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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“Rule the Roast” and “Rule the Roost”

John Ayto, Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (2009) has this entry for "rule the roost": rule the roost be in complete control The original expression was rule the roast, which was common ...
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40 views

American products, first, last, and foremost

I have a survey and I need to translate it into another language. There is a question in the survey - "American products, first, last, and foremost.". Users have to answer using scale from 1 to 7, ...
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2answers
63 views

Idiom help: If beauty is her Yin, then intelligence is her Yang

I've always assumed that the phrase If X is her Yin, then Y is her Yang meant two positive traits, X and Y, that were not extensions of each other, but rather opposites that complemented each other. ...
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2answers
89 views

“I'm no more hungry” or “I'm no longer hungry” or “I'm hungry no more.” [closed]

I'm no more hungry I don't think I've heard the first one very often, but wasn't sure about the last two. I'm no longer hungry and I'm hungry no more Which of these three sentences ...
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1answer
86 views

Why “on the books”, not “in the books”

On the books means "part of the law". These changes would add little to the civil rights laws now on the books. I know the meaning of this idiom, and idioms are used as they are, but idioms ...
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1answer
272 views

Is the usage “God only knows” correct?

I was watching a movie last night and a character, when asked a question, replies, "God only knows". Is that the correct usage? It sounds to me as if God just knows stuff and can't do anything about ...
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3answers
153 views

different versions of “take into account”

The Free Dictionary collates a number of definitions for "take into account." take someone or something into account and take into account someone or something to remember to consider someone ...
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1answer
92 views

Dull as ditchwater (not dishwater) … specific questions thereon

(1) who specifically, or at least when specifically, did originate the phrase? {Example answer - "that was one of Shakespeare's!"} (2) why? (3) when first did someone screw up and use ...
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2answers
70 views

Is “far from the end” correct?

Is it right to say far from the end in the following example? Researches on the exploitation of the DAS method are far from the end.
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1answer
66 views

Idiom/expression for “responsible for what happened.”

Example: I doubt the kids are responsible for what happened. What idiom/expression can I use to replace the responsible for what happened part? Something that isn't as straight forward as the ...
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2answers
87 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “picking up friction”?

Earlier today, I used the phrase "picking up friction" thinking it was a common saying. Later intrigued by the possible history of the phrase, a Google search turned up pretty much no results for the ...
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11answers
4k views

phrases: “marry a guy and he'll provide”

Trying to find a similar phrase to this Chinese phrase: 嫁汉嫁汉,穿衣吃饭 which basically means if a woman marries a guy, then the guy will provide food and clothing. I can't think of anything off the top ...
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67 views

Is “or so they say” idiomatic?

Icame across a long sentence followed by elipses and the phrase "or so they say", is it idiomatic?
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82 views

Does the “elbow-handshake” have any relation to the phrase “rubbing elbows”?

This is probably answerable with a general reference (or a pair of such references), but I have not been able to find one. Etymology Online does not cover the origin of "rubbing-elbows" as meaning ...
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2answers
99 views

'computer programming is quite literally black and white'

I was thinking about this in the context of creating task requirements, having having to explicitly define how a program is to function. One might say: Law is often described as black and ...
2
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1answer
91 views

Meaning of “to be on the top side of the grass”

What is the meaning of this sentence: To be healthy as long as you're on the top side of the grass I specifically mean the phrase on the top side of the grass.
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3answers
64 views

Are there any better (perhaps business-oriented) alternatives to “pitting against” for this situation?

Recently a colleague demonstrated a shared Microsoft OneNote notebook in which he and other members of his team posted their weekly accomplishments in sort of bulleted lists. The idea was that they ...
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2answers
97 views

“To bury someone twice”

Does anyone know what the expression to bury someone twice means and where it comes from?
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1answer
57 views

Use of “Drop me a line” [duplicate]

One person with whom I've emailed before said to "drop me [them] a line". I always thought the intention of this phrase is to call the person, specifically by phone (via telephone line). It seems this ...
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2answers
75 views

Is “Starts out/off well” an idiomatic expression?

In the context of a greeting card, would it be idiomatic to say, "Hope [noun] starts out/off well," or is this awkward?
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1answer
77 views

What is the Proverb or Quotation?

Is there a proverb or quote in English that has similarity with this one: "If the big two ox fight then the rubble gets the brunt." This is a Maldivian idiom that explains how juniors get ...
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1answer
59 views

Couldn't be parked: Ngaio Marsh

In one of her novels, Dame Ngaio Marsh has Roderick Alleyn propose marriage to Agatha Troy, who responds she "couldn't be parked." In context this appears to be equivalent to "couldn't be more ...
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1answer
93 views

Alternative to idiom “Barking up the wrong tree”? [closed]

I want to use the idiom: Barking up the wrong tree. But in the situation it seems a little rude. What are the idioms/phrases similar in meaning to this idiom?
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0answers
48 views

What does it mean to drag something in “by the stamp?” [closed]

In a 1944 radio skit, Fibber McGee says another character dragged something in "by the stamp." Is the stamp a reference to rationing stamps used during WWII?
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3answers
134 views

Can the word “proxy” be used as a preposition?

At the end of a sentence, I want to insert the following (parentheses included): (proxy my parents, of course). E.g., I sent my brother to his room (proxy my parents, of course). But this ...
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0answers
206 views

“unconservative” or “inconservative”? [closed]

Which one is correct: "unconservative" or "inconservative"?! If both are incorrect, what word should we use instead?
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0answers
89 views

Which are the Best sites to Learn Spoken English"? [closed]

What are some sites which have great material to learn idioms , phrases and new words. I want to improve my spoken English skills!
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3answers
155 views

What does a patient and doctor “got off” to a rough start mean?

To a non-native English learner like me, understanding of, and familiarizing with the wide scope of usages of idioms associated with basic verbs such as “do, get, go, let, make, and have” are always a ...
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1answer
60 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
115 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, ...
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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
51 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 ...
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10answers
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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
86 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 ...
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2answers
233 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
58 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
126 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
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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
269 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
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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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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 ...
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2answers
125 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
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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
652 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
46 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.", ...
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1answer
125 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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123 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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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
122 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) ...