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

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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 ...
3
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3answers
9k views

What does “I cannot but totally agree” mean?

What does the phrase/expression "I cannot but totally agree" mean? The sentence was said after Person A had praised Person B. I understand that Person B is completely agreeing with what Person A ...
2
votes
6answers
774 views

The 00s equivalent for “so 90s” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the name of the first decade in a century? When you wanted to state that something belongs to a previous era's fashion at the turn of the century you could say ...
41
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8answers
204k views

Polite alternatives to “as soon as possible”

I’ve found myself writing the phrase “as soon as possible” just too often. Sometimes I wonder if it sounds a little rude. How can I convey the same meaning in a more polite way but without losing ...
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5answers
2k views

Word for a shop which sells materials used in making clothing

What generic word/phrase can I use for materials like zipper, buttons, threads and needles, etc which are used in making clothes? I want to use this word to describe a shop which sells these things.
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4answers
1k views

Use 'suggest' passively

How can I use passive voice to say this sentence with suggest? Is this grammatical: These models are suggested to be phased out by us.
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4answers
66k views

Where did the “unavailable” meaning of “Out of Pocket” come from? [duplicate]

The phrase "out of pocket" is often used in my office to mean "unavailable". I've found reference to this on the internet as well, but no obvious clue to where this meaning comes from. Where does ...
2
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4answers
25k views

Alternative to saying “Long pole in the tent”

Help! A former colleague got all of us using the expression "x is long pole in the tent" to mean: x is the person or issue that's preventing forward progress on a project x is the person or issue ...
2
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1answer
874 views

Meaning of: “If I could buy my reasoning I'd pay to lose” [closed]

In the lyrics of "It's my life" by No Doubt, there is: If I could buy my reasoning, I'd pay to lose Can someone explain what this means? Update Does it means: my feelings tell me to go left, ...
1
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3answers
252 views

What does “how not to speak” mean?

Consider this sentence. Americans consider themselves egalitarian and unsnobbish about accents, but they are full of notions about how not to speak. What does "how not to speak" mean? I know the ...
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4answers
5k views

What does it mean when someone says he is from the “Class of 2001”?

Does it means he graduated or entered the College in 2001?
4
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3answers
997 views

What do you say when a person/an idea/… is crazy to your mind?

What does one say or do if they think that a person's idea, behaviour, etc. is crazy to their mind? For instance: In Germany, when someone dangerously passes you, you will show them by tipping your ...
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1answer
1k views

how can I introduce myself in emails? [closed]

My question is, if I'm writing an email to some one for the first time, do I introduce myself with sentance like:'I'm ...'? or like in the phone:'This is...'? Thanks!
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2answers
1k views

In the last hundred years and the last time

Should 'the last time' always be followed by past simple and in the last hundred years by present perfect? Eg., The last time I went to South America, I visited Brazil and Peru. I spent two weeks ...
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3answers
1k views

Biden Got Out ‘Over His Skis,’ Says Obama

I read that headline in the New York Times. From the context, I understood that it means that Biden was a little too hasty. I would like to know the origins of this expression
5
votes
2answers
9k views

origin of the expression “never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel”

What is the origin of the expression "you argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel"? I heard it on the news and I would like to know who coined the expression.
0
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4answers
11k views

Expression for a rare find?

Is there an expression along the lines of Red cars, for the man, were like the birdwatcher's spatuletail ... assuming the spatuletail is a rare find for birdwatchers. I'm pretty sure I heard ...
2
votes
1answer
281 views

expression “neck tingle” [closed]

I've seen the expression "neck tingle" used in the context of enjoying a good song. Is this a similar expression to "goose bumps"? If not, what would be the difference in use?
5
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5answers
5k views

“Deuce and a half” for body weight

This expression is from the movie There's Something About Mary: She put a lot of weight, about a deuce and a half. Is this used to refer to overweight people? The only reference I could find is ...
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2answers
1k views

Take my photo, take a photo of me

Please tell me, is there any difference when saying take his photo and take a photo of him? To me, the first one sounds awkward.
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Where does the expression “a wide berth” come from

Where does the phrase "a wide berth" as in "give it a wide berth", meaning lots of room, come from? I know it as a nautical term. (Some of my female friends seem to think it's a chauvinistic ...
3
votes
4answers
70k views

Can I use “you guys” when it includes gals? [Northeast USA] [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “guy” gender-neutral? I'm in the Northeast USA. I'm about to email 3 people, 2 are women It is ok to say "I thought you guys would find this ...
3
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3answers
7k views

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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1answer
3k views

Can I use “wow” to express surprise but not necessarily with something related to pleasure, but confusion and surprise?

For example: "Wow! How can he do that? Unbelievable..." or: "Wow! How can he be so insensible!? Unbelievable..." I would like to double check so I don't become the insensible myself... :)
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2answers
1k views

Can I say “acquiesce” and be acquiescent?

Can I say "acquiesce" and be acquiescent, or by saying the word do I then imply a protest, negating my acquiescence? Example: "I acquiesce to your request." To me, it seems that speaking the word ...
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2answers
62 views

What should I use? “The ways of something” or “The path of something” [closed]

I am always learning stuff about computers and I switch between saying "The Path of the Computer Knowledge" and "The Ways of Computers" every time. When I use those expressions I want to express that ...
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4answers
11k views

Might “see you shortly” be used to mean in a week's time?

I wonder if it's appropriate to say "see you shortly" when we both know that it's going to happen in a week's time. What I'm trying to say is that I'm looking forward to see the person, but I already ...
3
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2answers
163 views

Reciprocal or converse definitions

I am writing an article where I need to describe an equation like the one below, in reference to two mathematical objects, A and B, that I have already defined in the text. f = #merge errors + ...
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0answers
66 views

What is the antonyms of “capitalize”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there an antonym for “capitalize” (as in letter-case) What is the antonyms of "capitalize"? I am referring to the following meaning (original reference): ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Expression for when you've fixed something, but something else breaks? And repeatedly?

Is there an expression for the situation where you've just fixed something, only to find out that your fix broke something else? So you fix that something else, and another thing breaks. And so on and ...
8
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2answers
114k views

Origin of “do not argue with idiots” [closed]

What is the origin of the phrase “do not argue with idiots”? Please cite some credible references. From googling around, I found these three variations. One came from the Bible but I couldn’t find ...
11
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6answers
15k views

What's the origin of “Copycat”?

I called one of my friends "copycat" the other day, and suddenly thought about it. Why is it a "cat"? Where did this expression come from? Does anyone have any information regarding how this phrase ...
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11answers
61k views

Better way of saying “Go-to man”?

Does anyone have a suggestion for a gender-neutral alternative to the phrase "Who's the go-to man?" The go-to person feels stylistically awkward.
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1answer
3k views

Where does “life of Riley” come from? [closed]

I heard the saying, "life of Riley" when someone was talking about my cat, and I wondered what the origin of the expression is. The only thing I can think of is that it comes from the name of someone ...
0
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2answers
869 views

Capitalisation of “Many thanks” as a stand-alone term

I am having a brochure designed and wish to place the words "Many Thanks" on the very back of it after all the policies are listed. Which is more correct? to capitalise the first letter of the first ...
0
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3answers
4k views

What's the best way to say: “which one is more true or more accurate”? [closed]

What's the best way to ask: Which one is more true, or more accurate? ... when talking about a choice of two words?
3
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3answers
41k views

Analogue of “to the best of our knowledge”

I have seen the following formula when writing an academic article: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that shows how to optimize a non-submodular function for .... I like ...
5
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2answers
170 views

Is “spend (a lot of) pixels” becoming an idiom?

I found the expression, “spend a lot of pixels” in the article titled “Handicapping the Veepstakes: Romney’s Rules of the Road” in today’s (April 25) Time magazine. It begins with: “We’ve spent a ...
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3answers
46k views

What does “here's to someone/thing” mean?

I got an email from an instructor today. Towards the end of email she says: "Here is to finishing off the semester in a positive way." What does that mean?
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2answers
16k views

Ways to express “Thank you” in English [closed]

I am wondering how many expressions in English can express "Thank you" (I am just running out of them) Thank you (very much) or Thanks. Many thanks! I appreciate it indeed! Thanks a million! I ...
1
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2answers
1k views

Difference between “while” and “whilst” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct usage of “while” and “whilst”? In terms of construction of sentences, can the two words while and whilst be used ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

Expression “to arrive at a place with your hands hanging”

In Spanish language there is an expression "llegar con las manos colgando", that can be literally translated to something like: If you are invited to a friend's party or social gathering, you need ...
4
votes
6answers
9k views

Phrase or idiom to mean “one at a time”

When you have too many tasks in your to-do list, you will like to clear them one at a time. Is there another way to say this? Or to say "worrying about the next one only after finishing the current ...
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votes
1answer
1k views

Expression for desire to feel superior to others [closed]

I am looking for an expression which is somewhat of a merger of "any port in a storm" and "can't beat the ass so he/she beats the saddle" Examples of when you would use it include: UFC ...
3
votes
2answers
248 views

Meaning of “boosting cat food from someone”

In the 'The Panic in Needle Park' movie, one of the actors tell someone the following on the phone: No, man. I didn't boost any cat food from you. What does it mean? It doesn't seem to be a very ...
0
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4answers
3k views

Is there a word to describe a phrase such as “it is what it is”

For example "it is what it is" This multi-word statement has no real meaning if read literally (or at best a circular meaning), but it does express a meaning that is meta to its lexical meaning ...
4
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1answer
193 views

Use of the word “lore”

Should I use the word lore when speaking about knowledge that is connected to a specific domain, or would it be better to use the expression "professional knowledge"?
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0answers
42 views

origin of the expression “there is more than one way to skin a cat” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin of the phrase, “There's more than one way to skin a cat.” what is the origin of the expression "there is more than one way to skin a cat"? I can't ...
0
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2answers
171 views

“[Noun] as she is [past participle]”

As an example, I recently came across a blog titled "Software As She Is Developed". I know I've seen that construct before — "noun as she is past participle" — in other contexts. It's fairly ...
32
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17answers
11k views

Opposite of 'Midas touch'?

I'm wondering what word or phrase could be used for the counter examples of 'Midas touch' effect. The Midas touch, or the gift of profiting from whatever one undertakes, is named for a legendary ...