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

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Use of “well” in “Britain’s Labour Party is in thrall to a man well to the left of Mr Sanders”

I have a question about a sentence from an article of The Economist Magazine: Britain’s Labour Party is in thrall to a man well to the left of Mr Sanders. Does the word "well" in this sentence ...
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“Early in the piece” or “early in the peace”? [on hold]

I've heard people say "this early in the piece" or "this late in the piece". It seems to be spoken as a kind of idiomatic expression, but I'm not sure what it really means. Specifically, what is the ...
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“The last of the late brakers”

This is a common phrase in motorsports, particularly with motorcycles. Carrying speed for as long as possible, and braking as late and hard as possible into a turn, is advantages to lower overall ...
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Is “Do your worst” understood to be a cheeky double entendre?

Can be said (good-natured or not) to an opponent before a match in defiance of their abilities. “Bring it on” is a similar phrase. I just realized it can be a backhanded slight. “[I hope you] do ...
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What does “His brain is as cunning as his fingers” mean? [on hold]

I found the following sentences on Mysteryontilt.tumblr.com. The title is The Sherlock: The Red-Headed League: ... And here is why I think John Clay is an underrated villain. Here are Peter ...
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A question in a sentence of the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”

I have a question in another sentence of the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird". The sentence is in the paragraph below. Being Southerners, it was a source of shame to some members of the family that ...
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Meaning of phrase “to close the loop on this”?

I recently received an email from my colleague saying that "he wanted to close the loop on a task". I didn't quite get the context. It would be great if you could let me know.
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What does “There is no such thing as a free lunch” mean?

I had always understood 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' as a expression to demonstrate the economics concept of opportunity cost - whereby even if the lunch is fully paid for, one loses the ...
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53 views

Origin, meaning, and historical change (if any) of the idiom 'stem the tide'

Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, second edition (2013) has this entry for the idiom "stem the tide": stem the tide Stop the course of a trend or tendency, as in It is ...
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What does the slang “in my arrogant opinion” convey?

I have seen it on the Internet as follows (abbreviated as IMAO): Only the Muggles will find it offensive IMAO. I know it's contrasted with the common phrase "in my humble opinion," but I still ...
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Clarify an idiom in a political text

Please carefully read the text below: On 24 November, 1993, a meeting of Leftist intellectuals occurred in London under the auspices of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which ...
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What does “have a catch” mean?

The context of this phrase is following: "I am happy to have a catch with you to discuss this in more detail."
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What did Cyrus Beene mean when he said “sausage factory” on Scandal?

It's a flashback scene from episode seven, "The Trail." In it, Cyrus Beene is arguing with the then not yet President, Fitzgerald Grant, about Olivia Pope. Beene had just hired Pope, and Grant, ...
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What does an 'eye for the ladies' mean? [closed]

What does it mean when a guy has an 'eye for the ladies'
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Using “put hair on your chest” for women

The idiom put hair(s) on someone's chest means: Fig. to do or take something to invigorate or energize someone, always a male, except in jest: Here, have a drink of this stuff! It'll put hair ...
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Meaning and usage of “a bull in a china shop” [closed]

While I can kinda guess the meaning of the idiom a bull in a china shop, I would like to learn the proper meaning. And in what situations can I use this idiom properly?
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1answer
81 views

What does “base passions” mean? [closed]

What author means by "base passions" in following sentence: Philosophy titans such as David Hume thought that base passions powered moral decisions. Above sentence is from Book "Brain Rules for ...
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“Redline” explanation [closed]

Expedite the process by requiring the Customer to “redline” any changes to drafts throughout the review process, and be careful not to send any contract drafts to the Customer that contain internal ...
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1answer
110 views

What does “Gurl” mean? [closed]

Katy Perry has a pop dance song titled California Gurls. What does Gurls mean in that context? For me, after readying the lyrics, it's about California Girls; is this spelling something Katy did ...
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Is “Can’t be too careful” an idiom?

He walked forward and shook the centaur’s hand. “Good evening to you, Hagrid,” said Ronan. He had a deep, sorrowful voice. “Were you going to shoot me?” “Can’t be too careful, Ronan” ...
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Is “be sleeping with a person in charge” a common metaphor or idiom for “being favored by that person”?

I couldn't find it in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary, but I've heard it a couple times from people who'd been unjustly favored over, and who possibly didn't mean to imply a sexual relationship: ...
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“Sorry about that” - Usage

A few months ago, I was down with jaundice, and when I let my friend know about it, he sent me a text saying "Sorry about the jaundice", expressing sympathy. Like this one incident, we frequently ...
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Suck it up and be a man [duplicate]

I came across this expression today and found that the term means to endure the hardship phase a man is going through without whining which is what is stereo typically expected from a guy. I went ...
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If you have to ask yourself whether you're too drunk to drive, you probably are

I've encountered the phrase "If you have to ask, ..." many times; sometimes as a dangling sentence. I wonder if it is always a disdainful, idiomatic remark meaning: for some reason, your question ...
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118 views

Idiom - “To put the hurt on”

I heard the idiom "put the hurt on" a lot growing up and I have a rough feeling of what it means but I'm not quite sure how to boil down the meaning to something I can explain to someone else. A good ...
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What's the meaning of “hit somebody like a bucket of cold water”?

What's the meaning of "hit somebody like a bucket of cold water"? I couldn't find this idiom (?) in my dictionaries; I just found "cold water" means "disapproval". But I don't think it would have the ...
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Is the phrase “make waves” used with the sense “create a snowball effect”?

I was writing a post for my company's blog talking about Open source, and wanted to wrap it up with Let's make waves. I was pretty sure that the expression meant something like Let's replicate this, ...
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“That should do it / That ought to do it”, do you say it before the last thing is done or after?

Longman Dictionary says: that should do it also that ought to do it (spoken): used to say that you will have finished doing something if you just do one more thing: I've just got to ...
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How do you use the phrase “as … as can be”?

I know you can say " happy as can be," but can you us any adjective before "as can be"? Can I say " I was as American as can be"? or " He was as excited as can be"?
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Origin and meaning of “money isn't money isn't money”

I have recently encountered the expression "money isn't money isn't money" twice. Though I can guess at what it implies, it still seems to me a bit convoluted. One recent instance was by Chris Sacca ...
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What does “God's children” mean? [closed]

Could its meaning related to Christian culture? Barack Obama said it in Ramadan dinner, as a speech he refers people.
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What is the origin of “Get a hold of the short/wrong end of the stick”? [duplicate]

I know this is a duplicate, of this question: Origin of "the wrong end of the stick" but none of the answers are can be considered fact. I propose this answer: The split tally was a ...
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142 views

origin of the idiom “hair-raising” [closed]

What is the origin of the idiom in “A hair-raising story”? hair-raising: causing excitement, terror, or thrills American Heritage® Dictionary
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What does “why yes” mean?

In this chat on github I found: A. I made some changes. Please review. B. Awesome, thanks! A. Why yes, of course What A means in his last sentence? In general, is "why yes" a stronger "yes"?
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The origin of: “It takes two to tango”

According to the American Heritage Dictionary 'it takes two to tango' means: The active cooperation of both parties is needed for some enterprises, as in We'll never pass this bill unless ...
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What does 'throw the bum out' mean? [closed]

I want to know what these expressions mean. Let's throw the bum out Throw the bum out attitude
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110 views

Hit someone with both *BARRELS"

We hear a lot of idioms and phrases involving BARREL. The Link in "thefreedictionary.com" shows a lot of idioms using "barrel" as a noun and a verb. "Barrel" is defined in Merriam-Webster as a ...
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What is the difference between “up in here” and “in here”? And what does “up in here” mean?

A friend of mine from London tried to explain the difference to me, but still I got no definite answer. He said "It's one thing," but "up in here" has... something... special—anyway I don't know.
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What does the idiom “to be known for” mean?

Ok, see this sentence "London is known for Big Ben". So, does the idiom "to be known for" mean "to be well-known for" or "to be famous for". Like "London is known (famous) for Big Ben"? I could not ...
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153 views

What does “too profound to be understood” mean?

I was going to use it in a book but wanted to know what everyone's thoughts. What does "too profound to be understood" mean to you? What does the phrase insinuate and are the other implications? ...
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Is “kudos” given someone for past events only — or does near-future work, too?

Is kudos to be used to wish somebody for only an event that happened to them in the past, or can you also use kudos for an event which is going to happen in the near future?
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What does “apple of my eye” even mean?

I do not understand how the phrase "apple of my eye" connotes affection. Where and how did this phrase originate and how can it refer to something dear?
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Have lines crossed!

I couldn't understand the meaning of have lines crossed in the sentence below: "We must have had our lines crossed, thank you for checking." I'd appreciate it if you help me in this order. Thanks
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to have had a good innings

I have heard it for the first time and when I looked it up on dictionaries, definitions say it means " to have had a long and fulfilling life or career". I think it is more a British slang.If I don't ...
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What exactly did Mr. Peggoty and the Yarmouth boatmen do by “putting off?”

The following is an excerpt from Dickens' David Copperfield Chapter XXIII when Steerforth was explaining to Copperfield what a proctor is: You shall go there one day, and find them blundering ...
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what does “a mobile person” mean?

when we say someone is a "mobile person".. what does that mean? is it about him being social or is it more about being hyperactive? the paragrapth in which I found this term doesn't include any ...
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Do you need an example?

Not being a native English speaker, sometimes, while reading a book, I find it hard to grasp the meaning of certain phrases: "to push to the limit", "as bad as it gets", "all hell breaks loose" - to ...
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649 views

What does it mean to be a sharp cookie? [closed]

What does it mean to be a sharp cookie? Is it a compliment (because I've never heard of sharp cookie)?