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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57 views

What is wrong with “had a tendency of changing”?

From the SAT: The famous filmmaker had a tendency of changing his recollections, perhaps out of boredom at having to tell interviewers the same story over and over. They said that "of changing" ...
17
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11answers
3k views

How do you say to someone that you will reuse a sentence you've just heard from them?

How do you say to someone that you will reuse a sentence (or a joke) you've just heard from them, as-is, because you liked it a lot ? In Italian we say "Questa me la rivendo", that translated is ...
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1answer
133 views

Is the idiom “as neat as a pin” an American phrase?

I'm editing a novel set in 1930s England, written by an American author, and have been editing out any Americanisms I come across. I just read a line of dialogue containing the idiom "as neat as a ...
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3answers
129 views

What does this phrase mean: “they just can't keep their hands off the cookie jar”?

What does the following sentence mean? They just can’t keep their hands off the cookie jar (or outta the cookie jar) I came across this sentence in a movie. The context is racism and the social ...
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2answers
809 views

To be “hung, drawn and quartered”, or to be “hanged, drawn and quartered”?

I have always used the former, both as an idiom (to be severely punished, often used as a superlative in jest) and in reference to the historical form of capital punishment. I have always used hanged ...
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0answers
57 views

What is the etymology and the context of calling an unrelated woman “sister”?

For specific context, the question arose out of discussing Han Solo calling Princess Leia "sister" in "Star Wars" Episode IV. What is the etymology and context of using the term "sister" in this way? ...
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1answer
39 views

“going through someone's car” [closed]

I encountered the following sentence: He and two friends were going through someone's car and someone caught them and shot at them, killing my student. What does "go through someone's car" mean? ...
2
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0answers
76 views

Can “keep up the good work” be used for praising a co-worker? [closed]

Is "keep up the good work" a polite thing to say to your co-workers? I'm under impression that only someone from higher position has the privilege to say this. When replying the emails to a ...
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1answer
53 views

what does “make this/that/ fly” mean?

You really think you're gonna be able to make that fly? I heard this phrase in the movie Crash (I think). I've googled it but came up with up nothing.
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3answers
483 views

What's the sailing ship equivalent for “Full speed ahead!”?

It was "full steam ahead" in the time of steamers. One of the last sophisticated sailing ships was the clipper. They were capable of crossing the Atlantic in something like 11 days. Had crews of up ...
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0answers
43 views

what is the hidden meaning of “flow into the gaps”

Could anyone please interpret it for me, "flow into the gap" in this sentence: "Few cultures just keep going all by themselves, they steal rivals' ideas, they flow into the gaps that others leave ...
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1answer
39 views

get hot or get cold

Sometimes he gets hot with his girlfriend. Other times he gets cold with her to get her to come to like him more. Is this the right expression? For example, at first he spent much time dating ...
2
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1answer
175 views

Two left thumbs / Two left hands / two left feet

I know there is an idiom 'all thumbs' and 'to have two left feet', but is there an idiom with the same meaning as 'all thumbs'? As in 'to have two left thumbs'? There is a similar idiom in Polish, ...
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3answers
86 views

Expression to describe the curse of being at higher positions in a workplace

Rising up the corporate ladder is good, it comes with increased salary, reputation and other good things but there are also certain curses associated with such a change. For one thing, your friends ...
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8answers
84 views

Word for “speeding up a process” in line with the idiom “to kick-start”

I am not a native English speaker that but I'm looking for a good word that highlights that a process is improved in that it completes more quickly. I thought there was a word that is semantically in ...
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1answer
49 views

Is this sentence correct: “I am making my personality better”? [closed]

Is the following grammatical and appropriate? I am making my personality better If not, could you please suggest a sentence expressing the same sentiment.
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8answers
987 views

Idiom/phrase for someone that looks completely different from everyone else

I swear, there's a phrase (a simile) I hear a lot that describes when someone just appears different from everyone else in a given crowd or location. For example, (and I'm trying to be as insensitive ...
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2answers
42 views

Is it redundant to say “the jury is still out”?

Should somebody who seeks to avoid stylistic infelicities related to redundancy refrain from using "still" in the construction "the jury is [] out"?
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2answers
53 views

Using “Cheesy tactics” to win

I'm a huge fan on HoMaM4 and I'm watching a videos on youtube, posted from the other players, walking through the campaigns. The goal for me is to have fun, learn new strategies, gain new moves ...
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1answer
58 views

'Fly USA now': grammatical/idiomatic?

An airline in my country (Germany) is currently advertising their flights to the US with the slogan "Fly USA now". I know you can "fly Emirates", ie. on an airplane run by the airline Emirates, and ...
2
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1answer
57 views

Idiomatic Error?

I would like to know if the usage of "to slip through your hands" is a major idiomatic error. Should it be "slip through your fingers"? As in: It may sometimes seem an opportunity slipped ...
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2answers
53 views

A blessing overdone?

In a question on Hermeneutics.SE recently, we were discussing a phenomenon in the Hebrew book of Job where the author repeatedly uses a word that standardly1 means "to bless" to denote an action ...
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0answers
54 views

If you have to ask yourself whether you're too drunk to drive, you probably are

I've encountered the phrase "If you have to ask, ..." many times; sometimes as a dangling sentence. I wonder if it is always a disdainful, idiomatic remark meaning: for some reason, your question ...
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1answer
56 views

What is the meaning of “blend in”? [closed]

What is the meaning of "blend in" according to the context of the following sentence? Now, I just want to do something stupid and mindless, you know? Where I can just like totally blend in. Thank ...
8
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1answer
234 views

Why “out” in “eat your heart out”?

I used the phrase the other day and it struck me as odd that out is needed. Wiktionary cites the following etymology of sorts: Disputed. Three schools of thought exist: From "This will eat ...
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1answer
78 views

Is it “I'm new to NYC” or “I'm new in NYC”?

As the title suggests, can we say both are correct or if one of them is wrong? Which phrase is "wrong" and why? I'm new to NYC I'm new in NYC I'm not a native speaker but I tended to ...
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2answers
128 views

Idiom - “To put the hurt on”

I heard the idiom "put the hurt on" a lot growing up and I have a rough feeling of what it means but I'm not quite sure how to boil down the meaning to something I can explain to someone else. A good ...
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1answer
37 views

Is this an idiom or not?

I heard one of Glen Hansard's song named 'grace beneath the pines' Is it an idiomarticle phrase ? I found another song with the same title, that's why I started to think about some special meaning of ...
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2answers
88 views

“To follow one's bent” - meaning [closed]

Recently, I came across the expression "To follow one's bent," but I cannot find anything on the internet that explains what it means. Could someone shed some light on this expression, please?
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1answer
52 views

Does “to make a bed” mean “to prepare the bed sheets etc” only?

I know that "to make a bed" means "to prepare, arrange the bed sheets for sleeping in the bed". But what about "constructing" and "assembling" a bed, say, by a carpenter? Is it alright to say "I work ...
5
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2answers
77 views

What is the meaning of “I believe you're up”?

My question is very simple. I just would like to know what do they mean by: "I believe you're up" I've heard this expression in a movie and here is the script: I already met your dad. He loves me. ...
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1answer
39 views

What does “All-stars” mean? [closed]

What does All-star mean in for example Dota All Stars or All star Superman? I am russian speaker so i think it some kind of english idiom, because direct translation doesn't make any sense.
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3answers
75 views

What's a common idiom for “price of admission”?

I feel like I've heard a common idiom used in English meaning "price of admission" or "basic requirement" that's actually borrowed from another language, much like someone might say "Skydiving appears ...
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1answer
45 views

Is it OK to use a figure of speech like “the sooner, the better” in formal writing?

Is it OK to use a figure of speech like "the sooner, the better" in formal writing? The actual text is "The higher the kinetic energy, the greater the run-out." I understand that I can put "is" and ...
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6answers
260 views

Pending tasks and goals

I am trying to communicate that I wish I could have done something. That "something" would be a ____________ for me. Since I speak Spanish as a first language, I am biased to think of the direct ...
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2answers
34 views

Is “play it safe” informal register?

On a rather formal ecommerce website I am talking about safety features a product has which competitors are lacking. The customer is considered business-like, and not as a buddy. Play it safe. ...
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1answer
290 views

Origin of the expression “Gone for a toss” in Indian English

I recently heard the expression "gone for a toss", which in Indian English means afaik "broken beyond repair" or "completely out of order". What is the origin of this expression? Is it borrowed from ...
2
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3answers
243 views

Looking for an idiom opposite to “the more the merrier”

I am looking for an idiom or a phrase that expresses the opposite idea of "the more the merrier". Context: Five persons are taking a class in gymnastics with a private coach. Only two show up ...
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5answers
402 views

Describe a person who brags about difficulties

I am looking for a commonly used phrase, idiom, or simile that describes people who like to talk (brag?) about their difficulties, especially self inflicted or easily avoidable ones, as if having ...
6
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3answers
528 views

Is the phrase “make waves” used with the sense “create a snowball effect”?

I was writing a post for my company's blog talking about Open source, and wanted to wrap it up with Let's make waves. I was pretty sure that the expression meant something like Let's replicate this, ...
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1answer
41 views

Searching for a possible idiom

I was watchin the show "The Leftovers" and there is a scene where a woman is talking to a guy who was giving a survey to people. They were talking about the results. And he said that the responses he ...
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1answer
120 views

“That should do it / That ought to do it”, do you say it before the last thing is done or after?

Longman Dictionary says: that should do it also that ought to do it (spoken): used to say that you will have finished doing something if you just do one more thing: I've just got to ...
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1answer
41 views

Is “Draw the line” an inclusive or exclusive term? [closed]

When someone uses the phrase "draw the line", for example: I will do most household work, but I draw the line at laundry. or I draw the line at Bill Nye when it comes to trusting popular ...
0
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1answer
39 views

What does “walk out” mean here?

What does "walk out" mean here? “I wish we could just split the tab using a simple app on our phone, and just walk out like Uber” others will say. ...
3
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1answer
96 views

Do Americans have their own unique way of referring to 'the summer'?

Across the world summer is a season of the year and we all talk about 'the summer' - do you have plans for the summer ? etc. But In America it is often taken to refer to the period of college ...
21
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4answers
3k views

“You busy traveler, you” - what is that called

I came across a sign in the "TSA pre-check" lane at the airport today that said "Keep those shoes on. You busy traveler, you.": There are three things here that caught my eye. First - "those" ...
3
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2answers
57 views

Joining phrases, how to exactly use idioms like “with regard to”, “as regard”, “in respect”

My question may sound repetitive; I've been sifting through whole Internet and I haven't found a clear and comprehensive description about how to utilise idioms like: Regarding With regard to In ...
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1answer
66 views

What does “this design sucks like an inverted hurricane” mean?

Martin Fowler in his Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture says: "this design sucks like an inverted hurricane". I can't get the last part. What does the "inverted hurricate" mean in this ...
9
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3answers
953 views

Idioms similar to “heard it through the grapevine”

Are there idioms which have a meaning similar to "heard through the grapevine" ? to hear news from someone who heard that news from someone else. as in : I heard through the ...
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0answers
67 views

Pretty specific, but is “with your plate in your lap” a common expression in English?

In Dutch we use it to refer to (the airtime of) tv-shows that start around dinner. Is there an equivalent to it? I suppose it's sort of an idiom, but probably too specific to be considered so.