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

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17
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6answers
12k views

What expression would be the opposite of “Deal Breaker”?

I understand that "Deal breaker" is an expression used for a feature/characteristic that would make one not go for a deal (or terminate a contract), even if the deal's other features are great. What ...
0
votes
1answer
681 views

What is the meaning of expression “zen and the art of..” [closed]

Over the years I have come across a bunch of book titles and blog posts that goes "Zen and the art of X", and X being any damn thing. What to deduct when you see such a title? My research lead me to ...
1
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2answers
2k views

expression “meat and potatoes business”

I heard of the expression "meat and potatoes business", and when I was explained what it means, I was told is that it referred to a business with no fancy products, just simple products for simple ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Usage of “the more you squeeze, the more sand disappears between your fingers” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Could you help me to do a syntax analysis of this sentence? When would one use the expression the more you squeeze, the more sand trickles through your fingers? I just ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

What is the difference between “in terms of” and “as far as is concerned”?

What's the difference of their emphasis? Often I felt these two are very similar. For example, In terms of quality, A is better than B. is similar to: As far as quality is concerned, A is better ...
26
votes
9answers
2k views

“Saving on the parrot's chocolate is futile”

In Catalan there is an expression "ser la xocolata del lloro" that can be translated as "saving by not giving chocolate to the parrot is futile", conveying the meaning that when a household wants to ...
1
vote
1answer
883 views

“What am I meant to have”

I heard the following on 'The Office' in episode Downsize (#1.1): David Brent: I'm going to have to let you go first. Dawn: What? Why? David Brent: Why? Stealing. Thieving. Dawn: ...
4
votes
3answers
101 views

“Connections”, “network” or…?

Suppose I know a lot of people in a particular place — let's say, Singapore — and they can help me. How can I express it through a short sentence to let someone know that he has found the right ...
5
votes
2answers
985 views

Is “Stand-Your-Ground law” an official legal term? What is meant by “stand-in-your-ground”?

Regarding the Trayvon Martin case that took place in Sanford, Florida, which became a worldwide topic, AP News (March 26) quoted Ben Jealous, head of the NAACP in “Meet the Press” saying; “Florida’s ...
-1
votes
2answers
346 views

Is the expression “Liver's ability to detoxify alcohol was tested…” [closed]

Is the expression "Liver's ability to detoxify alcohol was tested..." grammatically correct? Can it also be used for genes, for example: "C-MYC's role in cancer is well known". This is, can gene ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

“Head over heels” and “head over feet”

Does the expression head over heels mean the same as head over feet? To be madly in love with someone?
2
votes
1answer
227 views

Usage of “to canter through a topic”

What are the types of uses of the expression "to canter through a topic or issue"? I heard it in this context: I don't have much time to go through this section now, so I'll canter through the ...
5
votes
4answers
10k views

Origin and meaning of “from out of left field”

What is the origin of the phrase from out of left field? My understanding is that the meaning is unexpected, or odd. Is that correct? Real world examples of the phrase being used badly would be great ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “flatter than a mashed cat” a common phrase?

I became interested in the expression but can’t find out whether it has original or common forms. Why is it a cat? From the very first note she was horribly, hopelessly, irretrievably off key, and ...
-2
votes
1answer
4k views

English phrases/expressions and their meanings [closed]

In English we have expressions/phrases that come from the combination of two or more words, conjunctions, etc. These expressions have their own metaphorical meanings, which could be used in specific ...
1
vote
2answers
10k views

“Draw a bath” vs “prepare a bath”

Is there any difference in meaning between the expressions draw a bath and prepare a bath?
4
votes
5answers
233 views

Meaning of headline “Goldman Stunned by Op-Ed Loses $2.2 Billion for Shareholders”

What does this headline mean? Goldman Stunned by Op-Ed Loses $2.2 Billion for Shareholders I am not sure what "Op-Ed loses" means in this context.
1
vote
2answers
485 views

What is the meaning of “drill our way out”?

I read a news about the jump of gas prices and the president Obama said: we’re not going to be able to drill our way out of the problem of high gas prices My first understand was "escape", but ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Is the use of the phrase “left as an exercise for the reader” appropriate for technical documents?

I'm updating a technical document, and the phrase "left as an exercise for the reader" is used twice. However, that phrase is something that just irks me, so I'm thinking about removing it and ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Origin of the expression “being cagey about something”

What is the origin of the expression "being cagey about something"? Does it have anything to do with "being in a cage", not letting someone out of a cage? I googled for it but didn't get much: ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Expression “let's cross that bridge a little further down the road”

I've heard the expression "let's cross that bridge a little further down the road" to convey something I understand a bit like: "let's take that difficult decision a bit later" or "let's take on that ...
1
vote
2answers
594 views

expression “to catch a chill”

Can the expression "to catch a chill" be used informally today or has it already past its peak in usage? I have seen it mentioned referring to people living in the 19th century.
1
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3answers
2k views

let you know a couple of facts OR bring couple of facts to your notice [closed]

Which of the following is more appropriate / polite? I would like to bring a couple of facts (or things?) to your notice. OR I would like to let you know a couple of facts. Please advise.
0
votes
7answers
4k views

Idiomatic expression for a difficult choice

This has cropped up several times in the past couple of months, and I've been struggling to find a fitting word to describe this phenomenon. I'll describe it: You have two choices(no, it's not ...
4
votes
2answers
16k views

Rules for rising and falling intonation in similar questions - what are they?

Consider these two questions: Would you mind saying a little bit more about that? and What do you mean by that? When they perform the same function, and I expect an answer to both, why ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

Can I say “reduces the proximity to zero” to describe 2 objects being very close?

When I say "reduces the proximity to zero", does it mean that the distance between two objects are extremely close? My intention is to describe that the distance between two objects gets very close ...
2
votes
4answers
167 views

Something causes a lot of initiatives [closed]

I’m translating a movie about basic income, from French to English. In this movie, someone says that basic income would make people do a lot of new things, that it would create a lot of initiatives. ...
2
votes
4answers
529 views

basketball expression: “Plays with a lot of flair”

This is an expression that I don't really know the meaning of when applied to basketball playing: "Plays with a lot of flair" Can anyone elucidate the meaning for me? EDIT: after reading a couple of ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

What is meant by the “benefit of the doubt”? [closed]

I think doubt is a negative emotion, so I find it difficult to know what is meant by "benefit of the doubt". How does this phrase work, and how did it arise?
1
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2answers
473 views

Is “as long as” grammatically correct?

I would like to know whether following sentence is correct: The battery does not last for as long as it says on the label
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Definition of “throw the gauntlet down” [closed]

What is the definition of "throw the gauntlet down"? I googled for it and only got examples where it's used, but no actual definition of the phrase.
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Meaning of “envy of his brethren” [closed]

I have googled for the definition of the expression envy of his brethren, but didn't get more than references to the Bible. What does this expression mean?
14
votes
5answers
283k views

rule of thumb for 'however' in the middle of the sentence?

What is the rule of thumb for using 'however' in the middle of the sentence? For example: Some people disagree with this theory, however, as it's never been proven right.
2
votes
2answers
4k views

origin of the expression “trying to catch a falling knife”?

What is the origin of the expression "trying to catch a falling knife"? I have just read it and I wonder how it came up to be a common expression.
0
votes
1answer
306 views

expression “as an affirmation of its efficiency, we show that” [closed]

Is the expression "as an affirmation of its efficiency, we show that" correct and adequate for a scientific text? Or should it be "as a confirmation of its efficiency, we show that"?
-2
votes
2answers
383 views

“traipse up the steps” just synonym of walking? [closed]

Is the expression "traipse up the steps" just synonym of walking up the steps? Is there any other connotation to the verb traipse?
1
vote
3answers
749 views

Expression to say that you did something better than before

I remember that there's an expression in English for this situation but I can't remember which one. Three weeks ago I did my best drawing ever, and now I did one better. This is what's coming up "I ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

expression “get above/off your sofas” [closed]

Is the expression "get above your sofas" equivalent to "get off your sofas" or have they got different meanings? PS: I was sitting on my sofa when I heard that...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

call vs invoke - informatics context

Particularly in computer science and informatics, when should one use them? Is call the preferred form? For instance, call function invoke method Googling for "call operation" returns +300 000 ...
-1
votes
1answer
266 views

Why can't I put 'a' or 'the' before 'different clubs'? [closed]

Is there a specific rule saying that 'a/an' and 'the' should not followed by the word 'different'? "I go out to different clubs with my boyfriend". I know there are some fixed expression for using ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

How to say the margins of a page in a book

What is the best way to express the margins of (i) the bounded side of a page and (ii) the edge side? I see people referring to them as left margin and right margin, but they are inaccurate. On ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the the origin of the expression “chop chop”?

The phrase, as I have always heard it, is used to direct someone toward completing a task quickly, or with urgency. "Go get that object from over there, chop chop." Have been looking for an ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

origin of the expression “proudly placed on our mantelpiece” [closed]

What is the origin of the expression "proudly placed on our mantelpiece"? In what context started to be used?
2
votes
0answers
67 views

“You went there?” in English [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it OK to add a question mark to show inflection? Can we say in a conversation "You went there", and by stressing the statement, mean "Did you go?" I know one ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of “throw the net wide”

Can I have an example of a context in which the expression throw the net wide is used? I have heard it in passing but it is not clear to me what was meant.
5
votes
7answers
765 views

Can we say “on the brink of off-topic”?

I recently learned on the brink in context of to teeter on the brink of disaster. Now, when I want to mention that something is marginal or borderline I remember on the brink. This question is ...
0
votes
2answers
11k views

What's the meaning of the expression “bed burning” or “bed on fire”? [closed]

There's a song by Midnight Oil called Beds Are Burning, and the song Psycho Killer also says that "my bed's on fire". What do those expressions mean (if they mean the same thing)? update: Some ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

It's so cold that if it rains it'll snow

I want a replacement for rains in my title, as it doesn't really make sense since it won't rain, it will snow. I think I could use precipitates but I wouldn't use that in conversation as it seems ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What does the phrase “none too dissimilar” mean?

I have heard the phrase none too dissimilar used many times. Based on context, it seems to mean similar, or perhaps very similar. Does none too dissimilar have a different meaning that I am missing? ...
7
votes
6answers
19k views

Origin of the expression “Get stoned”

My daughter asked me a question in the car the other day, and I didn't have an answer. She asked me about the origin of the expression "get stoned" (i.e. with regards to drug use), and how it might be ...