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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2
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4answers
112 views

A better way to say “too busy to become more productive”?

I am looking for a clear way to describe a situation in which someone is genuinely interested in becoming more skilled, but is so overburdened with obligations that they have no time to learn how to ...
4
votes
9answers
577 views

Equivalent for the Persian idiom “Khaste Nabaashid”

We Persian speakers have a common idiom, Khaste Nabaashid, and usually say it to someone who finished a task or is in the middle of doing that. The literal translation of the idiom is something like ...
3
votes
3answers
195 views

Idiom: Bear with me

The sense of this formula is clear. It means be patient with me, be tolerant/lenient. Don't be too harsh on me. But how can a verb as "to bear" develop the meaning of to be tolerant? "To bear" is an ...
13
votes
13answers
3k views

Is there an idiom for being consistently unlucky through no fault of one's own? [duplicate]

Not quite sure how to word this, but I'm looking for an idiom or phrase/saying that describes when somebody who's done nothing to deserve it has hit a streak of bad luck. Wish I could be more ...
0
votes
3answers
110 views

Idiom for “wanting a long-term relationship”?

Example: Because he just wanted a one-night-stand, he told the girl he had a girlfriend, to make sure the girl [...] Meaning that the guy told the girl he had a girlfriend so that the girl ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Origin of the phrase “because of course it does”

I've been hearing "because of course it/he/she does" a lot recently. I'm assuming this is internet-speak, but maybe it's older? Grateful to anyone who can help pinpoint its origin.
-2
votes
2answers
60 views

little thud, thud, tap, tap

What do you mean or express by this expression Sometimes you'll get a little thud, thud, tap, tap I tried to translate "..thud, thud, tap, tap" and failed!
1
vote
6answers
219 views

Idiom for “something is not as bad as they say”

I am looking for the way to translate the Russian saying that goes something like this " the Devil is not as dangerous as he was described, or, in direct translation, painted". Please help! I look ...
2
votes
3answers
325 views

Are they “in a good mood“ or ”in good moods"?

Just now I was walking my dogs down S St. in Sacramento. We were gaining on a woman walking in front of us, when she turned around to see who was behind her. "Sorry," I said. "We aren't going to ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Is “go to the papers” a standard idiomatic expression?

"I'll go to the papers since it's the most appropriate thing to do." I received this email not long ago from a blogger. (He is Scottish by origin.) He was complaining about plagiarism of an article ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

What is the etymology of “You don't look too clever”

In BrEng, at least in the North, there is an idiom: "You don't look too clever." which means "You're looking quite ill." Does anybody know the etymology of this idiom please?
9
votes
3answers
383 views

How do I identify a British idiom from an American one?

I live outside the US and the UK. I just started reading a book titled "Speak English like an American". The book teaches numerous idioms but I don't know if these idioms are usable outside the the ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

is “up *something*!” an idiom?

I overheard someone say "up something!" wherein something is a variable for... whatever. Is this an English language idiom? If so, in what dialect of English? What are some examples of it's usage? ...
6
votes
12answers
2k views

Idiom for describing an unintended benefit

I am looking for an idiom to describe an unintended benefit that results due to an action taken.
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Ability to reason and mental agility

I want to say that math improves the 'ability to reason' and 'elasticity of mind'. This is what I would say in my language (Italian). After a Google search I see that 'ability of reason' is an ...
1
vote
1answer
713 views

“I'll be sure to do something” vs “I'll for sure do something”

I'm not a native speaker but work in an English-speaking international environment. One American guy wrote me: I'll be sure to let you know We at our company usually say: I'll for sure let ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Plural of 'rush hour'

Can I use 'rush hours' in the sentence 'Can you sustain load during rush hours?'? Or should I say 'rush hour' in this context?
0
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3answers
116 views

(go) off the boil

"(go)off the boil" seems to mean "past the crisis" in British English. What is the origin/etymology of this expression? Is it used nowadays?
2
votes
2answers
388 views

Why “a” bow and arrow?

Anyone who's watched CW's Arrow would recognize this line immediately: They've got guns. You've got a bow and arrow. They never say a bow and arrows. They never say a bow and an arrow. They say ...
2
votes
3answers
134 views

What does “face as sharp as a pen” mean?

I am reading a text and there is a phrase which I don't know the meaning of: His face was as sharp as a pen. What does it mean?
0
votes
1answer
103 views

Is “It's not a second, seven seconds away” a kind of idiom in English? [closed]

Is "it's not a second, seven seconds away" a kind of idiom in English? What is its meaning? I am trying to make sense of the chorus in "7 seconds" by Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry and I just can't ...
2
votes
0answers
103 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
-1
votes
3answers
489 views

“Thanks, my lovelies!” [closed]

I was looking for a phrase to thank multiple people. It's supposed to be an endearment for friends but not super close friends. Is this an appropriate reply to compliments or birthday wishes, e.g. on ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

I've just had a cup: is it correct?

Is it correct to say like this? "Would you like some tea?" "Thank you, but I've just had a cup" Would it be more idiomatic to say had one? Or both options are wrong? If so, how would you ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

“He cooked me a soup with a lot of hot oil”

I'm looking for an English equivalent to a Persian expression which means this person got me in a lot of trouble. Literally translated, the expression is this person cooked a soup for me that had too ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Synonyms for “big deal”

I have read on The Free Dictionary that the expression big deal may be used as an interjection to answer ironically "to indicate that something is unimportant or unimpressive". If it is the case, what ...
7
votes
8answers
3k views

What does “too on the nose” mean?

What does "too on the nose" mean, especially as applied to art? I use the expression but struggle to explicitly articulate what I mean. My best attempt is that I use it to refer to film, music, etc. ...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

Is there any saying or idiom to describe the opposite of “blessing in disguise”?

Something that looks like a good thing at first, but has unforeseen bad consequences. For instance, while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

aimless milling [closed]

"Prices in trading ranges go nowhere, just as crowds spend most of their time in aimless milling." What does aimless milling mean here? I don't think it means its literal meaning.
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Synonyms for “speak of the devil [and he doth/shall appear]”

Specifically, I'm looking for something that would fit in the same situation, but I need a less negative connotation. Saying that when my Dad, for instance, walks into the room while I'm talking about ...
2
votes
2answers
77 views

Suitable idiom for a situation, where one thinks that by getting rid of the effect, one has gotten rid of the cause

Suitable idiom needed for describing a situation, where one thinks that by getting rid of an unwanted effect, one has gotten rid of its cause, while in reality the cause remains and will start to ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning and origin of “bite the bullet”

I just learnt about the expression "to bite the bullet", meaning Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude (as seen in its article in phrases.org). I have ...
3
votes
1answer
206 views

Why did Mother Teresa use the phrase “it is a poverty”?

I frequently see bumper stickers with quotations attributed to Mother Teresa that begin with the words "It is a poverty," for example: It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that ...
1
vote
3answers
180 views

One word for someone “excessively sentimental” in everything [closed]

Someone who makes you sick with his sentimental blabber. I have a colleague who cribs and complains at almost everything. He would always get sentimental while describing his misadventures or ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Is “And this X?” a common English expression?

In Spanish we say, "And this X?" as a short form for "And who is X?" Example: When I entered the room with Billy, Tom looked up and said, "And this high school brat?" Is this also a common ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

What is the etymology of the Baseball term “meat hand”?

The term is used to signify the non gloved hand of the pitcher. I've only ever heard it used relative to the pitcher. For example, “On the bunt the pitcher used his meat hand instead of gloving the ...
5
votes
2answers
183 views

Why “hoping against hope”?

Doubtless the Orcs despoiled them, but feared to keep the knives, knowing them for what they are: work of Westernesse, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor. Well, now, if they still live, ...
5
votes
10answers
370 views

What's an idiom or word or name for an initial tester?

What would be an idiom or word or name for someone that is an initial tester (like a beta tester). I am writing a speech for my younger brother's engagement and want to say how I have always been the ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

“Dance it out” or “dance it off”? [closed]

If the one wanted to, for example, dance to forget about problems/to unload, should we colloquially say 'dance it off' or 'dance it out'?
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Doing this also does or causes that type of sentence

I am writing the instructions of a piece of software I am working on and I would like to remind the user that running the specified computer command will also have a secondary effect of installing ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

Looking for a correct word / idiom

Here is a scenario: Suppose X, Y, Z lives together. X and Z had a fight and X decided not to live with Z any more. Seeing this, Y decided to help X to fight Z out. But then X and Z becomes friends ...
16
votes
13answers
2k views

What is the English version of the Vietnamese idiom “như cá nằm trên thớt” - “like a fish on cutting board”

We have a Vietnamese idiom, "như cá nằm trên thớt" - literally, "like a fish on cutting board". My apology for the rough translation because I regard myself as an English learner who is above the ...
2
votes
2answers
276 views

Why do we say kith & kin and not kin & kith?

Why do we often say Kith & Kin and not Kin & Kith? I was taught to believe that family comes first and the other later and I do still believe in what I was taught.
1
vote
2answers
104 views

Difference between “Putting in one's papers” and “Putting down one's papers”

I have come across these two phrases and both appear to mean almost the same. As mentioned here: Putting in one's paper means voluntary separation from employment. and as I read here: ...
1
vote
7answers
100 views

An Idiom or Colloquial Phrase for a Network of Colleagues

I am trying to recall an idiom or phrase that would describe a network of colleagues or peers, specifically a group of people who all mutually benefit from one another. Is there an idiomatic ...
-2
votes
1answer
97 views

When adverbs like “sure” are used to mean the opposite of their typical meaning [closed]

Is there a term or phrase to describe the phenomenon in English where sometimes a statement is qualified with an adverb, which normally would make the claim stronger but native English speakers tend ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Which word order produces the more suitable sentence? [closed]

Which of the following is an appropriate sentence? Only he could see through the trick. Only he could see the trick through. According to me, the first one is right. Can you explain which one is ...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

Is there a word or an idiom for barging in a room with anger?

Opening a door frustrated and rushing in like you are about to scold someone inside... Barging in a room with anger. Is there a word or idiom for that, other than storm in?
-1
votes
2answers
90 views

Origin of “blew his brains out” [closed]

I was thinking to myself, when suddenly a thought occurred to me: When was the first usage of "blew his brains out"? Example as used in sentence: He put the shotgun in his mouth with one shell in ...
1
vote
2answers
372 views

Origins and meaning of, “Ham and Egg it”?

This term was used by a MLB sports announcer yesterday (5/10/2015 - Padres vs. Diamondbacks @ 2:10:41) talking about relying on relief pitchers. “Diamondbacks today trying to ham and egg it with ...