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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modern equivalents of expressions, like “that's the way the cookie crumbles”

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 ...
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2answers
69 views

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

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 ...
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3answers
60 views

expressions meaning to risk death [on hold]

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 ...
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1answer
58 views

Confusion between:“{is/has} no chance” and “{is/has} no match” [on hold]

Which form is correct in the sentences below? A snake has no chance/match to an angry rabbit. OR A snake is no chance/match to an angry rabbit. Please explain when I should use has ...
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3answers
111 views

What does “… which is somewhat long in tooth” mean, and what is the source of the phrase? [on hold]

This is the complete sentence where I found it. It is from an online training about the Linux operating system. e4defrag is part of the e2fsprogs package and should be on all modern Linux ...
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1answer
35 views

What's the difference between “case by case” and “case to case”?

What's the difference between "case by case" and "case to case"? I often hear the former from my Japanese students. When I asked them where they got the phrase, they always say they learned it from ...
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1answer
45 views

Idioms and phrases [duplicate]

In a sentence idioms acts as which parts of speech??
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3answers
78 views

Every once in a while [on hold]

Representatives from my recruiting company sometimes come to visit me, may be once in a six months in my office. Is it correct to write some words of appreciation to them as shown below?. "I ...
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2answers
56 views

What are some synonymous phrases for the phrase “Turning Criminal”?

I need suggestions for different ways to say "turning criminal," as in "He began turning criminal, committing illegal acts instead of abiding by the law."
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5answers
128 views

Idiom/expression that means “canceling” an event from your calendar?

This is a bit tricky because checking off and crossing out could mean that I marked those items as finished. What I want to convey is that I changed my mind and decided not to do those items. ...
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2answers
116 views

To “levy criticism” or to “level criticism?”

In a recent NY Times article the reporter writes, "Criticisms are also levied at Jews...". I have always heard the idiom as "to level criticism" or to "level charges" against. Which is the proper ...
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2answers
35 views

Keep proper time

What does "keep proper time" in the following sentence mean? I've needed a new one for ages- mine hasn't kept proper time since I dropped it in the bath.*
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2answers
48 views

Is 'yeah-nah' a uniquely Australian idiom?

There is a response in Australian English that means "Yes I hear you and empathise with your situation, but no this course of action won't work for me." [Yeah-Nah] I assumed this was a normal part of ...
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2answers
79 views

Why is it called “to not pull any punches” and how did this phrase originate?

If one does not pull any punches, he speaks bluntly. Why is this idiom phrased this way? Is it because the motion of a punch, i.e., to speak bluntly, can be described as a push, which is the ...
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1answer
76 views

How did screaming as loud as you can become screaming “at the top of your lungs”?

What is it about the top of one's lungs that has to do with especially loud screaming? Every time I hear this idiom I imagine a little man screaming atop a giant lung.
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5answers
123 views

Someone who uses idioms excessively

Is there a term for someone who uses idioms (e.g. right off the bat, lowest hanging fruit, living under a rock) excessively (but correctly)? To clarify the confusion in the comments: I'm referring to ...
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5answers
3k views

Idiom for a Shy Girl [closed]

What do you tell a girl who shies away from expressing her feelings and avoids saying what you expect her to?
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1answer
52 views

Can “in alpha” be used as an antonym to “in beta,” or it’s a totally different animal?

I was drown to the phrase, “in beta” in the following passage of New York Times’ (June 16) publicity of their own new scheme, Trending: “The Times unveils a new tool, Trending, that shows you ...
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2answers
49 views

Idiom for “Single out” in a negative way

In a small group of people, the leader singled out Person A to pick on her. What's another idiom (that's a verb) to describe this action? There was a two-word idiom which I cannot remember. The idiom ...
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1answer
51 views

What does “can/could shake a baguette at” mean?

Could you please explain me what does "can/could shake a baguette at" mean? More fromage than you can shake a baguette at. or There were robot barbers, picturephones, and more flying ...
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3answers
137 views

List of new idioms from our era? [closed]

A recent question was about the new idiom in English "it goes to eleven". (It dates from 1984.) I was wondering, Taking "recent" or "in our generation" as since the 1980s... a) What's the single ...
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4answers
74 views

A better way to say “too busy to become more productive”?

I am looking for a clear way to describe a situation in which someone is genuinely interested in becoming more skilled, but is so overburdened with obligations that they have no time to learn how to ...
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7answers
412 views

Equivalent for the Persian idiom “Khaste Nabaashid” [closed]

We Persian speakers have a common idiom, Khaste Nabaashid, and usually say it to someone who finished a task or is in the middle of doing that. The literal translation of the idiom is something like ...
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3answers
170 views

Idiom: Bear with me

The sense of this formula is clear. It means be patient with me, be tolerant/lenient. Don't be too harsh on me. But how can a verb as "to bear" develop the meaning of to be tolerant? "To bear" is an ...
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13answers
2k views

Is there an idiom for being consistently unlucky through no fault of one's own? [duplicate]

Not quite sure how to word this, but I'm looking for an idiom or phrase/saying that describes when somebody who's done nothing to deserve it has hit a streak of bad luck. Wish I could be more ...
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3answers
90 views

Idiom for “wanting a long-term relationship”?

Example: Because he just wanted a one-night-stand, he told the girl he had a girlfriend, to make sure the girl [...] Meaning that the guy told the girl he had a girlfriend so that the girl ...
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33 views

Origin of the phrase “because of course it does”

I've been hearing "because of course it/he/she does" a lot recently. I'm assuming this is internet-speak, but maybe it's older? Grateful to anyone who can help pinpoint its origin.
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2answers
54 views

little thud, thud, tap, tap

What do you mean or express by this expression Sometimes you'll get a little thud, thud, tap, tap I tried to translate "..thud, thud, tap, tap" and failed!
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6answers
122 views

Idiom for “something is not as bad as they say”

I am looking for the way to translate the Russian saying that goes something like this " the Devil is not as dangerous as he was described, or, in direct translation, painted". Please help! I look ...
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3answers
232 views

Are they “in a good mood“ or ”in good moods"?

Just now I was walking my dogs down S St. in Sacramento. We were gaining on a woman walking in front of us, when she turned around to see who was behind her. "Sorry," I said. "We aren't going to ...
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2answers
52 views

Is “go to the papers” a standard idiomatic expression?

"I'll go to the papers since it's the most appropriate thing to do." I received this email not long ago from a blogger. (He is Scottish by origin.) He was complaining about plagiarism of an article ...
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1answer
73 views

What is the etymology of “You don't look too clever”

In BrEng, at least in the North, there is an idiom: "You don't look too clever." which means "You're looking quite ill." Does anybody know the etymology of this idiom please?
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316 views

How do I identify a British idiom from an American one?

I live outside the US and the UK. I just started reading a book titled "Speak English like an American". The book teaches numerous idioms but I don't know if these idioms are usable outside the the ...
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1answer
81 views

is “up *something*!” an idiom?

I overheard someone say "up something!" wherein something is a variable for... whatever. Is this an English language idiom? If so, in what dialect of English? What are some examples of it's usage? ...
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12answers
1k views

Idiom for describing an unintended benefit

I am looking for an idiom to describe an unintended benefit that results due to an action taken.
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1answer
45 views

Ability to reason and mental agility

I want to say that math improves the 'ability to reason' and 'elasticity of mind'. This is what I would say in my language (Italian). After a Google search I see that 'ability of reason' is an ...
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1answer
111 views

“I'll be sure to do something” vs “I'll for sure do something”

I'm not a native speaker but work in an English-speaking international environment. One American guy wrote me: I'll be sure to let you know We at our company usually say: I'll for sure let ...
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1answer
54 views

Plural of 'rush hour'

Can I use 'rush hours' in the sentence 'Can you sustain load during rush hours?'? Or should I say 'rush hour' in this context?
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2answers
69 views

(go) off the boil

"(go)off the boil" seems to mean "past the crisis" in British English. What is the origin/etymology of this expression? Is it used nowadays?
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2answers
242 views

Why “a” bow and arrow?

Anyone who's watched CW's Arrow would recognize this line immediately: They've got guns. You've got a bow and arrow. They never say a bow and arrows. They never say a bow and an arrow. They say ...
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3answers
84 views

What does “face as sharp as a pen” mean?

I am reading a text and there is a phrase which I don't know the meaning of: His face was as sharp as a pen. What does it mean?
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1answer
58 views

Is “It's not a second, seven seconds away” a kind of idiom in English? [closed]

Is "it's not a second, seven seconds away" a kind of idiom in English? What is its meaning? I am trying to make sense of the chorus in "7 seconds" by Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry and I just can't ...
2
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0answers
103 views

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

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 ...
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3answers
107 views

“Thanks, my lovelies!” [closed]

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 ...
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1answer
70 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 ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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1answer
48 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 ...
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8answers
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. ...
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10answers
746 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 ...
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1answer
34 views

aimless milling [closed]

"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.