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

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5answers
30k views

Where does “ta!” come from?

Where does the expression "ta" come from? Wikipedia has only this to say: "ta!", slang, Exclam. Thank you! {Informal}, an expression of gratitude but no additional information or links about ...
10
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2answers
862 views

Are there any common phrases in the English language that use metric units of measurement?

We've got things like 'inch closer' or 'miss by miles' but nothing common that uses the metric system as far as I know.
10
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3answers
11k views

Why does one scream blue murder?

To scream blue murder is to shout loudly and make a huge fuss, sometimes with the implication that the fuss is excessive. But does anyone know why murder should be blue?
7
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4answers
817 views

What is the English counterpart to 'Binboyusuri' - keep jiggling one’s legs during conversation sitting on the chair?

There are persons who keep jiggling their legs sitting on the chair during conversation or being interviewed. This motion is annoying and seen as the indication of the speaker’s tension, weakness to ...
7
votes
3answers
13k views

“expecting a baby”

Can I say "we are expecting a baby" when my wife is pregnant or does that sound funny to native English speakers, saying it as a man? (In German, the phrase has become somewhat common, but it stills ...
7
votes
5answers
43k views

What does “going blue” mean?

I'm familiar with the expression to feel blue, but I recently stumbled upon the expression to go blue on two different websites in one week. Vork from The Guild goes a bit blue Source: ...
7
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1answer
7k views

What is the origin of the phrase “and nothing of value was lost”?

What is the origin of the phrase "and nothing of value was lost"? Is this from a movie, book, or show, or did it get its start on Slashdot or some other online forum?
6
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4answers
10k views

What is the origin of “that's using your noggin”?

I find myself using the phrase "that's using your noggin" in various situations, even though English is not my native language. Most likely I picked it up watching some tv show. I understand that ...
5
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6answers
4k views

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 ...
5
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7answers
766 views

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 ...
5
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3answers
2k views

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?
5
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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.
5
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5answers
456 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.
4
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2answers
87 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
4
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8answers
12k views

What is the difference between a marque and a brand?

What is the difference between a marque and a brand? For example, why would one use the expression "car marques" instead of "car brands"?
4
votes
6answers
22k 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
votes
6answers
16k views

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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
2
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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 ...
2
votes
3answers
673 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
9k 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 ...
1
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5answers
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 ...
1
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4answers
9k 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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vote
6answers
663 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 ...
1
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3answers
17k 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 ...
0
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2answers
73 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?
0
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1answer
12k views

How to spell 'ewww' as in 'ewww ahhh' [closed]

I was wondering how I should spell 'ewww' as in 'ewww ahhh': Bob showed Jill his most impressive set of magic cards. Jill, impressed, said, 'ewwww[sp?] ahhhhhh.' ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

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... :)
0
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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?
-2
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2answers
914 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.
31
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13answers
12k views

How do I politely say I have used my mouth while drinking water from a bottle?

Is there a one word substitute for the scenario below, and what is the politest way of saying it to another person or colleague? I drink water from my bottle by touching my mouth When someone ...
48
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2answers
2k views

What word denotes a belief that apparently inanimate objects actually express a malicious, autonomous will?

I came across this word a few years ago, but can't find it now. I do not mean deodand, animism, pathetic fallacy, scapegoating, anthropomorphism, or personification (Word for attaching blame to ...
41
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7answers
6k views

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 ...
23
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10answers
2k views

Has “aught” survived in common usage?

In a movie that I watched recently, I heard- for aught I know, for aught I care. I work with a lot of native speakers, and they all told me it's not in formal or informal usage anymore. ...
36
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4answers
176k views

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.
40
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6answers
10k views

“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 ...
37
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6answers
22k 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?
18
votes
3answers
221k 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 ...
14
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2answers
91k 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 ...
51
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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 ...
16
votes
7answers
40k views

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
3
votes
3answers
39k 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 ...
31
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27answers
12k views

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 ...
21
votes
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 ...
21
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2answers
778 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) ...
20
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6answers
92k views

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 ...
16
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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 ...
14
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10answers
21k views

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 ...