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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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 ...
0
votes
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
votes
2answers
194 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
161 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", "...
0
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What does the phrase “lead on” mean?

What does the phrase "lead on" mean and how would it be used in idiomatic English? I came across the phrase in a text describing a user interface test, which talked about avoiding bias by "avoiding ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

What word fits in this situation [closed]

When someone applied for something and reasons for the application are not enough or not subject to even consideration, how do you say in English instead of unacceptable? Does this sentence make ...
-5
votes
1answer
29 views

Origin of Here's luck drink hearty [closed]

What is the origin of Here's luck Drink Hearty?
1
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3answers
77 views

Phrase for “Sharing the same feelings for each other”

Can anybody help me with a good idiom or phrase which means "Sharing the same feelings for each other?
0
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3answers
102 views

What is the opposite of the expression “have nothing to do with”?

Example: A policeman found a pack of cocaine next to me, but I told him that drug had nothing to do with me. What I mean is: I was not connected to the cocaine at all. On the other hand, my friend ...
-3
votes
1answer
48 views

How to analyse “He was found innocent.”

"He was found innocent." How exactly does this work? Is it just an idiomatic contraction of 'found to be innocent'? What about "He was found alive"? 'Found' here is working a lot like a causative ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Idiom for two different consequences from one antecedent

I'm searching for an idiom to use to say briefly that two different outcomes may represent different sides of the same underlying phenomenon. I would use it in the topic of a chapter. These two ...
4
votes
2answers
510 views

What does “the lowest common denominator” mean in the context other than math?

In the New Yorker’s (May 31) article under the title, “Stephen Hawking angers Trump supporters with baffling array of long words,” Andy Borowitz wrote; “Speaking to a television interviewer in ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Once a cheater, always a cheater

I wonder if the upper phrase is ever used in a meaning different from the obvious one: cheating in a relationship? Can it refer to cheating in an exam or obtaining money in a dishonest way?
3
votes
1answer
61 views

Is “thanks to” now used also in negative contexts? [closed]

Recently I saw some uses of the idiom thanks to in negative contexts. They sound strange to me, probably because thanks express a grateful feeling or acknowledgment of a benefit, so I thought thanks ...
15
votes
3answers
970 views

What does “can't get arrested in this town” mean?

A phrase I've heard on various comedy programs regarding famous people is "[he or she] can't get arrested in this town." It often seems to be in reference to the person no longer being famous, however ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What does “working out of” mean? [duplicate]

Can you please tell me what "working out of" means in this context? "African composers working out of European-based choral and instrumental art music traditions are gaining recognition, as are the ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

To be a bit angular in one's views

What does it mean for one to be a bit angular in one's views ? This was said while describing an author of a book. The statement was in praise of the author, and in the end adds this qualification ...
0
votes
1answer
130 views

What is the meaning of “may very well be”?

I have come across this phrase recently. What does it mean? A young man who has read the life story of every eminent athlete of the twentieth century, or a coed who has steeped herself in every ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

What does “in the know” mean? [closed]

Following are a part of introductive speech given by a moderator at a meeting in the U.S. I couldn't understand or get the nuance of the sentence. Could you explain or express in another way? "This ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“Well-rounded” usage in the United States

What’s the first recorded use of the term well-rounded as it refers to being competent or trained in several fields, e.g., from astronomy to literature to social dancing to cookery?
4
votes
1answer
130 views

English equivalent for the Persian expression “To keep one's face red with slap”

In Persian we have a saying "صورت را با سیلی سرخ نگه داشتن" which literally translates to: To keep one's face red(warm) with slap It's used in a situation in which a person, if poor or ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

Just because he … he doesn't need to be

I hear sentences like Just because he is old doesn't mean he is slow a lot, and I don't like them. Is the alternative Just because he is old he doesn't need to be slow easy to parse and ...
14
votes
12answers
3k views

Is there any idiom about the problems so bad that cannot be solved? [closed]

Do we have any idiom in English stating such a concept? "the problem got so bad/complex that it cannot be solved anymore"
-1
votes
1answer
122 views

What is the meaning of “your argument is invalid”?

Does the phrase "your argument is invalid" has some idiomatic meaning? Because I am often seeing it in places where its literal meaning doesn't make sense. In some cases I felt it means something ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

“Would that of this journey I had heard…”?

This is a translation of a Heian period poem: Would that of this journey I had heard. So had my heart been with you when you sought the cuckoo's song. What does 'Would that of this journey I had ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Holding up to an appearance

Can something 'hold up to' an appearance in the Queen's English? That is, can one say 'it appears to be green, but on closer scrutiny it does not necessarily hold up to this appearance'?
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Is there any difference between ”control of/over“ and ”power over"

For example, what to choose here? "To compete for the control of/over a corporation" or "To compete for the power over a corporation" UPDATE If two workers compete for absolute control/power, what ...
0
votes
3answers
42 views

Phrase similar to “in the offing”

The meaning of "in the offing" I guess is "something that is likely to happen in the (distant) future" Is there any phrase that describes something that is likely to happen soon?
1
vote
2answers
53 views

What does Megyn Kelly “dished about” her battle with sb. and “spilled dirt about” her colleagues mean?

Vanity Fair (May 17) carried an article titled, “Megyn Kelly calls out Fox News colleagues for not supporting her.” There was the following line: Appearing on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live — a ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

“These kids I tell you” or “kids I tell you” expression meaning

I have read them in few disconnected articles and in conversations but could not understand them completely. "These kids I tell you" or "kids I tell you" expression meaning. What do they mean ?
1
vote
3answers
68 views

Crow collects chunks of glass in a hollow tree

So I'm reading "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami and I came across this passage this line : "Like the way a crow collects chunks of glass in a hollow tree." In context: "Don't be silly," said ...
45
votes
5answers
7k views

Around how old is “a woman of a certain age”?

"A woman of a certain age" is a common saying. It means more than "a woman of a given age", "a woman who could be any age" or "female, without respect to age". It's usage instead seems to suggest a ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

To come clean about/over

Could you explain me the right form of the idiom "to come clean" and its connection with subject? I have found the expression "to come clean ABOUT" in both of my printed dictionaries. The same form ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

why come ing with verb after preposition

why we use "ing" with verb that comes after preposition? For example: he is accused for breaking a new vase. here breaking is being used after for
1
vote
2answers
86 views

How did “on the house” become a synonym of “free”?

question as in the subject. Noticed such an expression at least in two occasions...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

What is the meaning: splash about and splash around?

I'm reading “Alice in Wonderland” and found some idiom "splashing about in the pool", but cannot understand why is used about preposition. In the Internet I have found "splash around" and became more ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

in pursuit of / through a pursuit of

Do those expressions have some different nuance and grammatically correct? I have seen "in pursuit of" many times but rarely seen "through a pursuit of" which one would be more proper for the ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Watergate and Marathon — Any other invalid, but common back formations? [duplicate]

I was reading a question here about the use of the suffix -gate to denote a political, and later any type, of scandal. This is of course and allusion to the Watergate scandal, which lead to the ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

has to do with vs has something to do with

What's the difference between the meanings of these two sentences? My homework has to do with last week's activity. My homework has something to do with last week's activity.
-1
votes
1answer
634 views

What is the meaning of “creaming somebody's spinach over somebody”

I have been watching "Family Guy" recently and Peter says: "my wife's been creaming her spinach over him" What does it mean? I went from top to bottom of Google and found nothing. It's really weird ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

What is the origin of the phrase “gathering wool”?

From context, it would appear to mean "no day-dreaming" or "no dilly-dallying", as in "Let's go, no time for wool gathering!" or "Pay attention, no wool gathering here!"
2
votes
4answers
189 views

(In)formal equivalent for “Sword of Damocles” concept

What are the formal and informal equivalents (idiom or word) for the situation which Sword of Damocles could describe that? From Cambridge Dictionary, Sword of Damocles means: If you have a sword ...
1
vote
2answers
28 views

The illusion has dropped / is over?

I'm looking for an idiom that means the illusion is over or the illusion has dropped. Ironically, I wonder if either of these phrases is the idiom I'm looking for. The reason I doubt this is that ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

What is wrong with expressions like “leave no stone unturned”?

In George Orwell's Politics and the English Language he says: Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a ...
3
votes
1answer
183 views

“How many beans make five?” [closed]

The answer is “a bean, a bean and a half, half a bean and 2 beans” but I really did not get it. Can anyone explain the origin and meaning of this expression?
2
votes
2answers
83 views

Is it clear what the idiom “lit up like a candle” means?

Take this sentence: I gave a beggar all my change, and he lit up like a candle. It's used in Norwegian, but I wonder if it's perfectly clear what it means in English, and are there better idioms to ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

meaning of “easier on the nerves” [closed]

What does it mean when we say "something is easier on the nerves"? Does it mean "it is easier to withstand"?
2
votes
3answers
61 views

Looking for a word or phrase that describes the “flattening” or “smoothing” of a learning curve

A word or phrase that describes the process of making something more easily comprehensible. (I would actually like to exclude the 'learning curve' idiom) Examples; "How might we make this topic more ...
5
votes
2answers
206 views

What does “Me, myself and I” mean?

I hear "Me, myself and I" idiom from time to time. Here this idiom is described as emphasis only. Are there any other meanings? What cases is it suitable for?