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

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Is “looking to” acceptable English in this use?

Recently there is dramatic increase in the use of looking to verb as in: Jeff is looking to start something big. Is this acceptable grammar? Why is it recently popular? What could best be ...
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3answers
12k views

What does the phrase “it does not become you” mean?

I have heard it used in a negative sense. For example, "rudeness does not become you" etc. Is this phrase used in a positive context as well? (like "generosity becomes you")?
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The Origin of “Killing It”

Related to How did kil get its positive conntations. Which goes into the origin of "making a killing" and "killed the audience", but not this specific phrase. Musicians have a particular phrase for ...
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3answers
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What does it mean to “start from scratch”?

This question speaks to the "start from the beginning" meaning, but in yesterday's USA Today, there was a headline about Obama and Romney starting from scratch because they were even in a poll. Have ...
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6answers
1k views

What is the English expression for this facial expression? [closed]

Any expression for this?
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10answers
8k views

Is there an expression for creating something from start to finish (e.g. grain to bread)

Maybe this is not really the right place to ask this, I hope I will not be penalized for asking this. I am a webdeveloper, and I do most of the stuff myself, from the basic idea, till the final ...
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9answers
175 views

Is there a word for this act?

Let me give you an example where I want this "mystery" word to fit. There are two person "A" and person "B". A had installed an air conditioner in his house long ago and has called in the customer ...
2
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1answer
75 views

Lost In Punctuation

Usually, when a piece of text is translated from one language to some other language, and (due to slightly different idioms, phrases, words, etc.) the end meaning is changed, then it is attributed to ...
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1answer
195 views

Am I the only person to use “punch up” to mean “remind someone”?

I have always used "punch up" in the context of reminding or prodding someone for something such as: "I just punched up Jane that she needs to turn in her vacation schedule" When I used this ...
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7answers
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Is calling someone “old school”- offensive/derogatory? [closed]

My colleague, a relatively young school teacher, prefers not to use e-mails. He is digitally absent. During a recent teacher's meeting, while I appreciated his efforts towards content ...
2
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2answers
280 views

Psychological term or phrase for experiencing the world via the senses

I am looking for a psychological term or phrase for experiencing the world via the senses. (I am particularly interested in visual, auditory and thermal stimuli.) I am not looking for the word ...
2
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2answers
176 views

Term or expression which best describes a problem that goes away when an expert attempts to diagnose it?

There is a phenomenon which I've seen happen across many circumstances. Generally, it goes something like this: The complainant has a recurring observable problem. The complainant contacts an ...
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1answer
2k views

Is absence of the person needed in “On someone's behalf”?

In the middle of a conversation he had with my father, [Mr. X] asked him: “What does your son want to do in future?”. “He wants to do religious studies,” my father replied. He talked on my behalf ...
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1answer
7k views

“Head over heels” and “head over feet”

Does the expression head over heels mean the same as head over feet? To be madly in love with someone?
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1answer
68 views

“What might have appalled us when we'd started our trip just a few days ago no longer impressed us much”

I came across this sentence from a book about a journalist: What might have appalled us when we'd started our trip just a few days ago no longer impressed us much. It is confusing for two ...
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1answer
156 views

What is the origin and meaning of “Save some for Jehoshaphat”?

Back in the late 1950's, during Sunday dinner (here in Tennessee), my mom would often exclaim "save some for Jehoshaphat". What is the origin and meaning of that phrase?
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1answer
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saying thanks to someone answering your email ASAP who is important for you [closed]

Which of these sentences sounds more american? and which sounds more polite against who is important for you like a professor or boss? first: Thanks for your prompt response second: Thanks ...
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1answer
248 views

What does “has been loathe to fully distance itself from” mean?

The following sentence I read from Huff Post: "Why Egypt Matters: The Implications Of The Protests" gets me quite confused. I've made the key problem boldface. Hope someone can explain to me the ...
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2answers
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“Don't know what the name is” vs. “Don't know what it's called”

What is the difference between saying: A: Which meal do you want, Sir? B: Number 4. I don't know what the name is. A: Which meal do you want, Sir? B: Number 4. I don't know what it's ...
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7answers
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Idiomatic expression for a difficult choice

This has cropped up several times in the past couple of months, and I've been struggling to find a fitting word to describe this phenomenon. I'll describe it: You have two choices(no, it's not ...
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1answer
57 views

meaning of “maybe she did see” [closed]

what is the difference between: maybe she did see and maybe she saw is it a grammatical usage of maybe?
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6answers
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What is the expression that means : Try to stop crying

Sometimes, when I get emotional. I get in a situation when only talking can lead in a burst of tears, so I try to prevent it and I feel like crying is on hold inside my throat. Is there an expression ...
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12answers
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Ways of saying “You don't have to be a rocket scientist” [closed]

I'm trying to find different ways of saying that "You don't have to be a rocket scientist", but I can't seem to get any good ideas. I got a variation, "You don't have to be a brain surgeon...," but ...
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9answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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What does “To-may-to, to-mah-to” mean?

What does "to-may-to, to-mah-to" mean? I've seen this expression a few times and it seems to indicate some sort of equality. But what does it really mean?
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5answers
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Meaning and origin of “if you catch my drift”

What does the expression if you catch my drift mean? Where does it originate? I've heard it in the context to signify something like if you know what I mean.
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3answers
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What proof is there in pudding?

Yesterday I heard an English baker on a cooking show say that "the proof is in the pudding." I've heard the expression before but I can't imagine how pudding would prove anything. How did the idiom ...
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13answers
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An English expression for 'femme fatale'

Femme fatale, meaning "an attractive and dangerous woman", is a French expression which has become part of the English language roughly since the beginning of the 20th century. Is there another ...
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7answers
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What do you call a day that never comes?

Searching on Google Books I discovered that 'a day that never comes' has 2.060 results. As an example usage, among a lot of others, in 'Healing Words' by Susan Brozek it is written: If we wait ...
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11answers
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What is it called when you “refill” a debit card?

How it is called (in the US) when you go to the bank or an ATM to add cash to your VISA/MasterCard debit card? That is, when you add cash to the bank account which is tied to that card. Is it ...
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12answers
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Words to describe a semi-literate person

I once had a manager whose level of literacy was lacking to the extent that he would nearly always return my technical reports with sections rewritten such that they became either ungrammatical, or ...
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7answers
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Meaning of the phrase “the wrong side of history”

I've just realized I don't understand what this phrase means. What does "Gaddafi is on the wrong side of history" mean? Does it mean he's about to die, or something else? Here's the relevant ...
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1answer
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“Toe the Party Line” or “Tow the Party Line”? [closed]

When I have seen this expression written, it is usually as "tow the line" as if the subject were a tugboat. I have always thought that "toe the line" made more sense as a fighting expression, where ...
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Is word “crap” considered a vulgarism?

Most common damn-words in English are of course the f-word and the s-word, which are - for my best knowledge - considered vulgarisms. The word "crap" may be used as a damn-word, however I'd bet, that ...
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Is the expression “Say your piece” or “Say your peace”?

I have googled this one and seen arguments for both sides. Say your piece would imply that you've had the opportunity to make your part of the statement on the subject. Say your peace would imply ...
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4answers
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Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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7answers
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Why does swearing 'turn the air blue'?

Why do we say that the air is blue when someone has been swearing a lot?
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4answers
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Origin of the expression “being cagey about something”

What is the origin of the expression "being cagey about something"? Does it have anything to do with "being in a cage", not letting someone out of a cage? I googled for it but didn't get much: ...
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2answers
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How old is the expression “as if”?

It's a pretty simple question, but just to clarify, I am talking about the expression used by itself, not just in a sentence. So not: — Have you seen Ted? — Yes! He flew through here as if his ...
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Origin of “stop-gap”

What is the origin of the expression stop-gap? stop-gap: A temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need Where and how did this expression originate?
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Does “see you this weekend” in email express “will write another email this weekend”?

Perhaps people will think that I'll physically visit them?
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“The word has a negative tone to it”- why “to it”?

Why do we use "to it" at the end of a sentence of this kind? A. The word has a negative tone to it B. The word has a negative tone Does A. indicate a focus on the intrinsic nature of the ...
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2answers
10k views

The meaning and origin of “hedge your bets”

What exactly does it mean? And what is the origin of the phrase "hedge your bets"?
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5answers
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What does ‘Red meat rhetoric’ exactly mean?

I see quite often the expression 'Red meat rhetoric’ these days in journals, for example Obama’s red meat rhetoric –CNN Conservative Media July 7. Mitt Romney delivers red meat rhetoric to ...
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2answers
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Where does “pull it off” come from?

"to pull it off" was at one time used meaning "to win." And in sentences such as, I don't think you can pull it off. , it often implies the idea of "success." But how did this expression ...
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“Yeah Right” expression

Where does "Yeah right" come from? Can it be used in a formal writing? If not, what is a good alternative?
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6answers
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What does a cat's tail do?

A friendly dog will wag its tail, especially when it's happy to see his owner. Cats can communicate their approval and appreciation too, but I don't remember ever hearing a cat wagging its tail for ...
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6answers
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Why do you “cut” a check?

It's not the end of the deal, right? It's not just you cut a check and you walk away. In this sentence, why does one say "cut" a check? How and when did this comes to be? Is it a popular idiom ...
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A phrase or a word for not practising what you are preaching [closed]

Can you please tell me the word, term or phrase for not practising what you are preaching. Also, if possible, the word, term or phrase for someone who does so. I am not looking for hypocrisy or ...
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What is the origin and sense of the phrase “put up or shut up”?

In researching the recent EL&U question Origins and Interpretations of "Put your money where your mouth is", I repeatedly came across the seemingly related but older phrase “put up or ...