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

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3
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3answers
117 views

Sound distortion from microphone or amplifier etc. - what do we call it?

I live near a temple and during the morning prayer, more often than not, the loudspeaker would produce a jarring sound. Is there a single word for the sound distortion from micrphone or amplifier. ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Is “you best should run” correct english?

Many people say "you best should go to sleep" "you best should borrow a book from the library" Is it strictly correct English? what is the technical description for such a figure of speech? Is it ...
3
votes
2answers
496 views

A fatal accident vs a fateful accident [closed]

fatal/adjective/causing death. fateful/adjective/ having far-reaching and often disastrous consequences or implications. My team-leader survived a life-threatening injury, when back to work, an ...
3
votes
2answers
90 views

Clasping arms when cold: how does one say that?

How does one say in English when, as a reaction to cold, a person crosses their arms, grabbing their own shoulders? It is a very common gesture, not shrugging as "I don't care", but to keep the cold ...
3
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4answers
171 views

Origin of My thing

When did the term "my thing" as in "that is my thing" come into usage?
4
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4answers
80 views

Is there a term for extracting a cultural element from its originating environment and placing it in a foreign and contrived context?

I have a nagging feeling there’s a word or term for this practice. The example that lead to this question has to do with a food truck. A bar/restaurant in my city has apparently had an actual truck ...
2
votes
3answers
229 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Is there a term to describe phrases like “vulcan mind meld”, “circle the wagons”, “900 pound gorilla”?

My cube neighbor can't seem to say a sentence without using a phrase like I've included in the title. Is there term that characterizes phrases like these? More examples are "in the ballpark", "in my ...
0
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4answers
71 views

Survey Question

I have drafted an internal employee survey focused around "inclusion". One of the questions has been vetoed incorrect by my supervisor, while I maintain that the original is grammatically correct. ...
2
votes
4answers
108 views

Finding a better way to do something

Suppose my boss asked me to complete a task, and the standard method takes a week of my time. But I did some research and I found another method, which only takes a day, but is equally good! How ...
2
votes
4answers
511 views

What does “Screw motivation” mean? [closed]

There is an essay whose title is Screw motivation, what you need is discipline. I can understand its main idea, but can not figure out the exactly meaning of Screw motivation in the title. Could you ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

I can surely do it for you [duplicate]

I can surely do it for you.. Is the use of surely correct or shall I replace it with certainly without change in meaning.
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Is “would you be keen to consider___?” too cheesy to use?

On a formal / professional email, is the following question acceptable, or is it too much politeness it looks unprofessional? The intention is to ask someone, who is not a subordinate, to do ...
0
votes
1answer
135 views

Is “By one side, …, by the other side” a correct expression?

I've come across the formulation by one side, by other side instead of on the one hand/side and on the other hand/side. I strongly suspect this to be wrong and maybe Brazilian Portuguese originated, ...
0
votes
3answers
53 views

What is a antonym of 'disaster time' in a formal report?

Is it 'peacetime' or 'ordinary time'? I need to submit a formal report describing a difference of human behavior in disaster time and ordinary time. What is formal antonym of 'disaster time'? ...
29
votes
5answers
3k views

Origins of “turn over in his grave”?; “turn over in her grave”? etc., etc

The best result of my google-search for the origins of the idiomatic phrase, “turn over in the grave” was this, from wikipedia: One of the earliest uses is found in William Thackeray's 1849 work ...
3
votes
1answer
776 views

“xxxx it is then!”, what does it really mean?

Every now and then, I hear others say "xxxx it is then", e.g. "10:30am it is then", "$200 it is then", I myself sometimes say this too, as a means to confirm some arrangement I suspect I did not hear ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

What does the expression “You're just one more hand me down” in this song mean? [closed]

Someday they'll find your small town world on a big town avenue Gonna make you like the way they talk when they're talking to you Gonna make you break out of the shell cause they tell you to Gonna ...
9
votes
13answers
1k views

Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
1
vote
2answers
74 views

Are there any special words or phrases for people that were emigrating in history?

Are there any special words or phrases for people that were emigrating in history (18th, 19th, 20th centuries)? Or maybe the words which were used in that time and how were people calling the ...
5
votes
4answers
127 views

Eulogy : Praise , what would be an equivalent to “criticize”

Usually a eulogy makes the dead person sound a lot more impressive than they really were. A couple of less common synonyms for this kind of "praise the dead" speech are panegyric and ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

What does “a riff on Shakespeare” mean?

I have a pretty good idea of what this means already. For example, Beckett's riff on Hamlet in Waiting for Godot: What are we doing here, that is the question. But I'd like to be a little more ...
-1
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1answer
39 views

Does 'Digressing others' make sense? [closed]

One of my friends said the other day: 'Digressing others is a part of my job' Does this phrase make sense?
5
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6answers
437 views

Ways of saying “to get into a relationship.”

For love you have to fall in love. How about relationships? I'm not an native English speaker so the only ones I can think of are: to stumble into a relationship and to dive into a relationship ...
-1
votes
1answer
104 views

The meaning of “ haut to trot”?

What's the meaning of this expression " Modelling : She's haut to trot !"
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Word or expression for to describe the creation of a question [closed]

I'm trying to find an active way of say something like "I was looking through the backlog and I acquired the following question". Perhaps a less casual way of saying "I was looking through the backlog ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

What would be a word or phrase for “ missing parts of books or manuscripts”

I was reading a Sanskrit manuscript and realized that pages 12 to 19 were missing... I would simply call those pages as "missing pages", however, is there a word or phrase for such missing parts? ...
0
votes
2answers
171 views

What is meant by “we got a live one” in following context?

Here is the clip from "Finding Nemo" where "live one" was used. http://youtu.be/zycSnw5PP0g?t=2m19s
0
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2answers
33 views

what is a word or a phrase to convey -" no more?

What is a word or a phrase to say when we had too much of something weird. Example- An enthusiastic friend takes me to a play and its puzzling and rather unimpressive to me and I want to yell- ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

How to say “in the strict … of the term”?

I am not quite sure if the following expression makes sense in English: in the strict meaning of the term Is it right? Should the word meaning be replaced by sense? The meaning of the phrase ...
6
votes
6answers
282 views

Is there a word for “colors in the order of the rainbow”?

I was just wondering if there is a word for having the colors in the same order as the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)? (Like when words are in the order of the alphabet we say ...
0
votes
3answers
187 views

Advertise a House for RENT - how to describe it positively when its completely run-down [closed]

I have a house that I need to rent out but it's old and completely run-down. The house will be demolished in a year or two when the owner is ready to develop the land. What buzz words or phrases can ...
1
vote
6answers
101 views

What's a phrase for when: to do A, you first need to B, but to do B you first need to do C, etc? [duplicate]

Say you need to change a light bulb, but to do that you need to get a ladder, but to get the ladder you need to get into the tool shed, but to get into the tool shed you need to find the key, etc. ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

Foot/head of stairs

I just want to confirm that I am right about these expressions. The "foot of the stairs" is the bottom of the staircase, and the "head of the stairs" is the top, correct? Are these expressions ...
0
votes
3answers
70 views

Be with the FBI [closed]

Why do they (e.g. characters in american movies) say "he's with the FBI" or "she's with O.I.A" instead of for instance "he's from the FBI" or simply "he works for the FBI"? Is the expression "be with ...
0
votes
1answer
195 views

Meaning of 'head screwed tightly to one's shoulders' [closed]

I came across a comment on The Economist article about hardships people working on lower wages or living off disability payments face. In one of the comments, one commentator narrates a story of a ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Adjectives to describe a big human achievement vs. a quick achievement

Premise: It took 13 years and 3 billion dollars to sequence the first human genome by scientists. What would be an adjective to describe this feat? However, now a new software can do the ...
7
votes
7answers
587 views

The statues were unheralded for almost a century - a better idiom/phrase

British experts found two rare bronze statues crafted by Michelangelo. What idiom or phrase can describe either the state or the period for which the invaluable piece of art remained hidden from ...
4
votes
2answers
139 views

Is the idiom “cotton to” still heard in parts and, if so, where?

To "cotton to" is an idiom born of the cotton industry, meaning to get to know or understand something. In the textile industry, when a fiber cottons, it does a good job of blending in with other ...
7
votes
1answer
318 views

Why does a Cheshire cat grin, and how long has it been doing so?

Most people are familiar with the expression "grin like a Cheshire cat" from Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (1865), which goes so far as to provide a glimpse of the grin without the cat. But the ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

some days the pigeon, some days the statue [closed]

There is a common expression in english - "some days the pigeon, and some days the statue". The meaning is self explanatory- Certain days go really well, while other days are pathetic. Can you guys ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Express Emphasis without using Italics or Underline

Are there any methods to express emphasis without using italics or underline? I find that there are many cases where formatting does not allow italics, even if emphasis would add to the text greatly. ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

“Branching Factor” in military and industrial organizations?

In math, branching factor measures the (average) number of descendants in a tree; e.g., the branching factor of a binary tree is 2. How is the same number called when applied to the military (usually ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

Is “from … over … to …” correct?

I came across a title with a "from A over B to C" structure, namely "Facts and events from the USA over the UK to Australia" Now, I personally think this is incorrect (potentially a carbon copy ...
22
votes
9answers
2k views

Has “aught” survived in common usage?

In a movie that I watched recently, I heard- for aught I know, for aught I care. I work with a lot of native speakers, and they all told me it's not in formal or informal usage anymore. ...
33
votes
9answers
4k views

Person who pretends to not understand unless one speaks in exactly the words they expect [duplicate]

I just realized there are some people around my workplace who always try to correct me when using a certain word, saying that that's not how I should speak, and I should use other words (the ones ...
2
votes
5answers
142 views

Whats the word for an missed event? [closed]

I am looking for a fitting end to this sentence: With so many members around I refrained from speaking up and now my wish/plan to have a private conversation with the leader remains ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

How can “in touch with” be used figuratively?

I am sure that we can say “get in touch with someone”, to mean figuratively that we are in good contact. Can I go further to use it more figuratively, e.g., to say that “my brother is not in touch ...
1
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0answers
111 views

What does “give sufficient notice” means? [closed]

Could anyone please explain to me what the expression "give sufficient notice" means ? and in which situation this expression is used ? I cannot find it on any dictionary except ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

How to express “prefer in order”

Let say, I am a little boy and my mother had several fruits (orange, apple, banana,...) and she asked me which one which I like, but she was not sure if she could give me that fruit ( I don't know why ...