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
2k 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.
1
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2answers
53 views

Is there a word or expression which defines a text or sentence which does not explain all of its terms? [closed]

I think I summed it up in the title, but to be more specific, check this sentence: "ECM is an umbrella term covering document management, web content management, search, collaboration, records ...
-1
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4answers
101 views

Can you spot if this is written by a native English speaker or not? [closed]

"An effective project plan can boost the success of the project being undertaken. It measures the project’s feasibility and assesses the risk associated. The plan helps weigh the decisions that are ...
0
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3answers
74 views

Do you hand something over or off?

I am looking for the correct American English expression and spelling. My particular context is that I am responsible for something precious, which I give to somebody else, who is then responsible ...
-1
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2answers
75 views

Why FYI is called slang word?

FYI is "For Your Information" But it is considered as a slang word: http://www.internetslang.com/FYI-meaning-definition.asp why?
43
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25answers
10k views

Is there a secular, non vulgar alternative to “for heaven's sake”?

I know for heaven's sake, for Pete's sake, for God's sake and for Christ's sake. All of those, however are religious references. The only non-religious equivalent phrases I know are for fuck's sake ...
0
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1answer
49 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
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1answer
53 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 ...
0
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2answers
109 views

Please explain the meaning of the word “distance” in the sentence

Distance sometimes lets you know who's worth keeping and who's worth letting go Unless the distance is playing games with the vision and its all a mirage, a vagueness of a dream
2
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2answers
160 views

Origin of the phrase “on the wrong side of history”

I've been hearing the phrase "on the wrong side of history" a lot lately, most recently today when President Obama said that Russia was on "the wrong side of history" for its actions in Ukraine. ...
1
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1answer
47 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 ...
-1
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1answer
55 views

What does “can be said to do / to be” something mean?

The various modern revolutions in physics, in psychology, in politics, even in literary style, have not escaped his intelligent notice, but they can scarcely be said to have influenced him deeply. ...
0
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1answer
54 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
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1answer
75 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Swapping Words in 'Deep' Sayings

Here's an example of a common swapping that happens when people want to sound profound: The clothes don't make the man It's the man that makes the clothes What is this form of swapping called?
2
votes
1answer
48 views

“I like it a tick better” - proper English?

There's a German expression, "einen Tick besser", which means "just a little bit better". Does that same expression exist in English? I just wrote this comment on a Stack Overflow question: I ...
19
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11answers
2k views

[S]he has the ears of a …?

Often, when overheard from far away, I find myself saying/thinking: [S]he has the ears of a hawk! Which doesn't really make sense as hawks aren't particularly well known for their sense of ...
0
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3answers
103 views

Is the expression “Say your piece” or “Say your peace”?

I have googled this one and seen arguments for both sides. Say your piece would imply that you've had the opportunity to make your part of the statement on the subject. Say your peace would imply ...
3
votes
3answers
207 views

What is the origin of the phrase “Crazier than a sh*thouse rat!”?

I can't seem to find an origin to this particular phrase. Can anyone shed some light on what makes sh*thouse rats particularly crazy? I also wonder about the origin of the similar *Bat-shit crazy". ...
2
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2answers
106 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
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3answers
99 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
52 views

Alternative phrasing to “getting work done”

I find myself using the phrase "I need to get some work done" in a misleading way. At any given time, I'm working on projects for my employer, projects as a podcaster, projects at my home or just ...
0
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1answer
68 views

what does 'the roll of duck tape' mean? [closed]

what does 'the roll of duck tape' mean ? Would you please give me some examples to know how to use it?
2
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2answers
152 views

What does “not for nothing” mean?

Is the meaning of the phrase "Not for nothing" literal, or idiomatic, and if idiomatic, what does the idiom mean? If you have a reference more reliable than urban dictionary, please share it. Here are ...
1
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1answer
57 views

Meaning of “Make safety first but make it last” [closed]

On the back of a school bus, I saw this text: "Make safety first but make it last" I deduced that it could mean "Make safety first, and make it last a long time" -OR- "Make safety first, and be ...
0
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3answers
103 views

A title or descriptive phrase for someone who likes to share

I'm building a mobile app that has a series of achievements that may be awarded based on the users interaction. The app itself is an easter egg hunt. One of the achievements is for sharing (via ...
0
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2answers
46 views

“Find out about my solutions”

"Come visit me to find out about the solutions" find out about sounds weird to me: what are some synonyms to better express the concept?
0
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1answer
58 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
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1answer
63 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
97 views

Expression to use when you are not dressed or otherwise ready to meet someone

What is the English expression to ask someone if he/she is dressed and "presentable", in the sense that he/she is tidy enough to meet someone else? The word "dressed" does not convince me, because its ...
0
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2answers
73 views

Is a blushing violet the opposite of a shrinking violet?

I understand that "shrinking violet" is used to describe an excessively shy individual. Recently, I encountered the similar-sounding phrase "blushing violet", but the definition given was the very ...
0
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1answer
42 views

Is “all of shudders” a valid expression?

A google search didn't come up with a single good example, but would it be okay to say something like: He was all of shudders.
1
vote
1answer
64 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 ...
0
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2answers
106 views

What does the expression “till Saturday week” mean?

I'm a native speaker of American English. But sometimes when reading a book by an English author or watching television shows broadcast on BBC I hear unusual (to my ears) expressions and am not ...
4
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10answers
749 views

What is another way of saying “final solution?”

"Final Solution" is not the optimal phrase to use because it has a negative historical reference. When working on a project, I'd like to find a phrase that describes the process of evolving solutions ...
0
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2answers
48 views

As it did - meaning and usage

I found this interesting topics being discussed here. I also had some time back asked similar questions in the other forum. Here is the sentence - Although his (Nirmal) detainment (in prison) ...
1
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3answers
66 views

Dreams come true or they are fulfilled. What about 'hopes'?

Let's say things went the way we had hoped they would. Would it be appropriate, then, to say, 'our hopes were fulfilled' or is there a more acceptable or better expression? Apparently, 'things went ...
1
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2answers
44 views

Is the usage of “I couldn't tell X apart” correct?

Example: The forest was dark and the trees too many. I could hardly tell shadows apart. Is the usage of apart correct in the passage above? (I'm wondering about this because a Google Books ...
2
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2answers
239 views

Word for when two people type the same thing at the same time in chat

I have the distinct feeling there's a word often used when two people type the same thing at the same time in Internet chat contexts. Not necessarily exactly the same words, but closely related. ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

Geopolitics *and* economics?

What word or concise phrase in English covers international politics and economics? My Merriam-Webster defines geopolitics as "politics, esp. international relations, as influenced by geographical ...
0
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3answers
59 views

Meaning of expression “take contingency on someone”

What exactly does a phrase 'we need to take contingency on them' mean? This is an expression I heard from a project manager so I presume it has to do smth with risk mitigation. However, I'd rather not ...
0
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1answer
89 views

What is the origin of the idiom “one horse race”?

I heard that a one horse race means a competition which one particular person or team is very likely to win because they seem much better than the other people competing. Anyone know about the origin ...
0
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1answer
57 views

Can Onwards be used as a sentence?

Is "Onwards!" a correct single word sentence meaning "continue" or "carry on"? Do you know any quotes with it?
1
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2answers
37 views

“Was the extent” vs “was about the extent”

That was the extent of what I recalled. That was about the extent of what I recalled. Do the mean the same? If not, what's the difference?
2
votes
2answers
165 views

“Would agree” vs “would have agreed”

Did I really believe she would agree? and Did I really believe she would have agreed? What's the difference between the two? Is one more common/grammatically correct than the other?
4
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2answers
162 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
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2answers
190 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

“cleared from” vs “cleared up from” vs “cleared away from”

I always have problem deciding which one to use. Example: After understanding that, the darkness finally [...] from my eyes. Should I use cleared from, cleared up from, or cleared away from?
0
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5answers
100 views

Single word for time and place of birth

Is there a single English word that describes the geographic place and time of a person's birth? My real question is how do I express where I was born at a particular time in history with a single ...
2
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1answer
100 views

The meaning of “reserve of living”

What might be the meaning of the phrase "reserve of living" The quotation comes from Maeve Gilmore's, A World Away. How foreign to the spirit's early beauty And to the amoral integrity of the ...