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 the term “go-to-hell hat” in common usage?

I am a fan of hats and own a number of them. One of my collection is what is commonly called a "flat cap," though it has many names. Seeing me wearing it one day, my father told me that his father ...
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What's the etymology of the expression “let it slide?”

Today, my three year old son was doing something he wasn't normally supposed to do but we were letting him get away with it (wearing a backpack to the dinner table). He pointed out that he wasn't ...
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word for a put-together system or solution

I am looking for a word to describe a system or solution that has been put together from pre-existing parts. For example if a computer company gets software from 3 different software houses and sells ...
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Where does “emphasis mine” go in a quotation?

I have often seen the term emphasis mine used whenever an author wishes to denote that emphasis in a given quotation originates from said author rather than from the original source. What is the ...
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Does “reinventing the wheel” have negative or positive connotation?

I've always assumed that the expression "reinventing the wheel" meant something negative. For me it means doing something that has already be done without making any improvement. However, a few ...
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Origin of “one man's noise is another man's signal”

This variant of the saying probably comes from signal processing. It is in Wikipedia somewhat attributed to Edward W. Ng (his "famous quotes", 1990 interview in NYT) however that cannot be correct, as ...
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“rather than” vs “as opposed to” [closed]

We do not know whether X will have an effect on element Y as opposed to others. We do not know whether X will have an effect on element Y rather than on others. The first version is the first one ...
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The meaning of 'option' in 'like hell's own option'

More from Thomas Harris: The coffee mugs had the thick rims that dribble down the sides. Starling watched Inelle Corey walk heavily away like hell's own option and drank half a cup with her ...
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What does “intestine enemy” mean? [closed]

I’m particularly curious about the usage in Calvin’s commentary of Hebrews: ...at the same time we are carrying on war with sin, our intestine enemy. However, here are some other examples.
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I have questions coming out the yin-yang about yin-yang phrases!

Yin Yang is the Chinese philosophy of Light and Shadow, often signifying the need for balance or that everything exists in balance. But the (reasonably enjoyable to use) phrase Up the Ying Yang ...
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word to describe a person who catches the sexual overtone in a normal conversation

I know there is a word for it — I heard it when I was young. What is the word to describe a person who catches the sexual overtones in a normal (non-sexual) conversation? Here's one example I have (I ...
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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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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 1st....
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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 blue-...
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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 ...