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

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What's a noun for the group of people who you're very close to, such as family, friends, relatives, and significant others?

If I wanted to describe all of the people close to someone such as their close friends, family, relatives, and spouse/significant other, how would I do so with one noun? The simplest 'noun' that ...
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4answers
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a better expression for 'percentage divided by 100'

The function f(a,x) returns the value in the array a specified by x, where x is a percentage of the length of the array, divided by 100. (i.e. x can be any number between 0 and 1, corresponding ...
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2answers
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what does “lost a shilling and found a penny” mean?

I am translating a British story and I came across this expression "you look like you lost a shilling and found a penny". I am not sure I understand what it means.
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1answer
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“in ages” vs “for ages”

I've always thought I should use "for ages" when, for example, I meet a person who I haven't seen for a long time, but recently I came across another expression, "in ages," as in "I haven't seen you ...
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1answer
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Is “and then some” an offensive expression?

I started an internal email discussion with the title "Editorial: link issues, some spelling issues and then some". However, upon rereading my own mail, it occurred to me that this might express ...
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What is the meaning of the expression “we have a ball game”? [closed]

I've heard the phrase, "We gotta ball game". It could also be "We have a ball game". But I don't understand the meaning of "having a ball game". If anyone has heard this expression before, please ...
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2answers
301 views

What does “our Mayan moment” mean here?

In a brief article I read, it is stated that: For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment: 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between ...
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5answers
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Meaning of “Ain't Seen Nothing Yet”

Was a little surprised I couldn't find a previous question asking about the phrase "Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". I try to decode its meaning every time I hear the song of the same name by Bachman Turner ...
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4answers
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“A half a cup of [something]”

Watching a cooking show a few days ago, the lady that presented it used the expression a half a cup or a half a teaspoon several times during the programme. I've heard half a [something] used before ...
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4answers
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How do you call the sound of a bell?

If you want to describe the sound of a small brass bell that you can hold in your hand (this is an example image of what I mean - what word would you use? Brrring? Bling?
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7answers
943 views

Expression for advantages of solution being disadvantages of alternatives

Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?
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290 views

Is “bestowing anonymity” the right term or expression?

Is bestowing anonymity the right way to say "keeping someones identity secret?" Basically the author is writing about someone, a fallen dictator and his nasty goings on, without using the name of the ...
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Unclear use of the word “our”

When we say "Our team worked hard", then is it expected to refer the speaker + his own team OR the speaker + listener + their team together? Because in both these cases OUR is common word to be used! ...
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4answers
80 views

Is there an expression for the feeling of wishing you had met someone earlier?

Is there a single word or perhaps short phrase to express the feeling one gets when they meet someone amazing, say the love of their life, and wishes that they had met sooner? A cognate would be ...
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1answer
113 views

What's the name for a part of speech which is not quite rhetorical, but not expected to be answered directly, either?

What's the name for a part of speech which is not quite rhetorical, but not expected to be answered directly, either? I know the word exists, it refers to greetings such as "How are you" and similar. ...
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7answers
265 views

“Food for thought” in a word

How can I express "food for thought" in a word? Does such a word exist? Example usage: The world will only know peace when our love for power is exceeded by our power to love. That's __ ...
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4answers
460 views

Why do the words ducky and jake mean fine or satisfactory?

Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary acknowledges both ducky and jake as acceptable terms meaning fine or satisfactory and it dates the word ducky back to 1897 and jake to 1914. Does anyone know how ...
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1answer
1k views

Oh my God, Oh my Lord, Oh my Gosh

What are the differences between them? Is there a cultural and/or social interference? Do young people say "Oh my Gosh" more than others?
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1answer
114 views

“<verb> off of” expressions [duplicate]

It seems there is a relatively recent trend of using expression "〈verb〉 off of": https://www.google.com/search?q=%22*+off+of%22 ...
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3answers
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Is “Girls will be girls” the counterpart of “Boys will be boys”? [closed]

It seems that "Boys will be boys" is a well established idiom and, according to Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed, as it is written on The Free Dictionary, it is "something that you say which means ...
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2answers
268 views

What is the meaning of “greasing the pan”?

In a tutorial, the instructor says: We've greased the pan, now it's time to pour in the batter. The tutorial is technical (IT), and has nothing to do with cooking, so what is the meaning of the ...
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2answers
524 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 ...
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1answer
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Why does 'dead on' mean 'very accurate'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the phrase “dead simple” originate? According to Wiktionary, the phrase 'dead on' means 'very accurate' or 'exactly at'. This is also how I have used the ...
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1answer
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Does the term “garbledy gook” have racist origins?

For me, the term garbledy gook simply means garbage; unintelligible text or speech. An example usage would be: If you open that binary file in notepad, you'll just see a load of garbledy gook ...
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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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“All but convinced” as a way of saying that one is, in fact, convinced? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “All but” idiom has two meanings? It seems kind of counterintuitive, but saying that: I'm all but convinced that ponies eat leprechauns. means ...
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3answers
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“I think …” or “In my opinion…” or “From my point of view…”

If I want to express my opinion about something, what's the most correct form? What are the differences? What is more formal and what more colloquial? For example, in Italian, nobody says In my ...
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2answers
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Meaning of “whiffling and waffling”

I heard the expression whiffling and waffling all over the place but can't find a definition for it. Maybe it's a misspelling. What does it mean?
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4answers
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Is it “as God is my witness,“ or ”as God as my witness"? [closed]

I have seen both "as God is my witness", which makes sense but sort of puts God in a supportive role, and "as God as my witness", which sounds wrong to me but I don't know, might be an olde tyme ...
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2answers
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What does the expression “Word.” mean? [duplicate]

I was watching the 1989 movie "Bill and Ted's excellent adventure" a couple of weeks back and in one scene Bill replies to some statement (I forgot whom he is replying to) with just "Word." What does ...
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5answers
323 views

Is there a common expression for someone who “always holds a mobile phone in hand”?

I would like to know if there is a typical expression or phrase, used by native speakers, for someone who always has their mobile phone in their hand. I would prefer a spoken expression rather than ...
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4answers
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Origins and meaning of “Put your money where your mouth is”

I heard this phrase uttered by a Canadian (from Vancouver) once; it left me in awe and elicited my curiosity. Wikipedia was not helpful. What is its origin? Is this expression used more in certain ...
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1answer
281 views

Is there a difference between “Wrong or Right” and “Right or Wrong”

I was writing about the difference between morals and ethics when i wrote the following line both these terms talk about the right and wrong conduct of people both these terms talk about the ...
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Has the meaning to the question “Do you mind” changed ?

When a person asks "Do you mind if I ..." The response now days seems to be "Yes ..sure go ahead" which to me means they DO mind.. I hear this constantly on TV and in the work place, it just seems ...
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1answer
109 views

Why does pine feather period signify the period in a woman's life when she blossoms?

In a book titled From Flappers to Rappers it lists youth slang from the 1920s and one of the terms it lists is pine feather period. Pine feather period is defined as a period in a woman's life when ...
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3answers
365 views

Is “Neither I you” Correct?

A friend of mine said "...I never saw you during school." For some reason I wanted to respond "Neither I you." I am certain I have heard this reply before, but, looking at it now, it does not seem ...
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“No A or B” vs. “Neither A nor B”

I wrote "No error or issue since 2013". I feel this is natural when I say so. But, in written English, because of the first "No", I wonder the "or" should be changed to "nor". Or, maybe "Neither error ...
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1answer
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Going to the seaside and going to the sea

The British say "go to the seaside" (meaning I'm going to spend some time at the beach, swim, sunbathe etc.) It's like "going to the mountains" or "going to the lake." However, I once heard an Aussie ...
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2answers
101 views

How to call the two points at each end of a path?

By "path" I mean a route that has been walked by. The best I could come out with is starting point and ending point. Is there a shorter way to refer to them? (Maybe end points?)
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Word/phrase for “treating the problem rather than the symptom”?

Is there a word that means the equivalent (or close to) the expression "treat the problem rather than the symptom" ? If not, is there a concise way to say this? For example, in discussing ...
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2answers
379 views

“number of books” or “book count”?

The number of books is nine. The book count is nine. Which is more natural? What's the SUBTLE difference between them?
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3answers
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Word expression to say “Stopped smoking” or “got rid of some unhealthy habit”

I'm looking for words ( or word groups) that can be used to say "I stopped smoking", or "I stopped taking drugs" or, in other words, "I got rid of some bad and unhealthy habit". I have found ...
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3answers
976 views

“Listen to music” or “listen for music”

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct? The music for which we heard last night at the concert was exceptionally good. The music to which we listened at the concert last night ...
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Meaning of “if anything” [closed]

I watch the TV series Glee to learn English and came across the phrase if anything. It's in a sentence Rachel said. If anything, she is gonna kill all of our chances to achieve that elusive ...
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1answer
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“It's working for me”: correct? [closed]

This question came to my mind, while working with StackOverflow. Whenever a solution to a question is posted, I usually see people writing: "It's working for me". I somehow do not like this ...
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3answers
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Horse of a different color

I recently heard someone use the expression "Now that's a whole different bag of dog food". While highly unusualy, the meaning was well understood by the audience. I know there is an actual ...
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The condition for saying “You’re the door on the right.” etc. and its construction

This question is a spin-off from “Is you’re the door on the right. grammatically correct?” . After the original question, some ideas came to me, about its conditions and construction. I opened this ...
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Is there a word or expression to call someone who easily gives credit, especially to insignificant efforts? [closed]

A common example would be a professor who is too mild in his marking of a poor assignments. Another example could be someone who doesn't add or say much with his words, but still receives a lot of ...
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8answers
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Is there a word or expression for someone who takes an over-optimistic view of things?

Someone who takes an over-optimistic view of himself, his own country and all other things that have meaning/value to him. And who doesn't see or admit the smaller, yet not insignificant, things. E.g. ...
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What does “tearing your résumé apart in a way” mean?

I asked a résumé checker to check my résumé and she gave me the following answer: When you look at the below list of issues, you'll probably think I'm tearing your resume apart. I guess I am, in a ...