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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325 views

we are in receipt of something

what does it mean "to be in receipt of something"? I have checked the meaning but have not figured it out fully, since I am a translator I need a literal translation for me to build out a meaningful, ...
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1answer
88 views

Origin of “walking on eggshells”?

Where does the phrase "walking on eggshells" originally come from?
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2answers
250 views

“one of a kind” idiom

This is an official practice question for the SAT Reasoning Test: Along the curve of islands known as the Florida Keys lies a reef of living coral, the only one of a kind in the continental United ...
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1answer
183 views

Using “So” Followed by a Noun Phrase to Express Boredom, Disgust, Tediousness, Dullness, Banality

In the BBC TV series Sherlock’s episode two from series three, “The Empty Hearse", John Watson waxes maudlin over being left out of the loop for two years regarding Sherlock’s faked death. Sherlock ...
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4answers
95 views

is “merablum” or “merablem” a word?

is there a word "merablum"? maybe "merablem"? It means scrap or remnant of food left on a plate. I always thought it was a word but I googled it and - nothing. Is Google unaware of it or is it a made ...
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2answers
83 views

The right word for saying goodbye to someone on the street corner, and then both of you walking in the same direction? [closed]

This happens occasionally to me in New York. I will part ways with someone after chatting, and then it will turn out we're both walking in the same direction. What word captures this phenomenon?
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8answers
2k views

Word/phrase/idiom to describe avoiding answering a question by stating the question doesn't need to be asked

I run into this situation often in the office. I have a specific question to ask somebody and have chosen the person to ask it, but that person doesn't know the answer. Instead of answering the ...
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1answer
55 views

crawl in a hole and pull it in after me

This phrase occurs surprisingly frequently. I assume, based on contexts, that it means roughly 'I am so embarrassed'. What I wonder is what it is that 'it' refers to. What is to be pulled in? Any ...
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2answers
129 views

Is “Go against type” a stand-alone popular idiom?

Today’s New York Times carries an article with the headline, “James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Going Against Type,” followed by the lead copy: Forgoing Wall Street flash, Morgan Stanley’s chief ...
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1answer
39 views

Shifting the discussion to personae [duplicate]

I wonder if there is any phrase or idiom to express a situation, where one of the discussion participants, lacking arguments to upkeep a constructive discussion, steers the direction to personae: ...
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9answers
6k views

Atheist/agnostic form of expressing condolences

I have lived in the U.S. 20 years now but I am yet to find an elegant and eloquent wording to express condolences to somebody upon the death of a close one that does not involve religiosity and prayer ...
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2answers
77 views

Is there a term for if someone uses their own words on idioms consciously?

For example, instead of "barking up the wrong tree", someone uses "pulling out the wrong plant". Consciously or not, is there a term for saying idioms in your own words?
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1answer
84 views

Meaning of palm [closed]

What is the meaning of Palm and grease in this sentence. He then listed out the palms we had to grease in order to open a place to teach kids in our country. I read this sentence from the book ...
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2answers
192 views

What does the term “night moves” mean?

There are a number of songs, films, and other cultural artefacts that use or reference this term, but I can't figure out if it has some kind of idiomatic meaning. Any ideas?
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1answer
157 views

What does the American idiomatic expression “2 x 4” exactly mean? [duplicate]

What does the American idiomatic expression "2 x 4" exactly mean? I've read a very interesting book by Father Donald H. Calloway, No turning back (an autobiography and a conversion story), and ...
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1answer
66 views

“as they come”, a state of a particular thing [closed]

Like in its usage in the example below what does "as they come" mean? "Kryn was once physically and mentally as sharp as they come."
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3answers
82 views

skin in the game, idiomatically?

What does "skin" or "skin in the game" mean in the following sentence? "make sure that everyone has skin in the game".
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1answer
62 views

What does “pay the graces” mean? [closed]

Have the Three Graces actually been paid? Is that the origin? I found it in the lyrics for a song, where it doesn't seem to make sense at all: I had an impulse to clear it all away oh I used the ...
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3answers
99 views

“to have merchant's ears”

Is the expression "to have merchant's ears" an idiom or a recognized adage, meaning "pretending not to understand"? Please explain with examples or provide a better idiomatic phrase.
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3answers
78 views

What do we 'turn round and say'?

Often you will hear people say something like 'He turned round and called me a liar', or 'what if she turns round and refuses to pay'. This 'turn round' (I am informed it is much less used in ...
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5answers
492 views

English idiom related to time

I wonder what is the English idiom with the following meaning. "There are two opinions and only time could decide what is true". It should be something like "survive time's exam" or something like ...
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4answers
1k views

What does “Nothing doing as he took it right to him” mean?

I regularly read chess articles on chessbase.com and quite often I find myself struggling with the English they are using. Sometimes it just doesn't feel correct. OK, I am not a native English speaker ...
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2answers
46 views

The meaning of “minking it”

There's a line in the musical Guys and Dolls: When you see a Joe saving half of his dough, You can bet he'll be minking it for some doll. My initial instinct is that this is a ...
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2answers
153 views

What is the prototype of “Place blame where it is deserved / Blame where it’s due / Blame only where blame is due”?

New Yorker (June 13) carries an article written by John Cassidy under the title, “The Iraq mess: Place blame where it is deserved.” I thought the phrase, “Place blame where it is deserved” is a ...
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2answers
68 views

“On/over the phone” [closed]

Which version is correct? As discussed with you over the phone. As discussed with you on the phone.
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2answers
74 views

(almost solved) “all I had to see me through”: Explain & how to look up?

Edit: Supplemented "through" in the title. I tried an intermediate summary after the original questions. It seems that "all I had to see me" simply means "all I had", or "all that was available for ...
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2answers
854 views

Meaning of 'a third leg'

When Dr. Barclay was called, I was surprised. I had expected an elderly man, but he was only in the late thirties and good-looking. Knowing Elinor, I wondered. Except for Fred, who had no looks ...
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2answers
325 views

why do some people call green peppers mangoes?

I have heard people from Lima, Ohio refer to green peppers as mangoes. How did that come about?
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1answer
83 views

Is “Arriving late to the party, but dancing on all the clichés” an adaptation of a cliché?

Yesterday’s (June 12) New York Times introduced Guggenheim’s new ventures of collecting artworks from South and South east Asia, Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America, which it has paid little ...
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2answers
211 views

Opt for, to be up for (and to be down for)

What's the difference between I opt for the party and I'm up for the party? And, to make it more complex, I'm down for the party. But I'm especially interested in the first two.
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2answers
2k views

Etymology of the idiom “by and large”

The idiomatic phrase by and large means largely; generally; mostly The two earliest usages listed in Google's ngram, from 1812 and 1837, appear to use it in its current form and meaning. What ...
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7answers
96 views

not-quite-honest public service

In a noun or idiom, what are public servants who only seek public office for the sake of income called?
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0answers
11 views

Outside of usage [duplicate]

Is it ok if I use outside of like this: "It can do much more outside of a gaming machine".
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3answers
96 views

“running a fever” origin

I'm running a fever/temperature. I have a student who likes to ask where idioms come from. Since the meanings are not literal, it is challenging for her to remember them. It often helps her to ...
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1answer
165 views

Idioms and bodyparts: punch your lights out and lights

There is an idiom "I'll punch your lights out" which means punch someone's lights out Sl. to knock someone out with a fist There is also "lights" which, when used about a body, mean ...
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2answers
193 views

Alternative Meanings of “Don't waste time with…”

Consider the phrase "Don't waste time with American literature." Is it legitimate to interpret it as meaning, spend your time cautiously while reading American literature, and don't spend too much ...
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3answers
262 views

“Any way, shape, or form”

"[In] any way, shape, or form" is a rhetorical idiom, in which shape and form tend to function as intensifiers. It is normally used for emphasis where the non-idiomatic phrases "[in] any way" or (less ...
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2answers
135 views

Does “you don't want X” mean “I don't recommend X to you”?

Quite often I read exchanges like this: — I want [something], I tried this and that but still no luck, how can I do that? — You don't want [it]. An example: example. I'm Russian, and this ...
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10answers
846 views

Looking for an idiom to describe “a misunderstanding”

Can you suggest an idiom or common expression that can be used to describe a misunderstanding? The typical case is when Mr. A is talking about something and Mr. B understand something else. Mr. A ...
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1answer
36 views

How do I better ask question which may not contain subject?

Which of the following sounds better: How do I cook an omelet? – or How to cook an omelet? If I am asking which steps someone, in general, should take to cook an omelet.
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4answers
465 views

Pessimism idiom - opposite of rose-tinted glasses?

In Hebrew, we say "pink glasses" to mean optimistic observation, and "black glasses" for pessimism. I was trying to figure out how popular the literal translations are in English. I found "rose-tinted ...
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10answers
3k views

Idiom for “the first attempt (of something) is never right”

In Russian there's a saying that 'the first crepe always comes out wrong' (literally 'stuck together into a ball'), meaning that you'll have to try more than once to succeed at something - because ...
3
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3answers
957 views

What is the meaning of “paint it black” and when to use it?

I stumbled upon the phrase "paint it black" in a tv series (Elementary) and was wondering what does it exactly mean? Also, in which situations would you use it normally? Except when you tell the ...
0
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1answer
86 views

Anything and everything

Is it correct to say, "Please feel free to change anything and everything in the draft"? I want to mean the reviewer can change as much as he wants (but want to say that more emphatically). What ...
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4answers
1k views

Meaning of “Put an egg in your shoe and beat it”

Go on! Put an egg in your shoe and beat it. What does "Put an egg in your shoe and beat it" mean?
6
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3answers
402 views

What is the geographical origin of the idiom “be a fly on the wall”?

Does the following expression originate from English? I'd like to be a fly on the wall I discovered today that a similar expression exists in Brazilian Portuguese: "I'd like to be a fly" (with ...
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0answers
10 views

The barn needs painted [duplicate]

I was raised in California, the son of an English teacher, but when I moved to Indiana, I discovered an idiom that I haven't heard elsewhere. The idiom is to use the past participle form of a verb as ...
3
votes
4answers
188 views

Equivalent for the Russian idiom “to write into the drawer”

There is following idiom in Russian "to write into the drawer" which is being used to describe situation when writer or scientist writes (sometimes prolifically) without publishing anything. Are there ...
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2answers
1k views

Keen eye for detail (or details?)

Which one is correct? "To have a keen eye for detail" or "To have a keen eye for details"?
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1answer
48 views

Is there a single word for people/ consultants who partner with our health? [closed]

We made a card for hospitals which introduces the doctors to its patients. We named the card Meet Your Healers, but we need a new word to replace Healers now.