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 is the origin of “odds and ends”?

There's already a question (and answer) for "bits and bobs", which I believe is a Britishism, but what is the origin of "odds and ends"? "Odds" I have some reckoning for (as in, "odd items", meaning ...
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Substitute for “The thought came to my mind” [closed]

I want a substitute for the sentence "The thought came to my mind". It should be a slightly formal substitute as I am writing a formal letter. Can someone help me with that?
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Semantic difference between “if I did not want” and “if I wanted”

I was reading My Antonia and came across this line: [She] asked me if I did not want to go to the garden with her (12) And was wondering why Cather chose if I did not want over if I wanted. Are ...
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430 views

Is the phrase “by way of notice” an acceptable use of the idiom/expression “by way of”? [closed]

Oftentimes when I write emails to notifying co-workers of any planned absences I will say something along the lines of: By way of advanced notice, I will be out of the office on Tuesday, April ...
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Is the expression “see you when I see you” impolite? [closed]

Once, I have received feedback that using "see you when I see you" is not very polite. Do you have the same opinion? What other expression should I use in case I have no clue when I will see the ...
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How to use the expression “you love it” [closed]

This question builds off of another question (Meaning of fck you) but my question pertains to the expression "you love it". Here are three examples of its usage. 1] From Youth in Revolt (Youth in ...
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“Who is that for?”

Showing a baby bottle to my son I ask him "Who's that for?", obviously waiting for a "That's for me!" answer (which turns out to be just "Me!") But I am not a native speaker and I kind of translate ...
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Is 'entrance ticket' used metaphorically?

I want to say something about parenthood being constructed in our culture as the thing that allows one to enter adult society. Could I say parenthood is an entrance ticket to adult society? Would a ...
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what do we call the way women tie up their hair [closed]

Different word or phrases to describe the way the way women tie up their hair in a bundle on top of their head.
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What does James Joyce in Ulysses mean by “blood and ouns”? [closed]

...body and soul and blood and ouns.
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difference between “will you be -ing?” and “are you -ing?”

Are there any differences among the following: Are you using this room tomorrow? Will you be using this room tomorrow? Will you use this room tomorrow? 1 and 3 seem to be asking someone’s ...
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Origin of the phrase “Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane”?

Scouts, coaches, and fans use the phrase “Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” to describe a player that appears physically imposing, but plays at a level not consistent with their apparent physical ...
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How do teachers ask to calculate expressions?

How do American/British primary school teachers ask their pupils to calculate an expression? E.g. What is 2+3 equal to? What is the value of 2+3? ... In particular, I'm interested whether the ...
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Expressions that are not words, but sounds

Jamaican-style patois and derivations thereof seem to be on the rise again in British cities after a lull (I remember it being very popular in the 70s and early 80s). While on a trip to London I was ...
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“Thank you for coming” and “Thank you for your coming”

Consider "Thank you for coming" and "Thank you for your coming". Would the latter one be grammatical? Why? Is it possible to recognize latter "coming" as noun? Some say you need no pronoun because it ...
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Is the construction “It allows to …” proper English?

I frequently encounter phrases like this: "It allows to apply these features to customisable sets of fonts". My question is whether this is proper English or not? In my mind, "it allows the ...
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'submerged' in this particular moment [closed]

How can I say this sentence more properly? Suppose I am with my girlfriend, and I say "I want my whole life to be submerged in this particular moment". I don't think that submerged is the right ...
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“Reply to this mail is _not_ necessary” - Can this be considered negative in any way?

A year back a person had once told me that he doesn't want to have any conversation with me at the moment. Today I sent him a kind of apology mail and added the sentence (in tile of this thread) at ...
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Who coined the phrase “trickle-down government” and what does it mean?

“Trickle-down government” or “trickledown government” seems to be one of Mitt Romney’s more memorable lines from the October 3, 2012 political debate between the Republican presidential candidate and ...
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What is the origin of the dated British expression “I say!”

It doesn't appear that this expression was a minced oath or something along those lines. Was it shortened from a longer phrase, or did it just enter the vernacular as is (similar to "listen up" or ...
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OED Appeals: Antedatings of “blue-arsed fly”

The OED has made a public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words, including: blue-arsed fly noun earlier than 1970 The first evidence for the metaphorical ...
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Origin of the expression “his/her face is a map of the world”

What is the origin of the expression "his/her face is a map of the world"? Bonus points to a literary origin (as in, the first written usage of the phrase in the English language). The phrase is ...
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Equivalent of “false alarm” in a positive context

Is there an equivalent for "false alarm" in a positive context? For example imagine everybody is waiting for a miracle to happen, after a while someone says "hey! the miracle happened" and then ...
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“Bust a cap” meaning and derivation

I've always believed that the phrase "bust a cap in yo ass" was AAVE for: To shoot an individual with a gun. Whilst trying to figure out what the cap actually meant, I ran into this alternate ...
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Does the washing up fairy exist outside of Australia? [closed]

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the Lush product of the same name. In Australia, the washing up fairy is a mythical creature. People leave their dishes unwashed overnight, and lo and behold, ...
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What is the meaning of “the dogs live in clover”?

I was reading an issue of Atlantic Monthly from 1919 and encountered the following paragraph: There is no further context, as these are (according to the article) translated conversations and ...
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Why is it “make sure that” (no 'it') but “make it so” (with 'it')?

Once again, y'all can blame my boss. Well, him or Captain Picard. He (my boss, not Picard) has the annoying habit of saying "Make it sure that", instead of "Make sure that". No matter how many times I ...
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Is there a female equivalent for “my good sir”?

Is there a quaint-sounding/archaic dual to address women a la "[my] [good] sir" jovially in casual conversation? I can't come up with an expression that doesn't sound like a moderately intense term ...
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Can “this time around” and “all the time” be compatible?

I was a bit puzzled to read the following sentence in the article titled “Obama showering Ohio with attention and money” in September 26 Washington Post: “It goes without saying that, every four ...
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Usage of “eggheads and fatheads” in a sentence

Recently I came across this expression "eggheads and fatheads". I know the individual meanings of both the words. In which context should I use these two words together?
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The usage of “the same…as…”

Which one of the following two sentences is more correct? We use the same space as is specified in Chapter 1. We use the same space as specified in Chapter 1.
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Is there an equivalent of the spanish “que hueva” slang expression in English to denote that you feel lazy about doing something?

In Spanish slang, particularly in the west, the expressions "que hueva" or "me da hueva" are used, respectively, to convey that you are lazy about doing something. The context might be as follows: A: ...
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Phrase to say that something which happened twice already is likely to happen again

In French, there is the expression "jamais deux sans trois" (literally: "never twice without a third [time]"). We use it to express that something which has already happened twice is likely to happen ...
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expression “something beyond your kin” [closed]

I heard the expression "something is beyond your kin", see an example: Woman, you're playing with forces beyond your kin. I can't find a way to fit any of the entries of the definition of 'kin' ...
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what phrase to use to convey the idea of “my first attempt”

I had tried photography as serious hobby for the first time and I have made an album. I want to expresses the idea to the world that this is my first attempt. Few things come to my mind like "my first ...
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Which sounds better: “What’s in ――” or “What’s on――”?

I’m making the title of a web page with classifieds, and I’d like to name it either “What’s in (town name)” or “What’s on (town name)”. Which one sounds better for a town classified web page? Right ...
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Rationale for expression “Fixer-upper”

I have encountered the expression fixer-upper: A fixer-upper is a real-estate property that will require maintenance work (redecoration, reconstruction or redesign) though it usually can be ...
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Is there a word to describe someone who often inaccurately uses words?

Or a word to describe the act of inaccurately using complicated or unusual words (often in an attempt to sound more intelligent)? I considered 'bombastic' but it doesn't have that quality of ...
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Implication(s) of “Though you wouldn't think it”

(This question arose because on some other SE many of us tried to translate this expression. It turns out it was not so easy, and it would certainly help if we had a better grasp on it.) I believe ...
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Origin of “pull your socks up”?

I was pulling my socks up this morning, in the literal sense of the term, when I started to wonder about why pull your socks up came to mean what it does:- to make an effort to improve your work ...
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What is the meaning of the phrase “moving the needle”?

Here is the context: The network has geographically distributed upload endpoints, featuring end-to-end encryption as well as patent-pending routing and optimization technology, letting Box process ...
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Why the discrepancy between number and case in (some) British English?

By chance, I've heard a lot of Midlands English in the last few weeks, and have noticed this sort of disconnect: "It cost me five pound" (rather than 'pounds'); "The ball rolled ten foot" (rather than ...
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What is the difference between “here we go” and “there we go”?

As a non-native speaker, I cannot grasp any difference between the expressions "here we go" and "there we go": both expressions seem to underline an event that is going to happen immediately. Is ...
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“Strikes me a great deal” in a negative way

Is it correct to use "Strikes me a great deal to connotes a negative feeling? The rude behavior of the officer struck me a great deal. I didn't expect this from a professional person.
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Expression for “someone who's clueless of their surroundings”?

What is an expression or saying you could use to describe someone that is totally clueless of their surroundings?
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Is there a name for this method of writing that includes pictograms?

I've seen people write (usually in a humorous way) a 'code-like' message where parts of words are replaced with a pictogram that sounds like that word-part. E.G.: (eyeball) (tin can)(rope knot) ...
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Origin of “they don't know they're born”?

Practising today for my forthcoming role as radgie gadgie, I was having a little rant about modern youth: "they don't know they're born!" This seems to me rather a strange phrase to describe someone ...
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What metaphor do countries that don't play baseball use for intercourse?

Related question: In sex talk, how many bases are there and what do they all mean? There are lots of English-speaking (or English-learning) countries where baseball simply isn't played much if at ...
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Is “auditory aid” correct when talking about helping someone through audio signals?

I'm not talking about the concept of a "hearing aid" (those little things you put in your ears). I'm talking about sounds like the ones emitted by traffic lights, letting us know they've turned ...
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“We strongly advise you to enjoy this book before turning to the Introduction”

This was part of General Introduction (it's right before the Introduction) of some Wordsworth Classics series, We strongly advise you to enjoy this book before turning to the Introduction. ...