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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1answer
59 views

Why do we say 'He is Fred to a t'? [duplicate]

I used to think it was only a British idiom. But I read an article in the New York Times stressing how important tea was to the British army in Iraq. Apparently there is even a special attachment on ...
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3answers
109 views

How to say that event is happening now? [closed]

Imagine if I sit in the classroom and I want to say that some lecture is going in another classroom. I what to express that meaning using active voice, like Lecture is happening now But for me, ...
26
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12answers
8k views

Idiom for “just because you give something a different name, it doesn't change what it is”

I'm looking for a way to idiomatically express the sentiment that just because you give something a different name, or precede it with a disclaimer, it doesn't change what it is, e.g.: "I mean this ...
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1answer
48 views

What does “bodded ill” mean? [closed]

Quoted from here: "Not to make an impression but anyone that bodded ill with the Duchess, did not sit with with Ealora" I was wondering what the expression "bodded ill" means. Thank you. P.S. As ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “A.C. or D.C.?”

In Heinlein's A stranger in a strange land, there is a moment when nurse Jill kisses Martian man named Mike and another man, Jubal, puts a comment on it. It comes as follows: “Son,” he said, “you ...
6
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10answers
867 views

Term meaning careful and thorough, almost excessively so [duplicate]

I'm trying to think of a term which means that one expends extra effort or materials in making sure that something is done properly, to an almost excessive or extravagant extent. One good is example ...
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2answers
80 views

“Last straw on camel's back” but positive? [duplicate]

Is there an idiom that is similar in meaning to the last straw that broke the camel's back, except with positive connotations? For eg., how do I idiomatically express that "the My Little Pwny mount ...
2
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1answer
177 views

Expression for two people whose similar personalities makes it difficult for them to get along?

I am aware of the concept of "personality clash", when two people can't get along because their natures are too different, but what is it called when two people can't get along because their ...
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1answer
51 views

What kind of figurative language is this phrase?

What figurative language is this phrase? Is it an idiom or personification? Or something else? I have tried to figure it out but I can't. "to drive the idea out of my mind"
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2answers
94 views

“Walk the walk” vs. “talk the talk” vs. “walk the talk”

Normally the idiom is as follows: He walks the walk and talks the talk. Should it not be "he walks the talk", meaning "he does what he says"?
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18answers
3k views

What's an idiom for something that you've heard many times?

I'm trying to write something for my blog, and I need an idiom that will replace me saying, "I've heard people say that all the time, it's the same old story."
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3answers
253 views

Looking for an idiom describing age

I'm translating a script for a cartoon into English. In one of the scenes a grandpa's talking to his granddaughter. It goes something like this: GRANDPA Indeed! I have forgotten! Apparently, your ...
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2answers
41 views

On / of one's own accord

When it comes to the idiom involving the phrase "own accord", is it considered correct to say "on one's own accord", instead of "of one's own accord"? To me, the former sounds more natural. Example: ...
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5answers
70 views

Does this situation constitute a “Pyrrhic Victory”? Irony?

Consider the following situation: A person, Alice, is hired to do a job for a company, ZooBiz. Alice is able to entirely outsource her job. She pays the outsourcer 50% of what she makes, and no ...
2
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2answers
87 views

idioms that mean being good at something [closed]

I am looking for a few idioms that mean either being good at something or simply being generally good. "Ace" is the word I have in mind, unfortunately not an idiom.
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2answers
59 views

What's the difference between “from the ground up” and “from scratch”? can they be used interchangeably?

What's the difference between "From the ground up" & "From scratch"? both seem to have the meaning of "from the very beginning". Can they be used interchangeably?
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5answers
627 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
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1answer
45 views

Why can't “had better” take a that-clause?

Given that we say things such as "I'd rather (that) you do it.", I'd expect "I had better (that) you do it." to be possible as well to mean "I would consider/find/have it better that you do it.", ...
5
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1answer
113 views

Equivalent of local idiom “The potter drinks from a broken jar”

There's an idiom in a native language which literally means "The potter drinks from a broken jar". i.e. a potter will not spend a lot of time making a beautiful jar for himself to drink from, he uses ...
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3answers
121 views

Can someone explain the meaning of this sentence and what “but for ” implies? [closed]

I would not have worked in London in the summer but for being on holiday.
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2answers
80 views

What is the basic meaning of 'blueprint'?

I just want to know the meaning of blueprint. Some websites say it's a method of printing, some say it merely means a pattern or design used by engineers or architects to document their ideas. I ...
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2answers
106 views

Verb choice 'do' in idiomatic expression [closed]

In common vernacular, an electrician or plumber might say something like "I'll do the plumbing for free". I know it's not exactly proper English but what exactly is going on (In a technical sense) ...
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2answers
52 views

What does “the balcony is really far away” mean?

Yesterday, I watched MasterChef America. There were two teams competing in the challenge of cooking and serving food at a football game. There were 100 voters and the red team won the blue team by 51 ...
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1answer
71 views

What is the origin of using '-wise' as a suffix? [duplicate]

What is the origin of using '-wise' as a suffix in expressions such as the following. Is it grammatically correct? Is it strongly idiomatic, or sloppy language? 'What is he doing job-wise these ...
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1answer
59 views

How is title case applied to idioms containing prepositions?

For title case that does not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and small prepositions, how should one capitalize compound verbs and idiomatic phrases containing one of these elements? For example, ...
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1answer
125 views

Can a spoof and a dark comedy be the same?

I and a group of friends were watching a video on TV when one idiot from the group (who wasn't my friend but a friend's friend) wanting to sound intellectual claimed that the video was based on "dark ...
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1answer
91 views

What does “straight out of [person]” mean?

I know the meaning of the straight out. But what does it mean with of? For example: It’s straight out of Alice Miller.
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4answers
186 views

Expressions to describe having immediately understood someone's personality

What words could I use to describe the event of having successfully and completely "read" or understood someone's personality, upon first meeting that someone?
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1answer
99 views

Why is a dead man like a plumber's candle? [closed]

Here I read the following about a man who had just died: He was the ghastly pale of a plumber’s candle. What exactly is meant? As far as I can google, a plumber's candle is just a shorter and ...
1
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1answer
109 views

is “ up on your mountain top” an idiom,

I wanna know whether " up on your mountain top" is an idiom? And if it is, whats its meaning? for example if some one gets on some body case and critisize him/her, if his, her answer is: " up on your ...
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1answer
54 views

Could anyone care less? [duplicate]

I've noticed recently that where in England we say "couldn't care less" in the US the negative is avoided and the phrase becomes "could care less". This is rather jarring because of the contradictory ...
0
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2answers
47 views

Rising out of its own momentum

The bellow rose and fell, then it blared out one last time, rising out of its own momentum as if it were escaping finally, after centuries of waiting, into silence. The beady night noises closed in ...
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6answers
106 views

Best way to describe “turning ideas into reality”

I'd like to ask if sentence “We accelerate ideas” sounds odd or natural? What is the best word/phrasal to describe transformation of the ideas into reality/real things?
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1answer
97 views

“Go a long way to” + gerund vs infinitive

Which one is correct? If they all are correct, which construction is the most preferable? Why? The fund will go a long way to solving their problem. The fund will go a long way to solve their ...
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1answer
84 views

Could “Hats off!” be insulting in some situations? [closed]

What are true situations and structures to use "Hats off!"? Could this idiom be insulting in some situations?
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3answers
333 views

What is the meaning of the expression “handsome devil”?

I found answers on many web sites and they differed too much so I decided to ask the community. edit I call him the devil because he makes me wanna sin... Urban Dictionary A good-looking ...
5
votes
9answers
580 views

What's the English idiom/saying to describe that the chosen word is not correct?

I mean that the word used is too light or too subtle to describe the gravity of the situation? For example (an artificial example): the tsunami starts, the incredibly big waves are coming to the ...
5
votes
6answers
841 views

A phrase for “extremely bad luck”

Is there a (short) phrase or idiom meaning that someone had extremely bad luck? In the context of a sports match: as you would have a "perfect game" or the even more specific "perfect hand" (when ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

You're Coming On All-(blank), Coming Over All-(blank)

I'd like to know how widespread these statements are in the UK. In the movie 'In Bruges' Ralph Fiennes says to, a suddenly, soft-sounding Brendan Gleeson (employed as a hit-man by Fiennes): ...
2
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4answers
117 views

Which of “chafing at the bit” or “chomping at the bit” is more accepted/proper?

I've used "chafing at the bit" for quite some time, but have also heard "chomping at the bit" as a way to indicate impatience, etc. Which of these two is the more "proper" or accepted variant?
0
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1answer
156 views

What's a British equivalent to the more American expression 'Kiss my ass'? [closed]

I have the feeling that 'kiss my ass' isn't as widely used in the UK as it is in the US. I'm looking for a more British sounding equivalent.
1
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1answer
119 views

Is there a word or phrase that means both the answer and the question? [closed]

I am exploring how to create a game that generates metaphors or concepts that could be created outside of a linear thinking of past, present and future. Simultaneous revelations that occur ...
0
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1answer
44 views

Can an abandoned software project “gather dust”?

I was reading a blog of someone who is trying to emulate Nintendo Gameboy hard- and software as a hobby project. In the oldest post, in the following sentence: I eventually [...] bought myself a ...
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8answers
1k views

What is meant by “same difference”?

Unless you are comparing two different sets of items to then have a couple of differences and the differences are the same, I do not get it. This would be analogous to: 12-9=3, 7-4=3. Here we have ...
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2answers
80 views

Is “right hand of” means right hand of anybody else? [closed]

Idiom meaning of "right hand of" Example. Right hand of GOD.
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1answer
180 views

“silk purses out of a sow's ears”

Yesterday I posted a question(How do expert writers avoid using "I" when they have to refer to themselves in their article?) and received a good yet insult-ish like answer. I'm not a native ...
3
votes
3answers
202 views

Does the expression, “As sound as a pound” still holds its currency?

There is the following sentence in the New York Time’s (July 24) article titled, “A Chinese gold standard?” written by its Op-Ed Contributor, Kwasi Kwarteng. “For most of the 19th century the ...
3
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2answers
74 views

“get a coating”

I recently saw the expression "get a (real) coating" in this book review: Swales, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the only guy who gets a real coating, but only in passing But I just cannot figure ...
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4answers
123 views

Meaning of “that's the idea” [closed]

I read a book in which a character wrote a poem. She told herself I should fix the first part, but that's the idea. What does this mean, "but that's the idea"? Does it mean she should fix ...
1
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1answer
92 views

Etymology of “throw good money after bad”?

The idiom "throwing good money after bad" refers to spending more money on something problematic that one has already spent money on, in the (presumably futile) hopes of fixing it or recouping one's ...