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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1answer
29 views

What is the meaning of “may very well be”?

I have come across this phrase recently. What does it mean? A young man who has read the life story of every eminent athlete of the twentieth century, or a coed who has steeped herself in every ...
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1answer
22 views

What does “in the know” mean?

Following are a part of introductive speech given by a moderator at a meeting in the U.S. I couldn't understand or get the nuance of the sentence. Could you explain or express in another way? "This ...
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1answer
25 views

“Well-rounded” usage in USA

What's the first recorded use of the term "well-rounded" as it refers to being competent or trained in several fields, e.g., from astronomy to literature to social dancing to cookery?
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0answers
40 views

What is the first word/phrase you think of when you hear about ARROGANCE? [on hold]

I'm doing my PhD research in cognitive linguistics. The subject of investigation is the concept of Arrogance in British worldview. So I’d really appreciate if British citizens could share their ...
4
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1answer
54 views

English equivalent for the Persian expression “To keep one's face red with slap”

In Persian we have a saying "صورت را با سیلی سرخ نگه داشتن" which literally translates to: To keep one's face red(warm) with slap It's used in a situation in which a person, if poor or ...
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0answers
43 views

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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1answer
30 views

Just because he … he doesn't need to be

I hear sentences like Just because he is old doesn't mean he is slow a lot, and I don't like them. Is the alternative Just because he is old he doesn't need to be slow easy to parse and ...
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12answers
3k views

Is there any idiom about the problems so bad that cannot be solved? [on hold]

Do we have any idiom in English stating such a concept? "the problem got so bad/complex that it cannot be solved anymore"
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1answer
36 views

Safe-for-work idiom for “Don't give me that bullshit.” [on hold]

Suppose someone says they will do something that you know they won't do. What is a safe-for-work way to reply that is similar to "Don't give me that bullshit"?
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1answer
47 views

What is the meaning of “your argument is invalid”?

Does the phrase "your argument is invalid" has some idiomatic meaning? Because I am often seeing it in places where its literal meaning doesn't make sense. In some cases I felt it means something ...
2
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1answer
35 views

“Would that of this journey I had heard…”?

This is a translation of a Heian period poem: Would that of this journey I had heard. So had my heart been with you when you sought the cuckoo's song. What does 'Would that of this journey I had ...
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0answers
40 views

Holding up to an appearance

Can something 'hold up to' an appearance in the Queen's English? That is, can one say 'it appears to be green, but on closer scrutiny it does not necessarily hold up to this appearance'?
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1answer
39 views

Is there any difference between ”control of/over“ and ”power over"

For example, what to choose here? "To compete for the control of/over a corporation" or "To compete for the power over a corporation" UPDATE If two workers compete for absolute control/power, what ...
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3answers
28 views

Phrase similar to “in the offing”

The meaning of "in the offing" I guess is "something that is likely to happen in the (distant) future" Is there any phrase that describes something that is likely to happen soon?
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1answer
22 views

shout down the road to something [closed]

What does it mean when we say "something shouts down the road to something else"? Does it mean "to pave the road for something"?
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0answers
28 views

what would be subject line in email to inform friends that i have started company? [closed]

I need subject line to inform friends that new company has been formed by me.
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2answers
49 views

What does Megyn Kelly “dished about” her battle with sb. and “spilled dirt about” her colleagues mean?

Vanity Fair (May 17) carried an article titled, “Megyn Kelly calls out Fox News colleagues for not supporting her.” There was the following line: Appearing on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live — a ...
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0answers
41 views

“These kids I tell you” or “kids I tell you” expression meaning

I have read them in few disconnected articles and in conversations but could not understand them completely. "These kids I tell you" or "kids I tell you" expression meaning. What do they mean ?
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2answers
43 views

Crow collects chunks of glass in a hollow tree

So I'm reading "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami and I came across this passage this line : "Like the way a crow collects chunks of glass in a hollow tree." In context: "Don't be silly," said ...
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5answers
7k views

Around how old is “a woman of a certain age”?

"A woman of a certain age" is a common saying. It means more than "a woman of a given age", "a woman who could be any age" or "female, without respect to age". It's usage instead seems to suggest a ...
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1answer
21 views

To come clean about/over

Could you explain me the right form of the idiom "to come clean" and its connection with subject? I have found the expression "to come clean ABOUT" in both of my printed dictionaries. The same form ...
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1answer
29 views

why come ing with verb after preposition

why we use "ing" with verb that comes after preposition? For example: he is accused for breaking a new vase. here breaking is being used after for
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2answers
69 views

How did “on the house” become a synonym of “free”?

question as in the subject. Noticed such an expression at least in two occasions...
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1answer
15 views

What is the meaning: splash about and splash around?

I'm reading “Alice in Wonderland” and found some idiom "splashing about in the pool", but cannot understand why is used about preposition. In the Internet I have found "splash around" and became more ...
2
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1answer
20 views

in pursuit of / through a pursuit of

Do those expressions have some different nuance and grammatically correct? I have seen "in pursuit of" many times but rarely seen "through a pursuit of" which one would be more proper for the ...
2
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0answers
31 views

Watergate and Marathon — Any other invalid, but common back formations? [duplicate]

I was reading a question here about the use of the suffix -gate to denote a political, and later any type, of scandal. This is of course and allusion to the Watergate scandal, which lead to the ...
2
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1answer
32 views

has to do with vs has something to do with

What's the difference between the meanings of these two sentences? My homework has to do with last week's activity. My homework has something to do with last week's activity.
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1answer
333 views

What is the meaning of “creaming somebody's spinach over somebody”

I have been watching "Family Guy" recently and Peter says: "my wife's been creaming her spinach over him" What does it mean? I went from top to bottom of Google and found nothing. It's really weird ...
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2answers
35 views

What is the origin of the phrase “gathering wool”?

From context, it would appear to mean "no day-dreaming" or "no dilly-dallying", as in "Let's go, no time for wool gathering!" or "Pay attention, no wool gathering here!"
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4answers
177 views

(In)formal equivalent for “Sword of Damocles” concept

What are the formal and informal equivalents (idiom or word) for the situation which Sword of Damocles could describe that? From Cambridge Dictionary, Sword of Damocles means: If you have a sword ...
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2answers
18 views

The illusion has dropped / is over?

I'm looking for an idiom that means the illusion is over or the illusion has dropped. Ironically, I wonder if either of these phrases is the idiom I'm looking for. The reason I doubt this is that ...
4
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2answers
93 views

What is wrong with expressions like “leave no stone unturned”?

In George Orwell's Politics and the English Language he says: Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a ...
3
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1answer
104 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?
2
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2answers
56 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 ...
2
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1answer
27 views

meaning of “easier on the nerves”

What does it mean when we say "something is easier on the nerves"? Does it mean "it is easier to withstand"?
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1answer
26 views

Looking for a word or phrase that describes the “flattening” or “smoothing” of a learning curve

A word or phrase that describes the process of making something more easily comprehensible. (I would actually like to exclude the 'learning curve' idiom) Examples; "How might we make this topic more ...
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2answers
64 views

What does “Me, myself and I” mean?

I hear "Me, myself and I" idiom from time to time. Here this idiom is described as emphasis only. Are there any other meanings? What cases is it suitable for?
4
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2answers
118 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. ...
2
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1answer
28 views

“it rains something” - is it an idiom and when is it used?

I think I heard somewhere expressions like "it rains apples" or "it rains ideas" which could possibly mean there is a lot of apples and ideas, but I am not sure. Is there anything like that in ...
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3answers
59 views

Someone who exploits your feelings for them to take advantage of you

I need a word or idiom for someone who takes advantage of you because they know you like them. In relationships, I heard the word "user", as someone who uses their romantic partners for material gain. ...
3
votes
2answers
57 views

More formal phrase for “throw someone off”

Is there a more formal phrase with the same meaning of "throw someone off"? I want to use the phrase exactly how I am sure everyone is used to it being used. I want to say that something unexpected ...
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0answers
16 views

meaning of “a game of tease”

what does it mean when someone compares something or some act to "a game of tease"? I think it means like indulging in a game of seek and hide or something like that. Am I right? it is like a game ...
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0answers
30 views

I break out my fun blazer. what does this mean?

Has he ever said anything nice to you before? No. Not even when I break out my fun blazer. This is what I can see on the script of Modern Family season 6 I know what a blazer is, But I don't ...
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4answers
60 views

Synonyms for “walking on thin ice”

It's tough to find synonyms for whole phrases as opposed to single words. I'm trying to think of at least a couple for "walking on thin ice." So far the only one I've come up with is "playing a ...
3
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4answers
78 views

Word describing the one flaw in an otherwise perfect crime, plot or plan

I am wondering if there is a noun or phrase that articulates how a crime, plot or plan was foiled. I am interested in a noun or phrase that relates to crime in particular. For example, They two ...
1
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2answers
60 views

Does “the military” refer to any military?

When someone uses the term "the military" is it implied they are talking about the military of the current country they are in, or any military? For example I sometimes see on application forms "Have ...
0
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1answer
37 views

Any difference between pleasure to us to… vs. pleasure of ours to…?

I am writing a super-formal letter (it is a semi-legal text) and I am unsure if there is any sensible difference between writing "It is a great pleasure to us to..." (26,200,000 hits on Google) ...
8
votes
1answer
117 views

Why is “violated” being used as future perfect with a person as the object?

On Aviation StackExchange, I've seen these: I don't think you will be violated.. He was subsequently violated... Pilot [...] may now be violated for it. ... pilots have been violated... It seems ...
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0answers
16 views

Can Fair Enough mean quantity enough?

Fair could mean quite large/big or many in quantity or degree, so can fair enough mean it's quite big enough or it's quite much/many(corret me if im wrong) enough?
9
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2answers
92 views

A word or idiom for a car mechanic that rips you off

I'm curious if there is an English word or idiom specific for a car mechanic that rips you off. In the case of a doctor, one could use charlatan, or quack.