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

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56 views

You are trying to make me emotional

In the course of asking person B to do something (which that person resists, for various reasons) person A is evoking imagery, using flattery or making sentimental appeals with the intention of ...
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1answer
38 views

A Term or Expression for Recursion in a Lucid Dream

I occasionally have lucid "false awakening" dreams (the most recent occasion being this past night) where I know I'm dreaming, I have the conscious will to wake up, and when I attempt to wake up it ...
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5answers
703 views

How toffee-nosed is “toffee-nosed”?

Not being a speaker of British English, I was much amused on discovering the new adjective toffee-nosed. The American Heritage dictionary doesn't list it at all, but I found a definition in Collins: ...
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5answers
169 views

Is there a common expression for someone who “always holds a mobile phone in hand”?

I would like to know if there is a typical expression or phrase, used by native speakers, for someone who always has their mobile phone in their hand. I would prefer a spoken expression rather than ...
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2answers
81 views

What's a modern equivalent of “fie on thee”?

Is there a modern equivalent to the archaic expression "fie on thee"? I'm aware of expressions such as "damn you" and the like, but I'm looking for something less strong.
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1answer
61 views

What words can I use to express a “great time”? [closed]

What words can I use to express a "great time"? I am trying to write an essay and I just need words that expresses a great time to make the essay sound interesting.
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3answers
46 views

Appointment in one year

I should find appropriate English phrase/expression for very late(?) appointment. Let's take a situation when someone should wait until the surgery operation for a one or too years just because there ...
11
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9answers
3k views

What's an item called that was required to progress in a video game, but now isn't?

This question was inspired by an Arqade question: How do I save a Destiny warp drive?. The premise is this: In order to progress to mission 3 (or 4 etc.) you must complete the second mission. The ...
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1answer
28 views

“A motion to adjourn is always in order.” — Lazarus Long

Adjourn means To suspend until a later stated time. But the statement A motion **to suspend until a later stated time** is always in order. does not makes sense. What does it mean?.
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1answer
99 views

Is there a term for saying 'all countries outside the United States' without using the word 'foreign'? (used with international audience)

I have to come up with a short description/label/identifier to describe two geographical groups: United States All countries except the United States The description would be read by a global ...
33
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14answers
4k views

What's a parallel for 'mitigate', for worsening a good situation?

I recently read an article claiming that employing some tactic was OK but could mitigate many of the good effects of the main action. What word should the author have used, as mitigate means to ...
2
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1answer
60 views

“In general,…”: do mathematicians use this phrase oppositely from everyone else?

In mathematical writings, one often encounters statements involving the phrase "in general" in the following sense: After the number 2, the next few prime numbers (3,5,7) are each odd numbers, and ...
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4answers
98 views

Difference between “Talk to me” and “Tell me”

Is there any difference between the usage of those two expressions in a conversation? Thanks in advance.
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2answers
38 views

What is the semantical meaning of “To tell you the truth”

In many English literature the phrase-part "to tell you the truth" shows up. But in contrast to the literal meaning, this doesn't mean the characters were first lying about this. In Dutch these are ...
2
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2answers
357 views

to be between apartments

When somebody says that somebody else is between apartments, what do they mean? Take this sentence as an example: My brother lives in Chicago. At the moment he’s between apartments, so he‘s living ...
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6answers
365 views

What does a cat's tail do?

A friendly dog will wag its tail, especially when it's happy to see his owner. Cats can communicate their approval and appreciation too, but I don't remember ever hearing a cat wagging its tail for ...
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2answers
45 views

The word: Downplay

I'm in situation where I got rejected during the first interview, and subsequently got the offer. It was lucky that the manager appreciated my initiative of an uninvited walked-in to request a ...
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2answers
67 views

What does “at their doorstop death” mean?

I read an article on Time, entitled: Liberal Group Blames Republicans for Ebola in New ad. “I think any Republican who attempts to chalk this ad up to politics is a Republican who is too afraid ...
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1answer
121 views

“Despite not being” vs “despite of not being” [closed]

What's the different between despite not being and despite of not being? Example: She wore a turtleneck sweater and a floral skirt that reached just above her knee. Despite (of) not being ...
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14answers
3k views

Is there a slang word or phrase for someone who is always playing dirty tricks or unpleasant practical jokes on his friends and acquaintances?

context: He will surreptitiously introduce a frog into your handbag. You leave your car keys on a desk, he sees it and hides it somewhere. He may offer you M&M type candies that will leave your ...
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2answers
72 views

Field Name for “positive, negative or neutral”

I have a Web form which allows users to give feedback, as a hazard, incident, comment or suggestions. I'm trying to work out what the best descriptive name for the "Feedback Type" would be, whose ...
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1answer
70 views

What would be 1850's equivalent of slang praise for being audacious?

What might an 1850's working class American man say as praise to another man for being really audacious such as equivalent of "You crazy mf" or "crazy ass"?
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2answers
147 views

Definition of “Kissing Cousins”--Are the Dictionaries Wrong/Incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
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1answer
111 views

Why do we say 'last Monday morning' but not 'last morning'? [duplicate]

There was a very similar question asked about 'last night' and 'yesterday night' here but I didn't really think the question was answered that definitively. Also, I thought about how we use other ...
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2answers
50 views

What does “Don't farm it out” mean

Came across the following quote. What does Don't farm it out means in this context? "When the need arises – and it does – you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don’t farm it out – that doesn’t make ...
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1answer
60 views

What does “to rock a club” mean? [closed]

It's a line from Taio Cruz's song Dynamite: Cause we gon' rock this club We gon' go all night We gon' light it up Like it's dynamite
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1answer
36 views

The Virtue of Woman [closed]

Please explain this Frederick Von Schiller poem: "Man of virtue has need;-into life with boldness he plunges, Entering with fortune more sure into the hazardous strife; But to woman one virtue ...
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2answers
120 views

“We invite you…” versus We are inviting you

I am told to use "We are inviting you..." instead of "We invite you...". The reviewer mentions that this first option is progressive and more appropriate. In which cases do you use either one, for ...
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2answers
41 views

Stand-alone Use of 'There' in English

I was reading The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells. He uses There! without connection to other words (or maybe there is connection, but I don't see it). She glanced at his white-swathed head and blue ...
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4answers
416 views

Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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1answer
77 views

Origin of the expression “skin of a rhinoceros”?

The Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has recently published an open letter where he says: ... It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros. I am wondering where this expression "skin of a rhinoceros" is ...
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1answer
45 views

“What if the cost of machines that think is people who don't?” — George Dyson

What does the statement "What if the cost of machines that think is people who don't?" -- George Dyson mean. Came across the quote over here https://twitter.com/JohnDCook/status/527627283256078336.
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1answer
32 views

Is it considered plaigerism to use a well known quote [closed]

Would it be considered plagiarism to use quotes such as "You are what you eat" by Jean Savarin or "Elementary my dear Watson." in Sherlock Holmes without the corresponding names?
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2answers
106 views

What's the meaning of “if anything else”?

I don't seem to understand the exact meaning of "if anything else" in the beginning portion of the sentence below. I think I could use your help to understand what it actually means. If anything ...
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0answers
25 views

Is there a better way to tell “s/he”? [duplicate]

For example: Ask a grammatist, she or he will possibly know how to solve this question! Is it possible to replace the she or he part with a single word - probably something not gender dependent ...
0
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2answers
68 views

The correct way to write “and/or” together in a sentence

What is the correct to write and/or? I have seen it written "and or" as two separate words and I think it looks odd.
5
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1answer
123 views

What is the origin of the expression “the big picture”?

The expression the big picture, meaning "the entire perspective on a situation or issue", is very common today. Where does this phrase come from? Was there a literal big picture that it once ...
3
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6answers
93 views

Perseverance of the whole in spite of the loss of individual elements

Is there a word, phrase or expression that can be used to describe the following kind of situation: The arrangement of well placed pieces on a chess board; one guarding the other, which in turn is ...
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1answer
50 views

What is the meaning of the expression “I prefer the enchilada”?

Context: I met a well-traveled and -educated man. Upon him leaving I asked, "Chris, right?" He responded, laughing, "Christopher. I prefer the enchilada."
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1answer
47 views

What does the phrase “old Charlottes” refer to?

I'm reading the novel Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian at the moment. It has the following passage in it: '… it seemed to me there was an unnatural proportion of Lord Mayor's men among ...
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5answers
70 views

To what extent do 'earn income' and 'generate income' differ? [closed]

I've had a short search on this but may have overlooked an easily-accessible source that differentiates the two. They don't seem synonymous, but I can't yet point to a definition of the two. To me, ...
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2answers
52 views

what does “I think it was par for the course” mean [closed]

In an interview ElonMusk says the following about steve jobs(http://www.freshdialogues.com/2013/02/25/elon-musk-on-steve-jobs-innovation-critics-transcript/). I think it was par for the course ...
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3answers
105 views

Similar to “burning a hole in my pocket” but for www shopping cart?

I like this: "Got three dollars burning a hole in my pocket". Are there other expressions or phrases with similar meaning? Actually, I want to know what the creative English speakers will write ...
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2answers
79 views

Why is it “Divide by 0” instead of “Divide 0”? [closed]

When I read "by" it feels to me that the target to be divided is the number that comes before the 0, not the 0 itself. For example, "1 divided by 0", 1 is the target of the division, and 0 is what 1 ...
2
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5answers
167 views

What is a word or expression to describe a person as entertainment to pass the time?

If someone is being used or employed as entertainment to help someone else pass their time at work, but only in this capacity, what word or expression can be used to describe this? This other ...
22
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11answers
3k views

Expression for losing something that you never really had

A friend keeps whining about "losing n reputation points" on Stack Exchange. My instinctive interpretation is that some of the votes he had earned were reversed due to vote fraud. What he really ...
2
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1answer
82 views

What's the name for a part of speech which is not quite rhetorical, but not expected to be answered directly, either?

What's the name for a part of speech which is not quite rhetorical, but not expected to be answered directly, either? I know the word exists, it refers to greetings such as "How are you" and similar. ...
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2answers
54 views

More general version of “finger on the pulse”

From my understanding when someone is "keeping a finger on the pulse of x" that person is keeping a close watch on and has a detailed understanding of the subject or situation. What would be an ...
3
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6answers
112 views

Term for “unnecessary diversity”?

I am looking for a word or phrase to capture the notion that too much diversity can backfire. Here's the context. In some technical fields (such as programming), there may be hundreds of possible ways ...
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1answer
43 views

How do I translate this italian locution? [closed]

Often in Italian we use this locution: venire meno Now I wanted to translate it and I didn't come with an 'immediate' translation. Somebody knows the English equivalent?