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)

-2
votes
2answers
931 views

What is the meaning of “get as far as doing something”?

What is the meaning of the expression or phrase "get as far as doing something"? For example, what does it mean in this sentence? They had got as far as painting the kitchen.
5
votes
5answers
421 views

Room Temperature: Article “A” or Not?

Below, “room temperature” takes the article “a” in one case but not the other. “Temperature” seems like a countable noun, so why no article in the first case? What is the grammar that is working here? ...
4
votes
2answers
543 views

What is it called when people wrongly anticipate something and their actions eventually make it happen? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What word means “to speak something into existence”? This is probably something that economists would quickly recognize. It often happens that people would wrongly ...
2
votes
7answers
967 views

An expression for “a little thing that adds to common good”

Like recycling, some little things together make a big positive impact. What's an expression for "a little thing that adds to the common good"?
3
votes
3answers
55k views

How do you say “hands-on experience” with this technology to an interviewer?

Generally, I would tell an interviewer that I have "hands-on experience" with this technology, by which I mean that my experience in this field is very limited, but quite efficient and knowledgeable. ...
2
votes
4answers
8k views

Eggs fried/scrambled “over easy” or “over hard” — refers to the pan, the egg, or something else?

To me, "over easy" seems to refer to the pan, because I think of a pan sitting atop an easy flame. "Over hard" makes me think it refers to the egg, because the liquid becomes solid. Then again, ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

What is the logic of having ‘not’ in the usage, “be not above doing something”?

I came across the idiomatic usage, ‘not above doing’ in the following sentence of Jeffery Archer’s fiction, “Kane & Abel.” Allan Lloyd, a banker and Chairman of William Kane’s trust tells ...
1
vote
4answers
5k views

Formally saying that you are laughing without euphemisms or colloquialism without referring to yourself

I want to know how one can manage to assert that they are laughing without using euphemisms or colloquialism in first person, for example in a letter, without referring to yourself, that is saying ...
1
vote
2answers
892 views

Idioms meaning to do something at great cost

What I'm looking for isn't quite the same as a Pyrrhic victory, as the action isn't necessarily done to obtain victory. Rather, it is any action that will ultimately result in the person taking said ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“For Heaven's Sake” or “For Heaven Sakes”?

I hear these used almost interchangeably. To me "for heaven's sake" makes sense grammatically, but is there something I'm missing?
2
votes
3answers
255 views

The camera adds ten pounds?

While trying to understand the term 'photogenic' better, I came across this Wikipedia page which mentions the expression 'the camera adds ten pounds'. With a camera, the subject is viewed through ...
-2
votes
2answers
188 views

Phrase for the construction “a, b, c, and d” [closed]

I'm looking for a concise phrase for the sentence construction "a, b, c, and d". That is, a comma-separated list of things, where the last comma is either replaced or accompanied by the word "and".
0
votes
3answers
3k views

“in response to” vs “for response to”?

"I am writing in response to your mail." What does it mean by "in" in this sentence? Is "I am writing for response to your mail." acceptable?
20
votes
20answers
5k views

Are there popular English sayings to express “Big fuss, tiny result”?

The recent EL&U question asked by Mikhail about the alternative expressions of ‘To shoot out of cannon into sparrows’ reminded me of Japanese saying - 大山鳴動鼠一匹- literally meaning people find (get) ...
-2
votes
3answers
1k views

I need an expression or a different group of words for "long list of reasons I am unworthy/ a failure [closed]

I'm looking for another way to say: I couldn't help but ponder the long list of reasons I am unworthy/ a failure.
3
votes
2answers
698 views

Word for “credit stealer”

While reading the novel "One night at call center", I came across this: He's such a loser who steals credit of others. Viroom, we must teach a lesson to this credit stealer. Now, I just want ...
2
votes
5answers
746 views

What's the word for something that's too direct and plain rather than poetic?

When someone writes poetry that's almost like plain English sentences, what may we call that? Consider this, for example. This is an example of that plain, stated as it is, poetry (completely made ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Meaning of “has its roots in”

The Movement has its roots in combating colonialism. What does the expression has its roots in mean? Does it indicate a reason or a time? That is, was the Movement started to combat colonialism ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What does the expression “to add another dimension to the situation” mean?

Does the expression "to add another dimension to the situation" imply that the situation has become more complex? In Arabic we would say something like "adds another dimension to the situation that ...
4
votes
2answers
817 views

Expression for the way of dressing to avoid attention

What is a word or phrase to describe the way you're dressing or dressing in a way to avoid/not attract attention to yourself? For example, a celebrity going out in public would want to dress in a ...
2
votes
3answers
880 views

Is 'I had it sent him' an appropriate sentence?

(1) I had it sent to him. (2) I had it sent him. I thought the first one is right, and the second is wrong. Yet Google Books has the second example’s graph. Is the second also an appropriate ...
1
vote
6answers
1k views

Expression similar to 'freak out'

For usage like this: I freaked out when I saw that file was not there. Every time I talk to him, he freaks me out by his strange stories. What similar expressions can I use instead of ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

What is a common English expression for when you were very tired or out of it and said something extremely stupid?

I kept thinking of "spazzing out" but that doesn't quite seem to be it. An example is when you're very tired and kind of dozing off and you say something or ask a question that is incredibly stupid ...
6
votes
2answers
34k views

Are “skill set” and “skill sets” both acceptable?

Are the phrases skill set and skill sets both correct? As I see it, set implies a single set of related skills whereas sets can be taken to mean multiple sets of skills around different ...
2
votes
2answers
764 views

What's the origin of the phrase “God's clean earth”, and how long has it been around? [closed]

"It isn't every day a man wakes up to discover he's a screaming bender with no more right to live on God's clean Earth than a weasel." - Dr. Leech, "Blackadder II" What's the origin of that ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Meaning of “full of it”

This week's obituary in The Economist is devoted to Deate S. Gordon, a bilingual lady that helped to write the Japanese Constitution after the war. She produced Article 24, about equality of the ...
6
votes
1answer
14k views

Is it all right to use “in hopes of” to mean “with the aim of”?

Recently I browsed through the definition of hope in New Oxford American Dictionary (provided by Apple in the dictionary app) to double confirm with its usage as I answered a word-choice question and ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

Does the expression “web technologies” have a euphemistic/promotional character ?

In German, I sometimes come across the expression “Webtechnologien” as a direct adoption of “web technologies”, which usually relates to software, programming, web development. I've always found the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

This is a question regarding punctuation, I suppose

I have a tendency to place the phrase I suppose at the end of a sentence. It sounds alright to me. But when I want to write the expression down in words, how should I write it so that I won't violate ...
12
votes
9answers
11k views

Is it “Check and mate” or “Checkmate”?

I found the expression “Check and mate!” in the following sentence describing furious exchange of words between CNN host Piers Morgan and rightwing radio host and anti-gun-control propagandist Alex ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between ‘I got to thinking about something” and ‘I got to think about something’?

I was amused by the line “I got to thinking about something” in the following answer to the question, “You don't want to answer this word-placement question, now do you?” which I saw this morning in ...
3
votes
1answer
790 views

How do you use the expression “to come out in front” (as in “to gain an advantage”)?

The usage of the expression "to come out in front", in the sense of gaining an advantage, or succeed in an endeavor (in spite of all odds?), isn't very clear to me. As far as I can tell people use it ...
-2
votes
1answer
359 views

The meaning of “crime and grime” [closed]

What does the expression crime and grime mean? It was mentioned from this comment: My dad's SUV got jacked when I was living in Saga Bay. Don't live in FL anymore. Too much f-king crime and grime. ...
1
vote
1answer
698 views

Different meanings for phrase “off the regular price”

What is the correct way to say a product can be bought with a discount of 30%? Is it: “Buy this by 30% off the regular price.”? What I want to say is that a 30% discount is being given, so the ...
2
votes
2answers
690 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Shut your mouth

I’m confused regarding these expressions: Shut up Shut your mouth Shut your mouth up Shut up your mouth After some research, I’ve come to believe they are all correct except “Shut ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

What does “It must be the pizza” mean ? [closed]

Is there an idiom such as "it must be the pizza" ? If so, does that mean something other than what it is ? very much Appreciated, : )
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Meaning of 'That old rocking chair's going to get me' [closed]

In the Joni Mitchell song Stormy Weather, there's this line: That old rocking chair's going to get me What does that mean? I suppose that old rocking chair is a symbol of something, but what? ...
7
votes
1answer
262 views

English equivalent of Catalan expression “fer la senyora” for moving heavy furniture

There is an expression in Catalan: Fer la senyora Which would be translated as moving it "like a lady" defined as the action of moving a heavy piece of furniture (e.g. a wardrobe) that involves ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Is “That would be great” conveying a touch of unwillingness? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should I use “will” or “would” when I suggest that something will/would come in handy? For example: Tom: Hey, will you be free tomorrow night to catch a movie ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “coarse hand”?

Recently I came across the expression "coarse hand" and couldn't find its meaning. For example, — Can you read? — No, only coarse hand. What does this mean? Edit This is a term Twain used in ...
2
votes
4answers
327 views

“This wine is drinking nicely” : does anything else drink nicely?

People tell me this phrase is only used in the context of wine. Even though my lack of knowledge of other phrases that are built similarly suggests these people must be right, my curiosity gets the ...
7
votes
1answer
10k views

What's the origin of the expression “Them's the breaks”?

What's the origin of the expression "Them's the breaks", meaning "that's how the cookie crumbles"?
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “Can I persuade you?” a common word to expect acceptance from somebody?

I came across the phrase, “Can I persuade you?” in the following sentence of Jeffery Archer’s popular novel, “Kane & Abel” in the scene a Harvard graduate, ex-marine Bostonian, Henry Osborn ...
4
votes
5answers
17k views

What's another word for Guinea Pig, i.e. when you call someone a “test dummy”?

If someone is being used to test a new product or idea, they can be called a "guinea pig" (because Guinea Pigs are usually used by medical labs for testing). What is another term that would carry the ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of “by appointment to”

Yesterday, when I was looking a bit closer on a teabox from Twinings, I noticed the phrase: "By appointment to her Majesty the Queen." According to google and my dictionary this phrase means: ...
1
vote
1answer
359 views

Why do we say 'Tearing about' [closed]

Why do we say 'tearing about' meaning rushing around in a rather haphazard way. I can't find the expression in any dictionary or thesaurus and am not sure if I am spelling it correctly. Most ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

If someone thinks like you, can he or she be your 'alter ego'?

Wikipedia explains alter ego thus: An alter ego (Latin, "the other I") is a second self, which is believed to be distinct from a person's normal or original personality. A person who has an ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I say in one word “number written in words”?

If there should be numbers written in words, like "one hundred and ten" instead of "110", how can I say it in one word?
0
votes
2answers
119 views

Content Performance [closed]

What is a right word to describe Content/Performance? It is about best and effective content that form a complete artefact. The example text as below: 5.4.1 Content/Performance This is about a ...