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

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8answers
35k views

What's the verdict on “sooner than later”?

I have heard a lot of people say at work that we should do something "sooner than later." This grates against my native ear, but it seems fairly commonplace. I have always understood the expression to ...
0
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1answer
6k views

“I reminded myself that…”

I'm wondering if "I reminded myself that..." is correct expression in English and if English speakers use such expression at all or if this is replaced by something else. Let's take this dialogue as ...
3
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1answer
421 views

What do you call a name which has an adjective / describing word as part of it?

E.g. Charles the Great, Charles the Rash, Edward the Confessor, etc. I'm reasonably sure there was a word for this .... * scratches head *
8
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5answers
53k views

“Hot mess” meaning and etymology

A phrase has started to be used somewhat frequently over the past few years: "hot mess". I have heard it in professional journalism (albeit, admittedly, mostly entertainment and/or gossip ...
4
votes
2answers
431 views

Does the phrase 'human race' allude to the idea of a relay?

Describing the history of humanity as a 'race' might seem odd to a listener who hadn't heard it before. Is the image behind this phrase alluding to the idea that human beings reproduce and pass on ...
2
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1answer
11k views

Usage of “Take a bow”

Well, I always get confused over the use of this phrase. Basically, it means taking credit for the performance done by artists by bowing their heads down, and I know that but what about using it for ...
1
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2answers
268 views

“Thunderstorm” vs. “tempest” in common usage

When did "thunderstorm" replace "tempest" in common English usage? I ask the question because my great-great grandmother, who lived in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, used the term frequently in her ...
3
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4answers
3k views

Is there a word or a special phrase in English to describe the curvy upper lip that some people like Rio Ferdinand have?

I don't think many have people have that kind of upper lip (probably 10% of the population). To me personally, that kind of upper lip definitely makes a person more attractive regardless of gender. ...
0
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3answers
618 views

What is the suitable preposition which come after the verb “hassle”?

Should we say, A hassles with B or A hassles to B? What is the right expression?
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3answers
417 views

Opposite of Ground Up

Is there any opposite of "Ground up" phrase? Something like "Top-down : Bottom-up"
-1
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1answer
432 views

accommodate somebody somewhere [closed]

I am writing a letter to an official body and I need to say that my friend will be staying in my flat. Is it correct to say that "I am able to accommodate my friend in my 2 bedroom flat at address" (...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a better way of wording this? [closed]

Apologies if this question is off-topic. I've checked the FAQs for topics that are acceptable and 'word choice and usage' appears in the list. I'm working on a website redesign and would like to ...
1
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1answer
224 views

Source for the Adage: “The first liar is always believed most.”

In a couple of books and articles I've come across an adage, “the first liar is always believed most”: Now, I talked to the captain first, but I want you to know that great old saying, “The ...
-2
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1answer
471 views

What is the meaning of “Startup guy”? [closed]

I read the expression Startup guy very frequently, especially in public profiles like the one at https://twitter.com/alexisohanian What does this mean?
-1
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1answer
100 views

Word for long chain of causes [closed]

What may be the conceptual, phenomenal word for a long chain of complex causes and reasons, that doesn't believe in coincidences, accidentalities, karma etc.?
8
votes
3answers
709 views

Morally speaking, 1+1=2

I asked a question over on math.SE and as part of an exchange someone said: Morally the function is csc φ in the limit for the reason you mention. ...a pretty funny thing to say. I asked them ...
1
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2answers
1k views

Origin of the term “eating your own dog food”

I'm trying to find the first usage of the term "eating your own dogfood", as a reference to companies, especially software companies, using their own products in house in order to more effectively ...
3
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2answers
2k 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.
6
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3answers
1k views

Why the “up” in “hang up the phone”?

Why do you hang "up" when you put the phone down when you're done talking? I don't get it and none of my friends do.
3
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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 ...
3
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1answer
9k views

To exact revenge or vengeance?

We are in the midst of a family disagreement about whether the correct phrase is to exact revenge or to exact vengeance. We could use a definitive answer (if one exists) or, at ...
2
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3answers
264 views

'too dangerous to let live' or 'too dangerous to be let live'?

I was writing something down that came to me in a passing while I was watching TV, and I found myself discombobulated with the way one should phrase the notion of letting someone do something in the ...
1
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4answers
963 views

Is “How do you … ?” a polite question to ask the right way to do things? [closed]

Sometimes I feel uncomfortable to say "How do you spell xxx ?". It sounds like asking his or her own way of spelling a word implicating that I am not necessarily expecting the correct answer. Is "How ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “suck a salt grain off a beach” mean?

In association with my question of the usage of “blood-dimmed (flood /tragedy) in Maureen Dowd’s article in New York Times- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/dowd-peeping-president-...
25
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4answers
4k views

Why do we say that an obscene joke is “off-color”?

Why do we say that an obscene joke is "off-color"? Is a G-rated joke "on-color"? What color? When and how did this idiomatic expression come from?
3
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2answers
1k views

Is “Can’t wipe one’s ass if somebody don’t hand paper,” a pattern phrase, or just a one-off play of words?

In association with a couple of questions about unfamiliar expressions used in Jeffery Archers fiction, “The Fourth Estate,” I was amused by the phrase, “can’t wipe one’s ass if somebody didn’t hand ...
0
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1answer
2k views

“sheds some important insights”?

Could we say "sheds some important insights"? E.g. The discussion sheds some important insights for optimizing an HTML parser If this is not appropriate, what is a nice way to express the same idea?
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2answers
5k views

“questions need to answer” or “questions need to be answered”

It seems to me the first one is fine, as we always say "I have some work to do". Do we say "I have some work to be done"? If they are both correct, in which scenarios they should be used respectively?...
1
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3answers
48k views

What is the usual form of “Please do the needful”? [duplicate]

I was browsing the internet, and found that "Please do the needful" is not an appropriate sentence to use or write. According to this link, this sentence used to get used in South Asia. What would be ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

Origin of “how we/I roll”?

The phrase "that's how we roll" (along with variants) seems to have become increasingly popular in recent years. It appears to draw attention to one's behavior or policies, asserting -- sometimes ...
4
votes
1answer
235 views

Is “it makes following five-fold contributions” a good expression? [duplicate]

I saw some papers using expressions like "five-fold contributions". What's the difference between this and "five contributions"? Which one is better? What are the appropriate scenarios for the word "...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

is there a word or expression which describes a mapping between the same thing? [closed]

For example, if I map 4 to 4, 4000 to 4000, is there a good word or expression which describes this kind of mapping? Perhaps identity mapping or something else?
4
votes
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 ...
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0answers
45 views

What does one call the twisting of a proper name into a pejorative? [duplicate]

For example, in politics one sees Obummer, John Boner, Mittens R-money
2
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2answers
294 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 ...
0
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2answers
8k 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 ...
3
votes
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 ...
0
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1answer
158 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."
2
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3answers
717 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
9k 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?
1
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3answers
200 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 ...
4
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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 ...
4
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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 ...
6
votes
1answer
432 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. ...
1
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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/...
0
votes
1answer
679 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 "......
1
vote
1answer
592 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
313 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...