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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3answers
219 views

What does idiom “ thick in the head ” mean? [closed]

My understanding is that: thick in the head ... means inflexible, but I was told it means stupid. Since inflexible doesn't mean stupid all the time, what is the precise meaning of thick in ...
1
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0answers
43 views

Meaning of “Get … in” in “get your repetition in”? [closed]

While learning about memory, I heard this sentence, If you need to remember, you need to get your repetition in. What does "get ... in" mean in this context? I was reading through definitions ...
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1answer
128 views

Is there an idiom about “dying monkey”?

is there an idiom sounding like "monkey dies" or "monkeys died"? What does it mean? I've been wondering since I heard Robert Plant's song "Monkey": Tonight you will be mine | Tonight the monkey'll ...
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5answers
185 views

Saying or idiom that means learning a lesson from the bad or good experience

We usually get advice from a friend or books or social media or else, and it only becomes a part of our information, we might learn from it and remember it or not, but if we experience it ourselves, ...
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4answers
535 views

Do brides in church weddings go up the aisle toward the altar or down the aisle toward the altar?

Nigel Rees, The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1987) has this entry regarding the question "WHY DO WE SAY ... BRIDES GO UP THE AISLE?" Sir Thomas Bazley fired off a letter to The ...
6
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5answers
466 views

“It has to be them”

Bit of context: In a documentary a guy finds two bears he raised the year before; at the beginning he doesn't recognize them but eventually he shouts, "It has to be them!" To my Spanish ears the ...
106
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18answers
13k views

Is there any English/American equivalent for the Hungarian phrase “beating the nettle with someone else's penis”?

I am trying to translate this comically vulgar Hungarian phrase, often (but not exclusively) used in a political context. It means to make someone else carry out one's rash or risky ideas, usually ...
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5answers
3k views

Meaning of “She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing” [closed]

Can you tell me what the following means? She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing.
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4answers
256 views

What does “Live in one’s own skin” mean?

There was the following passage in Vanity Fair magazine’s (January 7 issue) article under the headline, “Meryl Streep responds to Russell Crowe’s controversial comments about ageism in Hollywood”: ...
2
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1answer
79 views

Meaning and derivation of “so-and-so would know from X”

A couple of times I've seen a phrase much like "that's horrible coding — and I would know from horrible coding!" This seems extremely peculiar to me (if only because of how ungrammatical it is), ...
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2answers
50 views

“Can't you see the person is embroidering?” - idiomaticity and alternatives?

Two persons, who were not privy to a scene, are now observing two others who are talking: [...] [one of the former, reacting to something that was just said] -Why did she/he say that!? ...
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1answer
200 views

What is the meaning of “The backbone of something”? [closed]

Sorry for the question but I cannot find a good explanation in Google, I read it in an article of economy some days ago and I have kept in mind that doubt. Thanks for your worthy help. I think it's an ...
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2answers
139 views

What is the origin of the term “ask for her hand in marriage”?

Why does a man ask for a woman's "hand" when he is proposing? It seems he gets much more than that!
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3answers
349 views

Is it right 'up' your alley or right 'down' your alley?

What is the more appropriate term for this idiom, up or down? Right ____ your alley. According to this idiom site, either are in use, but I would like to get the opinion of this erudite crowd. ...
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4answers
173 views

I'm tired of writing out the phrase “himself or herself”. What are my options? [duplicate]

Because of English's lack of a gender neutral third person singular possessive pronoun, whenever the need for such a referent presents itself in the course of writing, we seem to be left with ...
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1answer
84 views

Idiom for “luckiest person in the world” [closed]

Could you please provide idioms for “luckiest person in the world”? I’d appreciate helpful links.
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2answers
145 views

What does the phrase: ''Let's throw a little wrench in his plans'' mean? [closed]

I've found this phrase in a game or movie. Don't remember now. What does it mean? Is it some kind of idiom?
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1answer
81 views

Why are you saying something “for” yourself when your parent asks you what you have to say for yourself?

I was listening to a podcast today and heard someone mockingly ask the guest "Well, what do you have to say for yourself?". The conversation spun off in some other direction, but I momentarily ...
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4answers
147 views

Is there a saying or idiom for “trying to get the truth from someone by lying”?

context Mary-Ann got home late from school. Asked where she had been, she said she had spent the afternoon at the library. Her father thinks she is lying and says: "I know you haven’t been there ...
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3answers
55 views

Find English idiom

In my language, there is a idiom means: One person will go fast, but many people will go further. I don't know in english, are there any idioms express this idea? If not, how to correct above ...
2
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4answers
144 views

What do call individuals who express their opinions as if they were facts?

We all know some individuals who don’t express their opinions as: I think this is going to happen... Instead, they express it as if it were fact or news, e.g.: Next month the price of ...
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2answers
84 views

What does it mean when you say someone or something is a “crook's charter”?

The sentence in which I've seen that is :"Non-translators should be aware that the trading conditions for dishonest translation and interpreting companies are optimum, in other words, the translation ...
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2answers
288 views

Idiom for asking for someone's knowledge of something

I am wondering if there is a word for requesting or requested someone's knowledge of something. This came up in a conversation I was having about car insurance. I had to explain to them that my ...
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4answers
213 views

What is the saying or idiom or word that means when “friends” don’t need you anymore it seems like they don’t know you anymore

there are some people who are your friend in the time of need,and they ignore you the other times,so what do you call them? a poet calls them "flies around a sweetmeat".
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1answer
432 views

Suffering succotash

According to this website: In the mid-1800s, during the Victorian era, there was a rejection of all profanity and so the common people developed a wide variety of malapropisms to avoid swearing on ...
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17answers
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Idiom that means trying to save something that is beyond saving

It's on the tip of my tongue. Example: "Replacing the hard drive of this computer would be [idiom]. It's going to fail completely soon enough."
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1answer
60 views

If the class “makes”

At the college where I teach, a class might be canceled if too few students sign up for it. We say the class didn't "make". "I'll be teaching that class in the spring... if it makes." Is there a ...
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3answers
76 views

What does “at X’s disposition” mean? [closed]

What is the meaning of the phrase “at their/his/her disposition”? For example: He left the apartment at the old’s man disposition. Please explain with a few examples.
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1answer
83 views

Cloud nine Vs. Dante's Inferno!

I looked for the expression to be on cloud nine on Etymonline; it is stated 'of uncertain origin or significance'. My question is could there be a connection between the origin of cloud nine and ...
0
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1answer
73 views

What is the meaning of “put white out on sth”? [closed]

I have read an article which includes the phrase "put white out on sth", but I am unable to guess its meaning. Despite referring to http://dictionary.cambridge.org/, I haven't been able to look up ...
3
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2answers
277 views

Meaning of line in “Line one's pockets”

I am not asking about the meaning of the idiom "Line one's pockets". It is clear. Line one's pockets: to make much money, especially in an illegal or questionable way. I wonder what line ...
6
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6answers
718 views

Is “straight from Kafka” an idiom?

I am working as a translator and in one of my projects, which was about strategic management , I came across this sentence: " In scenarios that come straight from Kafka, the simplest problems take ...
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1answer
95 views

“get one's head around” vs “get one's arms around”

I have seen both idioms used in practice. The definitions I found, http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/get+arms+around, and http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/get+head+around don't indicate much ...
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3answers
175 views

Is the usage 'the message didn't send' grammatically correct?

I have often encountered this sentence on Facebook; even a web-search of this string indicates that it is used quite commonly. However, is it correct to say so? The dictionary definitions of the word ...
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2answers
112 views

Come out of the closet [on hold]

'Come out of the closet ' derives from the phrase 'a skeleton in the closet'. Why is it perfectly OK to say come out of the closet but not come out of the cupboard as a follow-on the British phrase ...
2
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5answers
1k views

Is “I'll be John Brown” a common phrase?

The phrase: I'll be John Brown! is an occasionally-used term in North Carolina. Mostly thought to replace taking the Lord's name in vain (GD). Is it used elsewhere? How long has it been ...
3
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3answers
208 views

Connotations of “Salt of the earth”

I called my friend "salt of the earth" recently. I meant it in the best way possible - he is representative of moral goodness. But when I looked up the definition, I became a bit uncertain of my ...
5
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5answers
160 views

A proverb or idiom in English for people who pick up a new language very quickly

There's a proverb in my language which goes like --he/she spent just one night with the hen and ended up clucking the following morning. This saying can be used either positively or negatively. I'm ...
6
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3answers
291 views

A saying that means “our best friends are those we have known for a long time”

We don't yet know what our new friends are like, and our best friends are those we have known for a long time. I am looking for a phrase, traditional saying or idiom that expresses this idea.
5
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2answers
724 views

Why does 'swings and roundabouts' mean 'gains and losses that offset each other'?

I know "swings and roundabouts" means "gains and losses that offset each other", but I can't understand. Any story behind this?
6
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9answers
493 views

What is the idiom or expression to describe the state that a person interrupts their happy time by believing that “this will end soon “?

There are some people who don't enjoy the available good time and sometimes it even worries them. I am not sure why, but they might think that they will miss those moment and suffer for the lack of ...
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1answer
102 views

Question on indefinite article (in couple weeks or in a couple weeks)

I have a question on indefinite articles. I thought a is only used with singular nouns, by definition. Why is "in a couple weeks" the right way? Isn't a couple weeks more than one? I thought it would ...
3
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1answer
57 views

Is “scathingly small” used correctly?

I heard a quote today on the radio from Dr. Michael Fine, Rhode Island's director of the Department of Health, where he used the phrase "scathingly small" (e.g. here) when referring to Ebola's chances ...
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2answers
88 views

Is “in a huff ” a commonly used idiom?

I have heard this idiom, but I don't know how frequently it is used by people. Please, help me out, because I have no other way checking it.
2
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1answer
51 views

not on your life (why not in your life)

I'm curious to know why the idiom below made with the prep "on" and not "in"? not on your life Not on your life! (informal) : Something that you say in order to tell someone with a lot of force ...
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1answer
56 views

What is the meaning of “gassed for”? [closed]

I was reading a comment on ELU and it is... ... when you've been gassed for your oral surgery. Is it an idiomatic thing to say "gassed for or gassed up"?
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3answers
67 views

You really want to help someone, but that individual becomes suspicious of the nature of your help and questions it

I don’t know what to call the behavior of those who don’t believe that anybody acts with good intentions, so I'm looking for a suitable word, idiom or expression.
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1answer
273 views

Origin of 'the new normal' as a freestanding phrase

This morning, in a New York Times article called “Waters Warm, and Cod Catch Ebbs in Maine,” the following sentence appears: Fishermen, scientists and regulators often disagree over whether the ...
22
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9answers
3k views

What is it called when something you previously took to be a mistake turned out to be the correct decision?

Sometimes your “mistake” results in a big success, or you find out that it actually was the correct way of doing it. I sarcastically call this a “correct mistake”. What do you call it? I don’t know if ...
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1answer
102 views

Can “my pleasure” carry negative connotations

Is it appropriate to say 'my Pleasure'- In a job interview and e-mails closings. "I really enjoyed talking with you - my pleasure" Or would a simple 'thank you' be more appropriate. Can "my ...