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

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Origin of “I fart in your general direction”

I grew up knowing the insulting phrase "I fart in your general direction", and recently saw it used by John Cleese in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (apparently its most famous usage): ...
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2answers
61 views

“engineer of” or “Engineer in”

What is the correct expression when we want to say :The Grade of someone is: Engineer of Applied Sciences & Information Technology. or Engineer in Applied Sciences & Information ...
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1answer
57 views

What is the first known use of the proverb “out of sight is out of mind”?

It is said that Shakespeare and Hopkins used ‘out of sight is out of mind’. But when was this phrase first used?
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4answers
820 views

If you're “balled up” why are you confused?

I believe the expression 'balled up' dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century and I believe it means 'confused' but I'm all balled up as to why it means 'confused'. The only ...
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2answers
83 views

Is “strong medicine” idiomatic?

Is the expression “strong medicine” idiomatic? I am referring to drugs that contain a high concentration of chemicals and are used for soothing severe pains or treating severe diseases. A drug whose ...
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1answer
73 views

where does the phrase “all of a 2 'n 8” originate from?

where does the phrase "all of a 2 'n 8" originate from? It means - not knowing what to do - confused - unsettled
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0answers
21 views

Appropriate use of “to have a background in…” [on hold]

Is it reasonable to say that I have a background in information technology when I have worked as a programmer for over ten years, but have no university degree or formal training?
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3answers
102 views

The “wrought /wreaked havoc” misunderstanding

According to the American Heritage Dictionary: the past tense and past participle of the verb to wreak is wreaked, not wrought, which is an alternative past tense and past participle of work. ...
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2answers
94 views

What does “Take care sweets” mean?

A good friend wrote me an email and at the end she added Take care sweets. I guess it's something good, but not sure what is the exact meaning. I searched a little bit what does that mean and didn't ...
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0answers
30 views

What is the difference between “look into” and “look at” when used in figurative meaning?

Thank you for sending me the introduction of your company. We will "look into"/"look at" it later. What is the difference between "look into" and "look at" when used with a figurative meaning ...
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3answers
41 views

“accounts for up to” vs “is gained from”

I am arguing with my colleague about what phrase is easier to understand, i.e. "accounts for up to" vs "is gained from". My wording is the following: Sometimes this sector accounts for up to 70% ...
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1answer
36 views

What is the source for “My back foot!”

Does anyone know where the phrase "My back foot!", used as an expression of disbelief comes from? The seemingly, obvious source would be a reference to being on the defensive as to the truthfulness of ...
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2answers
41 views

English (UK) - does “an enraged expression” make sense?

I am writing a book and one of my characters is angry but I feel like angry doesn't fit in and that enraged makes more sense and also makes the language of the book better but I'm not sure if it makes ...
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2answers
84 views

A powerful idiom for “low exposure”

Imagine someone creates a piece of art, but nobody notices it. Like a great book, which nobody reads because nobody knows that it exists. What are some powerful words or metaphors for this condition? ...
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2answers
440 views

What is the difference between “extended from” and “extending from”?

Scenario 1: part A is extended from part B Scenario 2: part A is extending from part B Is there any difference between these two descriptions? Would any one so kind to help me about this? Thanks in ...
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1answer
106 views

What made the “worst case scenario” a popular expression?

A worst-case scenario is a cliché that refers to: the worse possible future outcome. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms) Though the meaning is quite intuitive, the ...
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4answers
2k views

OK, here's a weird one: “I appreciate ya”

Say you do something simple and nice for someone. A normal reply would be "I appreciate that, thank you." (phrased in either order) But for the past year or two, down here in the southern US, I've ...
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1answer
11k views

expression “caught between a rock and a hard place”

What is the origin and definition of the expression "caught between a rock and a hard place"? I also heard it in a situation where it could have had a jocose double sense, but I may have ...
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1answer
758 views

“That strikes one for me”…what's it mean? [on hold]

What's the "one" mean here? Is this taken from baseball? Can the idiom be grammatically used in other persons besides the first?
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4answers
2k views

“Strike gold” but without the implication of searching?

Whenever I hear the phrase I struck gold the fact the person had to have done a certain search is implied to me. Is this correct? For example, if I say: Janet loves sex so much! I've struck gold ...
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4answers
858 views

How is the phrase “When your program breaks, you get to keep both pieces.” commonly used?

One such example in source code files open-sourced by Apple: /* * WARNING DANGER HAZARD BEWARE EEK * * Everything in this file is for Apple Internal use only. * These will change in ...
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2answers
109 views

Can I use “short of being exhaustive” in this case?

I'm making a list and want the reader to know that this list is not complete, that it is only a part of a larger list... Is it correct to say "this list is short of being exhaustive" in this case? Is ...
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1answer
117 views

Is there a word for when you run into someone and both of you try to avoid each other and fail, repeatedly? [duplicate]

It has most certainly happened to all of us at least once: Two people walking along the same narrow pathway in opposite directions walk into each other. There is room for both to pass each other, ...
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2answers
17k views

“From then on” or “since then”?

Do these two expressions mean the same or are they used in different contexts? I wrote "Since then" in an essay for my English teacher but she wrote me "from then on" instead. I wanted to say that two ...
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0answers
850 views

Is “She is under the shower” a proper English sentence? [migrated]

There is currently a debate on Duolingo about the proper translation of a sentence to English (the original language isn't the point of this question). The sentence, literally translates to "She is ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of the expression “ya think”?

Maybe I'm just slow on the uptake, but the expression "ya think" seems to have recently become nearly universal, at least as viewed from the US and the UK, where I encounter it all the time, spoken by ...
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4answers
149 views

Alternative to the expression “sleep is the little death”

I thought this was a thing, that the expression "little death" refers to sleep and suggests that time spent sleeping is time not used for something else; one is, in a way, dead while asleep. ...
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454 views

Laundry (noun) is the washing of clothing and linens. what do we call the laundry after laundering?

While reading a chapter on laundry and the various techniques associated with it, it reflected that the clothes lined for washing were termed as laundry and so were the washed/ironed clothes. Could ...
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1answer
69 views

What definition of Earth is used in the expression “walk the Earth”?

Please see this question for difference in definitions and capitalisation of earth/Earth In the expression "walk the earth", e.g. "when dinosaurs walked the earth". Should earth be capitalised? I ...
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2answers
42 views

What words can express the act of sharing in a collective sense, as opposed to a distributive sense

I would like words or very concise statements that express the act of working together and sharing items/resources to a common location for the benefit of a group of people that the items are being ...
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5answers
4k views

Origin of “suit yourself”

The young daughter of a friend of mine said, "I think 'suit yourself' comes from a lazy tailor," which cracked us up. It also got me wondering. I did the obligatory google search and came up with ...
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6answers
3k views

Phrase which describes falsely improving something

Is there an aphorism or proverb in English which describes attempting to improve something fundamentally flawed by dressing it with a lot of ornament?
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2answers
349 views

What is a non-awkward way of referencing your child[ren] to a 3rd party of the opposite gender as yourself?

Here's the situation: You and your spouse are talking with a third person who is of the opposite gender as yourself. e.g., my wife and I are talking with a woman named - let's call her Joan. If I'm ...
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5answers
75 views

Preposition usage: “10% off on” vs. “10% off” [closed]

Which one is correct? Enjoy 10% off regular priced item or Enjoy 10% off on regular priced item
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440 views

“It was always a question for me…”

Is it correct to use the phrase "It was always a question for me..." ? For example, "It was always a question for me that no one liked the cake." or "It was always a question for me why no one liked ...
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2answers
188 views

How to refer to something “demanding” which doesn't happen all of a sudden?

Looking for a verb to express something that requires some time and effort to evolve, like collecting. I want to express that collecting requires some time and the collection doesn't just come out ...
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2answers
42 views

Term for choosing by not choosing [duplicate]

Is there a term for rejecting a proposal by not actively endorsing/confirming/voting for it? Like a veto, but by abstention, rather than active participation. Alternatively, a term for "A choice ...
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3answers
9k views

“Pretty please with sugar on top”

Where does this expression come from? I understand when it's used, but I was wondering about its origin.
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31 views

Difference: 'leave somebody wondering' vs. 'make somebody wonder'? [migrated]

Is there a difference between (a) 'leave somebody wondering' and (b) 'make somebody wonder'? If so, what difference? Is there some difference in aspect? For example, does 'leave somebody wondering' ...
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2answers
118 views

What could be an appropriate word in between long-lived event and short-lived event?

I am wondering a word to express the moderated values between long-lived and short-lived events. For example, I would like to describe heat wave durations. My durations are 1hr, 2hr, 3hr, .., 10hr. I ...
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12 views

Does this expression such as This contribution explores reduplication' sound natural? [closed]

I got puzzled at using contribution and exploration when writing academic abstract. As for me, it seems that either 'this contribution explore....' or 'this exploration contributes to .....' is ...
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2answers
37 views

Set X to v? or Set X as v?

I'm writing an academic paper, and would like to say that the value of X is v using imperative form. (Specifically in the algorithm section. That's why I need to use imperative.) Which among the ...
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1answer
50 views

'Go to sleep' vs 'Go and sleep'?

I just had a linguistics test (it's called UKLO) that measures you're ability to problem solve and translate languages you know nothing about. For one of my translation answers I wrote 'Don't go and ...
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16 views
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1answer
50 views

Is is correct to use this expression in an e-mail: “I have also attached…”

Is it grammatical to use the expression "I have also attached ..." in an email? For example: "I have also attached the screenshot of the faculty list at University which I was on." And if it's ...
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1answer
55 views

What does “crack around the door” mean?

Can I use "crack around the door" in the following situation? If I am wrong, could you give me the correct expression? Thank you. The door of Dad's room was half-open. Through the crack around the ...
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20answers
1k views

When someone ruins all the good they have ever done!

Suppose you have a nice and kind friend who helps you whenever possible, but sometimes they say something to you so angrily and sarcastically that you forget about all their kindness and help, because ...
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0answers
16 views

Noun clause for complement

I'd like to say following facts as short as possible. We conducted a experiment. The purpose of the experiment is testing a hypothesis The hypothesis is that all of beatle in this island is black ...
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5answers
92 views

What's the more common way to refer to a road with 180° curves?

A hairpin road is a road with hairpin turns or bends. According to Wikipedia: A hairpin bend , named for its resemblance to a hairpin/bobby pin, is a bend in a road with a very acute ...
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2answers
187 views

Could you please do X vs. Could you do X please

I'm an English teacher, and I heard a student say "could you please open the window" the other day. To my ears, "could you please open the window" as a construction sounds exasperated, even ...