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 might “knock me over with a feather” mean?

I recently received a text message which read: "well, knock me over with a feather!" It was in response to a statement which may or may not have been surprising (I honestly have no idea). Has anyone ...
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5answers
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What do I do when I hear 'Say cheese!'?

Photographers seems to love to say this. Is this still considered funny?
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4answers
4k views

What does “to bleed something” mean?

In Bloomberg magazine, I saw this sentence: Rust Belt states that have bled manufacturing jobs. Does it mean they have lost the jobs or gained more jobs?
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6k views

origin of phrase 'stone the crows'

Just as the title says — where, and how, did the phrase 'stone the crows' originate?
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4answers
632 views

Is there a word for someone who is not aware of how pretty or handsome he/she is? [closed]

Is there a word or an idiom that describes someone who is beautiful but unaware of it?
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3answers
386 views

Origin of My thing

When did the term "my thing" as in "that is my thing" come into usage?
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996 views

Where did the expression “it's lonely at the top” come from?

Some variations of this are it's lonely at the top but you eat better and it's lonely at the top but the view is nice a look at google ngrams seems to suggest it started to pick up in the ...
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7answers
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“Food for thought” in a word

How can I express "food for thought" in a word? Does such a word exist? Example usage: The world will only know peace when our love for power is exceeded by our power to love. That's __ ...
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What's a noun for the group of people who you're very close to, such as family, friends, relatives, and significant others?

If I wanted to describe all of the people close to someone such as their close friends, family, relatives, and spouse/significant other, how would I do so with one noun? The simplest 'noun' that ...
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what does “lost a shilling and found a penny” mean?

I am translating a British story and I came across this expression "you look like you lost a shilling and found a penny". I am not sure I understand what it means.
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Is “and then some” an offensive expression?

I started an internal email discussion with the title "Editorial: link issues, some spelling issues and then some". However, upon rereading my own mail, it occurred to me that this might express ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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What is the meaning of the expression “we have a ball game”? [closed]

I've heard the phrase, "We gotta ball game". It could also be "We have a ball game". But I don't understand the meaning of "having a ball game". If anyone has heard this expression before, please ...
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313 views

What does “our Mayan moment” mean here?

In a brief article I read, it is stated that: For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment: 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between ...
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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?
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7k views

Meaning of “Ain't Seen Nothing Yet”

Was a little surprised I couldn't find a previous question asking about the phrase "Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". I try to decode its meaning every time I hear the song of the same name by Bachman Turner ...
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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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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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Expression for advantages of solution being disadvantages of alternatives

Is there some expression for situations where you can conclude that a solution's advantages are the same as the disadvantages of alternative solutions?
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4answers
339 views

Is “bestowing anonymity” the right term or expression?

Is bestowing anonymity the right way to say "keeping someones identity secret?" Basically the author is writing about someone, a fallen dictator and his nasty goings on, without using the name of the ...
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3answers
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Unclear use of the word “our”

When we say "Our team worked hard", then is it expected to refer the speaker + his own team OR the speaker + listener + their team together? Because in both these cases OUR is common word to be used! ...
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4answers
4k views

“You belong to me” or “You belong with me” [closed]

What's the difference between the titular expressions? if any, at all. Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries could not help!!
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4answers
396 views

Is there an expression for the feeling of wishing you had met someone earlier?

Is there a single word or perhaps short phrase to express the feeling one gets when they meet someone amazing, say the love of their life, and wishes that they had met sooner? A cognate would be ...
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2answers
243 views

Something like antonym for “dependent”

Let's suppose I have two objects – A and B. They are a pair. I mean that we will name them considering them one logic unit. For example: If I call A as "driven", then B will be called "leading" ...
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426 views

Is there a general name for this: “The more you X the more you'll Y”

Some more examples: "The more you want the more you need." "The sooner you mow the lawn the sooner you'll be able to relax." Maybe there's not a name for this specifically, but is there a name ...
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3answers
443 views

If we can fall in love, why can't we fall in anger?

Although we can look back in anger, we can't fall into it. I might argue that the phrase, to fall in love, has something to do with being helpless, of letting go and losing control. But what ...
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1answer
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What's the name for a part of speech which is not quite rhetorical, but not expected to be answered directly, either?

What's the name for a part of speech which is not quite rhetorical, but not expected to be answered directly, either? I know the word exists, it refers to greetings such as "How are you" and similar. ...
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Why do the words ducky and jake mean fine or satisfactory?

Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary acknowledges both ducky and jake as acceptable terms meaning fine or satisfactory and it dates the word ducky back to 1897 and jake to 1914. Does anyone know how ...
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Oh my God, Oh my Lord, Oh my Gosh

What are the differences between them? Is there a cultural and/or social interference? Do young people say "Oh my Gosh" more than others?
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“<verb> off of” expressions [duplicate]

It seems there is a relatively recent trend of using expression "〈verb〉 off of": https://www.google.com/search?q=%22*+off+of%22 ...
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8answers
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Word/phrase for “treating the problem rather than the symptom”?

Is there a word that means the equivalent (or close to) the expression "treat the problem rather than the symptom" ? If not, is there a concise way to say this? For example, in discussing ...
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3answers
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Is “Girls will be girls” the counterpart of “Boys will be boys”? [closed]

It seems that "Boys will be boys" is a well established idiom and, according to Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed, as it is written on The Free Dictionary, it is "something that you say which means ...
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1answer
327 views

English equivalent for a Portuguese saying on “bad company”

In Brazilian Portuguese, we have: "The bird who goes around with a bat wakes up hanging upside down" Original: "Passarinho que anda com morcego amanhece de cabeça pra baixo" The literal meaning ...
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377 views

What is the meaning of “greasing the pan”?

In a tutorial, the instructor says: We've greased the pan, now it's time to pour in the batter. The tutorial is technical (IT), and has nothing to do with cooking, so what is the meaning of the ...
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2answers
673 views

What's the origin of the phrase “God's clean earth”, and how long has it been around? [closed]

"It isn't every day a man wakes up to discover he's a screaming bender with no more right to live on God's clean Earth than a weasel." - Dr. Leech, "Blackadder II" What's the origin of that ...
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2answers
660 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
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1answer
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Why does 'dead on' mean 'very accurate'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the phrase “dead simple” originate? According to Wiktionary, the phrase 'dead on' means 'very accurate' or 'exactly at'. This is also how I have used the ...
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2answers
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“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 ...
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3answers
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“I think …” or “In my opinion…” or “From my point of view…”

If I want to express my opinion about something, what's the most correct form? What are the differences? What is more formal and what more colloquial? For example, in Italian, nobody says In my ...
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2answers
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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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Is it “as God is my witness,“ or ”as God as my witness"? [closed]

I have seen both "as God is my witness", which makes sense but sort of puts God in a supportive role, and "as God as my witness", which sounds wrong to me but I don't know, might be an olde tyme ...
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3answers
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How can I use “with the tools in hand”? [closed]

"With the tools in hand" Can I use this expression to say that, with the new learning I have received, I have the means to do something...?
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1answer
95 views

In any but the most vestigial and nostalgic way…?

Once again, here I am with a question raised by the highly unintelligable Hitchens... It can be equally useful and instructive to take a glimpse at the closing of religions, or religious movements. ...
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1answer
70 views

“Preventing them to wrap” vs “Preventing them from wrapping”

I've found on StackOverflow an old answer written by me, in which I've used the first form. Reading it now, it sounds weird and wrong; I am inclined to think that the second form is the only one ...
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5answers
985 views

Is there a common expression for someone who “always holds a mobile phone in hand”?

I would like to know if there is a typical expression or phrase, used by native speakers, for someone who always has their mobile phone in their hand. I would prefer a spoken expression rather than ...
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2answers
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A “Frankenstein's monster” similar metaphors

Although originally it's a novel character, a "Frankenstein's monster" became a metaphor for "something that cannot be controlled and that attacks or destroys the person who invented it." However, are ...
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8answers
332 views

Is there a word or expression for someone who takes an over-optimistic view of things?

Someone who takes an over-optimistic view of himself, his own country and all other things that have meaning/value to him. And who doesn't see or admit the smaller, yet not insignificant, things. E.g. ...
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Is there a difference between “Wrong or Right” and “Right or Wrong”

I was writing about the difference between morals and ethics when i wrote the following line both these terms talk about the right and wrong conduct of people both these terms talk about the ...
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Has the meaning to the question “Do you mind” changed ?

When a person asks "Do you mind if I ..." The response now days seems to be "Yes ..sure go ahead" which to me means they DO mind.. I hear this constantly on TV and in the work place, it just seems ...
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Why does 'pine feather period' signify the period in a woman's life when she blossoms?

A book titled Flappers 2 Rappers lists youth slang from the 1920s, and one of the terms it lists is "pine feather period." "Pine feather period" is defined as a period in a woman's life when she ...