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

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“Yeah Right” expression

Where does "Yeah right" come from? Can it be used in a formal writing? If not, what is a good alternative?
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3answers
35k views

why do we say scorching hot while scorching already means very hot?

Scorching means extremely hot. So why do we say scorching hot? Isn't it redundant to bring hot after scorching?
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2answers
2k views

Touch the blue paper

I have recently heard that phrase (touch the blue paper) from a native English speaker¹. Is it an erroneous alteration of the expression light the blue touchpaper or is it a correct² phrase in its own ...
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2answers
1k views

“To increase competitiveness in” or “to increase competitiveness on”?

Which phrase is the correct one? to increase competitiveness in the EU labor market to increase competitiveness on the EU labor market
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2answers
1k views

to give options to “if you do not mind <much?>”

Can I tell "if you do not mind ?much?"? Or how can I leave me with some freedom in taking and changing a decision?
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3answers
454 views

How to determine if a “[something] fighter” fights for or against [something]?

In freedom fighter the fighter supports freedom. In fire fighter the fighter fights fire. How do you determine when it is the first or the second case? What is the meaning of spam fighter? @...
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5answers
829 views

In what context or situation (if any) would the words “try to see me” make sense?

If there is such possible situation, please, describe it. Please don't insert any punctuation between those words and keep their order intact.
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7answers
16k views

Is the expression “may or may not” semantically void?

I personally have a hard time accepting the use of "may or may not." To me, it seems as if "may" and "may not" effectively cancel each other out, so the semantics of the sentence in which it appears ...
6
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5answers
10k views

What is the origin of “that's using your noggin”?

I find myself using the phrase "that's using your noggin" in various situations, even though English is not my native language. Most likely I picked it up watching some tv show. I understand that "...
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3answers
169 views

Is it acceptable to drop “having” in “having to do with?”

I encountered a problem having to do with the connection… vs. I encountered a problem to do with the connection… Is the second option a legitimate expression?
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4answers
10k views

“in for a penny, in for a pound”

What does this mean? I'm English and I've never come across the meaning!
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1answer
7k views

What is the difference between an expression and a phrase?

I'm trying to decide what tags I should be using and realized I did not know the difference between these terms.
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3answers
12k views

Why does one scream blue murder?

To scream blue murder is to shout loudly and make a huge fuss, sometimes with the implication that the fuss is excessive. But does anyone know why murder should be blue?
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1answer
378 views

Is 'Blood libel' an established expression?

I came across the word, 'Blood libel,' apparently associated with Ms. Sarah Palin's agressive statement which was zeroed in at Democratic lowmakers in today's Washington Post. Neither Concise Oxford ...
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4answers
4k views

What does the expression 'Do the fish' mean?

I just recently heard this expression and couldn't quite figure out its meaning from the context, unless it means something like "take the bait." Is this a common expression? Is it perhaps an ...
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6answers
2k views

Properly refer to the turn of the year

During a meeting I was explaining a problem that only occurs once year: when one year ends and new one begins. Specifically during the first few days of the new year. Unfortunately, I was lost for ...
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2answers
180 views

meaing of the expression: It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity

"It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity." Read more
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3answers
56k views

What does “what's the catch” mean?

It sounds like a marketing term. Does it mean "However there are some points to take note"?
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2answers
1k views

What does 'outsize character' mean?

I saw the following sentence in today's New York Times: Despite questions about their coach's outsize personality, the Jets have won three playoff games in two seasons under Rex Ryan. As the ...
3
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3answers
387 views

Which one is the proper alternative ? niche / field / area / domain

I'm developing software that asks user to specify a niche / field / area / domain of the document he is uploading. It can be business proposal, technical documentation, official stuff, correspondence, ...
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8answers
29k views

What is the origin of the phrase “when push comes to shove”?

"When push comes to shove" means "as a last resort" or "if absolutely necessary". Does anyone know why the phrase came to be used in this way?
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2answers
2k views

What does “draw back a stump” mean?

What does it mean to "draw back a stump" in this sentence? "Keep touching me like that, and you'll draw back a stump."
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2answers
2k views

Etymology of “Scantily clad”

I'm aware of the meaning of "scantily clad", the internet gives some good clues on that (Side question: Does it have erotic implications in itself?). However, what do the actual words mean ("clad" ...
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2answers
247 views

Correct term or phrase for “unidirectional gaga”

I'm not sure if such a figure of speech exists in English, and "unidirectional gaga" is certainly not correct. But which wording expresses that a person becomes dumber from having exercised/performed ...
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4answers
5k 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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3answers
3k views

Strong Wind(s) or High Wind(s)?

Which one is more popular? I always used strong wind, but I found high winds also used some times.
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1answer
7k views

“Any ideas are appreciated” or “Any ideas would be appreciated”?

Lets say I'm asking a question on a popular question and answer website, and I want to close by saying that I will appreciate any submitted ideas. The first seems awkward because at the moment of ...
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3answers
5k views

“Insofar” or “in so far”

A quick search suggests that insofar is the American variant of the British in so far. I always assumed it belonged to the set of expressions like hitherto, heretofore, therefore and albeit. Is there ...
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4answers
6k views

What does “open up a vein” mean?

I found the phrase 'open up a vein of fury' in the article of today's Washington Post as shown below. The New Year's Day suicide bombing of a church that killed 21 people has opened up a vein of ...
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2answers
1k views

“Self-study” vs “self-education”

I got a book titled Self-study vocabulary practice. Can I replace self-study with self-education? Does it make sense to use self-learning in the statement of above?
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5answers
458 views

Is “it is no calculus” correct grammar?

I often hear people saying, it's no big deal, or I am no […], etc. I was wondering if it is acceptable to say it is no calculus in a college essay.
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2answers
3k views

Meaning of “Render onto Caesar the things which are Caesar's”

Render onto Caesar the things which are Caesar's What does this sentence mean?
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1answer
2k views

How to use “Knock [him/them] out of the water” — is this a common (if at all used) expression?

I can't seem to find much about this expression online, and its usage eludes me somewhat. I'm guessing that it's supposed to mean that someone is being overcome by another party, a winner in a ...
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3answers
13k views

What does the phrase “I have but one claim to fame” mean?

I would appreciate if someone could explain the meaning of the phrase "I have but one claim to fame". I understand every separate word, but the meaning of the whole phrase is fairly obscure to me, as ...
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1answer
1k views

Why do we say Undisclosed or Non-Disclosure instead of Closed or Closure

According to Wiktionary, disclosure's etymology comes from Latin dis-+clausus, literally away+enclosed. I wonder why do the term closed is not in common use as the term undisclosed. Not Not True is ...
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3answers
2k views

Use of “parley” meaning to convert?

I sometimes use the word "parley" as a verb effectively meaning "to convert from one language or system to another". Such as Stargate parleys the Egyptian deities into villainous star-faring ...
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5answers
10k views

How to use “you know”

For a non-native speaker like me, I am always wondering how to use you know correctly, as in the following sentence: Alright, well, for example, like on Saturdays, y’know, what I liked to do ...
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5answers
201k views

“Hear hear” or “here here”

Which one is it really: hear hear or here here? Where does the saying really come from?
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6answers
15k views

Where does the phrase “holy crap on a cracker” come from?

Where does the phrase "holy crap on a cracker" come from?
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5answers
12k views

What is the origin of the phrase “beyond the pale”?

What's the origin of the phrase 'beyond the pale'?
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4answers
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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2answers
4k views

Meaning of “AS FOR” expression [closed]

What is the meaning of the expression "as for others" in the sentence bellow: God does not have such a love for them as for others
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2answers
14k views

Where does the phrase “Scare the Dickens out of…” originate from?

Where does the phrase "Scare the Dickens out of..." originate from? And does it refer to Charles Dickens?
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1answer
993 views

pick of a bad lot

They are the pick of a bad lot. This is a sentence from a 1892 novel. What does that mean?
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2answers
204 views

Correct usage of “infringement of copyright”

Does the term infringement of copyright apply in the following situations? I am attending a training session conducted by a third-party training company. I want to audio record the sessions. Will ...
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3answers
20k views

“To date” versus “until now”

Is there a difference between these two expressions? Are they perfect synonyms?
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2answers
2k views

“drop the penny”

I was wondering what "drop the penny", "help get the penny to drop", or things similar mean? All I can understand is that it must be a metaphor. For example: simply trying to repeat things in ...
7
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1answer
7k views

What is the origin of the phrase “and nothing of value was lost”?

What is the origin of the phrase "and nothing of value was lost"? Is this from a movie, book, or show, or did it get its start on Slashdot or some other online forum?
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5answers
32k views

Where does “ta!” come from?

Where does the expression "ta" come from? Wikipedia has only this to say: "ta!", slang, Exclam. Thank you! {Informal}, an expression of gratitude but no additional information or links about ...
10
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1answer
4k views

Why do we call cinema The Seventh Art?

Why do we call cinema The Seventh Art? Why not sixth or fifth?