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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11 views

What's the meaning of “spray into eyes”

I'm not a native speaker so I looked for the verb spray but I'm still do not get the meaning. Is this an idiom?
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2answers
57 views

Why do we say “be to blame”, not “be to be blamed”?

I wonder why "be to blame" is used rather than "be to be blamed"? I've googled it, and what I found is that it is considered as an idiomatic expression.
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1answer
29 views

What does it mean by “Window of opportunity” [on hold]

What is mean by "Window of opportunity"
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0answers
51 views

“Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)”

"Sounds like a plan (, Stan!)" (idiom, used to agree to a suggestion that you think is good) It seems to be of relatively recent origin, if there's really a sound origin, that is. Main Q: What ...
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5answers
503 views

Single word for an idiom giving advice

I'm trying to find a word referring to an idiom that gives advice (e.g. "Fake it till you make it"). "Nugget of wisdom" is kind of what I'm looking for, but I want a single word, not another idiom. ...
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10answers
1k views

What's the word for the facial expression over an unexpected disappointment?

If your friend says something sarcastic to you unexpectedly when you are talking about something that makes you exited or your innermost feelings and makes you feel stupid. What's the most widely ...
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3answers
61 views

How do you express high proficiency in a succinct way?

I heard the following phrase in movies: -- Do you know how to use A? -- I am a f****g surgeon with A I like it a lot, but I can imagine a lot of people will not understand the meaning. I ...
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2answers
48 views

Sometimes “you don't want to do that” means “I dont want you to do that.” Is there any opposite saying? [on hold]

Sometimes "you don't want to do that" means "I don't want you to do that". It is said that some great bosses will use these words when they want to help you think through. Is there any opposite ...
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2answers
55 views

To “take something under advisement”

Does the idiom "I'll take that under advisement" in a non-legal context always (or usually) mean "I'll ignore your advice"? i.e. is it a polite (or not-so-polite) way to snub someone? For example, ...
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2answers
74 views

What does “About its lot” mean?

In Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Chapter 2, when talking about how long the Electric Monk believed silly things, the book says: How long did the Monk believe these ...
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2answers
65 views

Definition of “get a lot of mileage by”

I came across the expression "get a lot of mileage by..." in a book on creative writing. Here is the quote: (on a method the author is suggesting which is to say or write nonsensical things) ...
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2answers
67 views

Idiom for new-employee training period

There’s a certain amount of time that organizations apply to new employees who are undergoing training. What’s the idiom? I’ve heard spin-up or train-up time, but neither of those two is clicking as ...
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1answer
65 views

Idiom or phrase to denote unfair use of someone who is nice

I am looking for an idiom or a phrase to denote the situation where someone is unfairly taken advantage of (Ex: Gets a lot of work dumped on his lap on a Friday evening like Harold in Harold and Kumar ...
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9answers
671 views

English equivalent of saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh”?

The saying “Don’t get in between the nail and the flesh” from my own language is typically addressed to someone who likes to provide unsolicited help by barging in on a heated conversation between two ...
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2answers
42 views

Idiom: When something is not dealt with for a long time

What idiom could express when something is not dealt with for a very long time? The reason would be that a certain issue or thing cannot be solved because you lack the necessary means/agreements to do ...
2
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2answers
64 views

'come rain, blood, or horse manure' American idiom?

Probably some of you, as I am, are familiar with the controversy that surrounded ABC miniseries Amerika (February 1987). ABC president response to that controversy was "we’re going to run that ...
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1answer
73 views

What's the phrase that is used with 'honest' to indicate sarcasm that I am being monitored [closed]

What's it that is used with 'honest' to indicate sarcasm that I am being monitored. .
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1answer
79 views

What's the origin of “this is going to come to a head”?

I have used the phrases "This is going to come to a head" or "coming to a head". I think I know what they mean, I think I'm using them correctly. So...where do these phrases come from? And, ahem, ...
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4answers
64 views

An idiom for when you do a work but the work is insufficient

I'm looking for an idiom for when you do a work in order to better a situation. However, the work you do is not sufficient, so even though your work is not entirely wasted (as it does have some ...
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3answers
42 views

Is there a term for when just by saying that something is broken and showing it to someone fixes the issue?

This seems to be a common enough occurrence that it would merit its own phrase. I imagine it might be some sort of subset of Murphy's Law. But it's specific enough that Murphy's Law doesn't quite ...
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5answers
136 views

“ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel” - a (few) simpler alternative(s)

ain’t got the brains God gave a squirrel or ain’t got the sense God gave geese. I have taken a liking to this phrase, however, to my colleagues, most of who are from Latin America and SE-Asia, ...
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3answers
89 views

Idiom: to be at loggerheads

Idiom to be at loggerheads with someone over sth The meaning is to be in strong disagreement with someone struggling constantly as in The two governments are still at loggerheads over the island. ...
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1answer
55 views

What did it originally mean to 'bow and scrape'?

It is said, including in the OED, to refer to bowing, and at the same time drawing back the right leg so that it made a scraping noise. I don't recall seeing anyone scraping. I lived in Japan for a ...
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1answer
179 views

Charles Bukowski's “best dick” [closed]

I am reading Charles Bukowski's Pulp and as non-native English speaker I am finding decoding certain expressions challenging. For example the main character, Nicky Belane, often refers to himself ...
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0answers
19 views

explain the idiom [duplicate]

I am the novice English learner. Please explain me the idiom "What are you up to" I've already google it. But i still want you people to explain this with examples. Thanks
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16answers
4k views

Is there any idiom which is exactly opposite of 'head start'?

I am searching for an idiom which means to have a disadvantage that makes your chances of winning bleak It should appropriately fit in this analogy: Head Start - Win ___ - Lose
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1answer
54 views

“in God's name” usage in English [closed]

When people say "what in God's name are you doing?", I couldn't understand.
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2answers
73 views

What is the origin of the phrase “grease the skids”?

What is the origin or derivation of the phrase "greasing the skids?" The phrase connotes preparation, in such a way as to make the subsequent activities easier. Definitions are available various ...
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3answers
139 views

Is “take a leak” considered only masculine or is it okay if women use it too?

And if it can also be used by women, I still feel vulgar using it.
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12answers
2k views

Is there a suitable antonym for 'Achilles heel'?

I'm trying to juxtapose antonyms in a effort to describe something. The first draft of an excerpt reads something like this: I will tell of their triumphs and downfalls... I would like to ...
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1answer
42 views

Is this usage of “account for” correct?

Can "account for" mean "take into consideration", such as in the sentence "I forgot to account for the time it would take to drive here, so I'm late"? Oddly, I couldn't find such usage in any ...
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1answer
39 views

“Would-be” meaning “potential”: must it be hyphenated?

Suppose I write, "Giving exams in class thwarts would-be cheaters." Must "would-be" have a hyphen? Or would it be preferable to write it without a hyphen? (It seems easier to read with the hyphen.) ...
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1answer
32 views

bottom dropped out

I heard this expression and I don't know what it means. I googled it and it was mostly financial meanings. But mine is not. I'm writing the context exactly. The bottom kind of dropped out when I ...
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1answer
63 views

Get-go attitude vs. go-getter

I want to write a recommendation for a friend in LinkedIn, and I want to emphasise that he was a real hard worker. So, does "he has a get-go attitude" means that someone is a "go-getter"?
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1answer
139 views

What does “ought to have been a wheelbarrow” mean?

My grandmother (who was of Irish descent) was born in the New England area of NSW, Australia. She used an idiom that she "ought to have been a wheelbarrow". I think it meant something about a lack of ...
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2answers
48 views

Does “the truth is deceptive” make any sense or should it be “ truth can be deceiving”? [closed]

Does "the truth is deceptive" make any sense or should it be " truth can be deceiving" ?
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2answers
87 views

Is “throw guns into a hot stove” a common phrase or just one-off figurative expression?

Today, Scott Simon, the host of NPR’s Weekend Edition news program, interviews former NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder about the cease-fire between the Ukrainian government and Russian separatists, and ...
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5answers
101 views

I need an alternative for “her whole life” [closed]

In my story a young girl only understands the life of a dancer, but once her dream comes to an end she doesn't know what to do with herself. I need a better way of saying She danced all day ...
2
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3answers
208 views

To have the world “at your fingertips”

I was watching a YouTube video about eating disorders when the American TV presenter ended a pep talk with the following words: If I had the chance today to spend six weeks somewhere, to better ...
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12answers
2k views

Idiom for something that is well designed but not commercially viable?

Is there a word for something that has been well-designed, looks good but can't sell. This can be an object or an idea..
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1answer
51 views

Question on “the fabric of X” in sentences

I see a lot of sentences with "the fabric of X" in them. For example, "The veteran feels trusted, respected and understood -- re-integrated into the fabric of his or her homeland." "Half a century ...
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0answers
60 views

Origin of “kill the ghost”, “killing the ghost”

A British friend of mine who used to work with us came back from London for a short visit to the town.Before going back home again he showed me photographs of the town beach and hotel saying he came ...
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2answers
73 views

What does it mean to “gum the spoon”?

I recently found out about a new term. It's "gum the spoon". What does it mean? By the various contexts I found, I conjecture that it means to add saliva onto the spoon or to hold the spoon in one's ...
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2answers
45 views

The quality of things you stick with

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe the quality of things we stick with. For example, if a training is well designed, people will tend to keep using it. Meanwhile, if it's not, ...
3
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1answer
123 views

“Harry saw Luna, all eyes in her white face…” What does this line from the Deathly Hallows mean?

After rereading it for what seems to be the hundredth time, I realized that I never understood the meaning of this half a sentence. What's really tripping me up is the all eyes in her white face bit. ...
7
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5answers
952 views

What does “Anyone who is married” mean in “Anyone who is married should know that facts and logic are not always helpful to one’s cause”? [closed]

I’m drawn to the phrase, “anyone who is married” taken from Benn Steil's recently published book, The Battle of Bretton Woods that deals with the battle engaged by Maynard Keynes and Harry White, each ...
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2answers
95 views

Is the phrase “Next waiting!” by retail staff incorrect grammar?

In Australian retail stores the phrase "Next waiting!" has become an idiom. As I understand it, it is a contraction of "Can I serve the person next waiting?". When the idiom is used, it is snapped ...
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8answers
3k views

Are there similar expressions to the Japanese saying “I want to die on a tatami mat”?

Today most people die in a hospital bed, though many would prefer to die in their own home being watched over by their loving family. We have an old saying, “to die on a tatami mat”, meaning to die ...
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3answers
107 views

An Idiom/phrase/adjective for an imaginary place where everything is perfect [closed]

A place where unrealistic and impossible things can happen. Is there an idiom/expression/phrase that connotes to such a stretch of the imagination?
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1answer
71 views

What does “when in doubt, lay out” mean? [closed]

So, what does it mean? "When in doubt, lay out." It seems to be an advice.