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

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287 views

Meaning of “high as cheese”

A Margaret Atwood story taking place in a summer camp features the following passage: The smell of grime and sweaty feet and wood smoke is getting too potent at close quarters; the sleeping bags ...
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2answers
7k views

Is it correct to use “Please find in the following”?

I'm writing an article. At the beginning of the article, I want to write this quick introduction: We are pleased to share with you our knowledge in the network device managements. Please find in ...
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6answers
1k views

Is the “will” in “can and will” necessary?

Anyone who's ever seen much American film or television has heard some variation of the following sentences countless times: You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to give up that ...
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1answer
157 views

What does it mean “a piece of schlock”? [closed]

What does a piece of schlock mean in the following phrase? "You aren't in this game to write a piece of schlock."
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3answers
698 views

Use of 'rest in peace'

Can the expresssion rest in peace be used in a humourous and friendly way to say, stop worrying?
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2answers
8k views

Is it correct to say “I am heading off” when I am about to leave?

Is it correct to say "I am heading off" when I am about to leave? Is it informal? If so, what's the formal equivalent?
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3answers
191 views

An expression for very tightly secured/mounted/fastened

I am trying to find a way describe a product feature, this would be that once the product is mounted, it cannot be easily un-mounted by shock, movement. The expression in German Hält Bombenfest which ...
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5answers
5k views

Origin of “suit yourself”

The young daughter of a friend of mine said, "I think 'suit yourself' comes from a lazy tailor," which cracked us up. It also got me wondering. I did the obligatory google search and came up with ...
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2answers
5k views

Usage of “I'm sorry” and “thank you very much” outside of obvious settings

Why do people say "I'm sorry" at the beginning of a sentence? For example: "I'm sorry, but I don't care for her one bit." On the same note, I would like to understand the meaning of "thank you very ...
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1answer
422 views

Expressions in Tim Minchin's “Angry (Feet)”

I'm having a little trouble with matching some of the lyrics of Tim Minchin's "Angry (Feet)" to the reactions to them of the audience. This makes me suspect I'm missing some of the semantic layers. ...
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0answers
20 views

is there another way of saying: “shaky structures”? [duplicate]

What expression would an English teacher use to say that the handling of the language is a bit uncertain not with used with precision? In Swedish you can say (translated literally): your wording/...
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1answer
651 views

Which is correct? “not to” or “to not” [duplicate]

I was writing a blog post just now and I couldn't help but hesitate at the following snippet: "...causing this to not work as expected" And I couldn't decide if that's correct or if I should use "......
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1answer
582 views

Meaning of 'Edwardian geek' [closed]

I just read that a physicist Paul Dirac was called 'the Edwardian geek' by his biographer [See the quote below from Wiki]. What does this phrase mean (Who was that particular Edward)? An anecdote ...
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3answers
312 views

How to express reduction from 10 or 100 billion to 1 billion

What word or phrase would correctly describe the reduction of 10 billion to 1 billion, and from 100 billion to 1 billion? I need to have it sound scientific: Reduce an amount from 1010 to 109, and ...
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5answers
3k views

“it's all in the wrist”

What is the meaning and origin of this idiom? Internet searches are confounded by the many headlines and jokes that allude to the phrase superficially (e.g., “repetitive strain injury – it's all in ...
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1answer
2k views

Why would you want to do that? [closed]

I recently shared with several coworkers that I wanted to go to a particular class. My coworker responded to me with the following question: "Why would you want to do that?" I responded with a ...
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2answers
3k views

Difference between “technically possible” and “physically possible”?

Do you think these expressions can be used interchangeably? I find little or no differene between the two meanings. Does this question need more context?
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1answer
186 views

What does it mean to “offer a plea for a caution”? [closed]

This is a sentence in a letter to request waiving a fine. The sentence is: I offer the following plea for a caution in this instance. Also, it seems to me that caution is more correct than a ...
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2answers
2k views

What does “Nine Below Zero” mean?

There is a Blues Standard "Nine Below Zero" and I wonder what the phrase means. The chorus is Nine Below Zero, she put me down for another And it would also be super interesting where this ...
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1answer
123 views

How to Reply That PASSPORT NUMBER is not in my remembrance at the moment [closed]

If somebody called me over phone and asked to give your Passport number / Pan card / Roll number something. If it is not in my remembrance , how can I apologies in best way for this ? NOTE -Please do ...
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1answer
32k views

“Would have” and “would have no”

Could you describe about "would have ~ed" & "would have not ~ed". I know would has the several meanings. But when I was talking with one of my friend who is a native speaker and in this following ...
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1answer
519 views

The correct word for adoption of a law by the National Assembly?

Since I am not a native English speaker I am not sure what word should I use for adoption of a law. The closest to my language is "adoption", but "promulgate", "enact" or some other word may be more ...
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2answers
338 views

How different is “he is a voice of reason awakening the public” from “he has a voice of reason awakening the public”?

In association with the question on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Senator Rand Paul in the Time Magazine article “2013 Time 100” that I posted earlier today, I have an additional question about the ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the clearest way to describe two “kitty-corner” buildings?

How can I explain the relationship of building A to building B where building A is, e.g., on the NW corner of an intersection, and building B is on the SE corner? Which of the following (if any) is ...
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1answer
317 views

Meaning of “leave on a full basis”

When I was reading News of Real Madrid - Di Maria set to be released, I saw following sentence: Real Madrid management seem to have decided to let Di Maria leave on a full basis. What does this ...
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2answers
668 views

How would you say 'go round the houses' in a formal way?

I am writing a memo (quite formal) and I need to mention that the attitudes in the previous meeting were really offtopic, the team didn't focus on the important matters. Were it informal writing I ...
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2answers
18k views

Lack of it / Lack thereof

I am aware of the usage of "lack thereof", but I was wondering whether it is valid to use "lack of it". During a conversation with someone I used "lack of it" in a sentence, and she claimed that it is ...
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2answers
89 views

An expression similar to “frame of reference”

I am trying to explain a mathematical point that is used for comparison such that all values are compared to it, like a "frame of reference". I've also thought of "pivot of comparison". Are any of ...
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3answers
4k views

Is “duck and dive” only a British idiom?

I was interested in the phrase “duck and dive,” which is put in parentheses, in the following comment of a video ran by the Guardian with a caption, “Senator Marco Rubio's in-speech water break” - ...
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1answer
2k views

What is meant by the action to ‘curl up your fingers’? Is “Curl up one’s fingers” an English idiom?

I came across the phrase “His cheeks reddened as he curled up his fingers” in the scene, a six-year-old Ruthenian boy, Lubji Hoch, who later becomes one of the world’s most powerful media moguls, ...
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1answer
33k 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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1answer
635 views

Oh fudge knuckle!

What does this expression mean? I heard it in a video where the person said something like This sounds right, but in fact, son of a gun, or as my younger son would say, fudge knuckle, it goes ...
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1answer
790 views

Is “hold-your-nose (or close –your-eyes) - and-do sth” an English idiom or just a coinage for one-off use?

I found a phrase, “a hold-your-nose-and-roll-the-camera” in the following statement of NPR’s article (April 2) titled “From pets to plates: Why more people rre eating guinea pigs?” http://www.npr.org/...
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1answer
19k views

“Slept off”: correct or incorrect?

I have been using slept off to mean that I fell asleep. For example, I slept off early yesterday. Is that used correctly?
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2answers
739 views

“Dead on arrival”

I was listening to the song "I'll be there for you" by The Rembrandts and I realised that at the beginning they say: "Your love life's D.O.A." I used Google to search the meaning of D.O.A. and ...
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4answers
14k views

What is the origin of the phrase “hate your guts”?

Where does the phrase "hate your guts" (for example "I hate your guts") come from? I've heard the phrase used as a way to convey extreme and deep dislike of another individual. However, it seems ...
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2answers
249 views

Is there a term for a married couple who have the same christian and surname?

My wife and I share the abbreviated form of our name - Alex derived from Alexandra and Alexander respectively. As we are married, we have the same christian and surname when used in the short form. ...
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2answers
25k views

meaning and usage of “mind you”

I often come across this expression and according to dictionaries I've looked up, it can be used in several ways such as to: introduce something that should be taken into consideration add something ...
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3answers
338 views

Conventions for dates spoken without year

Today is April 4th, 2013. What is meant when someone says "May 1st"? I would assume its May 1, 2013. And "last May 1st" as May 1, 2012. As for "next May 1st", I would assume "next" is a redundancy ...
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1answer
186 views

Meaning of “the crawling of the walls” [closed]

What is the meaning of "the crawling of the walls"? I can practically feel the presence of disease: the crawling of the walls, the energy tension— like the nesting of a thousand insects.
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5answers
12k views

A more succinct expression for “The day before yesterday”

Is there a more succinct expression for "the day before yesterday"? In German for example, gestern = 'yesterday.' The prefix vor roughly means before, so logically, vorgestern means 'the day before ...
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2answers
146 views

“These are [one/ones] of the foundations…” - which “one” should I use?

I'm having a hard time picking between These are one of the foundations of.... and These are ones of the foundations of.. Or is there a more idiomatic way to express it?
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3answers
392 views

What is the top of a pearl pendant called?

For example the top of the pendant in the link below: top of a pearl pendant
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1answer
1k views

comes to think of it?

Which of the expressions, "come to think of it" or "comes to think of it", grammatically correct? Or are they grammatical at all? If it is a short form of, When one comes to think of it, I would ...
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2answers
37k views

“Sites to see” or “Sights to see”?

A google search turns up results for either. The two are seemingly interchangeable. Which is it? Does one see sights or see sites?
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1answer
1k views

Is complacent a positive word or negative word?

When is complacent used in a positive or a negative sense? I always thought it was used in a negative sense, please correct me if I am wrong
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4answers
385 views

Term for means of communication

Considering such things as telephone calls {with/to/from} Raj text messages {with/to/from} Raj I want a term that includes calls, texts, emails etc. I can come up only with communications with ...
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1answer
2k views

Is it “to play a game on someone” or “play games with someone”?

I find this expression strange because it's clearly widely used, but seems sort of "unofficial", the "official" version, meaning the one described in dictionaries and grammar books, being playing ...
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6answers
334 views

What is an elegant way to refer to a figure displaying an algorithm?

I'm currently writing my PhD thesis in computer science and often need to refer to algorithms, which are depicted in figures as shown below. So far, I used phrases such as Algorithm X shows / ...
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1answer
5k views

How does the expression “Not half bad” hold its meaning? [closed]

I'm interested in the phrase 'not half bad', which, like 'cheap at half the price' actually means the opposite of what the user is generally trying to say. The term 'not half!' is commonly used to ...