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 does (the expression) “to stir the paint” mean?

In today's Family Guy episode, called Seahorse Seashell Party, when Meg was complaining to her mother Lois, her father Peter came to her and whispered something in her ear. Then Meg said: Meg: ...
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1answer
2k views

Meaning of Lyrics in “Diamonds on the Inside” [closed]

In Ben Harper's song, "Diamonds on the Inside", there is a verse that goes She made herself a bed of nails, And shes plannin' on puttin' it to use. I don't quite understand its meaning, ...
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2answers
1k views

Origin of “stop-gap”

What is the origin of the expression stop-gap? stop-gap: A temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need Where and how did this expression originate?
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6answers
1k views

What is the English expression for this facial expression? [closed]

Any expression for this?
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4answers
90k views

“Calling dibs” - what does it imply?

The term "to have dibs on something" or "to call dibs on something" plays a recurring role in American film and television (e.g. How I Met Your Mother), so it gets exported a lot. Wikipedia describes ...
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12answers
3k views

Expression that means something like “killing the sheep to keep them from being kidnapped”

I'm looking for an expression that conveys an excessive risk management approach that ends up having a worse effect than what it is trying to protect against.
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2answers
206 views

Is “There is no sewer one isn’t willing to swim in for one’s master” a popular expression?

I found the phrase, “There is no sewer he wasn’t willing to swim in for his master” in the following sentence in Jeffrey Archer’s novel, “False Impression.” “Fenston looked down at a man who had ...
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3answers
695 views

How did the phenomenon of doubling words come about?

I am referring to phrases such as: "Do you like her, or do you like like her." Can someone provide an explanation of this? There are many more examples but none come to mind at the moment.
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6answers
471 views

“Not hindered with any knowledge”

In Dutch we use the translated equivalent of not hindered with any knowledge to indicate somebody without any knowledge on the subject. It is not necessarily negative. It can mean that somebody is ...
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2answers
11k views

How to use the idiom “in force”

I'm wondering how to correctly use the idiom "in force". Often "active" can be used instead, but are there any situations in which "in force" can be used and "active" cannot, or vice versa? More ...
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4answers
1k views

“A half a cup of [something]”

Watching a cooking show a few days ago, the lady that presented it used the expression a half a cup or a half a teaspoon several times during the programme. I've heard half a [something] used before ...
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1answer
6k views

Common expressions of surprise in American and British English [closed]

I'm trying to learn English and I would like to know what are the expressions of surprise with positive meaning (slang or not, but not vulgar) currently used in spoken English for USA and Britain. Is ...
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0answers
111 views

What is the origin of the term “nose bleed” section? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What's the reason for calling cheap seats at the theatre nosebleed seats? When referring to the section of the stadium farthest from the stage/field, it is not ...
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4answers
38k views

One for the money, two for the show

What does the expression [x] for the money mean? I remember hearing the topic title in a rap song (can’t remember which, might be Eminem), and there seem to be movies named after this pattern: ...
2
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3answers
82 views

Is it always possible to say ‘he was (time) in doing’ instead of ‘it took him (time) to do’?

I’m not so familiar with the expression ‘he was (time) in doing’, but it seems to be used here and there and obviously mean ‘it took him (time) to do. When would you want to use the phrase? Are they ...
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4answers
5k views

Meaning of “cavorting with various women”

I've heard of the expression cavorting with various women. Apparently, Google says the original expression is cavorting with the enemy, but I take that the definition is slightly different then. What ...
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of “whiffling and waffling”

I heard the expression whiffling and waffling all over the place but can't find a definition for it. Maybe it's a misspelling. What does it mean?
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5answers
94k views

Where does the phrase “on the lam” come from?

According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, lam means: "flight," as in on the lam, 1897, from a U.S. slang verb meaning "to run off" (1886), of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow from the ...
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14answers
208k views

Different ways to say “you're welcome” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do native English speakers respond to “Thank you”? Can “Sure” be used to respond to “Thanks”? Is “not at all” still alive and doing well? I'm getting ...
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3answers
120 views

How much is he keen not to do something when he’s saying “I do never – if I can help it”?

I guess ‘if I can help it’ is a kind of ‘if possible’. It seems help means to prevent or avoid. By the way, how much are the speakers keen not to do something in the following sentences? I can’t ...
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3answers
10k views

Proper way to say you haven't met someone

What options are there to politely say you haven't met someone yet? For example if you have a common acquaintance online who asks if you know each other. "I haven't had the pleasure to meet him yet" ...
3
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2answers
492 views

What is “taking gongs”?

What is the meaning, if any, of the expression "taking gongs"? I know what a gong is (a large Oriental cymbal). But I don't understand the expression in the context of the following article: ...
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3answers
2k views

“Writer's writer” — who can say it?

When someone says: This author is a writer's writer. I understand that as meaning the author is accomplished and generally excellent. It's a bit fuzzy in my mind how it can mean this, but I can ...
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2answers
2k views

Is the expression “to float someone's boat” possible outside of “Whatever floats your boat”?

According to the Urban Dictionary, the expression "whatever floats your boat" means [...] whatever "soothes your soul" or whatever "works best" Aka- Whatever you feel like doing. Is it possible ...
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2answers
9k views

The meaning and origin of “hedge your bets”

What exactly does it mean? And what is the origin of the phrase "hedge your bets"?
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3answers
1k views

“Seal the Deal” literally?

I am familiar with "seal the deal" only as an expression. I assume it has a history in literal use. If so, was "seal" the process of stamping/imprinting, or the process of securing a containing ...
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2answers
234 views

What do you call “gift CDs” that you select music for manually?

Is there a special word or phrase for a CD with a carefully picked playlist you made for a particular person, often given as a gift?
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3answers
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What does military plane’s escort (of an American Airlines flight) was “out of abundance of caution”’mean?

I listen to AP Radio News, and I heard the following report on September 12: “Two military planes were sent to intercept an American Airlines flight headed for New York from Los Angeles after reports ...
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2answers
273 views

Meaning of a saying about the difference between L.A. and New York [closed]

What is the meaning of the following? The difference between L.A. and New York is that in New York when you get robbed, you see the gun... UPD: Below is a part of the original discussion: ...
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7answers
17k views

Origin of the of the phrase “feeling blue”

Where did the expression "feeling blue" come from?
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5answers
2k views

“Vitriol” vs “caustic comments”

In choosing whether to use the expression He spewed his usual vitriol or He spewed his usual caustic comments does one carry more weight than the other?
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3answers
740 views

Is there a more abstract word for infrastructure?

I am thinking a lot about infrastructure these days. My definition of infrastructure is "something, which facilitates other things, but does not by itself fulfill the need of a person". An example is ...
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10answers
4k views

Idiom: People caring about minor stuff while something terrible is happening

Imagine a situation in which the whole place is on fire, a bomb is about to explode, everyone is running for their lives and someone is checking his looks on the mirror... pretty inappropriate for the ...
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13answers
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Is there an idiom for people who boast too much?

I am looking for idioms or informal/slang/colloquial expression for some people that make you think that they are able of building a skyscraper, constructing a spaceship, playing the piano better than ...
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6answers
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How do you call the sound of a bell?

If you want to describe the sound of a small brass bell that you can hold in your hand (this is an example image of what I mean - what word would you use? Brrring? Bling?
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2answers
1k views

How is “lay bare” sexual?

In the latest Futurama episode, there was a scene with the dialogue: Professor: Now, for the first time, we may be able to see the infinitesimal fabric of matter itself, laying bare the most ...
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5answers
3k views

Meaning and origin of “the grind of my day”

Somebody told me today in chat: before i get into the grind of my day... is there anything you are waiting on from us or need asap? What does the expression the grind of my day mean? Where does ...
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1answer
556 views

Laughing somebody out of town/court/the room

I heard of this expression: We were laughed out of the room After googling for it, it seems there are 2 more variations to it: laughing somebody out of town laughing somebody out of court I ...
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2answers
2k views

“Why and for what reasons”

I saw "Why and for what reasons […]" here and it seems to be present in other places. Is it pure redundancy, or does the asker expect an anwer in two parts ("why" and "for what reasons")? If it is ...
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3answers
8k views

What’s the meaning of “if that” at the end of a sentence?

I find it often after a number. What does it mean and what is that? It’d be nice if you could help me. (from Google search) Some books that are more than 100 years old still won't sell for more ...
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1answer
917 views

Looking for word/expression/idiom that describes “difficult to describe driving directions”

On lives in a part of town which has new roads most cab drivers don't know. In effect, one needs to direct the driver to the part of town, instead of just saying "take me to street X that intersects ...
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1answer
2k views

Reveling in the past

Can the phrase "reveling in the past" also mean "to live in the past"? Also, is it spelled "reveling" or "revelling" as the online Merriam-Webster dictionary shows it both ways?
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1answer
3k views

How far back in time does “recent past” mean in the following sentence when applying for law enforcement? [closed]

How far back in time does "recent past" mean in the following sentence when applied to law enforcement? Have you used Marijuana or any illicit narcotics within the recent past?
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3answers
6k views

Why (and since when) is prostitution called “the world's oldest profession”? [closed]

According to Wikipedia, the phrase the world's second oldest profession is "spying" and the world's oldest profession is prostitution. I was always raised with the understanding that prostitution was ...
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8answers
4k views

What is a word or expression to describe anxiety about the passing of time?

What is a word or expression to describe a feeling of anxiety about the passing of time? I am not referring to boredom which refers to not having anything to do or being dissatisfied with what I'm ...
4
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1answer
23k views

Meaning of “rolling stone”

In the song Papa Was a Rollin' Stone, what does rolling stone mean?
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2answers
171k views

What does “Many, many happy returns of the day” mean in context of a birthday?

Today I saw a birthday card which says: Many, many happy returns of the day. Can you help me understand what it means?
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12answers
8k views

Looking for idiom/expression to describe an instance where one makes something seem better than it really is

Maybe the example would help to describe the expression I am looking for: Say - a sub-par school or organization makes a promotional video, whereby they make the school look way better than it ...
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6answers
6k views

Origin of “hashing out plans”

What is the origin of the expression hashing out plans? I can't find a definition when googling for: definition "to hash out plans" definition "hash out plans" definition "hashing out plans"
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3answers
11k views

Origins and meaning of “can you not”

What is the origin and meaning of the phrase can you not? To my ear, it has an archaic tone, but searches yield entries in the urban dictionary, along with one quote from Sense and Sensibility. Its ...