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

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Does this sentence “He's too thin to carry it” make any sense to you? [closed]

Does this sentence "He's too thin to carry it" make any sense to you? This is really bothering me for quite a long time!
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2answers
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Is it correct to ask “what's your father?” when you actually mean to ask about his job?

What's your father? Some said this question even exist in the visa-applying of USA, but I just couldn't understand it. Is it asking about somebody's father's job, his personality, or just what he ...
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Cold turkey as expression

I've discovered a expression : to go cold turkey, meaning something like feeling bad because you have taken drugs and you need to take more. I wonder if another verb rather than go can be used ...
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Origin of the saying “X wears the pants”

I just heard this saying recently in this conversation: No.1 : Why aren't you telling him to shut up? No. 2 : Mr. Palm is going to do that. No. 1 : Oh! So Mr. Palm wears the pants!" What ...
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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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12k views

What does it mean to “pay X on the dollar”?

When I hear money laundry lingo in TV crime-series, people sometimes fence stuff for so and so much "on the dollar". What does it actually mean? And where does the expression originate from?
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Is “spoon feeding” a widely accepted usage?

In India, "spoon feeding" is widely used in context of education where the students are taught in a manner by which they do not have to do much on their own. Everything will be done by the teachers, ...
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2answers
360 views

what's the phrase for “I don't want to be reliant on someone else”

I remember that there is a phrase with the word whims that goes about like this: "I don't want to be reliant on someone else" Does anyone know what that phrase is?
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Is the term “fire and forget” well understood?

When referring to people's skills, my (IT) circle sometimes refer to a person as being "fire and forget." This would indicate that you could tell such a person to accomplish a task, and they'd work it ...
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What is a “shipping quote”?

I see this expression in shopping carts, and it seems related to tracking the shipment, but I don't understand what it is. Could please anybody explain that?
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585 views

“I was fresh out of pies to throw at you”

The sentence was in Lost (TV Series). I got the overall meaning of the sentence. But what does it exactly mean? [SAWYER pointing a gun at JACK] JACK: Trying to be funny? SAWYER: Yeah, I ...
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“Out of pocket”?

I'm increasingly hearing the phrase "out of pocket" used in America as a colloquialism to mean "away from the office", "unavailable", or "incommunicado". I apologize for not replying sooner; I ...
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5answers
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Why do they call a murder a “red ball” case?

Not being a native speaker, I wonder why they call a murder a "red ball" case ("redball" or "red-ball") in certain TV-shows and films. Specifically this expression is often heard in TV-shows like The ...
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2answers
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Is “nice to meet you” an appropriate online salutation?

When one makes a new acquaintance with somebody in person, you may say "it was nice to meet you", e.g. when you leave. What if you make a new acquaintance over the internet, what do you say when you ...
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3answers
605 views

What is a symbol [an expression or idiom] for a word of great length in English?

Is there any symbol [expression, figure of speech, metaphor] for something long in length in English? for example, in Persian we say for a long word: "the letters are set like train" train ...
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What is the story behind the phrase 'as it were'? Where did it come from?

This is a question my High School English teacher could not answer 20-odd years ago and every time I encounter it, it bugs me. I only know what it means in terms of other phrases such as 'per se'. I ...
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4answers
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What does “gold is where you find it” mean?

Gold is where you find it. Can someone please give me an example of how to use this expression?
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3k views

Is it rude to call a gay person “homosexual?”

I was talking to one of my co-workers today. We have two homosexual persons in our office. I forgot one's name, so I asked my co-worker, "What's his name?" My co-worker said "Who?", and I replied, ...
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2answers
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Usage of “not comparable”

Can the phrase "not comparable" be used in a negative context? For example, if someone says the latest pirates movie is not comparable to the previous versions, can it mean it is so bad?
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What does “In some ways” exactly mean?

What does the expression "in some ways" exactly mean, as in The English language is limited in some ways, and perhaps most limited in its ability to express love. Is it generic (like in many ...
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4answers
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How to call the additional paper used during exam and homework

When doing exams or homework, one might need some extra paper to make some rough sketch, before writing his solution into another paper that must be turned in. The extra paper does not need to be ...
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What is a common expression in English that a person might say when one suddenly got shocked by sound?

What is a common expression in English that a person might say, when one suddenly got shocked by sound? For example, while a woman was walking on the sidewalk in a dark place, she suddenly heard ...
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Origin of the term “fat chance”

The phrase "fat chance" can be used as a way of sarcastically describing the impossibility of something, but where did it originate from? I've googled it several times, and it always comes up with the ...
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Having some kind of grit

What does the expression, "You have got some kind of grit," mean? Is it sarcastic, like being a bit crazy?
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“In this year” versus “this year”

"In this year": Can anyone argue that the preposition in is unnecessary here, maybe even a hypercorrection? (Are there any situations where in is necessary?) Edits Some examples: How many days are ...
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Is the phrase “Traffic Revision” generally used to describe temporary or permanent changes of traffic flow?

When I first moved to Washington state, I would see mystifying traffic warning signs that would announce "Traffic Revision Ahead" as I was driving and then be in the midst of roadwork and lane changes ...
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Why is “head over heels” used as if it were exceptional rather than commonplace?

Most people spend part of each day standing, and if they have normal anatomy their heads are over their heels in this position. Even sitting or lying down, the head is higher than the heels (if not ...
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Other expression for “Off the top of my head”

What are some other expressions for: "Off the top of my head" I seem to say this very often, it would be nice to be able to spice things up.
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Difference between “how you want” and “how you will”

Is there any difference in meaning betweeen these two? Is one a valid grammar construct and the other not?
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More common expression for “move your bowels”

Move your bowels may be too polite and sounds strained, and merely saying shit sounds offensive. What do native English speakers say then when you need to move your bowels, especially when a parent ...
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How would you say “written for a Latin population”?

I want to say that the author wrote for the Latin people (common folk of 1200 in Italy) as his main audience. That is, for the wide audience of general populace and not just for the scholars. My ...
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Why does one come to a “sticky end”?

I was reading this question here, and thinking, the kitten will come to a sticky end. But why is a ghastly but non-specific fate referred to as a sticky end? This source here suggests that blood is ...
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Where does the phrase “get crackin'” come from?

"There's a lot of work to be done, so we'd better get crackin'" I've often used this expression, but I have no idea what we might have been cracking, originally? Any insight?
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Look and 'feel' of a web page/site/app [closed]

Although used a lot, the phrase 'Look and feel' of a web application's assets seems a little inaccurate. Is it not better to change this common phrasing to 'look and character' because we really ...
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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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In special cases, can you use “one such family are” vs. “one such family is”? [duplicate]

Is it correct to say "one such family are..." as opposed to "one such family is..." in some circumstances? Say, for instance, as used in this article on gene families: [...] One such family are ...
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Best source for origins of expressions and idioms? [closed]

I'm often interested in the origins of English phrases, and I know that I can find answers by googling, and I can find good answers by asking here. How can I find good answers myself? Are there any ...
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Which is correct, “buck naked” or “butt naked”?

"Butt naked" or "buck naked" both refer to completely naked, or do they? Where the phrase comes from I have no idea but that would be of interest. This is a phrase I am too afraid to google and ...
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1answer
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What is the meaning of “I'm a wiener”?

I have scoured out dictionaries searching for the word wiener without success. As you can notice I am not a native speaker. I usually see the this phrase as a demeaning joke on animations when some ...
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Idiom for restlessness

A Chinese colleague just told me of a Chinese idiom for anxiousness or restlessness. They will often refer to someone who is overly restless as an ant standing on a heated pot. I'm pretty sure there ...
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What does “by and by” mean?

There are words in the chorus of the "Preacher and the Slave" song by Joe Hill: You will eat, by and by, In that glorious land above the sky; Work and pray, live on hay, You'll get pie in the sky ...
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How to use “for some reason” in a sentence?

Some examples (right or wrong, I do not know) He went to the store--for some reason. He went to the store, for some reason. For some reason, she went to the store. A grammatical explanation as to ...
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Meaning of “Make what's-her-name feel special this Mother's Day.”

Especially, the "what's-her-name" part.
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Meaning of “To all whom these presents come, greetings”

You see this a lot on formal government and institutional documents such as declarations and diplomas. What, exactly, is being said?
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“excursion over city” vs “excursion around city”

Is there any difference in phrases usage? Which one is better for title of a story? The story is about tourists.
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What does “10 years sober” mean?

Here is the full sentence: You’re from Orinda, your father’s in commercial real estate and your mother’s 10 years sober.
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A term or phrase meaning “to explain in simple words”?

How do you ask someone to explain something in very simple words, understandable by everyone from general public? In Russia we say something, that can be translated like "explain on fingers". What's ...
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47k views

“I'm home” or “I'm at home”

The second form looks more correct to me, but the first expression is present in several titles of movies and songs. Which form is preferable?
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Is “wait up!” considered correct English?

I thought if you wanted someone to wait for you, you would say, "wait for me". However, I've heard/seen a lot of people speak/write "wait up" instead. Is "wait up" correct English?
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Is there a shorter alternative for “Enjoy your meal”?

The French have "Bon appetit". In Belgium and the Netherlands we have "Smakelijk". Is there a short way to wish someone a good meal in English?