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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3answers
66 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
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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
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1answer
27 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
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1answer
38 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
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2answers
80 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
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1answer
18 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
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1answer
25 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
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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
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1answer
39 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.
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1answer
490 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
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2answers
47 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!"
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4answers
186 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 ...
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2answers
21 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
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2answers
107 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 ...
2
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2answers
65 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
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1answer
35 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
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3answers
55 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 ...
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2answers
104 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?
4
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2answers
142 views

What does “red chair” imply?

At a meeting in an international corporation, a Canadian speaker mentioned having a "red chair" culture and later continued to talk about their "red chair" learnings. I'm not sure what that implies. ...
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1answer
30 views

“it rains something” - is it an idiom and when is it used?

I think I heard somewhere expressions like "it rains apples" or "it rains ideas" which could possibly mean there is a lot of apples and ideas, but I am not sure. Is there anything like that in English?...
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3answers
71 views

Someone who exploits your feelings for them to take advantage of you

I need a word or idiom for someone who takes advantage of you because they know you like them. In relationships, I heard the word "user", as someone who uses their romantic partners for material gain. ...
3
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2answers
77 views

More formal phrase for “throw someone off”

Is there a more formal phrase with the same meaning of "throw someone off"? I want to use the phrase exactly how I am sure everyone is used to it being used. I want to say that something unexpected ...
0
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0answers
16 views

meaning of “a game of tease”

what does it mean when someone compares something or some act to "a game of tease"? I think it means like indulging in a game of seek and hide or something like that. Am I right? it is like a game ...
0
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0answers
36 views

I break out my fun blazer. what does this mean?

Has he ever said anything nice to you before? No. Not even when I break out my fun blazer. This is what I can see on the script of Modern Family season 6 I know what a blazer is, But I don't ...
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4answers
67 views

Synonyms for “walking on thin ice”

It's tough to find synonyms for whole phrases as opposed to single words. I'm trying to think of at least a couple for "walking on thin ice." So far the only one I've come up with is "playing a ...
0
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2answers
45 views

Converting direct speech to indirect speech

Please tell me what will be the indirect-speech form of this sentence: The boys shouted, "Don Bosco Public School well played?" The question mark confuses me. Here is the original question:     ...
3
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4answers
86 views

Word describing the one flaw in an otherwise perfect crime, plot or plan

I am wondering if there is a noun or phrase that articulates how a crime, plot or plan was foiled. I am interested in a noun or phrase that relates to crime in particular. For example, They two ...
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2answers
72 views

Does “the military” refer to any military?

When someone uses the term "the military" is it implied they are talking about the military of the current country they are in, or any military? For example I sometimes see on application forms "Have ...
0
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1answer
39 views

Any difference between pleasure to us to… vs. pleasure of ours to…?

I am writing a super-formal letter (it is a semi-legal text) and I am unsure if there is any sensible difference between writing "It is a great pleasure to us to..." (26,200,000 hits on Google) ...
8
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1answer
119 views

Why is “violated” being used as future perfect with a person as the object?

On Aviation StackExchange, I've seen these: I don't think you will be violated.. He was subsequently violated... Pilot [...] may now be violated for it. ... pilots have been violated... It seems ...
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0answers
17 views

Can Fair Enough mean quantity enough?

Fair could mean quite large/big or many in quantity or degree, so can fair enough mean it's quite big enough or it's quite much/many(corret me if im wrong) enough?
9
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2answers
99 views

A word or idiom for a car mechanic that rips you off

I'm curious if there is an English word or idiom specific for a car mechanic that rips you off. In the case of a doctor, one could use charlatan, or quack.
2
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1answer
34 views

Personification of a Vehicle and it's sleeves

Normally, to describe something which has special abilities or something secret, we use the phrase Something up its sleeve or something similar to that. Now, if I had to say the same thing about a ...
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2answers
74 views

My coworker and I were trying to solve a problem — we both tried two different things at once that only worked because of the other's attempt

Each solution to the problem we were trying to solve would have independently failed. We were each trying many different solutions at the same time. We each happened to try a solution that worked, but ...
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1answer
34 views

Demonstrate a discrepancy? [closed]

I was writing some article about scientific debate over one subject and then came to my keyboard the following : "... demonstrate large variability..." . I was wondering if I could replace ...
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1answer
93 views

“Righting wrongs” or “Writing wrongs”? [closed]

I've seen people using different forms of this phrase. "Righting some wrongs", "Righting the wrongs", "Right a wrong" "Writing some wrongs", "Writing the wrongs", "Write a wrong" It seems to be an ...
0
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2answers
60 views

What is the idiom or proverb or phrase for this “hard packing but loose knot”? [closed]

What is the idiom or proverb or phrase for this "hard packing but loose knot"? For example, you took hard preparation for the exam, but, didn't attend it.
0
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1answer
51 views

What is the meaning of “to spite the whole world"? [closed]

I found that in this text: recently wrote on Twitter that he was willing to revise his position towards ISIL and join it “to spite the whole world" if it stopped labeling other jihadists as ...
0
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1answer
80 views

Meaning of “off the clock”

Could you explain the meaning of the expression "off the clock"? Do I need to use hyphens as in "off-the-clock"? I have seen some explanations on the Internet, but none of them seem to be reliable.
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9answers
4k views

Derogatory word or idiom for city dwellers

I'm looking for something people from rural area would use, especially when they refer to that person's inability to adapt to the country life.
4
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3answers
124 views

Idiom for being forced to dig your own grave?

Suppose that a team of people is laid off but is asked to temporarily stay to train their replacements. Is there any idiom that would describe people in such a conflicting situation? "Digging their ...
2
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2answers
152 views

What's another way of saying “to hell with it”? [closed]

How do you express displeasure and disregard over something (e.g. To hell with that new policy _____'s office has come up with! I'm going to do whatever the hell I want) without sounding crude? I am ...
3
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2answers
95 views

Does “taking the heart out of something” mean to defeat it?

Does the idiom "taking the heart out of something" mean to defeat it? Context: rituals of science have taken the heart out of the rituals of religion
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2answers
27 views

Meaning meaning [closed]

Could someone please help me out of the misunderstanding problem below? Empowering the underprivileged lies in assuring them that education holds the real source of power
2
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2answers
49 views

Synonyms for “having a property”

When writing a mathematical text one often wants to express that a certain object has a certain property, i.e.: "Object A has property X." Since this formulation gets boring if used too many times, ...
1
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3answers
113 views

'Third wheel' or 'fifth wheel'?

If you are the "extra" person in a situation, are you the "third wheel" or the "fifth wheel"? Some books—like Film Noir Guide—say "third": O'Keefe plays an escaped convict on the run with his ...
0
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1answer
37 views

running into someone after vacation

for the question 16, I don't know either using "How was your break?" or "What's going on". And Q20,"what about you?" and "what are you up to?" seem able to use? Could someone explain their usages?
0
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1answer
56 views

Is there another idiom to replace “rolling the dice”?

Does this sentence sound unnatural? The journalist has read the book, written a review and rolled the dice. I know rolling the dice means to "take a chance". But I am not sure if giving ...
4
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3answers
68 views

Need help naming this platform in my back yard

What do I call a semi-circular concrete platform in my back yard that looks like a stage. It is about 30 inches above my grass lawn and is attached to my rear wall and appears that it could be a band ...
5
votes
1answer
134 views

Why does “keep tabs on” mean what it means

Keep tabs on sth/sb means "to ​watch something or someone ​carefully". Why is that? Can somebody analyze and explain this idiom, please? What does "tabs" mean here, and how does the whole phrase ...