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
14 views

Is 'what kind of starting pay' right?

What kind of starting pay do you have in mind? I've learned the above sentence today. But I don't understand how 'what kind of' comes with 'starting pay'. I think using 'how much' looks more ...
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1answer
48 views

A phrase for something that you enjoy, but is quite bad for you

I used to use it, but for some reason, and it's annoying me, I can't remember it. A synonym might be "my sweet poison". Usually used when talking about foods that are bad for you. Thank you guys, it ...
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1answer
39 views

Word for turning a situation around on someone

Let me describe the situation: My wife has been having issues with a certain employee at work...long story short, this other employee now goes out of her way to try and exclude/snub/cold shoulder my ...
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2answers
48 views

What's an idiom for missing the obvious?

A friend posted a photo of her daughters examining something tiny in the road. Up ahead of them is an enormous chasm where the road has been destroyed and washed out. They're absorbed in something ...
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1answer
50 views

What does “move his bust around” mean in this context? [on hold]

Quite the contrary, actually. Winston Churchill, on the other hand, was terrible to his servants and family, and he was such a well-regarded leader that you can’t even move his bust around now without ...
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1answer
18 views

“Don't hold me against your decision”—grammatical?

There's a fairly common expression: "Don't hold it against them", meaning "Don't blame them for what has happened". But does this exact phrase make sense: "Don't hold me against your decision"? ...
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2answers
36 views

A word or an idiom for a person who is different from other people [on hold]

And it should have positive connotations and it should be a noun Thanks
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0answers
43 views

Any English equivalent for Russian idiom “to write for the desk drawer”? [duplicate]

It means "to write literary works, knowing that they will not pass censorship and be published". I am looking for some English equivalents that can be used to describe not only writing but also doing ...
3
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4answers
140 views

What is an idiom for better than “textbook case”, “by the book” or “best practices” [on hold]

Something indicating above and beyond the standard best practices, superior to by-the-book-experience. For instance, I would like to use it in a blog title The non-textbook / non-standard / beyond ...
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0answers
33 views

Call in, drop in, drop by, call on, come by, run in, step in… how and when to use them? [closed]

call in drop in drop by call on come by run in step in They all expressed the idea of visiting someone/someplace, but I want to know the nuances of the using those verbs. Would you sort/group them ...
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1answer
40 views

What does the phrase “empty dreams” mean? [closed]

Also, does it have any other synonymous phrases?
3
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1answer
66 views

“In thrall to” vs “in the thrall of”

If you are in thrall to someone or something, or in the thrall of someone or something, he, she, or it has a lot of power to control you. Cambridge Dictionary Why "in thrall to" but "in the thrall ...
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1answer
73 views

getting used to my new job [closed]

Are there good phrases to sound like a native speaker when you want to say you are getting used to your new job? A: How's your new job? B: _________________
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2answers
75 views

Super Duper -usage and nuance

I'd like to know how to use the idiom: Super Duper. It seems to be a slang which means great or marvelous. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/superduper But, one of my colleagues sometimes says "I'm ...
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2answers
73 views

What does it mean to “dance with your demons”?

I have tried googling and there I cannot seem to find a definition. Just an anecdote here and there that incorporates the phrase. I've also tried an idiom dictionary but it doesn't come up. Is this an ...
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4answers
139 views

Equivalent idiom for “turning in one's grave” for a living person?

If you do something that would greatly upset a deceased person, it would cause him to "turn in his grave". However, what if the person affected is still alive? Is there an equivalent idiom for this?
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2answers
97 views

Middle of Nowhere — An Idiom? [closed]

There's a debate in the office about what makes a phrase or expression or group of words an idiom. The phrase in question: "middle of nowhere." The sentence: "The website drops you off in the middle ...
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0answers
21 views

One could've it mistaken for…?

am currently writing a document that describes a person's behavior. And in one of my paragraphs, I have this three girls laughing so hard at a rooftop and a person from below might've mistaken their ...
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0answers
28 views

on the usage of “put hopes…”

I am editing subtitles (for a language I know nearly nothing about). The original subtitlers(sp?) were not native English speakers, and as a result there are many corrections to make. This means that ...
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1answer
300 views

Origin of the slang AmE and BrE usage of “beef”

Beef began its life as an intransitive verb in 1888 and soon took on the noun meaning in 1899 appearing in such expressions as "What's your beef? and "I had a beef with him" (not a steak). Beef ...
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2answers
45 views

A word or idiom similar to sour grapes but simply not hating the object you cannot obtain? [duplicate]

I am looking for a word or idiom which can express a feeling similar to the sour grapes idiom but instead of putting down or hating the thing you cannot obtain, you just simply do not want it anymore. ...
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1answer
45 views

What is the meaning of “They are more often a lump than a sum”?

So I was watching a TV show called Hannibal. I was on the last episode of season three, called "The Wrath of the Lamb". So Will Graham (a character from the show) was having a talk with psychiatrist ...
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9answers
3k views

What's the English idiom for wanting something without the effort necessary to get it? [closed]

What's the English idiom for wanting something without the necessary effort to get it? In German, we say "wash me but don't get me wet."
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17answers
3k views

Opposite idiom for putting my foot down

I got stumped when trying to write the opposite of "putting my foot down". As an example i'll give some context. I said: "In these instances I always put my foot down, but you make me X", where X ...
3
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4answers
66 views

Is there an idiom for: “a list of things that you know will not be completed but you are asking anyway”?

Sometimes in a written text I express a ton of things I would desire for something to have even though I know it is absolutely impossible to fulfill those desires. For example in Spanish we can use: "...
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1answer
67 views

“bigger question” vs. “larger question” [closed]

Would you say “a bigger” OR “a larger question”? I am not sure which one is grammatically correct.
2
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4answers
109 views

Is there an idiom or slang for “When you put all of your efforts on something but it doesn't even meet the minimums”?

I was wondering if there are any idioms for situations when you have tried your best for doing something, but it doesn't even meet the minimums or it's too simple and valueless in comparison with ...
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1answer
74 views

How to translate “Setsunai”(切ない)

I'd like to know the equivalent word in English for "Setsunai"(切ない) in Japanese. It's the mixture of feelings such as sad, heartache, love and nostalgic. It's near bitter sweet, I think, but I'd like ...
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2answers
72 views

Alternative to 'dirty minded?' [closed]

For example, an aunt saw you come out of a room with another guy. The first thing the comes to her mind is you are having sex with the guy. What words would you use to describe her?
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55 views

Which of these sentences is grammatically correct and convey the right meaning?

a) Never mind working with some really talented people, I guess what I really enjoyed the most was free food! or b) Notwithstanding working with some really talented people, I guess what I really ...
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1answer
68 views

not only.. but also

Why is this sentence incorrect: "Not only this transformation changes the preference of respondents, but it also converts the scale" and I was asked to write: "Not only does this transformation ...
4
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1answer
46 views

“I'll go with the candidate I'm used to” or “I'll go with the candidate to whom I am used?”

I'll go with the candidate I'm used to. I get that this is colloquial, but, c'mon. Ending a sentence with a preposition? However, is the alternative correct? I'll go with the candidate to whom ...
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1answer
99 views

“Like swimming in ___” honey? [closed]

My supervisor and I had a discussion about my thesis progress this morning, and he described my writing progress: Like swimming in _____. I have no idea about the word he said, then he changed ...
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2answers
233 views

When does the phrase “Some of us…” include the speaker?

I do not recall ever hearing anyone say "Some of us..." without including themselves. It appears to me that oneself is assumed to be part of the subject. However, some of is usually used to denote an ...
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3answers
48 views

Is there an idiomatic prepositional phrase meaning the same as 'with the help of something'?

Is there an idiomatic prepositional phrase meaning the same as 'with the help of something', the something being a theory which helps to shed light on the reasons for certain events found in a novel? ...
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1answer
42 views

An alternative saying for “it may be cheaper to build a new house than to renovate an old one”?

I'm looking to communicate the idea that performing a task would be less costly (more than just financially; technically, or when risk is considered) if you start from scratch or anew, instead of ...
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2answers
97 views

-— this for a game of soldiers

There is an idiom that seems to be distinctly British: "---- this for a game of soldiers" where the dashes are replaced with various swear words. For example: "Sod this for a game of soldiers." It ...
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0answers
51 views

Origin of the term “fun fact”

Where does the term "fun fact" originate?-- namely, not with the compositional meaning but rather with the idiomatic usage to introduce some sort of unusual, esoteric, absurd or otherwise "...
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0answers
58 views

“That beats everything”

I'm aware that there is an idiom "That beats everything" which is used to express surprise. My question is whether I can say "That beats everything" about something that is way better than everything ...
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1answer
114 views

What does “drop and give me zen” mean? [closed]

What does "drop and give me zen" mean? Maybe it's some kind of idiom. Can you explain it to me?
5
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1answer
215 views

A question about “but not” as coordinating conjunction

So I was reading an article or something, and there was a sentence that quite intrigued me. a. You can turn everybody against you, but never your boss. "But never" is used as a coordinating ...
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0answers
23 views

something shouting down the road to something else

What does "to shout down the road to" mean here? Context: To pursue the conversation on triangulated conversations, Creed’s Work No.850 seems also to shout down the road to Gormley’s artwork ...
7
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1answer
105 views

For whom the bell tolls - origin of “ask not” instead of “never send to know”

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls" is a popular cliche. My understanding is that it comes from John Donne's Meditation XVII (1623). But in Donne's poem, the line is any man's death diminishes me, ...
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0answers
40 views

What was the original word used in the expression “studiously avoiding their glance”

Formerly, there was a distinct word that sounded a lot like studiously and meant to pretend not to do or notice something. It hasn't been used much in a long time, but I remember John Fowles used it ...
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4answers
660 views

When someone phrases a question awkwardly to elicit a wrong response

I'm looking for a phrase that describes the situation when someone asks a question in a way to elicit an incorrect response. For example: Alice: Hey, Bob, have you never done drugs? Bob: Nope!...
29
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4answers
1k views

What are the nuances of the British expression “gone” used with time, as in “gone 8” or “gone midnight”?

An expression I have run across in British novels is "gone [hour]" like this: "It was gone midnight, and the house was quiet." The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston "It's only just gone eight ...
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3answers
107 views

Expressions or idioms that mean killing appropriate for use in a humorous context [closed]

I'm looking for expressions or idioms that sound funny/unusual and mean killing something. For example, I remember when I was playing Starcraft, there was a mission in which my marines had to kill ...
3
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2answers
179 views

Origin of “hang tight”?

What is the origin of "hang tight"? When did it first appear in the American lexicon? It's meaning is well defined: To remain in one's current location. To wait patiently. Checking ...
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6answers
158 views

Generalized statements, mostly political

Is there a term used for statements made by politicians (and others) that are nebulous and allow people to infer what they want from them? For example, politicians speak about "Christian values", "...
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2answers
104 views

Word for an idiom accepted as true but is actually false

According to "Wouldn't say boo to a goose", the idiom's meaning comes from the premise that geese are easily frightened. Assuming, as one commenter stated*, that this is factually false, is there a ...