1
vote
1answer
60 views

What does “pay the graces” mean? [closed]

Have the Three Graces actually been paid? Is that the origin? I found it in the lyrics for a song, where it doesn't seem to make sense at all: I had an impulse to clear it all away oh I used the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “stuff one's nose into another's orifices” mean?

According to Maureen Dowd's article in New York Times (May 20) under the headline, “Remember to forget,” the European Court of Justice ruled last week that Google and other search engines can be ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

Is this the correct useage of… including; but not only,

Is this the correct useage of, "every possible accessory and trimming a body could desire to adorn their costumes with, including; but not only, brightly colored ribbons, buttons, needles of brass and ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

get the boot courtesy - idiom, meaning

It seems that William and Susan aren’t getting along very well together, so one of them has got to go. Since William was there first, Susan will get the boot courtesy of the delete statement... ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

“To take in” and “to catch” in the sense "to attend and visit (or see) [the sights of (a city, etc.)] in AmE

Do these terms share the same degree of informality in the sense "to attend and visit (or see)" as of someone taking in/catching the sights of a place, or taking in/catching a show or a movie? E.g. ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

“Go ahead” vs. “Carry on” in AE usage

Back when I was a student, I can recall my nonnative English teachers -- after discussing a certain word, or phrase, or passage from a text with the class -- saying for me or some other guy to please ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

“To set up” for “to arrange/prepare” or “to organize” in colloquial AmE

I already heard and read on various occasions Americans use the expression "to set up" to seemingly mean "to arrange" as in "I'll set up reservations for you" or "I'll be more than happy to set up a ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

Does the idiom “in lieu of” for “instead of” sound legalese or affected in modern day AmE [closed]

I once came across the idiomatic "in lieu of" in some bilingual dictionary I can't seem to put my hands on anymore, but I remember pretty well the phrase being defined as an Americanism. And so, I ...
1
vote
3answers
157 views

Is “people with a bit of grit under their fingernail” an idiom, or just one-off phrase?

I was interested in the phrase, “people with a “little bit of grit under their fingernails” appearing in the New Yorker magazine’s (March 14) article titled, “American Ads, American Values.” It reads; ...
0
votes
1answer
143 views

What does “to take/catch someone off stride” mean in AE?

I guess it might originate from ball game terminology, and mean pretty much the same as "catch/take someone off balance". But, sad to say, I just can't seem to find an authoritative source online that ...
3
votes
4answers
346 views

“Shag” for “chase and bring back, fetch” in AE

Does "shag" have any currency in modern day AE to mean "chase and bring back, fetch (an escaped animal/prisoner)"? Is its use limited to the pursuit of runaways, or can it be extended to a broader ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

“Snag (a chance, an opportunity, etc.) for ”seize/snatch" in AE

Does "snag" have any currency in modern day AE to say "snatch (or seize) (a chance, an occasion, etc.), and can it be used just about interchangeably with the latter? Or, is there a subtle difference ...
-1
votes
4answers
182 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
0
votes
1answer
267 views

“Assist someone do” vs. “assist someone to do (or ”in/with“ doing)”

I just recently came across "assist someone do" searching Google for examples to my previous question, and would like to check with you whether it is an acceptable option to "assist someone to do (or ...
4
votes
4answers
881 views

Is “Know how to cook leeks”an idiom? What does “Read “Hamlet” and know how to cook leeks” mean?

There was the following sentence in New York Times’ article (February 28) titled “What you learn at 40s.”: "Victor Hugo supposedly called 40 “the old age of youth.” - - The conventional wisdom ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

“This is Figure 7 on page 777” or “This is Figure 7 on the page 777”? Why not “the”?

I cannot understand what is wrong with "on the page 8"? My instructor claims that it is "on page 8". It is a specific page to which I referring to on a particular book. What is wrong with "the" in ...
0
votes
2answers
69 views

Does “shall no longer be” imply “forever not?”

Can "no longer" refer to a finite, forseeable time period, or does it indicate a long-term finality? For example, if someone says, in anticipation of a large meal, "I shall no longer be hungry," does ...
3
votes
2answers
296 views

Does the expression “to go under the knife” carry a negative connotation?

Is there a difference in connotation between these two phrases? I asked my student whether her mother was scheduled to GO UNDER THE KNIFE this morning. I asked my student whether her mother was ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Reservation “under the name”, “in the name”, or “by the name” of Ms. X

Which idiom of "by the name", "under the name", and "in the name" is appropriate for reservations? e.g. There's a reservation by the name of Cullen... She made the reservation in the name of Jordan ...
0
votes
2answers
89 views

“Bar none (the most/the best…)” for “without exceptions or by far (the most/the best…)”

I once came across the idiom "bar none" for "by far/with no exceptions" as in "He's bar none the best player on the team", after what (for some reason unbeknownst to my forty three year old self) it ...
-1
votes
2answers
326 views

Does “none the more…” mean “far from (being)…” in American English?

I'm familiar with the somewhat colloquial turn of phrase "nowhere near as ... as" / "not anywhere near as ... as" to say "far from being as ... as". However, I'm a little less familiar with the ...
0
votes
1answer
871 views

When is it appropriate to use the idiom “various and sundry”

To my ears the term "various and sundry" sounds redundant. What is the proper use of this idiom?
3
votes
1answer
118 views

“Advice I wish I'd had ears to hear” — is this phrase in common use? Origins?

Productivity writer Merlin Mann often uses the phrase "ears to hear" on his podcast. An example from his writing: "a discursive mishmash of advice I wish I'd had the ears to hear in the year or ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Do 'learn by heart' & 'learn by rote' mean the same?

Here in India, both the phrases learning by heart and learning by rote are taken to have the same meaning, i.e., blind memorisation without true understanding. However, some sources say that to ...
0
votes
2answers
378 views

Holding off on it or Holding it off or Holding off of it?

I would like to say that I'm pausing / postponing work on something. I wasn't sure which of the following is the right way to say it: I'm holding off on it for the time being I'm holding off of ...
1
vote
2answers
186 views

What’s the difference between “Go all out” and “Go all in”?

There was the following sentence in August 12 Time magazine article titled “Why Germany save the Euro,” which deals with the Germany’s roles in restoring the momentum of Euro economy: “There are ...
0
votes
1answer
247 views

Is “Take one’s pulse” used as an idiom to mean“research” market, trends, problems / opportunities other than “diagnose" patient’s conditions?

I was amused to find the headline of article, “Just Dropped In to Take Your Pulse” in New Car Reviews section of New York Times October 25 issue, which is followed by the lead-copy: The Scirocco ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Do you know the meaning of the American idiom “pot calling the kettle black”?

I just want to conduct a research about this American idiom and how native American people use it. Can you guys answer my questions in the following orders? If you have better questions, I will be ...
1
vote
1answer
511 views

What is the proper use of “right the way along”?

I've heard the idiom "right the way along" used many times in British literature and video, however, I'm slightly unclear as to what it means. It seems, at first glance, to be a British variant on ...
4
votes
4answers
181 views

Does “drape oneself in something” have the meaning of “be armored in”?

Gabe Rottman , a legislative counsel and policy adviser at the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union contributed an answer to the question, “Is it wrong for credit card ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

lying down and then sit up/down? [closed]

If your child is lying down and you want them to get in the sitting position, how do you ask them to in an informal/everyday language? If you could provide more than one way, it would be appreciated.
0
votes
3answers
641 views

Does “walk back” have a meaning of ‘deny’ or 'keep distance from sb. / stg.' as an idiom?

I came across the phrase “a State Department spokesperson had walked back his (John Kerry’s) comments in the Time magazine’s (August 2) article titled, “Oops: John Kerry gaffes, Washington ...
3
votes
4answers
692 views

Is the expression “the dead of night” or “the dead of the night”?

I always thought it was just "the dead of night" - no "the" following "of"(unlike "heat of the night"). But I recently came across "dead of the night" and I'm wondering if its correct.
2
votes
3answers
170 views

Is “Compete to get scraps from a shrinking pot” a set phrase, or President Obama’s ad hoc turn of phrase?

In the New York Times’ interview to President Obama in Galesburg, Ill. on July 28 (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/us/politics/obama-says-income-gap-is-fraying-us-social-fabric.html?hp), Mr. Obama ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Function of “too” in the phrase “so too” or “so, too,”

I just ran into this sentence in an online article: But as the App Store’s fortunes rose, so too did the iPhone’s, and later the iPad’s. If I were editing that sentence, I would remove the too ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

“I am yet to see” versus “I have yet to see” [duplicate]

What is the difference between I am yet to see X and I have yet to see X and in which situations would each be preferred?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the exact meaning of “You've got yourself a deal”? Is it only an American slang?

I came across the phrase, ‘got yourself a deal’ being introduced as a vulgar American English by a character in Jeffery Archer’s, fiction “The Fourth Estate.” In the scene Keith Townsend, Australian ...
3
votes
1answer
369 views

What does ‘a lunch best forgotten’ mean?

There is the following sentence in Jeffery Archer’s fiction, “The Fourth Estate.”: He droppped into three newsagents on the long walk into Kingston, and purchased Time, Newsweek, and local ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Does the phrase “don't even pass the laugh test” pass as an idiomatic expression, or only a set of words?

I was intrigued to the phrase, ‘the argument doesn’t pass even the laugh test’ in the following statement of Bruce Schneier, a security technologist on the debate about whether Edward J. Snowden who ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

“She hasn't said but a few words to me…” or “She has said but a few words to me…”?

"She hasn't said but a few words to me since last winter." or "She has said but a few words to me since last winter." Which of these is right? I think the latter is heard more often, but ...
5
votes
2answers
432 views

What's a useful replacement idiom for “money shot?”

I'm afraid I have been somewhat innocently causing offense by using the term "money shot" in its general, non-pornographic sense. My coworkers either have dirty minds or lack awareness of the other ...
2
votes
1answer
478 views

Is it “to play a game on someone” or “play games with someone”?

I find this expression strange because it's clearly widely used, but seems sort of "unofficial", the "official" version, meaning the one described in dictionaries and grammar books, being playing ...
1
vote
4answers
331 views

What's the meaning of “I put the chic in freak”?

I am a non-native speaker of English (Polish) and I teach English as a Foreign Language in Poland. A few months ago I came across this phrase / sentence printed on the student's notebook and got ...
4
votes
2answers
248 views

Is it typical native speaker usage to inconsistently use the pronoun “one” in a paragraph?

[NB: This is a re-post of a closed question that was rightly judged "off topic". It does present an interesting problem, though, so I've rewritten it and asked an on-topic usage question.] Is it ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

Urge Her Against Him [closed]

For this: google book "With one hand on the small of her back, and another just a bit lower, he urged her against him again. The woman was melting his resolve and calling into question his ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

To Be Used Of/For

Does "to be used OF" mean "to be used FOR": wikipedia The English term "empiric" derives from the Greek word ἐμπειρία, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which ...
-1
votes
1answer
95 views

To Lay A Hit, Blow

Is 'to lay a hit/blow on' someone (as in cheap shot) a slang expression?
0
votes
1answer
129 views

On His Post, At His Post

I have this: link On 21-22 April 1914, while leading three picket launches admist heavy enemy fire, McCloy was wounded but remained on his post, enabling cruisers to save American lives. For ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Pattern: It is X that Y

I might be confused about the "it is X that Y " pattern: 1a That he is not the best player is a surprise. 1b It is a surprise that he is not the best player. 2a That he is not the best ...