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

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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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6answers
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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 ...
2
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2answers
85 views

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 green....
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1answer
1k views

“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. ...
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5answers
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Using “to my mind”

English is not my native language. I am curious about the usage of "to my mind". Is it a British English phrase? Is it used in American English? Is it formal/informal? I've found an interesting ...
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1answer
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“Pain in the neck” and similar expressions [closed]

Are there any other expressions equivalent in meaning to "pain in the neck" that mention another part of the body (e.g, "pain in the ass")? How would you rate each of those expressions (including the ...
3
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2answers
31k views

Me too or I as well [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “me too” and “I too”? Which one is correct to use Me too or I as well? For example - Suppose my friend says I want to go there ...
7
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2answers
11k views

Is “Better never than late” the saying as popular as “Better late than never”?

There was the following sentence in Maureen Dowd’s column in New York Times (September 1): We all know Republicans prefer riches-to-riches sagas, and rounding up immigrants, if the parasitic ...
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8answers
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Expression for a choice which isn't really one

What would be a nice short expression to describe a choice which isn't really one, in that all of its possible outcomes are ultimately equivalent despite being presented as different? My first ...
7
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2answers
208 views

Old (professional) Adam

Again, from Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: [George Smiley] had schooled himself to admit that in those last wretched months of Control's career, when disasters followed one another with ...
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2answers
158 views

“Losing the semester” [closed]

Is the following expression common among native speakers: If you don't enroll now, there is a chance of losing the semester. Any better alternative?
1
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1answer
109 views

Express a phrase as compound [closed]

I need to express this phrase as a short compound to be used as programming variable name (this phrase is in the context of a software user interface): the block showing current chatters I have ...
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3answers
2k views

“For <xxx> sake” - which variant is more common?

There are a lot of variations of this phrase, most notably including "for God's sake" "for Heaven's sake" "for Jesus sake" "for Pete's sake" Which of those are most commonly used in modern English?...
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3answers
444 views

What does “Safety net in the coffin” mean?

There was the phrase “the safety net in the coffin” in reference to Mr. Paul Ryan, running mate of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Maureen Dowd’s article, titled “Cruel conservatives ...
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3answers
515 views

What does the cause for your feeling like “downing a quart of Red Bull” mean?

Again in the Time article (June 29),“Roberts Rules: What the Health Care decision means for the country” that many of my familiar ‘teachers’ criticized the style of writing as too pretentious and the ...
0
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3answers
7k views

How do I express “hope you become less busy” [closed]

I have a friend who works at law firm. I suggested to him to have dinner with my family this weekend but he told me that he just got staffed on an new thing that will have him working through the ...
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1answer
818 views

What is the meaning of “I don't need no stinking counters”?

The context is this video at timeline 43:26 seconds . That's too fancy for me. I don't need no stinking counters. What does this mean? Is it an American or British expression?
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1answer
496 views

Why is the “round figure” of a person associated with being “comforting”? [closed]

Example: Miss Beam was all that I had expected middle-aged, authoritative, kindly, and understanding. Her hair was beginning to turn grey, and her round figure was likely to be comforting for a ...
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2answers
2k views

What does ‘It’s one thing to dance like Fred Astaire, but Ginger Rogers did it backwards’ mean as a metaphor to John Roberts' ruling?

There was the following sentence in June 29 issue of Time magazine titled “Roberts Rules: What the health care decision means for the country” dealing with Chief Justice of Supreme Court, John Roberts’...
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2answers
103 views

“fix me that account” or “fix that account for me”

Can we say "Did you fix me that account?" Or should it be "Did you fix that account for me?" assuming something is wrong with the account. Account represents a computer based system user id.
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1answer
2k views

“Blow your heads off ” or “blow your head off ”

Is it heads or head? Google told me both are okay. What do you think? I will blow your head[s] off if you don't tell me.
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3answers
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What nuance ‘I’ll leave it at that' carry? Does it mean total agreement with, or commitment to your partner?

Yesterday’s (August 22) Washington Times picked up the following quote of Mr. Paul Ryan in its “Today’s Quote” "Mitt Romney's going to be the president. The president sets the policy. His policy ...
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1answer
747 views

Is the expression “topping it the ______” really used anywhere?

I've often read books where English men made statements about others "topping it the knob" or "topping it the gentleman," which I took to mean over playing a role or attitude. Is this a legitimately ...
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3answers
264 views

Better phrase for “lengthy date” [closed]

Is there a better phrase or word to use than lengthy date? For example: We give this lengthy date to accommodate the dispute respecting the Hermas who is the author of the Pastor. This seems a ...
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2answers
655 views

Usage of the expression “go they went”

I noticed the usage of go they went in the TV show How I Met Your Mother: Marshall: Where are all my underpants? Lily: Did you check your suitcase? (Marshall checks his suitcase, gives a ...
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2answers
331 views

Expression: wanted the skinny on [closed]

Is there an expression like wanted the skinny on? I can hazard a guess on the meaning of the phrase but will be grateful if anyone can tell me the exact meaning. Here is the exact quote: I'm a ...
2
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2answers
188 views

“As old Buffle used to say”

In Chesteron's play Magic a character often uses a phrase such as “as old Buffle used to say” or variations thereof. Is this, or used it to be, a common phrase? Does it have a specific meaning or is ...
3
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2answers
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What does “Drop and give me twenty, America’ in ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ mean?

The New Yorker magazine August 16 issue carries the article under the title ‘Paul Ryan’s song of himself’ which is posted by Andy Borowitz. I as a non-native English language learner cannot tell ...
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3answers
2k views

“Walk my way” in the following

Can I use "walk my way" in the following situation: I had an argument with a bus driver about the elections, and she got really angry. So I had to get off the bus and walk my way.
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1answer
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Origin of “on the up-and-up”

The phrase "on the up-and-up" means "legitimate" or "legal" or "reputable" or, to use another idiom, "above-board". For instance: Although Pete didn't look like a city official, Joe assumed his ...
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3answers
2k views

“for good” expression in an unfortunate event?

I just heard an expression while watching a TV series yesterday. Someone just died and they said: He is gone for good I googled it and found that "for good" means "forever" in this context. But ...
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4answers
319 views

What's the negative way of saying “I can only finish a small part of the jobs.”

What's the negative way of saying "I can only finish a small portion of the jobs." Is it "I cannot finish most of the jobs?" And I appreciate it if more "native" expressions are provided....
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3answers
2k views

Is “Please consider the seriousness of this offer” correct? [closed]

In Romanian language, there is an expression that would be translated to English as "I offer and request seriousness", that is usually used for example at the end of an offer/ad. What is the English ...
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2answers
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What are some familiar expressions can I use to mean someone is lucky? [closed]

I am in a context where I would need a familiar (but not vulgar) short expression that means someone is lucky. Can someone help?
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2answers
788 views

expressions at bar about credit card payment

I went to the bar the other day and when I tried to pay for the drink by my credit card, the bartender asked me something to the effect whether I wanted to have my credit card open for further payment ...
2
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1answer
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Usage of “make it” in this context [closed]

Consider the following sentence . My boss (say Mr X) wrote this to me in an email and before this paragraph he actually gave a list of items that I need to work on : We will have a Webex meeting ...
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2answers
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what does “falling into the pit of success” mean?

I can see its literal meaning, but I don't know its extended meaning. I saw this in the introduction of stackoverflow: We believe finding the right answer to your programming questions should be ...
6
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1answer
261 views

What does Mitt Romney aide's remark “keep Boston off message all week” mean?

Mitt Romney seems to be haunted with the plague of gaffes of his own and his aides’. Time magazine’s (August 4) article titled “Worse gaffe than Etch-A-Sketch” reported another gaffe that Romney’s ...
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6answers
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'What ho!' of Bertie Wooster

"What ho!" - this strange form of greeting is used all the time by Bertie Wooster, a character of well-known "Jeeves and Wooster" stories by P. G. Wodehouse. Bertie Wooster: Oh, what ho, Sir ...
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5answers
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Is there any alternative expression to “Brace Yourself ”

I have translated an article into English. The author of the original article uses a “Bumpy ride on a plane in a hazardous weather” as an analogy to predict an unfavourable political development in a ...
2
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1answer
2k views

“Bad blood” usage

I know that the bad blood expression means animosity and dislike. But where does it come from? I can understand why bad, but why blood, and whose blood is implied here?
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4answers
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“Yes marry have I” usage

I was looking through the original text of a popular nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book when noticed an expression whose meaning I can’t understand: “Yes, marry, ...
0
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4answers
234 views

How can I say four different colors for five different items using “one”, “another”, “the other”? [closed]

Am I saying this correctly? There are five items in four different colors. One is in red, another is in yellow, another is in green, and the others are in black. Also, can I say: Two items ...
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5answers
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How to express desires in English so that they don't sound like commands?

At that time I won't want you to again land up in the thread to tell me the rules. With the above statement, I wanted to express my desire, but it was interpreted as a command. How can I rewrite ...
0
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1answer
2k views

phrases where opposite words can be used to mean the same thing [closed]

For example "1 in 20 Americans suffer from..." and "1 out of 20 Americans suffer from..." "it is down to you" and "it is up to you" They seem like great ways to add to creative writing. Are there ...
7
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5answers
2k views

“Has the say on it”

I know the idiom have the final say, but I wonder if we could use the same idiom without the word final in it? For example: He is the boss, he is the one who has the say on it. Could the above ...
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1answer
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“at hand” vs “at issue”

We can talk about "the matter at hand" or "the matter at issue" and they seem to mean just about the same thing: something along the lines of "the matter currently under discussion." Is there a ...
2
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1answer
202 views

Does one say “to ring stupid” or what are appropriate alternatives?

If you want to express that something is true even if it is actually dumb, in German we can say something along So blöd es auch klingt, aber es ist wahr. Literally it's As stupid it also rings, ...
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2answers
7k views

What does “Turn a lemon(s) into lemonade” exactly mean?

In association with my question about possibility of using Etch-a-Sketch as a verb, I found the expression “turn a lemon into lemonade” in the related article of Five Star. It says: Etch-a-Sketch ...
0
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1answer
6k views

“sit back and relax” vs. “kick back and relax”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why 'kick back' can mean 'get relaxed'? I have seen so many times "Sit back and relax" while installing softwares. I understand that it means it will take a ...