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

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765 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 up)...
2
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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 or ...
2
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3answers
7k 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
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2answers
841 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 way(...
2
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3answers
920 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 ...
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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
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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
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2answers
36k 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
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2answers
810 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 ...
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4answers
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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 sexes,...
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1answer
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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
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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
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1answer
823 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 ...
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1answer
722 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
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2answers
707 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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2answers
5k 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 ...
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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, : )
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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
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1answer
264 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 ...
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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 together? ...
2
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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 ...
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4answers
334 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 ...
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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"?
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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 ...
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5answers
18k 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 ...
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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: ...
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1answer
384 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
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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1answer
5k views

Push somebody over the edge

From TheFreeDictionary, pushing somebody over the edge is defined as: If an unpleasant event pushes someone over the edge, it makes them start to behave in a crazy way. Can crazy here be to ...
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4answers
16k views

Origin of “for the birds” (Trivial; worthless; only of interest to gullible people.)

I really have looked, but the best I can come up with is this To say that something is "for the birds" is to call it horse manure. Dating from the days of horse-drawn traffic, the expression is ...
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6answers
4k views

Phrase which describes falsely improving something

Is there an aphorism or proverb in English which describes attempting to improve something fundamentally flawed by dressing it with a lot of ornament?
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6answers
2k views

Vulgar way of saying “he killed himself”

I'm trying to translate my acquaintance's cartoon to cite it in an article written in English. For the subject of the article it is important that the translation will be direct, thus very vulgar (...
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1answer
195 views

Definition of “Run a gauntlet of raucous”

Can anybody please explain this expression and the reason "run" is there (and not for example run-into) and how this can be related to gauntlet? The expression has been used in sentences like these: ...
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7answers
1k views

Does the idiom “stop shooting the ball to my opponent” make sense?

Getting into a fight with someone, I think the other person is accusing me of being the wrong one and is trying to show that everything that has happened is my fault. Stop shooting the ball to my ...
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6answers
2k views

When should “such forth” be used?

I was just having a conversation with a friend and I said "see how far from the access point each device is, so that I can do some relocation and such forth". She said that using such forth at that ...
2
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1answer
775 views

Verb or phrase meaning “to serve as evidence of one's character” [closed]

I want to know whether there might be an expression along the lines of "Convey X". Meaning, to serve as testament of X's character. I suspect that convey is not the correct verb, but I wonder if a ...
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10answers
1k views

Word for non-monetary price

Is there a word or phrase or expression for something that you ask in return for a product or service, when it is something other than money? And what is the verb that goes with it when someone “pays”...
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4answers
1k views

phrase to mean “giving the exact answer” [closed]

I was having a coversation and part of the conversation, the person asked me which part of the world I was from, and I answered him exactly "the western hemisphere". Then I asked him the same question ...
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2answers
942 views

Origin of the expression 'hard by'?

There's an expression "hard by", which I understand to mean "nearby", "close by". I don't know if it could be called an idiom, but it baffled me when I first encountered it in the translation of ...
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2answers
136 views

Is the expression, “The Hillary Clinton Republican Primary” self-explanatory and clear-cut without reading the text?

December 6 Time magazine carries the following clip of Mark Halperin’s remark in MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe” under the Lede, “The Hillary Clinton Republican Primary.” “You talk to Republicans about ’16, ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of the expression “ya think”?

Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but the expression "ya think" seems to have recently become nearly universal, at least as viewed from the US and the UK, where I encounter it all the time, spoken by ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Origin of “Black & blue Friday”?

I know what "Black Friday" is and how the phrase first came about. What I would like to know is how the phrase evolved into "Black & blue Friday" which seems to have come about in very recent ...
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4answers
181 views

Who are “them” in the sentence “Awards honorees were a group of upending types who took expectations, and showed them the door.”

I’m a bit perplexed with the interpretation of the ending line of the following sentence in the December 3rd Time magazine’s article dealing with this year’s Kennedy Center Honors award winners under ...
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3answers
644 views

What is the behavior where one closes their nose with their lips to elude foul odour called?

I have seen this question, and it is not exactly what I'm asking. Sometimes people (most especially in developing countries) raise the tip of their lips to cover their nose when a foul odour is sensed ...
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2answers
6k views

What are “up” and “down” in “up there” and “down there”?

"Up there" and "down there" are two of the most frequent expressions that I, myself, use often. I really don't know whether they are just expressions used to refer to a place to go ("I went down ...