Expressions are words or phrases used to convey an idea, or else a particular term used conventionally to express something.

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Can we say “on the brink of off-topic”?

I recently learned on the brink in context of to teeter on the brink of disaster. Now, when I want to mention that something is marginal or borderline I remember on the brink. This question is ...
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6answers
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Usage of “ladies and gentlemen” to address two people of different sex

It seems to be not quite logical to use the traditional address "ladies and gentlemen" when there are only a single lady and a single gentleman in the room, not counting for the person who is speaking....
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3answers
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Connotation of “intestinal fortitude”

I have heard the expression intestinal fortitude to mean courage or endurance to achieve something. Is there a connotation for stubbornness in this expression?
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1answer
7k views

What is the difference between an expression and a phrase?

I'm trying to decide what tags I should be using and realized I did not know the difference between these terms.
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5answers
458 views

Is “it is no calculus” correct grammar?

I often hear people saying, it's no big deal, or I am no […], etc. I was wondering if it is acceptable to say it is no calculus in a college essay.
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1answer
236 views

“How did I do this” or “how did I do that”?

Is there a difference between: How did I do this? and How did I do that? If not, is there a preferred one? If they are different, when should I choose one over the other? I am not a ...
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8answers
23k views

Which saying is correct?

I've been having a small argument with a family member. She insists "It's no skin off my teeth" is the correct saying, though I've only heard "It's no skin off my nose" before. Which saying is more "...
4
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2answers
103 views

I'm looking for a word that describes that moment you feel overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of nature

I was on a mountain the other day and had a moment where I just had to stop and take it all in. I felt insignificant (in the best way) and just stopped to admire where I was. The closest words I could ...
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6answers
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What terms and expressions can be used in English to show one's love to his/her girlfriend/boyfriend? [closed]

I know in every language there are a lot of ways and cute names to address your girlfriend or your boyfriend to show you love her/him. The names can be creative for any couple. As Andy mentions these ...
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4answers
1k views

What adjective would you use to describe someone who uses the right vocab consistently?

I thought of precise, but not entirely sure even after checking a dictionary. Would you think it is the best choice?
3
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4answers
3k views

If I can “fall in” love, can I “fall in” depression?

In Italian we say essere innamorato (to be in love) whereas the English idiom, to fall in love, expresses the idea of abandonment, of letting oneself go. mi sono innamorato = I am in love, and ...
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7answers
5k views

A man who keeps his word

I'm looking for an appropriate word to describe someone who is a man of his word. Trustworthy springs to mind but doesn't seem appropriate, as it doesn't imply an honorable connotation associated ...
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3answers
743 views

Can you say “feel to” do something?

Is it correct to say, "I don't feel to trust him," particularly in British English? I'm actually a native speaker, but I live in Italy with my Italian wife, and so I've got so used to her (English ...
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5answers
14k views

Are “preaching to the choir” and “preaching to the converted” synonymous

The following are acceptable expressions that I have heard: "Preaching to the choir" "Preaching to the converted" To me, both mean essentially that you are trying to explain something to ...
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4answers
6k views

Origins and meaning of “Put your money where your mouth is”

I heard this phrase uttered by a Canadian (from Vancouver) once; it left me in awe and elicited my curiosity. Wikipedia was not helpful. What is its origin? Is this expression used more in certain ...
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3answers
18k views

“Thank you for coming” and “Thank you for your coming”

Consider "Thank you for coming" and "Thank you for your coming". Would the latter one be grammatical? Why? Is it possible to recognize latter "coming" as noun? Some say you need no pronoun because it ...
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3answers
2k views

How to describe the feeling you get when something exceedingly irritating, irritates you? [closed]

Got extremely annoyed today. But that's not the word I was looking for. I had to deliver a case of bottled water to some friends living in another dorm in our college. I have to tell you, the sound ...
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6answers
691 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 ...
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4answers
11k views

A better statment for “Get back to me” [closed]

I would like to know if there is a better statement for expressing the following statement in an email, "Please get back to me if you have any query".
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2answers
10k views

What does the expression “Word.” mean? [duplicate]

I was watching the 1989 movie "Bill and Ted's excellent adventure" a couple of weeks back and in one scene Bill replies to some statement (I forgot whom he is replying to) with just "Word." What does ...
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1answer
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Can I use “wow” to express surprise but not necessarily with something related to pleasure, but confusion and surprise?

For example: "Wow! How can he do that? Unbelievable..." or: "Wow! How can he be so insensible!? Unbelievable..." I would like to double check so I don't become the insensible myself... :)
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2answers
80 views

“What this thing was” vs “what was this thing” [duplicate]

Example: What this new plan was I had no idea. What was this new plan I had no idea. What's the difference between the two? Is one more common than the others?
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2answers
5k views

What is the origin of the term “throw the book”? [closed]

I'm curious if "the book" in question is the bible? Does anyone know where this term first entered the lexicon?
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2answers
941 views

What is the meaning of “get as far as doing something”?

What is the meaning of the expression or phrase "get as far as doing something"? For example, what does it mean in this sentence? They had got as far as painting the kitchen.
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14answers
222k views

Different ways to say “you're welcome” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do native English speakers respond to “Thank you”? Can “Sure” be used to respond to “Thanks”? Is “not at all” still alive and doing well? I'm getting ...
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7answers
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Why the phrase “thunder and lightning”, and not “lightning and thunder”?

So there was just a thunderstorm, and my sister came with a question I couldn't answer: Why is it "thunder and lightning", because the lightning comes before the thunder? Shouldn't it be "...
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4answers
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Is “yay or nay” an acceptable alternative to “yea or nay”?

Is "yay or nay" an acceptable alternative to "yea or nay"? I have seen it several times in recent weeks, enough to make me wonder whether it is an emerging usage or just a common typo.
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6answers
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“For all it's worth” or “for all its worth”?

Should I put an apostrophe in "for all its worth"? The meaning comes to about the same thing either way, as far as I can make out, and it seems like "it's" is more popular. But is there an accepted ...
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6answers
23k views

What's the meaning of the word “brand” in the expression “brand new”?

What meanings might be conveyed by something being called brand new, as opposed to it simply being called new? What's behind the word brand here?
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3answers
226k views

What is the origin of the phrase “Top of the morning to you”?

Each morning, a colleague of mine greets me with the phrase: Top of the morning to you! I've tried to figure out what the meaning of this really is and how to properly respond, however there ...
15
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2answers
96k views

Is “nice to meet you” an appropriate online salutation?

When one makes a new acquaintance with somebody in person, you may say “it was nice to meet you”, e.g. when you leave. What if you make a new acquaintance over the internet, what do you say when you ...
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12answers
6k views

A way of describing the lesbian parent that is not pregnant?

A friend of mine is in a long term relationship with her female partner. After deciding they wanted a family, my friend's girlfriend got pregnant. Normally when talking about a couple expecting a ...
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7answers
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Origin of the expression “Dead to rights”?

I was watching a TV show and this term was used. I am familiar with the definition, but I was wondering the origin of the phrase. It does not make sense to me if taken literally. Reference
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6answers
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What do you call the habit of looking into smartphone while walking?

The habit of looking into and texting on a smartphone is becoming a prevailing social phenomena in Japan these days. We call this habit “歩きスマホ – aruki sumaho – using a smart-phone while walking” in ...
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3answers
42k views

Analogue of “to the best of our knowledge”

I have seen the following formula when writing an academic article: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that shows how to optimize a non-submodular function for .... I like ...
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27answers
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Derogatory term for a corporate employee

I’m looking for a derogatory term for a person who works in a big, international business. In Polish we have a few informal words for that, like korpoludek (“corpo little guy”) and korpoczłowiek (“...
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6answers
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What is the meaning of the phrase “The morning constitutional”?

What exactly is the meaning of the phrase “The morning constitutional”? Is it an early morning walk or the first visit to the bathroom during the day? What is the origin of this phrase? What is the ...
21
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2answers
789 views

Is there a name for this method of writing that includes pictograms?

I've seen people write (usually in a humorous way) a 'code-like' message where parts of words are replaced with a pictogram that sounds like that word-part. E.G.: (eyeball) (tin can)(rope knot) ...
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14answers
2k views

What is the expression to describe that you are surrounded and have few ways to act?

Something like "circle is narrow" (just total random)? For example I'm trapped by circumstances and don't know how to get away with that. Because every way of acting seems not to be good. Thank you ...
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10answers
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I’m looking for a word or phrase that describes the feeling that something very bad or catastrophic is about to happen

It may be something that will happen to the person who is having the feeling but it may also be to several persons, as might occur with a highly destructive earthquake, for instance. The word or ...
14
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13answers
4k views

What word or phrase means “a loss of what was on your mind”?

Sometimes, in the middle of a conversation, a "loss of mind" can affect the speaker. What is the word for that situation and that person ? Are there more specific terms or phrases than: the loss ...
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3answers
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“Through” or “to” for expression of range

16-bit unsigned short integers that range from 0 through 0xFFFF 16-bit unsigned short integers that range from 0 to 0xFFFF Which expression is better above?
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4answers
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Best source for origins of expressions and idioms? [closed]

I'm often interested in the origins of English phrases, and I know that I can find answers by googling, and I can find good answers by asking here. How can I find good answers myself? Are there any ...
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14answers
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Less vulgar alternative to “bee up my butt”

In my corner of the world, the two exressions given in the accepted answer to this question have become conflated. Now, to "have a bee up one's butt" is to have a sudden and obsessive need to do ...
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23answers
6k views

A stronger word than “snob”

I recently stayed at a charming boarding house and had the pleasure of meeting one of the most curious people I have ever come across in my life. He was polite, and yet standoffish. He reminded me of ...
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5answers
23k views

“Bob's your uncle” … no he's not!

What is the origin of the phrase "Bob's your uncle"? Is it used internationally or is this just a term used in the UK? I have often heard an extension of this phrase: "Bob's your uncle and Fanny's ...
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8answers
3k views

Are there good English expressions for “raison d’être” and “joie de vivre”? [closed]

I know the two phrases have been adopted into the English lexicon, but raison d’être and joie de vivre are phrases, not words. As phrases they certainly sound better in French than would their ...
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8answers
837 views

English term for pre-thinker?

I was searching for an English translation for the German Vordenker. Basically a person, often a scientist, who began or further significantly developed a new concept or theory by contributing epoch-...
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3answers
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Is “very less” correct English?

Is using very less correct English? My friend suggests it should be very little. Are they both correct, or is there a difference?
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8answers
2k views

Word or phrase for “seeing meaning where none exists”

Is there a word or a phrase to describe an instance where meaning is ascribed to something where there is no such meaning or where the interpretation is particularly fanciful? For example, when ...