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

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Term for using “thingy-esque” phrases rather than a common word

{This question came to mind because of the recent question .. What do you call the interconnecting bits of a puzzle piece in English? } In my opinion, in English, it's reasonably common that—...
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2answers
3k views

What does “if only” mean?

Like in this sentence: The influence of the Titnaeus among early philosophical thinkers was pervasive, if only because it was the sole dialogue available in Europe for almost 1,000 years. (...
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4answers
9k views

Origin of “they don't know they're born”?

Practising today for my forthcoming role as radgie gadgie, I was having a little rant about modern youth: "they don't know they're born!" This seems to me rather a strange phrase to describe someone ...
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“For the time being” vs. “for now”

Consider the following passages: A litter made of two rifles and two field jackets would suffice for now. That was good news; another bit was that the EPW was a lieutenant, a regimental REMF ...
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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
4k views

What is the etymology of the expression “so far, so good”?

What is the etymology of the expression "so far, so good"? Why is the meaning of "so far" in that phrase different from the meaning it has in "it's so far"?
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3answers
1k views

Eve-teasing… are such words used only in the country of origin

I was reading a newspaper published in Indonesia and while quoting sexual harassment , the term 'eve-teasing" was repeatedly used. E.g. The Bontang police arrested two residents for eve-teasing, ...
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2answers
12k views

What's the meaning of the expression “Grab a hold”?

What does it mean to "grab a hold"? There is a song by Cyndi Lauper that says If you wanna grab a hold, let it go...
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3answers
4k views

“Feel it in my bones”

Does "Feel it in my bones" sound natural? I have never seen or heard any native speakers use something like that, except in a subtitle of a movie I watched long ago. What are other phrases, or common ...
4
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5answers
6k views

What's a good expression for “too much information”?

If someone provides too many details on something, basically making it more difficult to extract the actual information asked for, what is a good expression to describe this? Is superfluous adequate ...
4
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3answers
160 views

An expression that is the opposite of Mortons's fork [duplicate]

Morton's fork is a situation where all outcomes are unpleasant. Is there an expression or term that describes a similar situation, but instead all outcomes are pleasurable/beneficial except only one ...
4
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2answers
17k views

Rules for rising and falling intonation in similar questions - what are they?

Consider these two questions: Would you mind saying a little bit more about that? and What do you mean by that? When they perform the same function, and I expect an answer to both, why ...
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2answers
17k views

– at scale – definition?

Whats does the expression at scale mean? Does it mean "on a larger scale" or it means "at a level appropriate to the what's available"? I came up with these two definitions by looking the ...
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9answers
5k views

Person who pretends to not understand unless one speaks in exactly the words they expect [duplicate]

I just realized there are some people around my workplace who always try to correct me when using a certain word, saying that that's not how I should speak, and I should use other words (the ones ...
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17answers
11k views

Opposite of 'Midas touch'?

I'm wondering what word or phrase could be used for the counter examples of 'Midas touch' effect. The Midas touch, or the gift of profiting from whatever one undertakes, is named for a legendary ...
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9answers
9k views

Why do we “get cold feet”?

A sudden loss of nerve when embarked on a venture is called cold feet. Does anyone know why that should be? An etymology is suggested at englishdaily626. If your 'feet' are 'cold', you can't walk ...
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8answers
26k views

Are there any expressions that describe going from a bad to a worse situation?

Are there idioms or expressions in English that describe going from one bad situation to one that's even worse? I heard "between a rock and hard place" but this describes a dilemma not really a ...
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2answers
2k views

Term for words like “Hanky-Panky” [duplicate]

Is there a name for these kind of doubled words? For example: hanky-panky flim-flam hoity-toity boo-hoo zig-zag Note that some rhyme and others do not.
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5answers
20k views

What is the origin of “holy smoke”?

What is the origin of holy smoke? To what is holy smoke referring?
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10answers
2k views

What is the offline equivalent of “clickbait”?

There is a common Internet marketing strategy called clickbait or clickbaiting which involves: Provocative or sensationalistic headline text that entices people to click on a link to an article, ...
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8answers
4k views

Why do we 'cut' a deal?

I hired a private detective to see if I could cut a deal In the above sentence, why do we cut a deal? Should I replace it with make a deal? Is it a popular idiom in the native English world?
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5answers
70k views

How do I say, “I am willing to relocate”, in my CV?

I'd like some help with my CV. I want to add one sentence below my name, telling the company that I am free to relocate to any city. I am not a native speaker and I am not sure about this. Can ...
12
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5answers
46k views

Is “a ways to go” grammatically correct?

In English we often say, for example, "he still has a ways to go before he's done." Is this grammatically correct?
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11answers
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What on Earth does “cheap at half the price” mean?

I hear this all the time, "cheap at half the price", to indicate that something is cheap (mostly in an ironic sense, but often used literally), but it makes no sense to me. Of course, if something ...
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8answers
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Proverb or expression for someone taking on too much

What is an appropriate proverb or expression that means one has: Taken on too many tasks Set out to do something that one isn't qualified to do and hence probably will fail Set out to do something ...
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1answer
721 views

Expressions for a mystery?

I'm trying to help out a friend with something. Is there any expression for when something has been done, but nobody knows whom by? In Dutch there is an expression which translates into "the gnomes ...
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3answers
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How to use the expression “lo and behold”

How should this expression be used, and what is its origin?
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6answers
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Why does to “take a powder” mean to run away or to leave?

From Flappers to Rappers: American youth slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites "take a powder" as a 1930s expression meaning to run away or to leave. Does anyone have any ideas why taking a powder would ...
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2answers
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“drop the penny”

I was wondering what "drop the penny", "help get the penny to drop", or things similar mean? All I can understand is that it must be a metaphor. For example: simply trying to repeat things in ...
7
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3answers
455 views

How to determine if a “[something] fighter” fights for or against [something]?

In freedom fighter the fighter supports freedom. In fire fighter the fighter fights fire. How do you determine when it is the first or the second case? What is the meaning of spam fighter? @...
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4answers
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a better expression for 'percentage divided by 100'

The function f(a,x) returns the value in the array a specified by x, where x is a percentage of the length of the array, divided by 100. (i.e. x can be any number between 0 and 1, corresponding to a ...
6
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2answers
57k views

What is the meaning of “you bet!”?

I often hear the term "you bet!". What does it mean?
6
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10answers
737 views

What is the idiom or expression to describe the state that a person interrupts their happy time by believing that “this will end soon “?

There are some people who don't enjoy the available good time and sometimes it even worries them. I am not sure why, but they might think that they will miss those moment and suffer for the lack of it....
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2answers
13k views

“bibs and bobs” - what does it mean and where does it come from?

Just exactly what is a bibs and a bobs? And where the heck did that expression come from, anyway?
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3k 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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Are there any practices to use onomatopoeia in English for describing the degree of joyfulness / funniness by laughter and sorrow by crying?

Japanese use a plenty of onomatopoeia in expressing the degree and level of joyfulness / funniness when laughing and sorrow when crying, and they always come in refrains of onomatopoeia. For examples: ...
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3answers
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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 "...
5
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3answers
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Is “looking to” acceptable English in this use?

Recently there is dramatic increase in the use of looking to verb as in: Jeff is looking to start something big. Is this acceptable grammar? Why is it recently popular? What could best be ...
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2answers
287 views

Something like antonym for “dependent”

Let's suppose I have two objects – A and B. They are a pair. I mean that we will name them considering them one logical unit. For example: If I call A as "driven," then B will be called "...
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What do you call someone who lives for himself?

What do you call someone who lives for himself? If someone lives his life solely to achieve his own life goals and not want to associate his life with others', what would you call him? I know some of ...
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1answer
224 views

History of the phrase “I was like..” or “I was all…”

When telling a story, it's near essential at some point to state what you said or felt. The younger generation uses phrases "I was like...", OR the similar "I was all...", to express a past state or ...
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4answers
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What's a noun for the group of people who you're very close to, such as family, friends, relatives, and significant others?

If I wanted to describe all of the people close to someone such as their close friends, family, relatives, and spouse/significant other, how would I do so with one noun? The simplest 'noun' that ...
3
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10answers
9k views

Is there an expression for creating something from start to finish (e.g. grain to bread)

Maybe this is not really the right place to ask this, I hope I will not be penalized for asking this. I am a webdeveloper, and I do most of the stuff myself, from the basic idea, till the final ...
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1answer
1k views

The Origin of “Killing It”

Related to How did kil get its positive conntations. Which goes into the origin of "making a killing" and "killed the audience", but not this specific phrase. Musicians have a particular phrase for ...
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Is calling someone “old school”- offensive/derogatory? [closed]

My colleague, a relatively young school teacher, prefers not to use e-mails. He is digitally absent. During a recent teacher's meeting, while I appreciated his efforts towards content ...
2
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1answer
75 views

Lost In Punctuation

Usually, when a piece of text is translated from one language to some other language, and (due to slightly different idioms, phrases, words, etc.) the end meaning is changed, then it is attributed to ...
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1answer
214 views

Am I the only person to use “punch up” to mean “remind someone”?

I have always used "punch up" in the context of reminding or prodding someone for something such as: "I just punched up Jane that she needs to turn in her vacation schedule" When I used this ...
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2answers
188 views

Term or expression which best describes a problem that goes away when an expert attempts to diagnose it?

There is a phenomenon which I've seen happen across many circumstances. Generally, it goes something like this: The complainant has a recurring observable problem. The complainant contacts an ...
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1answer
8k views

“Head over heels” and “head over feet”

Does the expression head over heels mean the same as head over feet? To be madly in love with someone?
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1answer
2k 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 ...