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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

50
votes
4answers
6k views

Why “Speak of the devil”?

Why is the expression "Speak of the devil" and not "Speaking of the devil"? For me, the -ing would make more sense because you're currently talking about someone, when he/she appears. For example, if ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

“Mic” as an abbreviation for microwave

Last week, I was among a group of friends and commented on the fact that someone had removed a sticker from their microwave. I used the word "mic" to abbreviate microwave, and people thought I was ...
20
votes
5answers
36k views

Why do some people say “Happy New Years” with an “s” at the end of “years”?

Why do some people say "Happy New Years" (with an "s" at the end of "years")? Here are some examples on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/search/%22happy%20new%20years%22 It seems like "year" should be ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

The meaning of the phrase “make-believe”

In a recent Facebook post for a friend of mine, he used the phrase make-believe in the sentence to indicate a bad pretending habit of some institute. His usage was similar to saying: Just keep ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

When did we start talking about “going viral”?

I am trying to determine when the phrase "going viral" was first used. Similarly, when did the phrases "viral video" and "viral marketing" get their start? I have looked online at various sites, but ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

After losing weight, how do I say I can wear my belt tighter?

So, yes, I have been losing weight, so far down 4kg and 2 to 3 inches in waist. I am happy and when I was trying to say to someone that now I can wear my belt tighter, I don't know how to say it ...
8
votes
4answers
23k views

Is the sentence “We're done” grammatically correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: I'm done or I've done When the class is over, our lecturer always says "OK, we're done." Is this sentence grammatically correct? Isn't it a passive form, which ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

what does as many as (two hundred pizza) mean? [closed]

I read an article saying: I delivered as many as two hundred pizzas! Is this correct? What does it mean, as many as two? Is is similar to about, maximum, or almost?
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Are there any Ramadan greetings? [closed]

Is there a traditional or common greeting for Ramadan? People who celebrate Christmas routinely wish each other "Merry Christmas". At Hanukkah we say "Happy Hanukkah," etc. Do Moslems have a greeting ...
8
votes
2answers
53k views

Meaning and origin of “That dog don't hunt”

Is That dog don't hunt an American slang expression? What does it mean exactly and where does it originate? If possible, please give some examples.
0
votes
2answers
6k views

Full of (piss|pith) and vinegar

Re: the expression: "Full of (piss|pith) and vinegar" Are both correct/acceptable? Is one preferred?
4
votes
3answers
11k views

How to describe someone who doesn't listen well [closed]

How would you describe someone who doesn't listen well? I don't mean someone who has hearing problems. I mean someone who doesn't finish listening and starts interrupting the conversation.
4
votes
3answers
12k views

“Don't mistake me”

Many times during conversation I hear the phrase Don't mistake me. Is it grammatically correct when used to mean Don't take negative connotation of my word. Shouldn't they say Don't take me by ...
2
votes
5answers
492 views

Adjective for the likes of someone who consistently has a hard time finishing what s/he has started?

What adjective would you suggest for the like of someone who consistently has a hard time finishing what s/he has started? I thought of the word "distracted", but I don't feel it's sufficient to ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What adjective would you use to describe someone who uses the right vocab consistently?

I thought of precise, but not entirely sure even after checking a dictionary. Would you think it is the best choice?
1
vote
1answer
554 views

Can “to revolve around” mean “to deal with/pertain to”?

... around which the book revolves. Can I use this expression to say that the book is dealing with a subject, addressing an issue, or talking about something? I'm open to suggestions if there is a ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How old is the expression “as if”?

It's a pretty simple question, but just to clarify, I am talking about the expression used by itself, not just in a sentence. So not: — Have you seen Ted? — Yes! He flew through here as if his ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a “cracker-barrel sage”?

What is a cracker-barrel sage? Context: The influence of many years spent in America talking to (and often down to) Americans also gave his performance a kind of Barnum quality: Hitchens the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the meaning, and origin, of the phrase “breaking windows with guineas”?

Regarding the phrase: Breaking windows with guineas What is its meaning, and origin? The 'guineas' part of it might mean more to the British audience on this site than the others.
1
vote
0answers
1k views

“Describes me to the 'T'” - why not the to the “E” or some other letter? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin of “Fits [x] to a T”? I was about to tell someone that the article they shared "described me to the 'T'" only to realize that, while I understand the ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

“It's working for me”: correct? [closed]

This question came to my mind, while working with StackOverflow. Whenever a solution to a question is posted, I usually see people writing: "It's working for me". I somehow do not like this ...
4
votes
1answer
609 views

“Concerned of Tunbridge Wells” - what is the etymology of the name?

What is the origin of "Concerned of Tunbridge Wells" - a possibly fictitious writer of letters to the editor? Can anyone dig out a definitive etymology for the term, or is it just a conflation of ...
0
votes
2answers
245 views

An expression for law students using “tuppence”

Has anyone heard of an expression, from the Renaissance or older, containing the word "tuppence" which describes a student of the law or someone without a great deal of experience or training in it?
3
votes
2answers
10k views

“All but convinced” as a way of saying that one is, in fact, convinced? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “All but” idiom has two meanings? It seems kind of counterintuitive, but saying that: I'm all but convinced that ponies eat leprechauns. means ...
4
votes
2answers
718 views

Original use of kosher in the English lanuage

Recently I saw a post on the meta.rpg.se site that asked When is editing your answer not kosher?, and it got me thinking. Why is the word Kosher used, instead of, for example, Halal, Permissible, or ...
18
votes
3answers
221k views

What is the origin of the phrase “Top of the morning to you”?

Each morning, a colleague of mine greets me with the phrase: Top of the morning to you! I've tried to figure out what the meaning of this really is and how to properly respond, however there ...
7
votes
5answers
559 views

How can I express “sacrificing ease for quality” in a common expression?

I'm really having a hard time to even phrase the sentence I'm looking for, sorry! Examples would include: A programmer telling someone he wrote a small piece of code directly in assembly instead of ...
37
votes
6answers
22k views

What's the meaning of the word “brand” in the expression “brand new”?

What meanings might be conveyed by something being called brand new, as opposed to it simply being called new? What's behind the word brand here?
0
votes
2answers
379 views

If a high attrition rate is observed in a workforce, how do you state it as a characteristic of a generalized individual? Highly Mobile?

Here's the context: Statement: Attrition among the X workforce is high. Now I want to specify this at an individual's context. As in: "The X worker is __" What is the correct term here? The X worker ...
3
votes
1answer
923 views

Post-fixing or pre-fixing “mind you” onto an informative/descriptive statement

Example: It was quite a sunny day, mind you. or in the middle: It was quite a sunny day, mind you, so I packed my sunglasses. or prefixed: Now mind you, it was quite a sunny day... ...
5
votes
3answers
52k views

What is the meaning of “way better” [closed]

I sometimes hear people use "I hope you feel way better","This is way more than I was expecting" and etc. Could you explain this type of usage and what is the difference between "feeling better" and ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Difficult and rare words/expressions that never show up in vocabulary lists

I've come quite far in my studies of the English language; ask me what "eleemosynary," "perspicacious" or "rambunctious" means and I'll give you an instant definition. But I'm still not on a native ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “looking to” acceptable English in this use?

Recently there is dramatic increase in the use of looking to verb as in: Jeff is looking to start something big. Is this acceptable grammar? Why is it recently popular? What could best be ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Do you use “pick nits”? [closed]

Recently I have been watching What's my car worth? One person said several times, "I like to pick nits.", as in being a nitpicker. Do you use or have ever heard "pick nits"? It is used?
12
votes
5answers
42k views

Is “a ways to go” grammatically correct?

In English we often say, for example, "he still has a ways to go before he's done." Is this grammatically correct?
0
votes
3answers
3k views

To put more “weight/power” into a conclusion

I am trying to find an expression which would meet my needs. In the report that I am currently writing I would like to explain that I have done a certain action in order to "put more weight/power" ...
8
votes
7answers
7k views

Is there a phrase to say that someone's hidden intentions are revealed in his/her talk or movements?

Is there an English expression to say "Le jupon dépasse" to express the fact that someone's hidden intentions are revealed in his/her talk or movements?
2
votes
4answers
877 views

Good English expression for sorting this between ourselves?

If there is a problem at work and I want to convey to others at a similar level to me, that I would like to solve the problem "between ourselves" and not involve the boss or management - is there a ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

Emotions: “running high” or “riding high”?

Quickly Googling both phrases brings up a number of results (mostly from sports websites) for each phrase; is one of the two in wider use and/or more correct?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of “thespian pin” [closed]

What does it mean that a boy gave his girlfriend even his thespian pin? And they are so in love! He even gave her his thespian pin or something.
10
votes
7answers
1k views

What do British and American post boxes say when they don't want any advertising?

Advertising leaflets shoved en masse into mail boxes are one of the banes of modern society. In Germany, putting a note saying "Bitte keine Werbung" ("No advertising please") on your box protects ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Common expression for “frame conditions” for a working concept/process

In German, the common expression "Rahmenbedingungen" (used both as plural and singular) relates, for example, to a set of conditions necessary for a business idea to work out (e.g. low taxes and wages ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a word or an expression that describes the bad mood caused by bad weather?

"Gloomy" comes to my mind naturally for God knows what reason. I'm not sure it's appropriate or not. Maybe some even better words or expressions?
3
votes
4answers
925 views

Expression for temporarily moving into a another place

I am looking for an expression that emphasizes moving into a friends place without having to paying rent. Only because your friend is doing you a favor. I am planning to using it in the line below. ...
4
votes
6answers
21k views

Phrases that would be similar to “Tip of the Iceberg” but with a positive connotation

I am looking for phrases that would be similar in meaning to 'tip of the iceberg,' but has a positive connotation. My understanding is that 'tip of the iceberg' has a negative "hidden" connotation. ...
5
votes
2answers
343 views

“Gnashing teeth” - why only teeth?

Why is it always "gnash one's teeth"? Is anything else ever gnashed?
3
votes
8answers
7k views

Word for situation in which there is no alternative

What is a word to describe the situation in which there is no alternative or something cannot be helped? I am looking for a neutral word, similar to impotent, instead of the slightly negative ...
-4
votes
1answer
432 views

Adj + Noun + Verb to be + Same Adj

Is this a natural grammar or some kind of joke/internet meme? Cute girl is cute. Poor child is poor. Troll topic is troll.
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Term for pleasure or joy obtained on top of others' misery or unhappiness [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: An idiom for deriving pleasure from another's suffering We often experience the following: We feel happy when our fellow classmates get a bad grade and not ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Is there an alternative expression for 'opening band' or 'opening act'? [closed]

The question says it all. Together with a colleague we were looking for this. We both had the feeling that there's another way to say it.