An idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.

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1answer
65 views

What does the phrase “He’s holding a cat” mean or does it only have a direct meaning? [on hold]

What does the phrase He’s holding a cat mean, or does it only have a direct meaning? This phrase hasn’t any context. Perhaps is it an idiom?
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0answers
59 views

How to fit metric units of distance into idioms [closed]

I appreciate that the system of traditional English measurements was widely used before many English speaking countries switched to metric. So we have expressions like give an inch, walk a mile in ...
0
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0answers
34 views

What does “dolphins … get second billing” mean?

The dolphins had deduced, correctly, that they would get second billing. What does this sentence mean? Is "second billing" an idiom of some kind?
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2answers
44 views

“I don't believe you” VS “I don't believe that you did that”

For examples, if A washed the dishes and came to B to tell him that, but B didn't believe it. Should B say: I don't believe that you washed the dishes ! Or just I don't believe you ! Is ...
7
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2answers
624 views

Meaning of “murder to resist” in the expression “Power can be murder to resist”?

Power can be murder to resist. This is the tagline of the novel and film The Firm. What does it mean for something to "be murder to resist"?
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2answers
165 views

What does 'leaving a little puff of blue in the air' mean?

In the book I am reading (H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man), a man was shot and the scene was being described, then I met the following sentence: Adye leapt backwards, swung around, clutched at this ...
0
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3answers
34 views

get a message home

In the song A Message by Coldplay, Chris Martin sings: And I’m not gonna take it back And I’m not gonna say I don’t mean that You’re the target that I’m aiming at And I’ll get that ...
2
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4answers
254 views

Connotation of dislike in 'Credit where credit is due'

I am a non-native speaker and I wonder whether or not there is a connotation of disagreement in the idiom Credit where credit is due Would one say this only in a situation where a statement was ...
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1answer
60 views

Meaning of “the scales begin to tip”

I could not find the meaning of "the scales begin to tip" in online dictionaries. Here is the sentence: "Every era has a moment when the scales begin to tip." The next sentence is "That moment has ...
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2answers
57 views

Does inscrutable mean “hard to figure out”?

To figure out usually means to find out.....although on Dictionary.com, it's defined as "hard to understand or solve" with none of its definition close to "to find out". What puzzles me more is the ...
0
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1answer
46 views

Meaning of “run her way to”

I tried to find the exact idiom in online dictionaries, but could not find any entry on it. Here is the sentence: "For more than five years, she tried to run her way to a different life." The text ...
0
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1answer
55 views

What is the difference between “and all” & “and everything”?

What is the difference between "and all" & "and everything"? Is that just "all vs everything"? I am reading The Catcher in the Rye. I think I got the nuance of that expression, but I would like ...
0
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2answers
57 views

hit the road (meaning in context)

I was watching a show on TV (I escaped my killer) and Lisa Noland is dropped off after being raped several times by her attacker and to her surprise he doesn't kill her, drops her off at her ...
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1answer
30 views

What does 'saving his regard' mean in this context?

I am reading 'The Invisible Man' written by H.G.Wells and here I have this phrase 'saving his regard'. A man named Marvel, who was chosen by the Invisible Man(Griffin) to do things for Griffin, was ...
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2answers
91 views

What is the meaning of “ Milk doesn't sit with me well”? [closed]

For example, in this sentence: Milk doesn't sit well with me before or after tough workouts. And also I like to know synonyms for this idiom.
4
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2answers
294 views

“Jiggery-pokery” - Can Anyone Remedy this Paucity?

Reading U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent (p. 8) from the majority in King et al. v. Burwell, I encountered the following term (emphasis mine), “The Court’s next bit of ...
3
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3answers
143 views

What does “… which is somewhat long in tooth” mean, and what is the source of the phrase? [closed]

This is the complete sentence where I found it. It is from an online training about the Linux operating system. e4defrag is part of the e2fsprogs package and should be on all modern Linux ...
9
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3answers
373 views

Why is a “Mystery in the Alley” a side of hash?

American 'Diner Lingo' seems to consist largely of humorous crossword-style references (Noah's boy = Slice of Ham, Mother and child reunion = chicken and egg sandwich, Dog soup = water, etc). Most ...
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4answers
121 views

Meaning of “And the day came when … ”

I saw some sentences that start with this phrase: "And the day came when ... " For example, the following sentence form The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield At last the day ...
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3answers
114 views

What does “tend one's spinning wheel” mean?

However hard I tried I've failed to get the exact meaning of tending his spinning wheel here. It would be argued, and indeed I would argue, that Muslim intransigence would have played a ...
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1answer
43 views

Meaning of an idiomatic sentence [closed]

Please help me understand this sentence: Out of the back of the store came his dog running down the aisle followed by five little puppies. I also don't understand the structure of the sentence. ...
2
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1answer
62 views

What does “can/could shake a baguette at” mean?

Could you please explain me what does "can/could shake a baguette at" mean? More fromage than you can shake a baguette at. or There were robot barbers, picturephones, and more flying ...
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2answers
74 views

meaning of “it's less of a drain on resources” [closed]

What does this statement mean? He's more comfortable, we are more comfortable, it's less of a drain on resources, the authority is ecstatic. I can't understand what it means by "it's less of a ...
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5answers
243 views

Trust me when I tell you this

Trust me when I tell you this. You can tear this tower apart brick by brick, but without my help, you will never find your precious satchel without my help. What does the speaker mean by "Trust ...
0
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1answer
37 views

aimless milling [closed]

"Prices in trading ranges go nowhere, just as crowds spend most of their time in aimless milling." What does aimless milling mean here? I don't think it means its literal meaning.
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4answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of “bite the bullet”

I just learnt about the expression "to bite the bullet", meaning Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude (as seen in its article in phrases.org). I have ...
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2answers
96 views

What does “strip away all the sound and fury” means?

I have seen this quotation from Ed Miliband's current rhetoric: "Strip away all of the sound and fury and what people across England, Scotland and Wales, across every part of the UK, are saying is ...
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2answers
85 views

meaning of verb 'come as'

How would you translate 'what have you come as?' I've never heard this expression
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2answers
115 views

Usage of “least of all”

Please help me to understand the meaning of "least of all" and how to use it correctly in a sentence. Is it correct if I use it like this? Least of all are politicians.
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2answers
112 views

Research on idioms with similar meaning

Could anyone point me to research papers discussing idioms with similar meaning? Are there any algorithms on how to search for a similar idiom? For example, these idioms are somewhat similar - they ...
2
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1answer
67 views

What does “wear shoes” mean in this idiom?

I was reading an article today that used "wear shoes" metaphorically and I have no idea what they're trying to say. The context is an Indian outsourcing company diversifying by using its existing ...
2
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2answers
1k views

The eye of the tiger, what does it mean?

I recently heard something like "I've found the eye of the tiger". What exactly does this expression mean? According to the context, I think it means feeling of confidence or internal power and ...
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2answers
257 views

Origins and meaning of, “Ham and Egg it”?

This term was used by a MLB sports announcer yesterday (5/10/2015 - Padres vs. Diamondbacks @ 2:10:41) talking about relying on relief pitchers. “Diamondbacks today trying to ham and egg it with ...
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1answer
132 views

What does the “highs” and “lows” mean here?

It's in the lyrics of Will Young's song-Leave Right Now. Part of the lyrics below: I'm here so please explain Why you're opening up a healing wound again I'm a little more careful, perhaps it ...
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1answer
51 views

What are the adverb for shabby and hardy? [closed]

What are the adverbs for shabby and hardy are, and what are their corresponding noun and adjective?
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4answers
209 views

“on the back of” meaning and implications

A The Independent of London article, The rise and rise of Sudoku, reads: [...] sales of pencils in Britain are reported to have risen 700 per cent on the back of the Sudoku boom. Question: Does ...
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4answers
144 views

What does this sentence mean: “You watched his face crack open and your world shifted, …”?

quoted from: To Forget: The look on your son’s face when you accused him of taking fifty dollars out of your purse. You were so certain; nothing he said could sway you. You watched his face crack ...
2
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2answers
525 views

What is the origin of the phrase “playing hooky”?

What does the word "hooky" mean in the phrase "play hooky" (skipping class/truancy) and where did it come from?
4
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1answer
154 views

What does idiom 'hippo in a haystack' mean? [closed]

I am aware of idiom 'needle in a haystack' which means something hard to get. Is 'hippo in a haystack' opposite of it?
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3answers
112 views

what will be a good artistic world or phrase for close cooperation for mutual success

what will be a good artistic word or phrase for close cooperation for mutual success.The cooperation of two parties (one with stronger power, second with weaker power, but huge dedication) where each ...
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0answers
94 views

What's the meaning of “I+verb+not+object1+the less, but+object2+more”?

What's the meaning of: I verb not object 1 the less, but object 2 more. Example: I love not man the less, but Nature more.. I've searched Google about the meaning of it, but unfortunately ...
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3answers
3k views

When someone says, “I have no words,” what does it mean? [closed]

I contacted a former friend to tell her about a rough situation in my life, and she said to me, "I have no words." What did she mean?
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2answers
116 views

What does “in no time” mean? [closed]

What does the following sentence mean? The trip can be made in no time.
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3answers
206 views

The meaning of “own a room”

What does "can still own a room" mean in the following newspaper article? Ichiro Suzuki sipped green tea, elicited a few laughs and turned the tables on a media member with three questions of his ...
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2answers
60 views

Confusions about the definitions of “draw on”

The idiom draw on as I know has many definitions. Two of which are to approach and to pass gradually This can be very confusing because the same phrase has two opposite meanings. Here's an example ...
3
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0answers
278 views

Meaning of “Back on their heels” [closed]

In a townhall meeting, President Obama used the expression of "being back on heels": Now, it's no secret that unions have been back on their heels a little bit over the last several decades. ...
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1answer
126 views

Is “In any case, with 99.9% probability, …” correct?

I'm wondering whether the meaning of the idiom "in any case" still has a hint of "in every single case". I would like to say We expect an R² of 0.79 (in any case within 0.75 ± 0.15, with 99.9 % ...
4
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4answers
421 views

Idiom for preparing very very thoroughly. ( take a lot of stuff for doing smth)

In Russian we have: Why did you take a lot of clothes and equipment? Are going to go to war? But what about English idiom?
2
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2answers
2k views

What is a “kitchen sink approach”?

What does "kitchen sink approach" mean in this context? Where some startups focus on the minimum viable product, (name of startup) has gone for a kitchen sink approach that approximates the ...
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1answer
73 views

meaning of 'under the fedora'

"It's under the fedora. Wanta run down and look at it with me?" A police asks his private detective friend to come along to the murder site to take a look. (from 'Killer in the rain' by Raymond ...