Idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

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2
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2answers
45 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [on hold]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
0
votes
3answers
61 views

“Thanks, my lovelies!”

I was looking for a phrase to thank multiple people. It's supposed to be an endearment for friends but not super close friends. Is this an appropriate reply to compliments or birthday wishes, e.g. on ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

I've just had a cup: is it correct?

Is it correct to say like this? "Would you like some tea?" "Thank you, but I've just had a cup" Would it be more idiomatic to say had one? Or both options are wrong? If so, how would you ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

“He cooked me a soup with a lot of hot oil”

I'm looking for an English equivalent to a Persian expression which means this person got me in a lot of trouble. Literally translated, the expression is this person cooked a soup for me that had too ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Synonyms for “big deal”

I have read on The Free Dictionary that the expression big deal may be used as an interjection to answer ironically "to indicate that something is unimportant or unimpressive". If it is the case, what ...
5
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7answers
1k views

What does “too on the nose” mean?

What does "too on the nose" mean, especially as applied to art? I use the expression but struggle to explicitly articulate what I mean. My best attempt is that I use it to refer to film, music, etc. ...
5
votes
10answers
578 views

Is there any saying or idiom to describe the opposite of “blessing in disguise”?

Something that looks like a good thing at first, but has unforeseen bad consequences. For instance, while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne ...
0
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1answer
28 views

aimless milling [on hold]

"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.
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Synonyms for “speak of the devil [and he doth/shall appear]”

Specifically, I'm looking for something that would fit in the same situation, but I need a less negative connotation. Saying that when my Dad, for instance, walks into the room while I'm talking about ...
2
votes
2answers
47 views

Suitable idiom for a situation, where one thinks that by getting rid of the effect, one has gotten rid of the cause

Suitable idiom needed for describing a situation, where one thinks that by getting rid of an unwanted effect, one has gotten rid of its cause, while in reality the cause remains and will start to ...
11
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
-2
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0answers
22 views

forming a human being [closed]

one person tell me about importance of family in life. I got it , but can you elaborate it. I think there is nothing more important in forming a human being than your family.
0
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0answers
60 views

How do idioms come to be? [closed]

All these questions about idioms here on ELU makes me wonder - how do idioms come to be? How are they made up? How do they become accepted? Common examples are: silly as a wheel that's another ...
3
votes
1answer
82 views

Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?

I frequently see bumper stickers with quotations attributed to Mother Teresa that begin with the words "It is a poverty," for example: It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that ...
1
vote
3answers
74 views

One word for someone “excessively sentimental” in everything [closed]

Someone who makes you sick with his sentimental blabber. I have a colleague who cribs and complains at almost everything. He would always get sentimental while describing his misadventures or ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Is “And this X?” a common English expression?

In Spanish we say, "And this X?" as a short form for "And who is X?" Example: When I entered the room with Billy, Tom looked up and said, "And this high school brat?" Is this also a common ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

What is the etymology of the Baseball term “meat hand”?

The term is used to signify the non gloved hand of the pitcher. I've only ever heard it used relative to the pitcher. For example, “On the bunt the pitcher used his meat hand instead of gloving the ...
5
votes
1answer
45 views

Why “hoping against hope”?

Doubtless the Orcs despoiled them, but feared to keep the knives, knowing them for what they are: work of Westernesse, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor. Well, now, if they still live, ...
5
votes
10answers
321 views

What's an idiom or word or name for an initial tester?

What would be an idiom or word or name for someone that is an initial tester (like a beta tester). I am writing a speech for my younger brother's engagement and want to say how I have always been the ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

“Dance it out” or “dance it off”? [closed]

If the one wanted to, for example, dance to forget about problems/to unload, should we colloquially say 'dance it off' or 'dance it out'?
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Doing this also does or causes that type of sentence

I am writing the instructions of a piece of software I am working on and I would like to remind the user that running the specified computer command will also have a secondary effect of installing ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Looking for a correct word / idiom

Here is a scenario: Suppose X, Y, Z lives together. X and Z had a fight and X decided not to live with Z any more. Seeing this, Y decided to help X to fight Z out. But then X and Z becomes friends ...
16
votes
13answers
1k views

What is the English version of the Vietnamese idiom “như cá nằm trên thớt” - “like a fish on cutting board”

We have a Vietnamese idiom, "như cá nằm trên thớt" - literally, "like a fish on cutting board". My apology for the rough translation because I regard myself as an English learner who is above the ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

Why do we say kith & kin and not kin & kith?

Why do we often say Kith & Kin and not Kin & Kith? I was taught to believe that family comes first and the other later and I do still believe in what I was taught.
1
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2answers
45 views

Difference between “Putting in one's papers” and “Putting down one's papers”

I have come across these two phrases and both appear to mean almost the same. As mentioned here: Putting in one's paper means voluntary separation from employment. and as I read here: ...
1
vote
7answers
50 views

An Idiom or Colloquial Phrase for a Network of Colleagues

I am trying to recall an idiom or phrase that would describe a network of colleagues or peers, specifically a group of people who all mutually benefit from one another. Is there an idiomatic ...
-2
votes
1answer
57 views

When adverbs like “sure” are used to mean the opposite of their typical meaning [closed]

Is there a term or phrase to describe the phenomenon in English where sometimes a statement is qualified with an adverb, which normally would make the claim stronger but native English speakers tend ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

Which word order produces the more suitable sentence? [closed]

Which of the following is an appropriate sentence? Only he could see through the trick. Only he could see the trick through. According to me, the first one is right. Can you explain which one is ...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

Is there a word or an idiom for barging in a room with anger?

Opening a door frustrated and rushing in like you are about to scold someone inside... Barging in a room with anger. Is there a word or idiom for that, other than storm in?
0
votes
2answers
80 views

Origin of “blew his brains out” [closed]

I was thinking to myself, when suddenly a thought occurred to me: When was the first usage of "blew his brains out"? Example as used in sentence: He put the shotgun in his mouth with one shell in ...
1
vote
2answers
61 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
252 views

Is there a word for someone who is not aware of how pretty or handsome he/she is? [closed]

Is there a word or an idiom that describes someone who is beautiful but unaware of it?
5
votes
5answers
122 views

Is there a specific term for when you get offended by a criticism which wasn't meant for you?

For example, person A says something not directed towards anyone in particular, but it was a criticism nonetheless, and it was intentionally meant to indirectly tell off some people. Person B takes ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Word for an additional period of time allowed for something

I don't know what word, idiom or phrase to use if I want to say "I want to be allowed to use some specific offers for additional period of time." For example I am allowed to use software for one month ...
4
votes
4answers
750 views

Is there a word for lying on the bed peacefully, all your muscles relaxed?

Is there a word or an idiom for lying on the bed peacefully and happy? Throwing yourself down on bed arms wide open, all your muscles relaxed and staring at the ceiling with a happy smile like ...
4
votes
2answers
46 views

Idiom or quote that means “Decided to be the opposite of [a person]”

I'm looking for an idiom (or pithy quote) that is equivalent to saying; Having met that person, I decided that I would absolutely do the opposite of what they would do. Any ideas?
2
votes
3answers
62 views

What is the hand gesture called when you knock down your opponent in a fight?

Is there a word or an idiom for the hand gesture, done after finishing a task successfully or after knocking down the opponent in a fight? The one like wiping off the dust from your hands, which ...
1
vote
2answers
47 views

Carry “on camping”

A private student's story contained the cited line below, and it sounded awkward and strange. “I was on camping with my family” You can go on holiday, but you can't go on camping. Similarly, ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

idiom for proceeding slowly and with difficulty

Is there an idiom I could use if I wanted to say that someone is doing something with a lot difficulty and slowly? I cannot think of anything. Thanks Edit from comment: For example: You have learnt ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

“I better not ask,” vs “I had better not ask.” [duplicate]

Example: Speaker A: Thanks for the fish, I'll feed it to my crocodile. Speaker B: Your crocodile? I (had) better not ask. I better not ask sounds better to me (2,480 results on Google ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

“It's like with” as replacement of “I'm in the same situation as…”

Is this a valid replacement? Example: Speaker A: I'm planning to quit. Speaker B: Why? Speaker A: It's like with Mrs. Anderson. I'm tired of not making any progress. (Speaker A is ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

Euphemisms for rejection (man-women and vice versa)

Example: The more time passed, the more sure I became she’d [...] me. The most common word in this case is reject. I'm wondering, though, what euphemisms I can use aside from turn down?
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Avoiding Ignorance

Is the phrase "avoid ignorance" idiomatic? In my mind something is wrong about the combination of the verb "avoid" and the noun "ignorance".
6
votes
1answer
223 views

'Not feeling clever' - how far does this extend?

The other day, when my wife was unwell, I happened to mention to a relative in Norfolk that she wasn't 'feeling too clever'. He instantly knew what I meant. But it made me wonder how far this idiom ...
0
votes
2answers
36 views

What is the correct method to make a commonly repeated project name stand out?

I have a project titled "Around the World." I refer to this project often in text. I have been instructed not to use quotes, but I am unsure of the best way to identify this phrase as the project ...
0
votes
4answers
65 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
129 views

Is there an idiom to describe someone who grew from less than average to influential?

Is there a idiom or common expression to describe someone who used to be shy, unsocial, unskilled, or even perceived to be useless, who somehow transformed himself or herself to be influential and ...
1
vote
3answers
82 views

Both arguments are correct

I wrote a paper about two opposing arguments. My conclusion was that the two arguments may be correct. Is there an idiom or phrase that means two opposite things may be correct, independent of each ...
1
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2answers
64 views

Can I use the phrase, “open and shut” for other subjects than legal cases?

There was the following passage in New York Times (April 28) under the title, “In Baltimore, we’re all Freddie Gray.”: “We’ve watched as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, in conjunction with ...
34
votes
13answers
5k views

Is there a word or an idiom for people who only spend their families' money and fool around?

Is there a word or an idiom for rich people who spend only their families' money and do not bother to work, just fool around?