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

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What does it mean when someone says that something is a take?

I am not a native English speaker. So, I am familiar with only those terms and phrases which are clearly defined and used in literature or in formal communication. Today I came across following ...
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What does “Lizard in a ruin” mean in this Paragraph?

Paragraph (Taken from here): You can watch Piaf performing ‘La Foule’ on YouTube, in a recording of a concert in the Netherlands in December 1962. It is completely mesmerising. A journalist who ...
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To whose 'salt' is the idiom, “worth one's salt” referring to?

Worth one's salt- worth one's pay; something or someone that deserves respect and support. Mark: That journalist is biased. I don't like the way she interrogates our mayor. Dale: Every journalist ...
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Does the phrase “present company excepted” exclude the speaker as well as the listener?

A common idiom is, when speaking to someone, to raise a general criticism and then amend it by saying "present company excepted". This is taken to mean that the criticism is not intended to apply to ...
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101 views

how many beans make five? [closed]

The answer is “a bean, a bean and a half, half a bean and 2 beans” but I really did not get it. Can anyone explain this?
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2answers
55 views

Is it clear what the idiom “lit up like a candle” means?

Take this sentence: I gave a beggar all my change, and he lit up like a candle. It's used in Norwegian, but I wonder if it's perfectly clear what it means in English, and are there better idioms to ...
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26 views

lemmings over the cliff

Does the trap of tipping over into a pointless lemmings over the cliff scenario mean losing the control of things so that they take you everywhere they want? or doing exactly what others do ...
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2answers
115 views

What does “red chair” imply?

At a meeting in an international corporation, a Canadian speaker mentioned having a "red chair" culture and later continued to talk about their "red chair" learnings. I'm not sure what that implies. ...
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1answer
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What does “they were taken for being taken in” mean?

I have difficulty interpreting this line: they were taken for being taken in It is from Some by the late Daniel Berrigan. Exerpt: Some stood and stood and stood. They were taken for fools, ...
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What does “Pudding for supper..” mean in this context?

Here's an excerpt from the novel "Moby Dick". Emphasis mine. "‘Look at that chap now,’ philosophically drawled Stubb, who, with his unlighted short pipe, mechanically retained between his teeth, ...
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Is there another idiom to replace “rolling the dice”?

Does this sentence sound unnatural? The journalist has read the book, written a review and rolled the dice. I know rolling the dice means to "take a chance". But I am not sure if giving ...
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Why does “keep tabs on” mean what it means

Keep tabs on sth/sb means "to ​watch something or someone ​carefully". Why is that? Can somebody analyze and explain this idiom, please? What does "tabs" mean here, and how does the whole phrase ...
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what does “considers most” mean here?

The United States signed but has not yet ratified the Convention; however, the United States considers most of the Vienna Convention’s rules as representing customary international law. does it ...
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what does “preceding warfare” means? [closed]

Peace treaties concluded after cessation of hostilities were usually considered to be valid because of preceding warfare. preceding means "come before (something) in time" warfare means ...
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1answer
42 views

does “open to charges of” equal to “doing propaganda” here? [closed]

Always open to charges of propaganda and interference in the internal affairs of other nations, public diplomacy challenged both the spirit and letter of the Havana Convention. Book | ...
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38 views

What is the meaning of “the seal and crown”

What is the synonym for "the seal and crown" in the following sentence? I've searched Google, there are not much information about this expression there. There was no grimace, no graces, but a ...
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73 views

What does “then” mean in this context?

In the book Diplomacy: A Very Short Introduction by By Joseph M. Siracusa, we find the following passage: Prior to World War II, then, diplomacy was essentially a government-to-government ...
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49 views

'not to mention' and 'to say nothing of'

Can anyone please tell me whether they find the following uses of 'not to mention' and 'to say nothing of' natural? John can do products, not to mention sums. John can do sums, not to mention ...
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WHAT IS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “STORY” AND “TALE” IN THIS CONTEXT? [duplicate]

For all their efforts, the diplomats at Versailles achieved the precise opposite of what they had set out to do, inexorably, tragically laying the groundwork for the next, more horrible world war. In ...
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Who are these people in context?

Text came from preface. I should also be remiss if I did not thank the anonymous Delegates for their thoughtful reports and constructive suggestions. Even those who did not much agree with me gave me ...
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What is meaning of “Apropos acknowledgements,” at start of a phrase? [closed]

Apropos acknowledgements, I should first of all like to express my gratitude to my friend and colleague ... This quotation came from a preface of a book. As far as I understand, from ...
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1answer
52 views

is “reads as” equal to “similar to” in this context?

For all their efforts, the diplomats at Versailles achieved the precise opposite of what they had set out to do, inexorably, tragically laying the groundwork for the next, more horrible world war. ...
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3answers
134 views

Idiom Question: “And no money is spent by the dead.”

I'm actually a native English speaker that can't seem to figure this one out, nor can I find it online. Unfortunately, I can't really give context: it's in pretty convoluted academic writing in a very ...
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1answer
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Does “killed the dog” mean flatulence?

I have been using this idiom as a synonym for "passing gas" ever since I heard it in the cult comedy classic, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. Here's the usage: Kung Pow: Killed the Dog I happened to say ...
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Does “make something of a meal out of [something]” mean essentially “make a meal of [something]”?

I have found in a dictionary the meanings of the idiom "make a meal (out) of something": P5. to make a (also †one's) meal of: a. To consume as a meal, to devour; (in extended use) to take ...
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How to use the expression “loser hands”? [closed]

I heard sentences which involved the expression "loser hands", e.g. "this is one of the loser hands" (with reference to some concept which someone had expressed perplexity about). Which is the ...
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What is the origin of the idiom “To Stand Someone Up”?

I was curious as to if anyone knew of the origins of the idiom "to stand someone up" in the sense of: My date stood me up. Do you think he'll stand us up again? She stood me up last night. ...
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What does the idiom “this is in hand” mean? [closed]

I saw this as a reply to someone's enquiry of a work status. "This is in hand and will be completed prior to the move rest assured." What is the meaning of 'in hand' here?
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Meaning of “Don't kick over the beehive”

I was wondering about the meaning of kick over and the type of context where it could be used. For instance: If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.
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134 views

what does “ making something hard on somebody” mean? [closed]

what does " making something hard on somebody" mean? for example when my friend says to me " don't make it hard on yourself", what does it mean? is it slang? if slang, is it American or British?
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1answer
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Lying through his teeth vs Lying [duplicate]

I've encountered the phrases "lying through his teeth" and "lying". Both have been used in similar contexts to (at least what I understand) as similar definitions. What is the meaning of the idiom of ...
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1answer
36 views

“tracked up” verbal phrase meaning

I am getting difficulty in deducing the meaning of idiom tracked up in the given diction below, ( paragraph below is taken from the NYTimes editorials ) : ...the Boston Global to do more than ...
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the golden ticket [closed]

It is a dialog. A: We're a small sporting goods company, but we're hoping to expand our presence online. B: That's the golden ticket for sure. Do your customers currently access content about your ...
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4answers
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Meaning of once and while in “once in a while”

How did "once in a while" come to mean "occasionally, from time to time"? I understand it is an idiomatic usage, but "once" means "one time" and "while" means "in the meantime" , so how can the ...
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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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2answers
527 views

Meaning of phrase “Early/late in the piece”

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. What is the meaning of the ...
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54 views

“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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2answers
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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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1answer
59 views

What does “His brain is as cunning as his fingers” mean? [closed]

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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2answers
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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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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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222 views

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?