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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What to use for 'first unimpressive but later better'?

I will explain a few situations : It is often the case that I listen to a song which doesn't impress me in the first minute or so but as it progresses, I like it A trained batsmen struggles in the ...
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3answers
51 views

What is the verb omitted in an idiom like “back to the drawing board?”

"Back" is used in many expressions. For example, something like "Well, it’s Monday morning. Back to the salt mines" is often said. Would the full sentence be "I'll be back the salt mines" or "I'll go ...
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1answer
40 views

What is the origin of “to leave to one's own devices”?

My father-in-law noted that when I leave my children to their own devices, nowadays it could mean that they were each playing on their own iPhone. It got me to wondering what the source of this ...
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1answer
56 views

Is there a word for the relationship between my cousin's family and mine?

My mother's brother is my "uncle". His son is my "cousin". His wife is my "aunt". Each of these words names a specific person based on their familial relationship to me. Together the three of them ...
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3answers
58 views

“It works for you” vs “it goes with you”

Example: "I like your nickname. It works for you." "I like your nickname. It goes with you." The first one has 3 hits on Google Books. The second has 1. But, still I'm a bit confused. ...
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2answers
113 views

Is “Gone to Texas” a widespread idiom?

I have just learnt an idiom Gone to Texas which "was a phrase used by Americans immigrating to Texas in the 19th century often to escape debt". I like it. But is this idiom still used? Will native ...
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7answers
5k views

Is 'I f*cked the dog' an actual idiom and are there alternatives

I am a non-native speaker from Germany. In German there's one idiom that goes: Sich die Eier schaukeln Literally translated, this means "to rock the eggs", where "the eggs" are testicles. This ...
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1answer
44 views

'not fool enough to dance on the old strings', is it an idiom? This phrase is from 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells

In the book of 'The Invisible Man' by Wells, there is this sentence; "Kemp, you're not fool enough to dance on the old strings. Can't you see my position?" In this particular scene, Griffin(the ...
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4answers
307 views

Connotation of dislike in 'Credit where credit is due'

I am a non-native speaker and I wonder whether or not there is a connotation of disagreement in the idiom Credit where credit is due Would one say this only in a situation where a statement was ...
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4answers
590 views

What does “off the hook” mean?

I just saw this on internet and i know this is a slogan and how to use it too, but i dont know the whole meaning of this phrase.
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5answers
125 views

“Milk the cow more and feed it less”

In Russian we have an idiom that translates to English literally as "to get more milk from a cow and spend less food, you should feed you your cow less and milk it more". It's usually used ...
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1answer
66 views

History of the Expression “Search Me”

The phrase "search me" is so ubiquitous in the English language that it is found on every list of common idioms. It is a situational idiom for "I don't know" in response to any direct question. But ...
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5answers
126 views

Is there a phrase that means treat someone dismissively

A financial planner treated us in a dismissive fashion and I want to say that he "gave us the back of his hand" but that phrase doesn't seem to have the meaning of dismissive. Does it or is there a ...
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1answer
126 views

Origin/first known use of the phrase 'I've got some good news and some bad news'

When was the idiom, "I've got some good news and some bad news" first used, or when did it become a common joke?
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2answers
52 views

“and counting” “and holding” - what does this mean?

When listening to Space Shuttle countdown I notice the endings "and counting" and "and holding". I can imagine what "and counting" means, but what is "and holding"? Countdown has stopped? Why?
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2answers
150 views

Expression meaning crying in reaction to beauty [closed]

Is there a word or phrase that means crying because of beauty or crying in reaction to beauty?
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5answers
103 views

Idiom meaning “If it should be (x), it would be (x)”?

Is there some kind of saying or idiom in English with the meaning if it were supposed to be like that, it would be (like that) Something like if it should be, it would be
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1answer
92 views

Usage of “put a bottle on the fence”

Where I work there is a common saying thrown around, to "put a bottle on the fence" or the deliverable was a "bottle on the fence". It generally indicates the creation of an example or starting point ...
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8answers
2k views

English equivalent to Spanish idom “to discover America/the Mediterranean”

In Spanish we have got an ironic expression which is: "You've discovered America!" or "He thinks that he has discovered the Mediterranean Sea" to say that someone has said something obvious or well ...
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1answer
52 views

on the order of somebody

if the idiom "on the order of" does mean "approximately" can we write something like this? "Everyone, who left that bunker and other ones on the order of Bandera followers, died." Would it mean "at ...
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1answer
76 views

derivation of the expression "I am just going out to turn my bike round

I believe the phrase was used in london upto the 1960's as a cryptic way of saying to go (outside) to the toilet. Upto the 1960's most pubs and many houses had outside lavatories. The speaker may not ...
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2answers
69 views

Replacement For “Drive Someone Nuts” [closed]

In the expression to drive someone nuts, I studied that it's possible to replace the word nuts with words like: bananas, crazy, insane, bonkers, ... I'd like to know is this expression polite? If it ...
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2answers
105 views

Does the phrase “Do you want a hand in this” make sense?

From someone, somewhere, I remember hearing the phrase do you want a hand in this? I was told that it meant do you want to be a part of this? However, when I googled this phrase, nothing turned up. ...
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1answer
47 views

What does Cairne Bloodhoof mean by “a pup still wet behind the ears”? [closed]

This is a quote from War Crimes: “For the Thrall I knew, who befriended the tauren and helped them so greatly, would not have blithely handed over the Horde he restored to a young pup still wet ...
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1answer
44 views

Is this girl “piling on agony” or “ throwing a pity party” or what?

Is this girl"piling on agony"? ( I mean she is trying to draw attentions, while her situation is not that bad and scary, she is shedding tears falsely(?), and reacting so exaggeratedly ) What is the ...
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3answers
2k views

What is this type of idiom called: “I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but…”

Basically, when someone says something along the lines of "I know he's not the smartest person in the world, but he should at least pass first grade math." It's peculiar because they are ...
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0answers
56 views

Proper ways of saying “just had” or “expecting” a child for future guardians that aren't the birth mother

If a person is the spouse of or is adopting a newborn from a currently or recently pregnant person, what phrase describes their relationship with the unborn or recently born child? Are there clearer ...
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3answers
136 views

Phrase/Idiom for increasing odds of winning by placing multiple bets

I'm looking for a phrase/idiom that represents when you increase your chances of winning some sort of gamble (or event with multiple possible outcomes) by saturating the field with bets. E.g. ...
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14answers
3k views

Is there an expression or idiom for something convenient that happens right when you need it to?

Especially if it's something unlikely. Almost as if it could only happen in a movie. For instance, you're about to be robbed and a random cop on patrol arrives at that exact time. What are the chances ...
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3answers
100 views

Mind Blowing vs. Mind Boggling

I have seen these phrases using interchangeably, but I couldn't pinpoint exactly what do they mean. what is the difference between the 2 and where/how to use them?
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1answer
85 views

are there any compiled lists of modern equivalents of historical proverbs? [closed]

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
84 views

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

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
87 views

expressions meaning to risk death [closed]

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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3answers
167 views

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

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
103 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
92 views

Idioms and phrases [duplicate]

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

Every once in a while [closed]

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
79 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
174 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. ...
2
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2answers
249 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
47 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
93 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 ...
3
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2answers
189 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
102 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
162 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
64 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
57 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 ...
2
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1answer
68 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
189 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 ...