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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2answers
54 views

Is “fortune favors the bold; cheek brings success” a popular idiom or proverb in English?

I want to express the idea that: If you want to be rich, you have to have guts and take a big risk. If you want to achieve a high position in your society, like becoming a doctor or lawyer, you ...
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0answers
39 views

Bernie Taupin's “Voyeur” lyric

I cannot understand the meaning of the folowing excerpt from Bernie Taupin's lyrics to Elton Johns "Voyeur" (the bold lines): I’m looking, I’m looking back I’m trying to imagine this and that ...
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1answer
20 views

Meaning of “Green” and “GreenBack” in American english?

I found 2 new words on my American Slang book (Talk the way americans do). 1) Green 2) GreenBack Meaning of these words on my book : Green : money (Referring to the color green seen on U.S. paper ...
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6answers
232 views

Is there a good alternative to “low man on the totem pole”?

Since "low man on the totem pole" is potentially ambiguous (and is possibly offensive to some), are there any good alternative idioms to mean someone of low rank who gets stuck with undesirable ...
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3answers
60 views
+100

the idiomatic use of “no more than” and “no less than”

I have questions about the use of no more than and no less than . The following is the item 14. phrase of the word more from COBUILD online dictionary. You use no more than or not more than when ...
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1answer
85 views

That's a lot of 'pizza'!

I've heard this expression on TV suggesting 'a lot/(too)big amount of something'. Is it just an extension of the expression that's a lot? Is it a common expression (AmE or BrE) or just a one-off ...
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0answers
42 views

Is there any other way of the expression on this phrase? His breathing was becoming less labored

Or, "Eventually, the old guinea pig was unable to move and her breathing was labored." I am looking for other way of saying in an exactly same meaning.
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0answers
29 views

How to tell effectively, When someone just follows the existing custom or system as it is, without asking any questions [on hold]

How to tell effectively, When someone just follows the existing custom or system as it is, without asking any questions. Sometime people just follow the existing custom or systems as it is, without ...
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2answers
62 views

What do 'drive' and 'hard' refer to in 'drive a hard bargain'?

If I have to say that "this person(X) does very good bargaining" in a more refined way, I should ideally write "X drives a hard bargain". (I saw it in a book). I know that I have to use 'bargain' word ...
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1answer
81 views

Common word for two people who want to meet but are not acquaintances

I'm looking for a word to describe two people (instructor and student), who are trying to find time to met each other. Preferably one or two word expression.
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4answers
695 views

English-language equivalent to the Russian idiom, 'Not let someone within firing distance near X'

I've been hard put to come up with the most appropriate English expression for a particular Russian one. In Russian, an expression that roughly translates as "To not let someone come near X within a ...
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2answers
54 views

Looking for a phrase: a needlessly overcomplicated method of accomplishing a simple task [duplicate]

In my language, there is an expression for this - you can touch the tip of your nose normally, or you can move your hand behind your neck, across it, then touch the tip of the nose from the opposite ...
2
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1answer
75 views

How to understand “cat's evening wear”?

I really had a difficult time to understand this. It comes from a book I am reading, and it is used to describe a concept the author speaks highly of. Does it mean that something is very special? Or ...
2
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4answers
57 views

Synonyms for wondering hard

Can someone help me to identify some English synonyms/idioms meaning to "wonder so hard"? The word or phrase I'm looking for could be used in a situation where somebody tries to solve a very confusing ...
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3answers
76 views

Proper response to “Do the needful”, when the “needful” might not be clearly defined

I have worked in various places where "do the needful" is quite the common idiom. However, in some situations, both parties might not be quite aligned precisely with what falls under the scope of ...
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2answers
44 views

“I don't believe you” VS “I don't believe that you did that”

For examples, if A washed the dishes and came to B to tell him that, but B didn't believe it. Should B say: I don't believe that you washed the dishes ! Or just I don't believe you ! Is ...
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1answer
49 views

What to use for 'first unimpressive but later better'?

I will explain a few situations : It is often the case that I listen to a song which doesn't impress me in the first minute or so but as it progresses, I like it A trained batsmen struggles in the ...
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3answers
45 views

What is the verb omitted in an idiom like “back to the drawing board?”

"Back" is used in many expressions. For example, something like "Well, it’s Monday morning. Back to the salt mines" is often said. Would the full sentence be "I'll be back the salt mines" or "I'll go ...
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1answer
38 views

What is the origin of “to leave to one's own devices”?

My father-in-law noted that when I leave my children to their own devices, nowadays it could mean that they were each playing on their own iPhone. It got me to wondering what the source of this ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Is there a word for the relationship between my cousin's family and mine?

My mother's brother is my "uncle". His son is my "cousin". His wife is my "aunt". Each of these words names a specific person based on their familial relationship to me. Together the three of them ...
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3answers
47 views

“It works for you” vs “it goes with you”

Example: "I like your nickname. It works for you." "I like your nickname. It goes with you." The first one has 3 hits on Google Books. The second has 1. But, still I'm a bit confused. ...
3
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2answers
107 views

Is “Gone to Texas” a widespread idiom?

I have just learnt an idiom Gone to Texas which "was a phrase used by Americans immigrating to Texas in the 19th century often to escape debt". I like it. But is this idiom still used? Will native ...
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0answers
15 views

The converse of 1up is …? [migrated]

In videogames we usually see that extra new lives are called 1up. What would the converse of 1up be? 1 down?
25
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7answers
5k views

Is 'I f*cked the dog' an actual idiom and are there alternatives

I am a non-native speaker from Germany. In German there's one idiom that goes: Sich die Eier schaukeln Literally translated, this means "to rock the eggs", where "the eggs" are testicles. This ...
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1answer
38 views

'not fool enough to dance on the old strings', is it an idiom? This phrase is from 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells

In the book of 'The Invisible Man' by Wells, there is this sentence; "Kemp, you're not fool enough to dance on the old strings. Can't you see my position?" In this particular scene, Griffin(the ...
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4answers
253 views

Connotation of dislike in 'Credit where credit is due'

I am a non-native speaker and I wonder whether or not there is a connotation of disagreement in the idiom Credit where credit is due Would one say this only in a situation where a statement was ...
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4answers
490 views

What does “off the hook” mean?

I just saw this on internet and i know this is a slogan and how to use it too, but i dont know the whole meaning of this phrase.
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5answers
120 views

“Milk the cow more and feed it less”

In Russian we have an idiom that translates to English literally as "to get more milk from a cow and spend less food, you should feed you your cow less and milk it more". It's usually used ...
2
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1answer
62 views

History of the Expression “Search Me”

The phrase "search me" is so ubiquitous in the English language that it is found on every list of common idioms. It is a situational idiom for "I don't know" in response to any direct question. But ...
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5answers
98 views

Is there a phrase that means treat someone dismissively

A financial planner treated us in a dismissive fashion and I want to say that he "gave us the back of his hand" but that phrase doesn't seem to have the meaning of dismissive. Does it or is there a ...
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1answer
90 views

Origin/first known use of the phrase 'I've got some good news and some bad news'

When was the idiom, "I've got some good news and some bad news" first used, or when did it become a common joke?
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2answers
42 views

“and counting” “and holding” - what does this mean?

When listening to Space Shuttle countdown I notice the endings "and counting" and "and holding". I can imagine what "and counting" means, but what is "and holding"? Countdown has stopped? Why?
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2answers
125 views

Expression meaning crying in reaction to beauty [closed]

Is there a word or phrase that means crying because of beauty or crying in reaction to beauty?
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5answers
93 views

Idiom meaning “If it should be (x), it would be (x)”?

Is there some kind of saying or idiom in English with the meaning if it were supposed to be like that, it would be (like that) Something like if it should be, it would be
5
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1answer
86 views

Usage of “put a bottle on the fence”

Where I work there is a common saying thrown around, to "put a bottle on the fence" or the deliverable was a "bottle on the fence". It generally indicates the creation of an example or starting point ...
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8answers
2k views

English equivalent to Spanish idom “to discover America/the Mediterranean”

In Spanish we have got an ironic expression which is: "You've discovered America!" or "He thinks that he has discovered the Mediterranean Sea" to say that someone has said something obvious or well ...
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1answer
50 views

on the order of somebody

if the idiom "on the order of" does mean "approximately" can we write something like this? "Everyone, who left that bunker and other ones on the order of Bandera followers, died." Would it mean "at ...
3
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1answer
61 views

derivation of the expression "I am just going out to turn my bike round

I believe the phrase was used in london upto the 1960's as a cryptic way of saying to go (outside) to the toilet. Upto the 1960's most pubs and many houses had outside lavatories. The speaker may not ...
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2answers
68 views

Replacement For “Drive Someone Nuts” [closed]

In the expression to drive someone nuts, I studied that it's possible to replace the word nuts with words like: bananas, crazy, insane, bonkers, ... I'd like to know is this expression polite? If it ...
2
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2answers
87 views

Does the phrase “Do you want a hand in this” make sense?

From someone, somewhere, I remember hearing the phrase do you want a hand in this? I was told that it meant do you want to be a part of this? However, when I googled this phrase, nothing turned up. ...
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1answer
45 views

What does Cairne Bloodhoof mean by “a pup still wet behind the ears”? [closed]

This is a quote from War Crimes: “For the Thrall I knew, who befriended the tauren and helped them so greatly, would not have blithely handed over the Horde he restored to a young pup still wet ...
1
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1answer
44 views

Is this girl “piling on agony” or “ throwing a pity party” or what?

Is this girl"piling on agony"? ( I mean she is trying to draw attentions, while her situation is not that bad and scary, she is shedding tears falsely(?), and reacting so exaggeratedly ) What is the ...
17
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3answers
2k views

What is this type of idiom called: “I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but…”

Basically, when someone says something along the lines of "I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but he should at least pass first grade math." It's peculiar because they are ...
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0answers
45 views

Proper ways of saying “just had” or “expecting” a child for future guardians that aren't the birth mother

If a person is the spouse of or is adopting a newborn from a currently or recently pregnant person, what phrase describes their relationship with the unborn or recently born child? Are there clearer ...
1
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3answers
103 views

Phrase/Idiom for increasing odds of winning by placing multiple bets

I'm looking for a phrase/idiom that represents when you increase your chances of winning some sort of gamble (or event with multiple possible outcomes) by saturating the field with bets. E.g. ...
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14answers
2k views

Is there an expression or idiom for something convenient that happens right when you need it to?

Especially if it's something unlikely. Almost as if it could only happen in a movie. For instance, you're about to be robbed and a random cop on patrol arrives at that exact time. What are the chances ...
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3answers
86 views

Mind Blowing vs. Mind Boggling

I have seen these phrases using interchangeably, but I couldn't pinpoint exactly what do they mean. what is the difference between the 2 and where/how to use them?
2
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1answer
77 views

are there any compiled lists of modern equivalents of historical proverbs? [closed]

I'm not even sure of what we commonly label these types of expressions that are passed down from generations. Some are attributed to the bible, like, "idle hands are the devil's workshop." There ...
0
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2answers
80 views

What is the opposite for “thin-skinned”? [closed]

What is the idiom or term for describing a usually respectful and nice person who is not easily offended by others' criticism, advice, jokes, or insults? ( I know the opposite is "thin-skinned", but ...
1
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3answers
75 views

expressions meaning to risk death [closed]

I am looking for expressions roughly synynymous wtih 'to risk death'. The following are some examples. Can you think of others? to risk one's life to put one's life on the line to flirt with ...