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

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1answer
41 views

What are the adverb for shabby and hardy? [on hold]

What are the adverbs for shabby and hardy are, and what are their corresponding noun and adjective?
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4answers
48 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
90 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
81 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
91 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?
0
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3answers
66 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 ...
1
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0answers
64 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 ...
1
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3answers
752 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
67 views

What does “in no time” mean? [closed]

What does the following sentence mean? The trip can be made in no time.
1
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3answers
111 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 ...
1
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2answers
45 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
141 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
106 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
188 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
571 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 ...
1
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1answer
65 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 ...
2
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1answer
98 views

Meaning and derivation of “so-and-so would know from X”

A couple of times I've seen a phrase much like "that's horrible coding — and I would know from horrible coding!" This seems extremely peculiar to me (if only because of how ungrammatical it is), ...
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4answers
197 views

What does “come to terms with” mean?

The Free Dictionary defines it as "to start to accept and deal with a difficult situation," but I don't know what accept means in this expression. Does accept mean to welcome the difficult ...
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2answers
1k views

Can the phrase “take it with a grain of salt” have four different ways to get to the same meaning? [duplicate]

Frequently in my workplace, when some bad news comes in, the advice take this with a grain of salt is used in such a context to mean choose for yourselves how to interpret this but don't consider it ...
2
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1answer
179 views

Synonymous idiom for: You can't run before you can walk

I'm looking for an alternative way of saying "You can't run before you can walk." This is equivalent to saying "you can't take on higher level things before you have mastered the basics". I am ...
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1answer
83 views

Telephone as an idiom [closed]

Is "telephone" considered an idiom? If we pull apart the meanings, "tele" means "far;" or "distant" and "phone" means "sound." So, it would, on the face of it, mean "far-sound." But that is not ...
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1answer
78 views

Using Verbpathy as a Tool to Connect with English [closed]

Does anyone use the tool of "verbpathy" in their own English studies? This is a device that lets the language learner connect with the positive, negative, or neutral aspect of a word, phrase or ...
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2answers
361 views

“No less than” vs. “None less than”

Is the expression none less than similar to the idiom no less than? Which form is preferable to use in the following example: None less than the country's president attended today's meeting. OR ...
1
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1answer
240 views

“No less than” idiom root

I know that "No less than somebody/something" means that this somebody/something is important. What I don't understand is why this idiom means so!! What I literally understand is that "No less than" ...
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2answers
289 views

How far (technically) is a “stone's throw?”

A "stone's throw" means a short distance. Questions: (1) How far--technically-- is a stone's throw in terms of its usage? (i.e., Can you use it for a few feet as well as a mile away?) (2) Is it ...
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2answers
297 views

What does “To get on a high horse” mean? [closed]

Here is the phrase: I'm going to get on a high horse here and say that it worries me that developers think client-side rendering is faster. I think I can understand the meaning of the whole phrase, ...
0
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1answer
52 views

Meaning of “Noble of us” idiom in context

It would be noble of us to not revel in it, though. The sentence above has some idioms that I don't know the whole meaning of the sentence. What dos it say? Or when such a sentence could be ...
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2answers
92 views

What does it mean to say, “It's only who knows when I will respond” [closed]

I would like to know what does "It's only who knows when I will respond." mean? Is this an idiom? Background: She is pretty much busy with her work lately so she seldom replies to him. She said, "I ...
0
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1answer
32 views

What is the meaning of “less a function of” in the following sentence

Given such a view of thought and rationality, human performance and experience that take form in nondiscursive modes of conception and expression are regarded as nonrational, somehow less a ...
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4answers
716 views

Meaning and origin of “put a wrinkle on one's horn”

While investigating a recent EL&U question (What does "throw a wrinkle" mean?), I came across the unusual expression “put a wrinkle on [or in] one’s horn [or horns].” I have three ...
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1answer
174 views

What is the meaning of “a winged victory”?

What is the meaning of "a winged victory"? Also, is this an idiom? Thank you
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2answers
167 views

“Quite a combo” - meaning

I found this phrase in comment for one song - "I really like this song, and i really like how diverse shawns family is, thats quite a combo." It seems, that it's a some kind of idioms. I really ...
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2answers
395 views

Formal/informal word for “something which is hard to deal with”?

Is there any formal/informal word which possibly reflects the meaning of "something which is hard to deal with"?
2
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2answers
350 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “picking up friction”?

Earlier today, I used the phrase "picking up friction" thinking it was a common saying. Later intrigued by the possible history of the phrase, a Google search turned up pretty much no results for the ...
0
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1answer
87 views

What does “bodded ill” mean? [closed]

Quoted from here: "Not to make an impression but anyone that bodded ill with the Duchess, did not sit with with Ealora" I was wondering what the expression "bodded ill" means. Thank you. P.S. As ...
3
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2answers
109 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “cut five sides in [something]”?

I was browsing the Elvis Presley page on Wikipedia when I read a strange sentence: During a two-week leave in early June, Presley cut five sides in Nashville. I've never heard this phrase ...
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2answers
146 views

implication behind “can I ask you to …”

Is there any difference between these two sentences ? (1) Can I ask you to ...[do something]? (2) Can you ... [do something]? Eg., if my boss were to say to me "Can I ask you to pick up the ...
0
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1answer
75 views

what's a close synonym for “ sorted for Es and whiz”?

what's a close synonym for "sorted for Es and whiz"? and what does it mean in general? When And how can we use in conversation? is it polite or impolite or impolite?
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2answers
113 views

what does “ Plant Your arse” mean?

What Does " Plant your arse" mean? for example in greeting? And Is it Rude and offensive? or is politely? or if its meaning changes in different situations please explain. And please provide me some ...
0
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1answer
242 views

Why is a dead man like a plumber's candle? [closed]

Here I read the following about a man who had just died: He was the ghastly pale of a plumber’s candle. What exactly is meant? As far as I can google, a plumber's candle is just a shorter and ...
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1answer
218 views

What does “shrinking beneath someone's feet” mean?

I just watched Batman Rises on HBO, and I didn't get it when Bruce Wayne spoke about the Cat Woman. He said, "But the ground's shrinking beneath her feet". It seems like it may mean "no one can ...
7
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1answer
306 views

Where did we get “buster” as in “Look here, buster”?

Americans, at least, have for some time used buster in speech or dialogue as a generic form of address. It has a range of tonalities, from light to affectionate to grimly confrontational. Listen, ...
3
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2answers
162 views

“get a coating”

I recently saw the expression "get a (real) coating" in this book review: Swales, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the only guy who gets a real coating, but only in passing But I just cannot figure ...
5
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4answers
15k views

What does “If wishes were fishes we'd all swim in riches” mean?

What does "If wishes were fishes we'd all swim in riches" mean? This phrase doesn't make any sense to me though I do understand the point it's making. But by the logic of the phrase, if a wish = a ...
0
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1answer
762 views

Where does the expression “carrot and stick” come from? [duplicate]

I thought it was a Tantalus-like metaphor, suggesting a donkey will walk toward a carrot dangling from a stick forever, given the stick is tied to the donkey. It seems to be used as reward versus ...
2
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3answers
471 views

Alternatives of 'a snowball's chance in hell'

I am looking for a different, common English idiom that expresses the same thing as a snowball's chance in hell. My teacher says I use this expression too much, and that it is not appropriate for ...
2
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1answer
1k views

Meaning of “get a serious reaming”

As a non-native reader, I stumbled upon the meaning of "get a serious reaming" and it seemed to be an idiomatic expression for being punished. At least the first Google matches seem to suggest this. ...
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3answers
2k views

Meaning of “for the day” [closed]

I Google'd "for the day" but it seems that it is not precisely an idiom. Does it mean during day time or for a whole day? Here is the sentence where I found that expression: Now I could take a ...
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1answer
3k views

What is the difference between “here goes” and “here it goes”?

I’m wondering what the difference between here goes and here it goes is. When something is going down and I want to express my feeling of “I’ll make it!”, which expression is correct? For example, ...
4
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1answer
2k views

Why the “give” in “I don't give a flying f***”?

I’m not a native speaker. I know that I don't give a flying fuck means "I don’t care", but how did it come to mean that? Specifically, why does the verb give mean "don’t care" here?