 views

not a moment too soon - is it fast or slow? [closed]

Is this late or early? It's a bit unclear to me. Because this question body wasn't meeting good quality standards of this site, I had to write this additional sentence.
4
votes
2answers
151 views

Is “I like!” a recent idiom? What is its origin?

Does it seem to anyone else that in the past few years people have been saying "I like!" in a new, playful, ungrammatical way? I am not plugged in to popular culture so I wonder if some of you could ...