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

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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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7answers
656 views

A phrase or a word for not practising what you are preaching [closed]

Can you please tell me the word, term or phrase for not practising what you are preaching. Also, if possible, the word, term or phrase for someone who does so. I am not looking for hypocrisy or ...
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3answers
169 views

What is the origin and sense of the phrase “put up or shut up”?

In researching the recent EL&U question Origins and Interpretations of "Put your money where your mouth is", I repeatedly came across the seemingly related but older phrase “put up or ...
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3answers
235 views

What does “As for Romney, the G.O.P. is over him” mean?

New Yorker (March 4) carries the article titled “Ann and Mitt Romney’s lost fairy tale” portraying an interview of Mr. and Mrs. Mitt Romney by Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday, which ends up with ...
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1answer
438 views

OED Appeals: Antedatings of “blue-arsed fly”

The OED has made a public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words, including: blue-arsed fly noun earlier than 1970 The first evidence for the metaphorical ...
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2answers
3k views

What does “Turn a lemon(s) into lemonade” exactly mean?

In association with my question about possibility of using Etch-a-Sketch as a verb, I found the expression “turn a lemon into lemonade” in the related article of Five Star. It says: Etch-a-Sketch ...
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2answers
692 views

What is the meaning, and origin, of the phrase “breaking windows with guineas”?

Regarding the phrase: Breaking windows with guineas What is its meaning, and origin? The 'guineas' part of it might mean more to the British audience on this site than the others.
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3answers
28k views

What is the meaning of “way better” [closed]

I sometimes hear people use "I hope you feel way better","This is way more than I was expecting" and etc. Could you explain this type of usage and what is the difference between "feeling better" and ...
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2answers
25k views

What is the meaning of “you bet!”?

I often hear the term "you bet!". What does it mean?
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4answers
936 views

Meaning of the expression “2.1 kids”

What does it mean to say, "Everyone in this city has 2.1 kids"? Is this an idiom?
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3answers
26k 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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5answers
391 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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7answers
2k views

Please “Mute your voice”!

I have not heard or used this phrase before, but can I use the sentence "please mute your voice" in conversation?
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3answers
4k 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 ...
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6answers
21k views

Why is “a 100% increase” the same amount as “a two-fold increase”?

and is such interpretation the norm? When something went from 4 units to 8 units, most authoritative sources seem to agree with the use of "a two-fold increase", even though what was actually ...
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3answers
1k views

“Strike gold” but without the implication of searching?

Whenever I hear the phrase I struck gold the fact the person had to have done a certain search is implied to me. Is this correct? For example, if I say: Janet loves sex so much! I've struck gold ...
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8answers
1k views

A far away place

Is there an English idiomatic expression to indicate a place which is very far away from the speaker's location? Something like in the middle of nowhere but not necessarily implying that the ...
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5answers
8k views

A term or phrase meaning “to explain in simple words”?

How do you ask someone to explain something in very simple words, understandable by everyone from general public? In Russia we say something, that can be translated like "explain on fingers". What's ...
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5answers
951 views

What do I do when I hear 'Say cheese!'?

Photographers seems to love to say this. Is this still considered funny?
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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?
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2answers
996 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.
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1answer
7k 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 ...
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3answers
7k 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 ...
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1answer
868 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 ...
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2answers
287 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 ...
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4answers
910 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
9k 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
849 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?
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7answers
5k 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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4answers
260 views

Is “bestowing anonymity” the right term or expression?

Is bestowing anonymity the right way to say "keeping someones identity secret?" Basically the author is writing about someone, a fallen dictator and his nasty goings on, without using the name of the ...
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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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8answers
161 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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4answers
259 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 ...
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3answers
781 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 ...
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2answers
466 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
16k 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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3answers
251 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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1answer
789 views

Origin of “as all get out” meaning “to the utmost degree”

At reference.com, all get out is glossed as “in the extreme; to the utmost degree”, and at thefreedictionary.com as an unimaginably large amount; “British say ‘it rained like billyo’ where ...
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1answer
155 views

Is there a difference between “Wrong or Right” and “Right or Wrong”

I was writing about the difference between morals and ethics when i wrote the following line both these terms talk about the right and wrong conduct of people both these terms talk about the ...
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1answer
90 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
2k 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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2answers
93 views

How to call the two points at each end of a path?

By "path" I mean a route that has been walked by. The best I could come out with is starting point and ending point. Is there a shorter way to refer to them? (Maybe end points?)
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0answers
46 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
273 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?