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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

8
votes
3answers
428 views

What does “Safety net in the coffin” mean?

There was the phrase “the safety net in the coffin” in reference to Mr. Paul Ryan, running mate of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Maureen Dowd’s article, titled “Cruel conservatives ...
5
votes
3answers
467 views

What does the cause for your feeling like “downing a quart of Red Bull” mean?

Again in the Time article (June 29),“Roberts Rules: What the Health Care decision means for the country” that many of my familiar ‘teachers’ criticized the style of writing as too pretentious and the ...
0
votes
3answers
5k views

How do I express “hope you become less busy” [closed]

I have a friend who works at law firm. I suggested to him to have dinner with my family this weekend but he told me that he just got staffed on an new thing that will have him working through the ...
-1
votes
1answer
749 views

What is the meaning of “I don't need no stinking counters”?

The context is this video at timeline 43:26 seconds . That's too fancy for me. I don't need no stinking counters. What does this mean? Is it an American or British expression?
1
vote
1answer
432 views

Why is the “round figure” of a person associated with being “comforting”? [closed]

Example: Miss Beam was all that I had expected middle-aged, authoritative, kindly, and understanding. Her hair was beginning to turn grey, and her round figure was likely to be comforting for a ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What does ‘It’s one thing to dance like Fred Astaire, but Ginger Rogers did it backwards’ mean as a metaphor to John Roberts' ruling?

There was the following sentence in June 29 issue of Time magazine titled “Roberts Rules: What the health care decision means for the country” dealing with Chief Justice of Supreme Court, John ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

“fix me that account” or “fix that account for me”

Can we say "Did you fix me that account?" Or should it be "Did you fix that account for me?" assuming something is wrong with the account. Account represents a computer based system user id.
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“Blow your heads off ” or “blow your head off ”

Is it heads or head? Google told me both are okay. What do you think? I will blow your head[s] off if you don't tell me.
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What nuance ‘I’ll leave it at that' carry? Does it mean total agreement with, or commitment to your partner?

Yesterday’s (August 22) Washington Times picked up the following quote of Mr. Paul Ryan in its “Today’s Quote” "Mitt Romney's going to be the president. The president sets the policy. His policy ...
7
votes
1answer
627 views

Is the expression “topping it the ______” really used anywhere?

I've often read books where English men made statements about others "topping it the knob" or "topping it the gentleman," which I took to mean over playing a role or attitude. Is this a legitimately ...
0
votes
3answers
247 views

Better phrase for “lengthy date” [closed]

Is there a better phrase or word to use than lengthy date? For example: We give this lengthy date to accommodate the dispute respecting the Hermas who is the author of the Pastor. This seems a ...
1
vote
2answers
563 views

Usage of the expression “go they went”

I noticed the usage of go they went in the TV show How I Met Your Mother: Marshall: Where are all my underpants? Lily: Did you check your suitcase? (Marshall checks his suitcase, gives a ...
2
votes
2answers
292 views

Expression: wanted the skinny on [closed]

Is there an expression like wanted the skinny on? I can hazard a guess on the meaning of the phrase but will be grateful if anyone can tell me the exact meaning. Here is the exact quote: I'm a ...
2
votes
2answers
177 views

“As old Buffle used to say”

In Chesteron's play Magic a character often uses a phrase such as “as old Buffle used to say” or variations thereof. Is this, or used it to be, a common phrase? Does it have a specific meaning or is ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “Drop and give me twenty, America’ in ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ mean?

The New Yorker magazine August 16 issue carries the article under the title ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ which is posted by Andy Borowitz. I as a non-native English language learner cannot tell ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

“Walk my way” in the following

Can I use "walk my way" in the following situation: I had an argument with a bus driver about the elections, and she got really angry. So I had to get off the bus and walk my way.
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Origin of “on the up-and-up”

The phrase "on the up-and-up" means "legitimate" or "legal" or "reputable" or, to use another idiom, "above-board". For instance: Although Pete didn't look like a city official, Joe assumed his ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

“for good” expression in an unfortunate event?

I just heard an expression while watching a TV series yesterday. Someone just died and they said: He is gone for good I googled it and found that "for good" means "forever" in this context. But ...
1
vote
4answers
304 views

What's the negative way of saying “I can only finish a small part of the jobs.”

What's the negative way of saying "I can only finish a small portion of the jobs." Is it "I cannot finish most of the jobs?" And I appreciate it if more "native" expressions are ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “Please consider the seriousness of this offer” correct? [closed]

In Romanian language, there is an expression that would be translated to English as "I offer and request seriousness", that is usually used for example at the end of an offer/ad. What is the English ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What are some familiar expressions can I use to mean someone is lucky? [closed]

I am in a context where I would need a familiar (but not vulgar) short expression that means someone is lucky. Can someone help?
1
vote
2answers
703 views

expressions at bar about credit card payment

I went to the bar the other day and when I tried to pay for the drink by my credit card, the bartender asked me something to the effect whether I wanted to have my credit card open for further payment ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Usage of “make it” in this context [closed]

Consider the following sentence . My boss (say Mr X) wrote this to me in an email and before this paragraph he actually gave a list of items that I need to work on : We will have a Webex meeting ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

what does “falling into the pit of success” mean?

I can see its literal meaning, but I don't know its extended meaning. I saw this in the introduction of stackoverflow: We believe finding the right answer to your programming questions should be ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

What does Mitt Romney aide's remark “keep Boston off message all week” mean?

Mitt Romney seems to be haunted with the plague of gaffes of his own and his aides’. Time magazine’s (August 4) article titled “Worse gaffe than Etch-A-Sketch” reported another gaffe that Romney’s ...
8
votes
5answers
15k views

'What ho!' of Bertie Wooster

"What ho!" - this strange form of greeting is used all the time by Bertie Wooster, a character of well-known "Jeeves and Wooster" stories by P. G. Wodehouse. Bertie Wooster: Oh, what ho, Sir ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there any alternative expression to “Brace Yourself ”

I have translated an article into English. The author of the original article uses a “Bumpy ride on a plane in a hazardous weather” as an analogy to predict an unfavourable political development in a ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

“Bad blood” usage

I know that the bad blood expression means animosity and dislike. But where does it come from? I can understand why bad, but why blood, and whose blood is implied here?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

“Yes marry have I” usage

I was looking through the original text of a popular nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book when noticed an expression whose meaning I can’t understand: “Yes, marry, ...
0
votes
4answers
222 views

How can I say four different colors for five different items using “one”, “another”, “the other”? [closed]

Am I saying this correctly? There are five items in four different colors. One is in red, another is in yellow, another is in green, and the others are in black. Also, can I say: Two items ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

How to express desires in English so that they don't sound like commands?

At that time I won't want you to again land up in the thread to tell me the rules. With the above statement, I wanted to express my desire, but it was interpreted as a command. How can I rewrite ...
0
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

“Has the say on it”

I know the idiom have the final say, but I wonder if we could use the same idiom without the word final in it? For example: He is the boss, he is the one who has the say on it. Could the above ...
1
vote
1answer
7k views

“at hand” vs “at issue”

We can talk about "the matter at hand" or "the matter at issue" and they seem to mean just about the same thing: something along the lines of "the matter currently under discussion." Is there a ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

Does one say “to ring stupid” or what are appropriate alternatives?

If you want to express that something is true even if it is actually dumb, in German we can say something along So blöd es auch klingt, aber es ist wahr. Literally it's As stupid it also rings, ...
5
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

“sit back and relax” vs. “kick back and relax”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why 'kick back' can mean 'get relaxed'? I have seen so many times "Sit back and relax" while installing softwares. I understand that it means it will ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

“to what extent” vs. “to what level” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “to a degree” vs. “to an extent” What's the difference between "to what extent" and "to what level"? Please support your answer with examples.
1
vote
2answers
1k views

“check out” vs. “look at”

Consider the following: Check (out) the portfolio and let me know if you are interested via e-mail. or Look at the portfolio and let me know if you are interested via e-mail. Can I use ...
5
votes
2answers
559 views

phrase origin: “sent packing”

What is the origin of the phrase "sent packing," which is used when someone gets the boot? I have seen it used a lot but would like to know where it originally came from.
39
votes
5answers
32k views

Why does Polly want a cracker?

Where does the expression "Polly wants a cracker" come from? Why is the parrot named Polly, and why doesn't she want seeds?
2
votes
1answer
447 views

Which adjective to use for a hour that has already started?

I am having a hard time with wording of a simple agreement (just as an exercise, not a real thing, of course). I am trying to express that for each hour the person spends on some task, he will get ...
5
votes
5answers
463 views

Synonym or equal phrase to “merely philosophical”

When something is bound to be of little substance, or the discussion of it surely only giving rise to opinion or sophistry, sometimes the phrase "merely philosophical" is used. In this article I'm ...
4
votes
2answers
232 views

Does this phrase mean what I want it to mean?

I want to say that "the value decreases at a rate at least x" (i.e. faster than or equal to x). Does the phrase "the value decreases at minimum rate x" mean the same thing? If not, is there any other ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Meaning of “to pivot to do something”

I found the use of the verb pivot in a context I can't quite understand: We will now pivot the company's effort to date and focus on becoming a comprehensive provider of ... What is the meaning ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the expression “we are looking to you” mean?

What does the expression "we are looking to you" mean in the following sentence? Now that you have taken the test and have an understanding, we are looking to you to teach this to your ...
2
votes
1answer
49k views

Thanks for help vs. Thanks for helping me

Is the sentence 'Thanks for help' easily understood? Should I use 'Thanks for helping me', or 'Thanks for help me'?
7
votes
1answer
389 views

Meaning of “for all their colour”

What does "for all their colour" mean in the following sentence? Standing immobile throughout the day, these vivid objects, with their fantastic shadows on the wall behind them shifting and ...
4
votes
6answers
182 views

How to express a risk of breaking a target/objective

I am French, and I am looking for ideally a word or a short expression to express the situation where someone is about to do something that is going to put at danger/risk a goal/target. Let's say ...
4
votes
2answers
588 views

Meaning of “went through the floor”?

Question: I read this post: http://answers.onstartups.com/questions/40480/how-much-traffic-is-necessary-to-generate-1000-per-month-in-advertising-revenue Quote I previously had a real estate ...