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

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3answers
357 views

Which one is the proper alternative ? niche / field / area / domain

I'm developing software that asks user to specify a niche / field / area / domain of the document he is uploading. It can be business proposal, technical documentation, official stuff, correspondence, ...
10
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8answers
21k views

What is the origin of the phrase “when push comes to shove”?

"When push comes to shove" means "as a last resort" or "if absolutely necessary". Does anyone know why the phrase came to be used in this way?
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2answers
2k views

What does “draw back a stump” mean?

What does it mean to "draw back a stump" in this sentence? "Keep touching me like that, and you'll draw back a stump."
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3answers
1k views

Etymology of “Scantily clad”

I'm aware of the meaning of "scantily clad", the internet gives some good clues on that (Side question: Does it have erotic implications in itself?). However, what do the actual words mean ("clad" ...
1
vote
2answers
239 views

Correct term or phrase for “unidirectional gaga”

I'm not sure if such a figure of speech exists in English, and "unidirectional gaga" is certainly not correct. But which wording expresses that a person becomes dumber from having exercised/performed ...
4
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4answers
3k 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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3answers
2k views

Strong Wind(s) or High Wind(s)?

Which one is more popular? I always used strong wind, but I found high winds also used some times.
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1answer
5k views

“Any ideas are appreciated” or “Any ideas would be appreciated”?

Lets say I'm asking a question on a popular question and answer website, and I want to close by saying that I will appreciate any submitted ideas. The first seems awkward because at the moment of ...
12
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3answers
4k views

“Insofar” or “in so far”

A quick search suggests that insofar is the American variant of the British in so far. I always assumed it belonged to the set of expressions like hitherto, heretofore, therefore and albeit. Is there ...
4
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3answers
4k views

What does “open up a vein” mean?

I found the phrase 'open up a vein of fury' in the article of today's Washington Post as shown below. The New Year's Day suicide bombing of a church that killed 21 people has opened up a vein of ...
3
votes
2answers
838 views

“Self-study” vs “self-education”

I got a book titled Self-study vocabulary practice. Can I replace self-study with self-education? Does it make sense to use self-learning in the statement of above?
5
votes
5answers
402 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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2answers
2k views

Meaning of “Render onto Caesar the things which are Caesar's”

Render onto Caesar the things which are Caesar's What does this sentence mean?
3
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1answer
2k views

How to use “Knock [him/them] out of the water” — is this a common (if at all used) expression?

I can't seem to find much about this expression online, and its usage eludes me somewhat. I'm guessing that it's supposed to mean that someone is being overcome by another party, a winner in a ...
5
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3answers
9k views

What does the phrase “I have but one claim to fame” mean?

I would appreciate if someone could explain the meaning of the phrase "I have but one claim to fame". I understand every separate word, but the meaning of the whole phrase is fairly obscure to me, as ...
1
vote
1answer
919 views

Why do we say Undisclosed or Non-Disclosure instead of Closed or Closure

According to Wiktionary, disclosure's etymology comes from Latin dis-+clausus, literally away+enclosed. I wonder why do the term closed is not in common use as the term undisclosed. Not Not True is ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Use of “parley” meaning to convert?

I sometimes use the word "parley" as a verb effectively meaning "to convert from one language or system to another". Such as Stargate parleys the Egyptian deities into villainous star-faring ...
11
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5answers
7k views

How to use “you know”

For a non-native speaker like me, I am always wondering how to use you know correctly, as in the following sentence: Alright, well, for example, like on Saturdays, y’know, what I liked to do ...
16
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5answers
124k views

“Hear hear” or “here here”

Which one is it really: hear hear or here here? Where does the saying really come from?
5
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6answers
12k views

Where does the phrase “holy crap on a cracker” come from?

Where does the phrase "holy crap on a cracker" come from?
10
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5answers
8k views

What is the origin of the phrase “beyond the pale”?

What's the origin of the phrase 'beyond the pale'?
4
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4answers
4k 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
4k views

Meaning of “AS FOR” expression [closed]

What is the meaning of the expression "as for others" in the sentence bellow: God does not have such a love for them as for others
15
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2answers
9k views

Where does the phrase “Scare the Dickens out of…” originate from?

Where does the phrase "Scare the Dickens out of..." originate from? And does it refer to Charles Dickens?
3
votes
1answer
758 views

pick of a bad lot

They are the pick of a bad lot. This is a sentence from a 1892 novel. What does that mean?
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2answers
191 views

Correct usage of “infringement of copyright”

Does the term infringement of copyright apply in the following situations? I am attending a training session conducted by a third-party training company. I want to audio record the sessions. Will ...
9
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2answers
11k views

“To date” versus “until now”

Is there a difference between these two expressions? Are they perfect synonyms?
8
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2answers
2k views

“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
votes
1answer
6k views

What is the origin of the phrase “and nothing of value was lost”?

What is the origin of the phrase "and nothing of value was lost"? Is this from a movie, book, or show, or did it get its start on Slashdot or some other online forum?
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5answers
18k views

Where does “ta!” come from?

Where does the expression "ta" come from? Wikipedia has only this to say: "ta!", slang, Exclam. Thank you! {Informal}, an expression of gratitude but no additional information or links about ...
10
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1answer
2k views

Why do we call cinema The Seventh Art?

Why do we call cinema The Seventh Art? Why not sixth or fifth?
3
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1answer
2k views

The Meaning of “Crew Expendable”?

In a game (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare), when a soldier (Gaz) asks his commander (Captain Price) about the "rules of engagement," he is answered "crew expendable." As they are fighting on a ship, ...
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7answers
14k views

Origin and meaning of “The eagle flies at midnight”

The eagle flies at midnight. What's the origin and meaning of this idiom?
10
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3answers
5k views

Is “bad loser” a valid expression?

Is the expression "(someone is a) bad loser" valid? If it is valid, is it equal to "sore loser", or does it have a different meaning and/or use?
9
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3answers
5k views

How to use the expression “lo and behold”

How should this expression be used, and what is its origin?
6
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1answer
9k 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?
2
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1answer
987 views

Just wanted to “confirm my hunch”

Someone replied to me with: "Just wanted to confirm my hunch." What is this expression usually used for?
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1answer
7k views

“I was going to” expression. How to use it correctly?

I was going to pick you tomorrow from the airport (not a big deal to me, really), but remembered that tomorrow I'll be teaching the class, which ends at 8. in above example, I am trying to ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Is “fake teeth” correct?

Is the phrase "fake teeth" correct? I googled it and found out that it is used. But my English tutor says that this phrase is incorrect and the book from Hillside Press had this phrase as a mistake. ...
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5answers
3k views

Does “see you this weekend” in email express “will write another email this weekend”?

Perhaps people will think that I'll physically visit them?
7
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3answers
1k views

The origins of “Who da Man”?

This is a hard one to look up. Where (and when!) did the expression "who da man" start? My guess is it started either in written form after the popularization of the internet (because that would jibe ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Which is correct: “Set up something” or “Set something up” or “Setup something”?

As a programmer, I often have to use this expression: Set the application up. or something like that. But I'm not sure what the correct grammar is, and what this grammatical area is called in ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

What is the origin of “Couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo”?

This picturesque expression, meaning 'not a very good shot with a rifle' or (of a footballer) unable to score any goals, has cropped up a few times recently in my reading. Does anyone know where it ...
22
votes
3answers
62k views

Which is correct: coming down the “pike” or “pipe”?

Is the expression "coming down the pike" or "coming down the pipe"? I've always used pike, but I've heard a few people use pipe recently. I can see how both could make sense, but which is correct?
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Isn't “behind your back” in front of you?

We've all heard the phrase that usually goes along the lines of "blah blah did something behind my back". I've always thought that from your back's point of view, anything behind you is in front of it ...
30
votes
3answers
121k views

What is the purpose of using the word “why” in “why, thank you”?

I sometimes have heard somebody replying with Why, thank you. instead of Thank you. What is the meaning of the first phrase? What is the difference between the two phrases?
9
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2answers
2k 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. ...
18
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5answers
15k views

What is the origin of “holy smoke”?

What is the origin of holy smoke? To what is holy smoke referring?
6
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3answers
3k 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"?
15
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2answers
1k views

Tendency of using pronouns 'she/her' when talking about a random person

Reading different specifications and manuals I've noticed that more often and often pronouns she or her are being used when some unknown person's behavior is described. For example: "when user opens ...