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

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22k views

What does “what's the catch” mean?

It sounds like a marketing term. Does it mean "However there are some points to take note"?
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2answers
3k views

origin of phrase 'stone the crows'

Just as the title says — where, and how, did the phrase 'stone the crows' originate?
3
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1answer
271 views

Is absence of the person needed in “On someone's behalf”?

In the middle of a conversation he had with my father, [Mr. X] asked him: “What does your son want to do in future?”. “He wants to do religious studies,” my father replied. He talked on my behalf ...
3
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2answers
776 views

what does “lost a shilling and found a penny” mean?

I am translating a British story and I came across this expression "you look like you lost a shilling and found a penny". I am not sure I understand what it means.
3
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1answer
5k views

“in ages” vs “for ages”

I've always thought I should use "for ages" when, for example, I meet a person who I haven't seen for a long time, but recently I came across another expression, "in ages," as in "I haven't seen you ...
3
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3answers
5k views

What's another word for Guinea Pig, i.e. when you call someone a “test dummy”?

If someone is being used to test a new product or idea, they can be called a "guinea pig" (because Guinea Pigs are usually used by medical labs for testing). What is another term that would carry the ...
3
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1answer
765 views

Is “and then some” an offensive expression?

I started an internal email discussion with the title "Editorial: link issues, some spelling issues and then some". However, upon rereading my own mail, it occurred to me that this might express ...
3
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2answers
275 views

What does “our Mayan moment” mean here?

In a brief article I read, it is stated that: For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment: 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between ...
3
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4answers
832 views

“A half a cup of [something]”

Watching a cooking show a few days ago, the lady that presented it used the expression a half a cup or a half a teaspoon several times during the programme. I've heard half a [something] used before ...
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4answers
7k views

How do you call the sound of a bell?

If you want to describe the sound of a small brass bell that you can hold in your hand (this is an example image of what I mean - what word would you use? Brrring? Bling?
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7answers
763 views

Expression for advantages of solution being disadvantages of alternatives

Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?
3
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7answers
4k 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"?
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3answers
1k views

Unclear use of the word “our”

When we say "Our team worked hard", then is it expected to refer the speaker + his own team OR the speaker + listener + their team together? Because in both these cases OUR is common word to be used! ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “to bleed something” mean?

In Bloomberg magazine, I saw this sentence: Rust Belt states that have bled manufacturing jobs. Does it mean they have lost the jobs or gained more jobs?
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4answers
170 views

Why do the words ducky and jake mean fine or satisfactory?

Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary acknowledges both ducky and jake as acceptable terms meaning fine or satisfactory and it dates the word ducky back to 1897 and jake to 1914. Does anyone know how ...
2
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3answers
608 views

Is “Girls will be girls” the counterpart of “Boys will be boys”? [closed]

It seems that "Boys will be boys" is a well established idiom and, according to Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed, as it is written on The Free Dictionary, it is "something that you say which means ...
2
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2answers
418 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
2
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2answers
1k views

What are “up” and “down” in “up there” and “down there”?

"Up there" and "down there" are two of the most frequent expressions that I, myself, use often. I really don't know whether they are just expressions used to refer to a place to go ("I went down ...
2
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1answer
936 views

Why does 'dead on' mean 'very accurate'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the phrase “dead simple” originate? According to Wiktionary, the phrase 'dead on' means 'very accurate' or 'exactly at'. This is also how I have used the ...
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3answers
3k views

What does it mean to “start from scratch”?

This question speaks to the "start from the beginning" meaning, but in yesterday's USA Today, there was a headline about Obama and Romney starting from scratch because they were even in a poll. Have ...
2
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4answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the expression “we have a ball game”? [closed]

I've heard the phrase, "We gotta ball game". It could also be "We have a ball game". But I don't understand the meaning of "having a ball game". If anyone has heard this expression before, please ...
2
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3answers
13k views

“I think …” or “In my opinion…” or “From my point of view…”

If I want to express my opinion about something, what's the most correct form? What are the differences? What is more formal and what more colloquial? For example, in Italian, nobody says In my ...
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8answers
110 views

“Food for thought” in a word

How can I express "food for thought" in a word? Does such a word exist? Example usage: The world will only know peace when our love for power is exceeded by our power to love. That's __ ...
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1answer
83 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

“No A or B” vs. “Neither A nor B”

I wrote "No error or issue since 2013". I feel this is natural when I say so. But, in written English, because of the first "No", I wonder the "or" should be changed to "nor". Or, maybe "Neither error ...
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1answer
2k views

Going to the seaside and going to the sea

The British say "go to the seaside" (meaning I'm going to spend some time at the beach, swim, sunbathe etc.) It's like "going to the mountains" or "going to the lake." However, I once heard an Aussie ...
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0answers
44 views

what sounds idiomatic [closed]

A Swedish teacher could write on an essay in Swedish (translated: Some of your structures, (the way you use the language) are"uncertain") meaning that it's a bit awkardly phrased and not very ...
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2answers
215 views

“number of books” or “book count”?

The number of books is nine. The book count is nine. Which is more natural? What's the SUBTLE difference between them?
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3answers
639 views

Word expression to say “Stopped smoking” or “got rid of some unhealthy habit”

I'm looking for words ( or word groups) that can be used to say "I stopped smoking", or "I stopped taking drugs" or, in other words, "I got rid of some bad and unhealthy habit". I have found ...
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3answers
814 views

“Listen to music” or “listen for music”

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct? The music for which we heard last night at the concert was exceptionally good. The music to which we listened at the concert last night ...
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1answer
1k views

Does the term “garbledy gook” have racist origins?

For me, the term garbledy gook simply means garbage; unintelligible text or speech. An example usage would be: If you open that binary file in notepad, you'll just see a load of garbledy gook ...
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1answer
2k views

“It's working for me”: correct? [closed]

This question came to my mind, while working with StackOverflow. Whenever a solution to a question is posted, I usually see people writing: "It's working for me". I somehow do not like this ...
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3answers
921 views

Horse of a different color

I recently heard someone use the expression "Now that's a whole different bag of dog food". While highly unusualy, the meaning was well understood by the audience. I know there is an actual ...
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1answer
92 views

The condition for saying “You’re the door on the right.” etc. and its construction

This question is a spin-off from “Is you’re the door on the right. grammatically correct?” . After the original question, some ideas came to me, about its conditions and construction. I opened this ...
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3answers
87 views

What does “tearing your résumé apart in a way” mean?

I asked a résumé checker to check my résumé and she gave me the following answer: When you look at the below list of issues, you'll probably think I'm tearing your resume apart. I guess I am, in a ...
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2answers
607 views

What does 'A small medium at large' phrase means? [closed]

Just received this joke: Q: What do you call a midget fortuneteller on the run from the law? A: A small medium at large. the 'Q' I understood. It's a runaway psychic gnome. But what does A ...
0
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1answer
342 views

Under which cases should an article (a/an/the) not be used? [duplicate]

The current machine has been repaired. Current machine has been repaired. Which is more natural? What are the subtle differences between them? Under which cases should an article ...
0
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1answer
499 views

Meaning of 'That old rocking chair's going to get me' [closed]

In the Joni Mitchell song Stormy Weather, there's this line: That old rocking chair's going to get me What does that mean? I suppose that old rocking chair is a symbol of something, but what? ...
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3answers
1k views

What does “cup” mean in “cup of cheese”? [closed]

I was reading a recipe of macaroni-and-cheese. In Brazil (Portuguese) cheese is sold only by weight. I understand the concept of cups to measure volume or weight of liquids and powders, but as far as ...
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2answers
2k views

Substitute for “The thought came to my mind” [closed]

I want a substitute for the sentence "The thought came to my mind". It should be a slightly formal substitute as I am writing a formal letter. Can someone help me with that?
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2answers
1k views

How about 'play cute' or 'play adorable'?

I wonder if 'play cute' or 'play adorable' is frequently used to stand for 'act cute/adorable' in spoken language. It seems easier to google out 'act cute/adorable' instead of 'play cute/adorable'.
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8answers
9k views

Which one is correct? “A teacher of English” or “An English teacher”?

I want to know which is correct teacher of English or English teacher.
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4answers
349 views

A phrase to describe a “collection of false exaggerations”

I am looking for a phrase to describe a "collection of false exaggerations", something that can fit well in the following line: I am really shocked to see this, it seems that everything you told ...
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1answer
1k views

phrases where opposite words can be used to mean the same thing [closed]

For example "1 in 20 Americans suffer from..." and "1 out of 20 Americans suffer from..." "it is down to you" and "it is up to you" They seem like great ways to add to creative writing. Are there ...
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3answers
52 views

squeezed every drop of meaning and enjoyment? [closed]

I'd like to know what 'squeeze every drop of meaning and enjoyment' means in the following. B is said to be a more specific version of A, but I suspect that 'squeeze every drop of meaning' is not a ...